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In our new Mid Year Report series we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the acts who we believe represent the overall spirit and mentality of NEST. The ongoing feature will highlight the rise, influence, and forward movement of 10 of our favorite artists who are making a serious impact on the world of dance music in 2016.

Check below for our final Mid Year Report on graves.

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Imagine being sequestered on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, far from the bustling scenes of North American dance music hubs such as Los Angeles and New York City. Do you surrender the will to implement yourself in an artistic community that feels a world away, or do you flip what many would see as a con into a pro, utilizing the unique isolation as a way to continually better yourself without distraction or imitation? Honolulu-based producer, Christian Mochizuki aka graves, chose the latter path, and in 2016, the Hawaiian bass music producer has emerged as one of the most unique and exciting new talents in the genre with an outpouring of distinct, original productions.

graves made his official start in music in 2009, when a post-Grammys, post-Taylor Swift (first time) Kanye West escaped the social pressures from the mainland to Hawaii where he set up shop to record My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. At first, Christian was on runner duties – “I was pretty much Kanye’s bitch for a year,” he admitted candidly in our interview the other week. But slowly he earned his way into the studio full-time, and by the time the record was completed, Christian Mochizuki had an engineer credit for MBDTF, which you best believe put a Grammy Award on his mantle.

After switching stances from hip hop to electronic/bass thanks to some inspiration from Skrillex’s earlier productions, graves has been carving out his own zone, approaching both the heavy and more melodic sides of bass, trap, hip hop, and R&B with an increasingly recognizable sound. “Heretic”, just released this summer on NEST, illustrates the weird, wild side of graves’ harder-hitting production. His latest release, “Came Up”, underlines his patent crossover potential as well as his ability to collaborate, as graves worked alongside Flosstradamus, FKi 1st, Post Malone, and Key! to deliver the mainstream-leaning product. Seems like whatever direction he’s aiming for sound-wise, he’s hitting some part of the bullseye every time.

Touring seems to be ready to explode going into 2017 as well. Christian notched his first festival set ever at HARD Summer in Southern California to a packed house, and just before that he wrapped up a bunch of dates with genre pioneers, RL Grime and Baauer, both of whom he has been in the studio with in recent trips to Los Angeles.

While he might be far away from the nightly hangouts and collab sessions occurring here in LA, graves’ roots in Hawaii have given him an opportunity and necessity to create his own sound, and it’s this unique environment combined with his inherent talent and fierce work ethic which will continue to set him apart. All eyes on graves heading into 2017.

Follow graves:
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Words: jonahberry
Artwork: DISCHETTO

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