Leeds-based, disco-labelled, producer Grum is about to embark on his difficult second album. His first, ‘Heartbeats’, is still held in high regard by many, in fact we thought we’d give it a spin a few weeks ago and we’re glad to report it’s still as exciting and fun as it was back in 2010.
While his last album referenced the technicolor excesses of 80’s disco and pop, his latest long-play ‘Human Touch’ looks to do the same again but with the 90’s. We’ve already heard the first single ‘Everytime’ and while it might not be Heartbeats 2.0 – its does show off a new side of the producer; a maturer, less look-at-me Grum.
We managed to grab 10 minutes with Grum as part of our Introducing series to find what inspired him to go 90s, who his most trusted second set of ears are and what’s the weirdest thing he has seen in a club.
HBF: Give us five words that best describe your new album?
Emotion, rhythm, atmosphere, journey, euphoria.
HBF: When you sat out to make the new album did you have an idea of what direction you wanted to take it? If so, what was the inspiration?
To begin with I didn’t have a specific idea, I just knew that I wanted to create something that was totally new to me. I was developing a love affair with some of the 90’s dance music I had grown up with and I think this had some influence. The first song I made was Everytime which had a great reaction from DJ friends, so it helped set the direction of the new album.
HBF: You’ve just unveiled your first track from said album, how do you reconcile a perceived backlash from those who might want you to still make disco?
To be honest I never really classed myself as a disco producer. I guess I came from the blog electro thing and added my own twist to it. In reality I have always enjoyed all sorts of different dance music. If people don’t like it, there are plenty of other producers around now making music similar to what I was doing two or three years ago. The thing that is exciting to me is that Everytime has had such varied reactions – and many people love it. It’s good to shake things up a bit.
HBF: Is this new album in a way your own backlash to people who might have pigeonholed you a disco producer? Is this Grum breaking free of that label?
I guess it will allow me to break free of that label, but only in a positive way – I wasn’t driven by any ideas of my own backlash. I just have to create what makes me happy, and that has changed a bit since 2010.
HBF: How would you qualify the success of the new album in an age where sales aren’t seen as important – do you have different goals this time around?
My intention was really just to create something quality that will be enjoyed for a while. Since sales aren’t such a concern, touring is obviously the other goal. This album lends itself very well to a live show, which is something I am working on.
HBF: Dance music has changed quite a bit since your first album, what do you think of the current EDM trend – do you still think quality music can break through?
It feels like we’ve come through quite a rough period and now a bit of a renaissance is happening. Seeing Duke Dumont and Disclosure in the top 10 was inspiring and proves that decent dance music can still be popular. I understand the appeal of the EDM stuff but it’s not what I’m about really. Let’s leave it at that.
HBF: Tell us a secret about yourself that nobody knows.
I, er, can’t actually play an instrument.
HBF: When you make a track, who’s the first person you’d send it to for feedback – who’s your most trusted second set of ears?
My manager Sarah – she’s always (brutally) honest.
HBF: If you studio was on fire, and you could go in and save one thing, what would it be and why?
I can’t produce without it, I take it everywhere, it contains my life’s work – incredibly boring answer – my laptop.
HBF: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen whilst DJing?
I’ve had a couple of gigs where the club has decided to provide an MC. Doesn’t quite work over Through The Night…