Back at the end of February, on a cold and rainy night I had a nice and enjoyable talk with Aaron Waisglass, or better known, Gradtheft. The Toronto-based DJ stopped by us during his ‘Quit this City’ tour, and had an absolute blast during the show in a buzzing atmosphere at the A38 ship.
The night after his show, here we are with no less person than Grandtheft. First of all, this has been your first gig in Hungary. How do you like it so far?
It was rad, it was really good. I got to do a bit of a sightseeing today, which was pretty cool and yesterday the show was also nice.
How do you like Next Level?
The party was sick. The venue was really dope as I’ve never seen anything quite like that, you know, playing on a boat was a pretty cool vibe.
Let’s go back a bit in time. Where did your name, Grandtheft come from?
It came to me when I was a kid. I started off producing early and I started with sampling and I sampled a lot so I was stealing bits and parts of records. That was the centre of the idea.
So what is Boogie and ball then? On your twitter account this is your username currently. Is it only because your latest release, or does it have a more detailed background?
No it does not. It’s only a song I put out the day before I got here. It’s called Boogie and ball and it was made with another Canadian producer, Lambo and a rapper, Philly Swain. It’s that kind of lean rap with an R’n’B chop in it. It was supposed to go on my EP, my last Mad Decent EP in October, but we held it back to come put it out on its own.
As you’ve mentioned, yesterday you played in a special venue, but that’s a rather small club as opposed to what you are used to in the US and in Canada. Which do you prefer more, small gigs with a special atmosphere and a more devoted audience or huge clubs with thousands of people?
I like both. I play a lot of venues that are of 4-500 cap, but then I also get to play before huge crowds at festivals and other bigger places. They are different, but I got to do my thing regardless. Playing in smaller venues is dope because I wouldn’t say I make a ton of big room music, I make a ton of club music whether it be rap stuff or even my bass or house music. It’s more meant for clubs I think. I’ve got always more club music than I got festival music, but I still play them at festivals and it’s fun, but I like to make stuff for smaller crowds. Like I’m inspired by the club energy.
Even though it seems for me that your remixes are rather for festivals as they are mostly from very popular artists like Rihanna, Drake, Calvin Harris, etc. Is it easier to work on a song that is already a big hit and gets played everywhere?
Well, I didn’t specifically choose them just because they are well-known. I simply like to make new versions of songs whether they be mainstream or underground. I’ve done a lot of underground remixes, too, they are just not as big. I like to take a song that I like, but I can’t play during my shows and turn it into something that I can and fits into my sets. I’ve done a lot of official remixes, but my approach is the same. I just somehow end up doing a lot of remixes of pop songs, but those people came to us to do them so it’s co opportunity.
Your latest EP is titled ‘Quit this City’. Where did the inspiration come from? Were you actually fed up with something and just wanted to quit a city and moving on?
No, no. I think all people think that, but it’s just the name of the song I did with Lowell. We were just trying to write a tragic love song, like a Bonny and Clyde, like natural-born killers kind of vibe that was dark, but also like a pop song. We named the EP after and it felt the whole EP had that vibe. It has this retro and yet futuristic sound with a lot of analog synths, strings and organic drums that aren’t really used nowadays. There’s an organicness and also at the same time electronicness to it. It was like electronic vs. organic, digital vs. analog, city vs. country. I like the idea of that when you put this record on it’s a country drive. It’s a driving record escaping the digital world, the city, the Internet and all that shit.
Actually, now you indeed ended up with quitting your city as you are currently on tour. Friday you played in London, yesterday here in Budapest, next weekend you’ll play Barcelona and Athens. How will you spend the week in between? Are there any plans already?
Tomorrow we will stay an extra day here to check up the city fully. Then we are going to Istanbul for a couple of days, then to Barcelona and to Athens. It’s a fun trip as I’ve never been to Athens, never been to Budapest, never been to Istanbul, but it’s always exciting to discover new places.
And what about after? Are you heading back to Toronto and writing music?
Yeah, I’ll go back to the studio for a week. Then I have shows in Las Vegas and Miami and then for the end of March the tour continues in Australia.
You sound busy. I wish you good luck with all of that!
As we are finishing this interview, what would you like to leave behind for the Hungarian fan base?
Yesterday was such a fun show. It was exciting, because I haven’t even done a Grandtheft show at this part of the world, nor in Eastern Europe before, but it’s dope to come here and have people come out to the show and know my music. It’s amazing to go to places you’ve never been and people still know your music. The support yesterday was incredible and I can’t wait to come back.
Thank you very much, hopefully we will see you soon!