Guest Writer Paul Webster prepared this exclusive special interview for theaussieword.com with Graingerboy…
“I Love You (But I’ve Chosen Disco)” is the latest collection of songs and mixes from UK independent artist Graingerboy (aka Simon Grainger). This collection spans the last 6 years of Graingerboy’s solo output. It’s intelligent grown-up music and while Graingerboy wears his influences on his sleeve (the sound is often reminiscent of some formidable 80’s electronic music) he still manages to forge an original sound – picking up the mantle of European electro music and taking it into the future.
Switching from disco beats to sparse ambient soundscapes, these songs will drag you in with catchy melodies, emotive lyrics and a blistering confidence (attitude). From big pulsing songs like “Vintage (Jagz Kooner Remix)” to the exquisitely minimalist sounding piano and vocal of (previously unreleased) “Metropolis (Beatless)”, Graingerboy sits comfortably across genres. Saint Etienne’s skillful remix of “Summersend” (written by Tim Nicholson) is, as you would expect from Saint Etienne, an accomplished lush sounding piece of music. The beguiling “Flying Solo” (written by Simon Phipps) reveals heartbreak lyrics sitting on top of a cheerful tune.
It’s hard to pick a standout track because of the quality and diversity of the tracks.
Graingerboy’s voice is actually very comforting and serene and his often almost spoken lyrics complete the sometimes very sparse sound. His vocals are equally as comfortable swaggering through the more upbeat tracks.
This collection deserves lots of attention.
Give us an introduction. How did it all begin? What had you first interested in music?
Well it began a long time ago when my parents brought an old pub organ into the house and I basically spent a lot of time trying to master it! I probably should have been playing out in the fresh-air but I was way too busy trying to master Stock Aitken & Waterman bass lines on the pedals and House and Techno Classic’s with the built in drum machine. I still have flashbacks!
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
It goes in waves. Sometimes I have months when I’m really not motivated at all and then suddenly I’ll hear an amazing record or see a brilliant film and I suddenly get excited again. When I’m making an album I tend to stop listening to music as I don’t want to be too influenced by other people. I think it’s important that my music sounds like me and people can hear that when they listen. Ian Catt who I work with, calls that, having a unique ‘Sonic Signature’, which I really like.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
I’m fortunate enough to have achieved a lot of my goals as I’ve been doing this for quite a long time now. I played keyboards for a brilliant band in the UK called A Man Called Adam in the earl 00’s, so I got to tour and had a lot of exciting adventures. I was also signed to Ministry Of Sound and had a Top 40 hit in the UK a few years ago which meant I made the Sunday Top 40 countdown, which was obviously a huge deal. I think now, as a solo artist, I just want to get my music out to as many people as possible and hope people keep investing in it and wanting to listen.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I’ve just released a retrospective of my favourite solo tracks from the last 6 years and I’m currently working on a new album called ‘The Deliberate Inbetween’, which is scheduled for release next September. I’m feeling quite inspired at the moment so it’s hopefully going to be completed in the next few months. Playing live is something I haven’t been able to do for the last few years because I have an illness called M.E. This has caused me all kinds of problems and means I can’t tour as it makes me feel so dreadful. It’s so frustrating as playing live is something I LOVE doing and because I haven’t done it in so long I’m beginning to get the fear about eventually going out and doing it again.
Tell us a bit about your latest album and how would you best describe your music?
The ‘I Love You (But I’ve Chosen Disco)‘ album is basically a collection of my favourite recordings and remixes form my solo output to date. It’s a mix of ambient, synth-pop, electronica and indie-disco and I’m really pleased with how it sounds as a long player! There are mixes on there from some of my favourite producers and bands (Jagz Kooner, Saint Etienne, Ian Catt and Richard Norris), collaborations with some brilliant songwriters (Tim Nicholson, Simon Phipps) and musicians (The State Of Georgia).
Success, what is the secret to it?
That’s a tough one. I’m not really sure how to measure success. For me, as long as people are still making the effort to listen that’s it. There is so much music out there these days and so many distractions, not to mention our ever decreasing attention spans, that someone physically sitting down and listening to a track or taking the time to seek an album out is enough for me.
What has been your biggest career highlight?
There have been a few. Touring with A Man Called Adam, having a Top 40 hit and I think hearing one of my solo records for the first time on national radio. I feel like I’ve been really lucky!
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Anyone who isn’t afraid to do their own thing. Bjork, The Knife, Stina Nordenstam, this list could go on forever. I like the idea that you never know what to expect next from those kind of artists. I also have a lot of respect for the DJ’s who aren’t afraid to try out new sounds, even if they occasionally clear the dance floor. I had a bit of a run-in with a company I worked for a few years back who tried to steer me down certain avenues I wasn’t overly comfortable with. When I took that advice things really don’t go that great and it was a particularly frustrating time. You need to do it for yourself and then if it doesn’t work you only have yourself to blame.
Any new projects in the pipeline?
The new album, ‘The Deliberate Inbetween‘, is shaping up quite nicely and there are some exciting collaborations on that which I can’t mention at the moment. As i’m getting older I’m becoming more of a perfectionist which can be a bit annoying so projects seem to take an age. If I get my head down it should be ready for release next September.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
I have mixed feelings to be honest. It’s brilliant that I can function as a independent artist because of those advances, but I also feel overwhelmed with just how much music is out there now, both as a listener and a maker. As I said earlier, people’s attention spans are definitely decreasing and music is fast becoming a disposable commodity. I love the instant buzz of pop music, but also, some of my favourite albums take some work and time to fully appreciate. It feels like in 2014 people don’t have the patience to invest that time into music and because of that they are missing out on so much. Also, if no-ones making any money form music in 2015, how are people going to afford to keep making music in the future?