Over the past few months, Leeds-based producer/DJ Jamie Grind has entered our consciousness and captivated it with his brilliant take on traditional garage. Of course, Grind has been around for longer than that and has been rotating between Leeds, Manchester and London, leading club nights and remixing the likes of Hackman and Rude Kid. Back in February, we caught up with Jamie via Skype and spoke on his past life as an MC, grindcore and how he defines his music. Expect to hear a lot more from this guy in the future.
What’s up Jamie, how’s life in London treating you?
I’m actually living back in Leeds now. I was living in London for a while, then Manchester, and now I’m back in Leeds. I move around a lot!
Are you still working with Modulate?
Nope. We only did Modulate for a few months – I had too many other commitments to be running a monthly club night to be honest.
Can you give a brief background to who you are, where you’re from and where the “Grind” part of your name comes from?
Grew up in a small council house in Leeds. Wanted to be an actor – then realised at 16 that I didn’t. Formed some trashy ‘grindcore’ bands and got the nickname Jamie Grind – which just kind of stuck. Dropped out of college, worked some shitty jobs. Tried a few other musical projects to limited success. Started freaking out a bit. Discovered the DMZ raves at the West Indian Centre in Leeds and started making tunes. Got a couple of decent jobs in the digital industry. Started playing gigs as Jamie Grind. Moved to London. Moved around a bit more, and somehow found my way back to Leeds. And that’s pretty much my life up to now.
Stream: Jamie Grind – “Something You Should Know”
Hit the jump to read the full interview…
Last year you released an EP with KingThing. How did come into existence and how do you know KingThing?
I was down to release another EP on Infrasonics, who frequently release split EP’s, so the idea was just kinda put to me. Kingthing is one of the guys I’ve shared tunes with online in the past, so was happy to do it.
I’ve read a lot of reviews of your music referring to your sound as “UK bass”, which is a pretty mushy umbrella term. How do you define yourself within that wide variety of house, techno, garage, dubstep, etc.?
I used to listen to a lot of dubstep, back when it actually was dubstep, so I think my sound has a lot to lend to that, as I started to write music at a 140 tempo – although everything I tend to make comes out sounding pretty garage-y. If anyone asked what kind of music I make, I’d say it’s somewhere between house and garage, because that’s probably the best way to describe it I suppose. I feel uncomfortable discussing genres – it always makes you sound like a twat!
Do you listen to a lot of garage?
I do still listen to the classics, along with a lot of 90’s hip hop and RnB. I don’t actually listen to that much new music really, I’m stuck in the past ha.
Stream/Download: Hackman – “More Than Ever (Jamie Grind Remix”
What are thoughts on this sort of garage revival that’s going on a very pop level with Disclosure getting huge amounts of radio play?
I think it’s good. Disclosure have done so much in such a short amount of time. They’re in the limelight right now on a commercial level and will hopefully pave the way for other people. People who hate on artists when they actually succeed in life are elitists pricks.
You used to be a hip hop MC, right?
Yes (laughs). It was a local thing, more of a hobby than anything else. A lot of people I knew at the time were MCs and producers and it was just something we used to do for fun and I never expected to take it much further. In the end, its what led me onto producing though, as it made me want to make my own beats.
Who are a few of your favorite rappers past and present?
Back when I was in school it was all about the Wu Tang, and I’d say Ghostface is still one of my favourites. Modern hip hop, I don’t rate a lot of it, but I do like some Kendrick Lamar and Action Bronson. You can’t really top a lot of the older stuff, people like Nas, MF Doom, Mos Def, Pharcyde, Mobb Deep etc.
How about grime?
I still listen to a lot of grime, old and new – Wiley, Kozzie, Ruff Sqwad, Frisco, Cronik, Flirta D, C4, Swifta Beater…
What do you have coming up in the next few months?
I’m sitting on a bunch of new tunes, including a couple of collaborations, so hopefully you’ll be seeing some of that stuff out pretty soon. Sorry I can’t be more specific, but expect to see a lot more in the next couple of months.
Finally, what’s your favorite song to play out at the moment?
Ruff Sqwad’s “Xtra” instrumental is a favourite.