Gramatik has always been an artist that pushes the limits and uses music to explore the depths of sound. For his latest release Re:Coil Part I, the NYC-based producer and DJ went a step further, using the album to drop some serious knowledge on fans—Re:Coil Part I was inspired by scientist Nikola Tesla and his altruistic idea to provide the world with free energy. While conceptually the album is (literally) heady, the music itself is grounded, with Gramatik teaming with the likes of Soulive/Lettuce guitarist Eric Krasno, hip-hop legend Talib Kweli, and fellow Lowtemp Records label mate Balkan Bump to help bring the project to life. Along with new music, Gramatik recently announced his return to the Five Boroughs for a special New Year’s Eve journey at Terminal 5 on December 31st with Big Wild, Ramzoid, and Cobrayama (get tickets here).
Live For Live Music had the chance to chat with Gramatik a couple of weeks ago while he was on tour in Europe. We spoke with the renowned DJ and producer about the difference between American and European crowds, his latest effort Re:Coil Part I, why Tesla was such a major influence on the album, and his recent foray into crypto-culture with the release of his own currency token. Check out our interview with Gramatik and listen to Re:Coil Part I in its entirety below.
Re:Coil Part I
Live For Live Music: How is your current European tour going?
Gramatik: We just started the tour in Europe and so far, the first two dates in Luxembourg and Lyon were great. Looking forward to the whole tour. I always have fun on European tours because the crowds are so different here.
L4LM: How responsive are the crowds in Europe compared to those in the States?
Gramatik: It all depends on the energy you put in the show. The French are probably one of the craziest crowds in Europe—they always crowd surf and go really wild. More north, you get more reserved people that just enjoy the show. South and east, that’s where it gets really crazy. Greeks dance sirtaki at my shows, and the French mosh. Everywhere is a little bit different, while in the U.S., the responses are very similar east to west. You notice that it’s truly all one country, one culture.
L4LM: Why is Nikola Tesla such a huge influence to you and for your new album, Re:Coil Part I?
Gramatik: Nikola Tesla comes from the the ex-Yugoslavian region like myself, and his idea and effort to give the world free energy was one of the most altruistic ideas of all time. Imagine where we would be right now if everyone had free electricity—if we didn’t know greed and wars because of oil. And yet, we elect people like Donald Trump who want to stop all progress made as civilization. So Re:Coil is my answer to these happenings.
The word ‘recoil’ also means to shrink, flinch, wince, blench, quail, or draw back in fear or distaste, and implies a movement away from shock, fear, or disgust. That’s how Trump and alike made me feel, how the current state of the world makes me feel. Re:Coil also refers to the fact that we brought back the original Tesla Coil-inspired stage design in an updated, more-epic setup, plus ‘re-coil’ could mean to coil something again. So this is where Nikola Tesla comes back into the picture. More people like him, less people like Trump. With The Age Of Reason, I thought we were getting there—to the actual age of reason—but I was wrong… Age of Re:Coil.
L4LM: How were you able to take the ideas and inventions of Tesla and conceptualize that into music?
Gramatik: Tesla made me appreciate science more. I became inspired by people and ideas that were or are truly trying to steer humanity on the right path. That’s why I have songs named by “Satoshi Nakamoto”, “War Of The Currents” referring to the AC/DC war between Edison and Tesla, “Future Crypto”, “Room 3327”, “Corporate Demons”, and so on, on the new album. I try to make statements with my music, and I like to stimulate people’s minds. Knowledge and thinking is what makes us human.
L4LM: Tell us a little bit more about your working with SingularDTV and becoming the first artist to release your own GRMTK token?
Gramatik: I always supported peer-to-peer sharing and always gave my music away for free. I uploaded my music to PirateBay back in 2010, and I was the third-most legally downloaded artist on BitTorrent‘s own distribution platform. That’s why embracing crypto-culture and the new blockchain-based technologies working towards decentralization is my next logical step.
Soon, I’ll be launching my own token, GRMTK, in collaboration with SingularDTV. This revolutionary new approach promises a convergence of network and data that will allow creators to bypass gatekeepers and intermediaries and seize control of their intellectual property. Fans will be investing directly in my art, and they will get a share in all my future earnings and royalties. This finally means complete independence and no more middle men. Soon many others will follow—this is just the beginning.
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