Grant Dell

With over 50 releases, you may know him as Uhuru Beats, Croydon Punks Ltd, Masonic Noodles, or the Chicago Transit Authority. Grant’s first release as Tribalation – EP1 on Loaded records got licensed to Strictly Rhythm; the rest is dance music history.

The son of a jazz musician, Grant’s teen years rebelled to the raw aesthetic of punk, but his tastes quickly warmed to the rolling basslines of dancehall and dub reggae. South London soundclashes cemented his love of gritty low-slung frequencies. And then acid house. Down Clink Street, deep underground to Heart and Soul and onto to countless warehouse parties, Grant took his innate appreciation of dancefloor dynamics behind the decks.

Grant’s shared love of the best of Chicago house and Detroit techno started morphing into a sound in the early days that could only be detected in the mix. He’s now widely regarded as a Tech-House pioneer, but his influences span a far broader spectrum – Early disco to post punk – Barrington Levy to Basic Channel with a splash of soul and that inimitable swing.

In 2001 Tribalation were voted DJ Magazine’s Best Newcomers. A succession of solo releases followed on key US labels; Tango, Plastic City, Detour, Nightshift, Big Chief, Stupendous, Headtunes, Worship, Leaf and Utensil Recordings and Visitor. Grant was soon spending most of his time stateside collaborating with the likes of Tony Hewitt, Jay Tripwire, Tyler Stadius and Adam Collins.

With his tracks finding their way onto mix compilations by Fabric, Renaissance, Tyrant , Nu Breed Global Underground ,Turbo Recordings, La Terrazza and DC-10 in Ibiza, Grant was soon spinning his wares everywhere from Canada to Costa Rica and Brazil to Buenos Aires. In the UK, his remixes for Hooj Choons and releases on Bosh, Tag, Evasive and Rescue Recordings have extended and enhanced his reputation.

Grant Launched a new VINYL House label in 2016 called GIANT which continues to go forward with his sound and releasing some powerful music from the likes of - Brett Johnson – Silicone Soul – Jay Tripwire – Random Factor – Sascha Dive – and a host of up and coming producers.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hello Grant, how have you been? Thanks for being our Artist of the Weekend! We are delighted to have you!

I am good thanks - It’s My pleasure

It would be really interesting to our audience to learn a bit more about you: where do you come from, what was your childhood like, when was your first touch with music?

I originate from South London – I was born in Dulwich but my family were from Clapham, we moved to Croydon when I was 5 and I grew up there.
My childhood was tough – growing up on a very tough council estate – you had to grow up fast and learn the ways of the streets – My first touch with music was – Rock n Roll, my mum gave me a Bill Hayley and The Comets album – not sure why but I loved it, it was raw rock n roll – then it was Bowie and glam rock and then into punk.

How did you get involved with electronic music and become a DJ?

It just all sort of fell into place really. In the early 80's I was heavily into Reggae and me and a group of friends had a sound system called – Libra HIFI – we ran for about 5 years and played blues parties, community centers, School halls and just about anywhere we could – I got the taste there, selecting on the sound, for playing records to a crowd. Then I was taken to my fist acid house party around 89 and fell in love with house music – I bought my Technics turntables in 1990 and that was it – hours and hours locked in my room practicing my mixing.

Can you describe raves back in the day?

To me it was a little similar to the punk movement – A new form of music that you truly believed in and it was so antiestablishment – you really thought you were part of something – something special – it changed my life forever and lots of other people’s lives that I know – then again so did punk – Great times.

You have significantly vast experience as a Dj. What happened with the underground scene? Do you think it’s still alive?

Is anything underground anymore? I think we live in a totally different age now – what with social media, everyone knows about everything – when I was involved in what I guess you can call the London underground scene – Heart&Soul – Wiggle and Whoop Whoop, those parties were really word of mouth, or knowing the right people – that was underground – there still are some great parties going that carry that same vibe – Wiggle, of course, and Kerfuffle

Can you name some of your all-time favorite artists? What makes them special to you?

Wow, that’s so hard to answer – so many – If I had to pick one, then I would say King Tubby – an innovator for sure, the connection with his dubs and house music is so apparent – the way he would filter down parts and his use of the space delay and the way he would mute drums out or the bass – the original breakdowns or drop outs – which we hear all the time in House music – his style has bled into most electronic music. That’s just one choice – I could list many many more and for lots of different reasons

How would you define your style at the moment? Do you think it has changed throughout the years?

If you mean my Dj'ing then I have stuck to what I feel most – which is to mix up different styles – From loop based techno to vocal tracks, if I hear a certain something in a track that resonates with me, be it a drum pattern or bass-line or a vocal, then I will use it – I still try and play other tracks that other dj's don't – that’s always been my way of thinking as a DJ

In the world of music we live in, how do you choose what to add to your selection? I bet it is not very easy? What are the music labels you support and of course your favorite producers?

I still only play vinyl so I still go to records shops, Ed's vinyl in Brighton (where I now live) and Love vinyl in east London – and the odd bit online – but I am still into the whole concept of going into a record shop and just going through pretty much all I can, looking for that hidden gem. I don't really have a favorite label – all of my favorite ones are sadly no longer around.

You’re a producer yourself, do you follow a specific direction when building up a track or do you just share a different idea each time?

I normally start with a kick – as a metronome – then build around that, I am always writing things down, ideas I hear from other forms of music or stuff I hear when I am out. It’s pretty much an instant thing, with writing house music – whatever the vibe is at the time, some really good things come out of mistakes or just jamming.

What is your view of a perfect party? Would that be a big outdoor party with lots of people or you would prefer a bit more private gathering?

A small gathering – 400 people, nice dark basement type venue – wicked sound system and switched on party people – like the crowd I have been lucky enough to party with for the last 20 odd years.

What are you working on at the moment? Anything exciting music wise including yours – maybe a new release or a gig?

Well my label GIANT is just coming into its first year and I have put out some great releases so far – The last one was a tribute to my very good friend and DJ Bob De Rosa, who sadly passed away two years ago. I am also starting a Reggae label this year – The first releases for that are almost ready – so watch this space

Thanks again for being our special guest! It was a pleasure.

Thank you x