This polyrhythmic synchronization by Grym is a speculative fiction story painted in broad brushstrokes of melodic halftime & jungle.
The birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and the origin of Nirvana. Seattle named after Chief Si’ahl, a Suquamish and Duwamish chief, has a reckoning of a different kind. Experimental bass. With exception of a few Hardleaders, Since the domestic inception of jungle music, the US scene has struggled to develop its own distinct sounds and niches. The common approach is the adoption of emerging branches instead of experimenting with unique flavors (e.g. Brazilian samba bass). As a collective, I have discovered that Seattle is an enigma and an inspiration of agency and ownership.
One of the leaders of this strand of experimentation is not a novice, but a connoisseur who has tailored his approach to fast soul music within the last couple of decades. His label, Onset Audio is catching fire for quality releases (in my humble opinion, as music taste is subjective) and stunning artwork. When two perfectionists are trying to do a mind-melt it takes a bit of time to put this episode together. Nevertheless, it is done. I shot him more than a few questions via electronic mail. Below are the results.
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯ I N T E R V I E W ⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
In the anime, Naruto Rock Lee said to Might Guy, “What’s the point of all this effort if I will never be able to win?”. Guy replied, “Yes, you are right. There’s no point in making the effort…[Pause] if you don’t believe in yourself”. There is a possibility Onset Audio will never receive any accolades or commercial success. As the owner, what keeps you going? There must be something beyond the beautiful artwork covers and the splendid autonomics that drives you. What can it be?
The music we put out is a niche sub-genre of a niche sub-genre. The market is extremely small so the only thing that drives us is the desire to share good music. If sales can pay for the overhead to support itself and the artists can get a few bucks in their pocket then that’s all the accolades and commercial success we need!
Besides the Space Needle and Nirvana, I predict Seattle Drum and Bass will be internationally known one day. Do you think the constant feedback loop and continuous experimentation help develop a homegrown sound uniquely its own?
I would say Seattle has cultivated somewhat of a sound. With our biggest producers being Quadrant & Iris, Homemade Weapons, Klippee, and Root For The Villain, the sound is distinctly minimal and tech-driven for the most part.
Most of the guests usually shrug their shoulders when I tell them that I am taking care of the artwork for their current episode. However, you were very particular about what your look should be. How important is the visual aesthetic tied into the artistic representation and sound?
I am a graphic designer and digital artist by trade so visual representation is very important to me. With Onset Audio, the artwork is part of the whole package. In addition to the music, visually curating each release is part of what keeps the label interesting to me. The tunes speak the loudest but in the age of social media oversaturation, the visual component is a vital entry point.
From my viewpoint, the entry point for those stateside is either through the drum speed(metal, punk) or through the bassline (reggae, dub). How did you come about loving this music?
My high school years were a steady dose of metal, punk, and hip hop. So when I discovered raves it was a natural progression to the jungle room. Early jungle was like the perfect marriage of high-energy percussion and street culture. I actually developed my love for reggae and dub through early ragga jungle.
Music industry professionals are notorious for having a short lifespan. Sun Ra Arkestra bandleader Marshall Allen is 96 years old. He revealed his secret to longevity is: “Play the music for your well-being first, in order to give somebody else something.” Do you believe Drum & Health is more important than Drum & Bass? If we can live longer, we can accomplish more things as a collective. What are your thoughts on this?
Absolutely. There is no point in engaging in anything artistic if it doesn’t enrich your personal life first and foremost. Art is humanity’s ultimate form of personal expression. So maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for longevity as an artist.
“Listening is a conscious mental process, as much about the brain as the ear.” – George Massenburg. While perusing through the onset audio Bandcamp, I am very impressed by the selection. Where did you develop the critical listening and evaluation skills?
I’m not really sure. I am not a trained musician or producer. But I know what I like and what I don’t. I suppose it’s just a combination of my years of evaluating music as a DJ, hearing a wealth of material from friends and colleagues, and developing a distinct sense of taste when it comes to art in general, be it visual art, film, or music. Also, my good friend Tom who does our mastering is a talented engineer and helps me determine the quality of the production and technical mixdowns.
What was the main inspiration behind your mix?
These days I put out mixes for two reasons- as a showcase of lesser-known music, including music from my label, and as a spiritual soundtrack. A vibe that takes you somewhere else. It sounds cliche and self-important but I put a fair amount of thought into the progression of the mix and the harmonics of the tunes to create a seamless journey. I like a good rock out as much as anyone but these days I am far more interested in exploring the cinematic depth and atmospheric vibes in my mixes. This mix is a representation of that.
What equipment was used to construct this mix?
This is a studio mix all done on Ableton Live.
Can you give me a little taste of the future for Onset Audio and Grym?
Onset has a bunch of great material slated for 2021. Label mainstays like Heatwave, Paracusia, K-Chaos, Out of Fuel, and Dreadmaul have forthcoming stuff, as well as amazing debut releases from guys like Offish and TNNL. As far as myself, I am continuing to evolve with my design work, djing, and label curating duties, breaking new ground and pushing content that is interesting and engaging.
|1||Crypticz – Bleak Internal|
|2||Paracusia – Last Summer – Paradise Lost Recordings|
|3||RQ – Sunset|
|4||Consequence – Untitled Dream – Exit Records|
|5||Dan Habarnam – Light – Santorin Records|
|6||Crypticz – The Unknown Reimagine – The Chikara Project|
|7||Crypticz – Grids|
|8||Jaskin & Uneven – Ancient – Kos.Mos.Music|
|9||Sunchase – Just For You – Kashtan Records|
|10||Darkgray Heart – Let It Out – Onset Audio|
|11||Heatwave – Mormota – Black Crane|
|12||Mystic State & Captivate – Fade Into Dust – The Chikara Project|
|13||Tellus – Andheri – Regression Media|
|14||Tellus – Black Swan – Locked Concept|
|15||Crypticz – Journey Through The Rings of Saturn – Western Lore|
|16||June Miller – Isis (Despot Remix) – Eternia Music|
|17||Hysee – Isolator – Visceral Vibrations|
|18||Margari’s Kid – Transcendence|