The Mid Year Report launched last summer with the intent of spotlighting 10 artists within the realm of electronic music who share and represent the adventurous, independent spirit of NEST HQ. Similar to our end-of-year superlatives, the Mid Year Report recognizes those musicians who are outpacing their contemporaries due to fearless creativity and deliberate integrity, and this week, we’ll be discussing 10 artists who we believe are pushing the genre forward in 2017.
Read below for our Mid Year Report on Grabbitz.
We’ve had our eye on Grabbitz since he found himself more than two years ago living every SoundCloud producer’s dream of getting picked up by a musical hero out of the blue to collab. That track “Let Go” has since been released as the lead single from the last deadmau5 album, which finally came out in December, and even though it put him on the map it’s actually his least intriguing release of the last 12 months. He put out a full length concept album in May Things Change so stacked with prolific songs it’s actually hard to keep track. A far cry from his Monstercat dubstep days, Grabbitz released a proper hybrid rock album that even has a full pop moment on “(I think that I might be going) Crazy.”
When we talked to him late last year, he said of the album’s first track “Follow Me”, “It’s leading us towards the new Grabbitz. I’m a singer, rapper, songwriter, and I make beats. Over time, all of those things have blended into something alternative – more vocals, more hooks, great beats, solid songs, in my opinion; not confined to one particular style.” That’s an understatement – the second track off the album “Don’t Let Me Go” can be legally classified as D&B and “Play This Game” is a veritable rock n’ roll track albeit with a heavy bass influence. “Break Me Down” has an almost ODESZA-esque sound with a glitchy, irresistible chorus and “Love Like That” is pure indietronic synth-pop punctuated by bass that somehow pops like nothing else.
His feature with Boombox Cartel on “Colors” continues to be a darling of Sirius XM Radio and Spotify playlists, and even music he’s put out randomly between release cycles like “In The Winter”or his Mikky Ekko remix for “Smile” have soul permeating every second. Grabbitz’s music makes feeling our feelings cool, his lyrics are raw and undeniably emotional but the delivery is so rock ‘n roll it’s empowering. And the contrast between moments of lyrical vulnerability and visceral, angry sounds accurately represents the emotional spectrum human beings experience when Things Change unexpectedly.
This summer sees Grabbitz launching a live show, which he debuted a sneak peak of in Los Angeles in June, featuring a live drummer and guitar professionally shredded by fellow producer and musician Sullivan King. The two of them performed during the Monstercat art car takeover Saturday night at EDC in an extraordinarily hype, unannounced b2b DJ set with RIOT that was the singular most energy I saw at any side stage all weekend. It showed that DJing isn’t going away from the Grabbitz project, but it’s taking a late-night backseat likely to be marked by epic b2bs.
Grabbitz takes any opportunity to give love back to his hometown of Buffalo, New York and lately that’s manifested itself in the form of a just-announced headlining show July 28th with fellow Buff-all-stars Dabin, Eyes Everywhere, and Dusty Bits. He just finished a contest with SubPac and one of his hometown musical collaborators Mitchell, a 16-year-old first-chair classical bassist and true musical prodigy whose disabilities have failed to slow down his musicianship. After Grabbitz gave a SubPac to Mitchell last year to help him with his hearing impairment, the two became fast friends. “Mitchell gets this crazy emotional response from music, the only other person I know who really gets that way is me,” he explained. Watching video of them in the studio together will probably bring tears to your eyes.
The Grabbitz show will be migrating from Buffalo on July 28th to the Sunset Strip in LA on August 2nd at the iconic rock venue Viper Room along with a super special secret guest. Get a taste of what’s to come with our five favorite tracks of his, which were hard to select because despite the relative brevity of his career, he’s released so much music over the last three years it can be hard to know where to start – let this hand-crafted playlist light your way to the rock n’ roll dance party of our dreams.