Honolulu-based artist graves was pretty much born a musical legend. He got his start engineering multiple albums for Kanye, securing a Grammy for his work on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and winning EDC’s Discovery Project. From such a meteoric rise, graves broke off from “douchey” EDM in 2016 to pave a lane all his own, and he did it with the finesse and prowess of a seasoned musical veteran.
We’ve featured graves on a multitude of verticals here at NEST HQ: Who To Watch, Mid-Year Report, Best of 2016, and any features/interviews we can get our hands on. And for good reason. Whether it’s his stacked mixes and charismatic festival sets, or simply his own singles and debut EP, there’s something for everybody. In 2018, the prodigious engineer-turned-producer extraordinaire is poised to go even further than before. As you can hear from the mix, there’s a SLEW of unreleased music that’s ready to drop. There’s no tracklist for this one, so enjoy the extra rare goodies in our exclusive graves MiniMix.
Hey man! Last we talked you were getting ready to play your first festival, HARD Summer. How was it? What’s been going on since then?
They asked me to come back since then so that’s a good sign right lol? Man a lot has happened in two years. Put out my debut EP, toured Australia twice, Asia once, a bunch of my own stuff as well as thirty dates in the US on RL’s Nova tour.
Can we expect another set of dates for 2018? Looks like you’re on a few festivals around North America.
Yah absolutely! We’ve got a handful of crossover festivals this spring and summer that I’m really excited about. FVDED in the Park in July is gonna be crazy. Future, Kehlani, Rezz, Trippie Redd. I’m stoked. Then working towards my first proper headline tour for late summer and fall.
Your latest single, “Easy” with Duskus is built from the nature of human emotion and love. Has humanity been a strong focal point in your art?
Always. There’s so much noise, particularly in electronic music, now when it comes to releases. So much music is coming out every day that I think creating something that connects with the human condition gets lost. Artists are releasing music simply to stay in your feed, rather than giving you something you can take with you forever. I’m always trying to create something that evokes a certain element of the human condition.
You mentioned that the feelings of unreciprocated love you discuss on the release are “never easy” and that it should be that way. What do you mean by that?
The song is really about abandonment right? It’s the feeling of loving someone and not having that love returned. They’ve moved on, and you need to as well.
Coming from working with Kanye, how have you developed as a solo artist working on your own trajectory the past few years? I’m sure it’s been an amazing learning experience.
Working in Kanye world was an opportunity for me to see how the greats do it. But if there’s one thing I’ve been able to really take with my on my own path, it’s that it has to be my path. Fuck what’s happening on my left or right. Kanye made music for Kanye and no comparisons or criticisms or skeptics got in the way. If someone’s not down with what you’re doing, then it’s on to the next.
Any advice for kids working for other artists or music companies seeking to start their own career?
There’s never a roadmap to this thing. No one’s paths are the same. Absorb everything you can in however long you can and when you’re ready to make your statement go at it with everything you’ve got.
What have been some of the most rewarding experiences as a musician?
Being able to provide for my family doing what I love to do.
What was it like working with Joni Payne and Duskus on “Easy”? You all did a smashing job.
Duskus is so rad. A lot of people don’t know that’s him on the vocal chop. He sings, he writes, he produces. He’s going to be making some waves really soon. I just love how smooth Joni’s voice is. She cut the vocal in a day and to me it didn’t sound like anything else that’s out. It’s a little sleepy and dreamy which was the perfect balance to a busy production.
What’ve you got in the works musically in the coming months?
Lots! I wish I can talk more about it but it’s going to be a busy year for sure.
What can we expect from your MiniMix with us today?
Some new stuff, some old stuff, and some unreleased stuff. It’s a nice little peek into where we are going…