ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO, I STARTED TUNING INTO DJ GRUMBLE AND AFTER LISTENING TO SOME OF HIS BEATS ON THE CLOUD, I LOVED THE CHILL, HAPPY, AND MATTER OF FACT STYLE HE PUT OUT. AFTER A WHILE, I REACHED OUT AND I BECAME HIS FIRST FOLLOWER ON THE GRAM (NEVER FORGET!). THEN WE RAN INTO EACH OTHER IN DALLAS LAST YEAR. BECAUSE OF HIM, I WAS ABLE TO GET BACKSTAGE A FEW MONTHS LATER AT THE J. COLE CONCERT! IT WAS SUCH AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE. COLIN IS AN INSPIRING DJ AND CHEMIST. I THINK SCIENCE + MUSIC SORT OF GO HAND IN HAND, AS THEY BOTH HAVE PATTERNS AND A RYTHYM AND REASON. LAST OCTOBER, I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERVIEW HIM. HIS MUSIC HAS BEEN FEATURED ON MANY YOUTUBER CHANNELS, NPR, AND SPOTIFY! I LOVE TO SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO CREATE AWESOME WORK, AND DJ GRUMBLE HAS SO MANY LISTENERS, IT'S HARD NOT TO FOLLOW. CHECK OUT HIS SECOND CHANNEL ON SOUNDCLOUD: GRIMELABINC. I PUT TOGETHER A PLAYLIST FOR YOU, USE IT FOR YOUR MORNING YOGA, WHEN YOU FRYING UP THOSE EGGS IN THE KITCHEN, OR A JUST A CAR RIDE TO THE GROCERY STORE.
1. What music inspired you when you were growing up that influenced your style today?
I originally started off listening to rock and alternative music in high school. I remember the debut album by Linkin Park had a track with some scratching on it by their DJ, and I was wondering how he made those sounds. I also learned that one of the MC's in Linkin Park appeared on an album by the X-Ecutioners (a 4-man DJ team from NY) called "Built from Scratch." I bought that album and got exposed to some real classic hip hop. DJ Premier and Large Professor were on that album and I immediately started learning everything I could about hip hop DJing and music production. I bought my first turntable at a flea market for $20, and I started making beats using my dad's record collection since he is a huge fan of jazz music. At first I was heavily imitating the styles of East Coast producers like Premier, Pete Rock, Havoc, etc.
2. How did you get the name DJ Grumble?
I settled on 'DJ Grumble' when I was 15 or so and DJing high school parties. Before that I had a few different embarrassing names I won't mention. But DJ Grumble stuck because it was catchy, and quickly became my nickname (friends would just call me "Grumble" or "Grumbs").
3. What is your vision as a DJ and who would you want to work with?
At first, my vision was simply to get better and develop my own style. I spent a lot of time paying my dues, showing my music to other producers for critiques, and just locking myself in the basement and forcing myself to test my limits of creativity and discipline.
I started making beats around 2003 and then uploading them on the Internet in 2006. I tried various ways of spreading my music (my own website, YouTube, etc) and finally on Soundcloud I started getting lots of followers, especially when I started working with well-known YouTubers like the beauty vlogger Jenn Im. She helped drive a lot of traffic to my Soundcloud along with many other YouTubers.
My current approach is to spread my music virally. All my beats on soundcloud are free to download. This has helped disseminate my music across the entire globe.
I routinely get fanmail from every country, places like Venezuela, Kenya, Azerbaijan, you name it. I google my name every day to see what new vlogs people are posting on YouTube. But most importantly, I've discovered many talented artists who recorded demos over my beats, namely Ari Lennox, who went on to get signed by Dreamville. So my "viral beats" approach ultimately got me noticed by the major labels because my music is literally all over the place. People have even used it for bass fishing and lawn care vlogs on YouTube.
I'd really love to work with some of the other Dreamville artists, they are a great team and have been so helpful and inclusive in my music journey. Since I make a really wide range of beat styles I could see myself working with anyone really, Drake, Gucci Mane, Kendrick... with all of my beats, I try to capture a different emotion, and I'd love to be able to do that together with a seasoned artist.
4. How does your Chemistry background relate to your music? They seem to go hand in hand somehow.
I've been interested in science since high school and really took an interest in organic chemistry in college. Most of my doctoral work focused on synthesizing new drugs for treating or diagnosing cancer. I think making sampled beats is very similar in the sense that (1) you take some starting materials and turn them into something new and (2) making beats, just like science, requires a lot of discipline and self-critique - you must have the willingness to discard ideas that don't work and try something new.
I plan to keep working on music as the first hip hop producer with a PhD in chemistry. I think it'll be a fun ride!