With the upcoming release of their new EP on the horizon, GRUMBY (G) are making a name for themselves with their vast mix of R&B and Jazz-infused anthems. They’ve already worked with Hari Mint. Not to mention found a fan across the pond in BBC Radio 1 producer, Annie Mac. Local Wolves spoke to them about their forthcoming offering and the artists that influence their songs.
For our readers who haven’t heard about GRUMBY, could you tell us a little bit about your music? How would you best describe it?
G – Our music is really a journey through what’s going through our minds and what inspires us during any period of time. When you listen to our catalog some of our older releases range stylistically from future boom-bap to more upbeat dance joints, but every one of our tracks is rooted in Jazz and R&B since that’s what we grew up on. Our first EP, Changes was a switch up from previous works as we developed some dope relationships with talented singers/songwriters here in NYC. Organically, the album progressed in a really soulful direction and Changes ended up blossoming into a composition of future soul and R&B. Our upcoming EP (available 4/5) incorporates those organic elements heard in Changes and takes it up a notch featuring more vocalists and more electronic flare.
You released your debut EP back in September. What’s the response been like?
G – It’s been cool and people seem to be about it. We’ve alway had our local fan base here in New York City, but our single, “Refuse”, with Hari Mint is getting love around the globe which has been awesome to see.
That song got some play with Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1 as well and that was very humbling. What was it like working with Hari Mint on Refuse?
G – It was a very organic experience. We met Hari doing backup vocals for an artist that did a show with us here in the Lower East Side. As soon as we heard his chops we were having a conversation about getting in the studio together. We played back the track for him and he did his thing. It was one of those sessions where we were really inspired and everything flowed beautifully. Hari writes and sings from a place of passion and he takes his craft just as seriously. That attention to detail from everyone involved creates a quality working environment.
Could you tell us a little bit about the recording process of the record?
G – We’re always cranking out new beats. Sometimes they’re real bad. Other times they range on a scale from average to not-as-bad-as-some-other-pretty-good-shit-out-there-so-it-could-be-good-right? That’s how it goes down usually. Once we get an instrumental in a good place we’ll bring in a vocalist or two to get some top line melodies. After we track vocals and have our arrangement we get back on the production end and polish the doo-doo out of it. A lot of times producers start with the topline and work around it, but we usually end up working the other way around.
And the artwork? What inspired that?
G – We liked the multiple facets of Changes. Changes in weather, mood, seasons, relationships, and especially in relation to chord changes in jazz. We wanted the art to reflect all these different facets of change going in our lives, including our music.
The EP seems to be blowing up in the UK and the Netherlands. Why do you think it’s so popular over there?
G – Getting radio play from Annie Mac helped get our sound out to a market of people we wouldn’t have thought of reaching otherwise and there’s generally more love for the type of vibe our music carries over there. Spotify also included Grumby in some of their “Discover” playlists, so it’s really with the help of some bigger players who recognize that we have something brewing here.
What bands or artists would you consider your main influences?
G – We’re influenced by a lot of the current electronic/future producers out right now like Ta-Ku, Sam Gelliatry, Cashmere, Lido, FlyLo. We’re also inspired by old jazz records and players like Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, and John and Alice Coltrane. On the R&B tip we pay homage to Prince and the rising queen, Kelela.
What records are you listening to at the minute?
G – Kelela – Hallucinogen EP, Mr Carmack – White EP, Majid Jordan – Majid Jordan, and Louis Mattrs – Slow Waves EP.
Have you thought about what’s next for GRUMBY? What can fans expect?
G – We’re in the final stage of our sophomore EP dropping April 5th, so be on the lookout for that. The album name is a secret because we haven’t figured it out yet. Just kidding, we actually know what it is and are keeping it a secret. Just kidding again, we have no idea what we’re calling it. Or do we? This project will venture more into our electronic side and will have a wider array of textures and features than our first release.
Finally, what advice would you give to people wanting to release an EP?
G – Don’t rush. Don’t rush to release anything you don’t feel reaches your full potential, especially if you know that if you give it a little more time and love, it could sound super fresh. It’s important to be comfortable and proud of what you release.