MEOKO chats to Basti Grub of Desolat fame about his new album “Primavera” released on his own imprint Hoehenregler this month. Basti Grub loves to dabble with out-of-boundary sounds, styles and rhythms, rare track titles and surprising combinations, making the exotic sound domestic and the domestic cool. His forthright, joyful attempts to take the seriousness out of the contemporary music scene doesn’t stop him from sounding seriously solid, creating multifaceted tracks that do not seek to be fashionable but rather reflect deep playfulness and sincere personal pursuit of expression in a contemporary manner. Celebrating the exuberance of sound from different parts of the planet, he combines what catches his ear – the freaky afterhour conversation about pizza in one of his tracks being a full-grown example and weaves everything into a quirky yet calming stream of perception. The full-grown musician is led by passion and personal taste: Swing, reggae and an aching desire to be able to speak and understand Spanish are some of the keys to decipher Basti´s music.The producer found recognition for his releases on his own imprint Höhenregler as well as hot beds like Desolat, Cocoon, Movida, Suara Records, Compost, International Freakshow, Style Rockets, Dame Music, as well as upheaving the scene with his first album “Dschungelorchester”. With “Primavera”, Basti Grub stirs up the outdoor/ afternoon club fauna in love with eclecticism and novelty sound once more. MEOKO chatted to this talented artist from the Frankfurt country side in various late night sessions via Skype.
Hola buenas noches. Hope you are great and happy to receive the feedback from our MEOKO music department saying they really love your mix?
Heeey hallo, glad you like it! Really! I also really enjoyed making it. I do and did not have any other objective making it than enjoying the music, and I hope it´s as enjoyable for other. It´s always the same with me, if I like it, I play it, without giving it a thought.
This is also your “doctrine” when making music… you are very intuitive. So what are the feelings that drive you through music?
Yes I am, it just spills out of me, it´s like a fountain, all kinds of feelings, it depends which music it is I am listening to, making or playing. I am inspired by all kinds of African music, bongos, and Jazz, I also play the piano and other instruments, so I am really open towards any kind of artistic expression.
Which set-up do you use?
For the mix, I simply used Ableton. In my Studio, I mainly work with Logic and Ableton, but of course I also have different synths, drumcomputers, modulars, and instruments. When I play live, I use a drumcomputer (electron) and a controller (apc40) as well as a keyboard and my mac. And when I play in open airs, I have a friend accompanying me, playing live violin.
Did you use many of your own tracks in the mix?
I hardly use my material when I make podcasts that are posted online, which is down to the fact that many of my tracks will never be released. I make songs that are only for my use. But people nowadays do not have problems with taking parts of other peoples productions to play them themselves, no matter how low the quality. And I sincerely believe that a live set should be exclusive so people get to listen to something completely new every time they come out and listen. If I only play what I release, it makes more sense to book a DJ who plays my stuff.
Basti Grub mixes MEOKO 020
Are you a harsh self critic?
Yes. I am into self-scrutinizing and tend to criticise my music very harshly. In my opinion, all artists should be doing this, as this would be lowering the amount of below-standard music output washing the shores of Beatport. It´s very depressing to hear the charts and want to believe that that´s what the people want. I know people pay to be charted. I, at some stage, was willing to do everything for fame, so I called them up saying I had an Christmas present in an envelope ready to be posted to them if they would be willing to consider my output. No, just joking. I didn´t. But, it´s quite painful and deglorifying for an upcoming, rather unknown artist to see how the mechanism works and pay your way into publicity via advertising etc. It takes the magic out of music and makes this business seem scumful. Nevertheless, I am really pushing my album right now because I really want to know what people think about it. I really want to know what it takes.
Did you rework your tracks a lot, and how long did it take to make your album Altogether,?
it was a very long process. Not making the tracks themselves, but the process of filtering out what I wanted to be included in this longplayer. It´s been three years since I released my first album, and since then I have been making a total of four or five complete albums. Nevertheless, they did not appeal to me in the order they were created so I ripped them apart and rebundled what I had. And I made a few new tracks specially to make it feel complete. In total there are nine tracks as there did not fit any more on a CD, but I will also release a tenth track as a digital bonus.
You worked with Andres Zarzuela and Daria once more who add to th especial vibe of the album with their songs and voices… how did this come about and what does their support mean to you?
For me it´s so important. Andres is a super friend of mine and we work together for quite some time now. I really think he has a beautiful voice and I really enjoy it making music with him, even if it does not result in a track. With Daria I have another project going which has nothing to do with the club environment, we so enjoy working together. Same goes to quite a few artists, I sincerely enjoy working and cooperating and I end up learning and giving so much, I do not want to have it any other way.
The album is released on your own imprint, Hoehenregler. What´s happening on this label, what can we expect in the near future?
There will be quite a few really interesting releases, right now my album, then some EPs by Felipe Venegas, Larry Peters and myself. Then I am planning to do a remix album, most remixes are already finished, they come from Butch, Martin Buttrich, Felipe Venegas, Tube&Berger and a few other surprise guests. I am also planning to do a remix contest! Keep your eyes peeled.
Thanks you and big thanks again for the great MEOKO podcast.
Basti Grub website
Words by Katrin Richter