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BEHIND THE BEAT: GRAMATIK

BEHIND THE BEAT: GRAMATIK

Hidden away in a remote part of Slovenia was a boy who would creep into his sister’s room to snatch away a few funk, jazz, and R&B sounds off of the cassette tapes she had. 

Growing up in Slovenia had various profound effects on Denis because the culture was seeped in languages. It was common for most Slovenians to fluently speak two or three different languages during childhood. Denis fluently speaks Slovenian, Croatian, English, Italian, and Macedonian. 

It was in middle school when he discovered hip-hop and became one of the first MC’s on the Slovian Coast. Him and one of his classmates formed a duo called Bow Down and together they threw one of the first hip hop parties in the history of his hometown. 

While writing lyrics for raps, and picking up weed, he realized that he needed to pick a rap name. He could never afford to pick up more than a gram so he started calling himself gram which became his rap name. Around Seventh grade little Gram would hang out with his classmate who had an older brother who was a programmer. His brother had somehow acquired satellite internet which was back in 1998, a time where America didn’t even have satellite internet. When his classmate’s brother was out of the house, he and Gram would sneak into his room just to make beats, and that was how he got his start at producing: Cubase. 

Because Slovenia has such a small population of only 2 million, it became apparent that being a rapper from Slovenia was not a profitable pursuit due to the population. When little Gram realized this, he turned to strictly producing beats because beats are for anyone.  He became enticed with the art of sampling, which became his one true love in the process of music making. He loved the process of chopping up various funk, soul, blues and jazz tracks he used to listen to all the time and creating something new from his love of the old. He started selling his beats on the website beatport which became the catalyst of how he gained notoriety because he started topping the chill out chart section on the site.

While still in high school making beats, Gram was really good at English and he was constantly helping out his peers with grammar, how to spell this and that, and then one day one of his friends said to him “Dude, you’re not Gram… you’re Gramatik!” and that is how Gramatik was born. 

Denis has been inspired and attributes his dance music influence on the only really established artists in the EDM world in Slovenia in the 90’s including (but not limited to): Propeller Heads, Daft Punk, and Prodigy. 

Not long thereafter Hunter Williams sent Gramatik a message through MySpace and asked if he would be interested on touring with Pretty Lights in the states. He had no idea who Pretty Lights was, nor did he have any idea of the growing epidemic that was deemed EDM.  He wrote back saying that he was never a DJ and never played a DJ set before. In that moment was when he hatched the idea of bringing his friend to play with him on guitar, making it apparent that they could bring a live element that was not just him pressing buttons but adding an element of improv every night. From there his career had begun to flourish amongst the EDM scene in the states. The raves in America started to become more and more popularized, creating a wave for which Gramatik could ride on for as far as it will take him. 

It was while on tour in the states that Gramatik and Griz crossed paths and it was deemed a destiny of musical trajectories. They became instant friends and realized by combining each of their unique sounds it created an entire new sound of its own. Griz brought the funk jazz elements with his best friend the sax, while Gramatik laid out the chill beats. They decided to combine forces and launch what they dubbed as Grizmatik. It became a special side project that they would each contribute to, as well as, still progressing on their own individual projects. 

We are very excited to see what the New Year will bring for Gramatik, as well as, what he will bring for us.

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