Slovenian DJ Gramatik is bringing his funk/hip-hop/electro-swing party to Bristol’s Thekla on Friday, so we couldn’t resist asking him some questions about his show.
Welcome to the UK! Are you looking forward to your gig in Bristol?
I’m happy to be playing in other cities in UK, this is my first time doing a short run through England.
What should we be looking out for with your gig on board Thekla?
I’ve heard that the show is already sold out so I think it’s going to be a solid night. Come early and see the sets by Gibbz and Russ Liquid, they both perform with me alongside guitarist Andrew Block, who is the latest addition to my live performance. Expect a whole lot of funk and live instrumentation.
You like to play with live musicians on stage. Why is that?
I think they bring a whole new vibe to my production, it definitely has more musical value when you see a live musician killing it on the guitar solo and there is a heavy beat smashing over it. And Russ Liquid is especially crazy, he plays keys, trumpet and saxophone. We can bring the whole concert experience, just three of us. And Gibbz sits in for a song or two.
You’ve said before that you grew up with hip hop culture, including DJ Premier and Dr Dre. Which artist has had the biggest influence on your music?
There are so many of them, I can’t really just single one out. There were many influences when I was growing up, from old soul, funk, rock and jazz records. I grew up on Slovenian coast and there is a big techno club there that used to bring the biggest electronic names back in the early 2000. Even Tiesto played there before he got stadium big. All of that left a huge mark on me and is still present in my production.
Have you played much in the UK before?
I played London a couple of times and a couple of festivals, Glastonbury was one of them.
What has been your most memorable gig?
So far I’d have to say that the most memorable shows were the sold out show at Red Rocks and the sold out show in my home country, Slovenia.
Do you have any strange rider request when on tour?
Me and my girlfriend keep to ourselves most of the time and the fans respect that so there aren’t many strange things going on on tour.
Do you prefer playing individual gigs or festivals?
Mainly we focus on creating the best conditions sound wise and visual experience we can bring wherever we go, either Europe or United States. Whenever all the conditions to perform and the vibe of the crowd are in tune it really doesn’t matter where you play. With recognition comes the ability to perform in better venues on better sound systems and you get to play bigger festivals and better stages. So for me and the musicians I play with the conditions we play have a crucial meaning. I played couple of big festivals and couple of big venues around Europe and US and I enjoyed them all.
What do you make of the current music scene in Slovenia?
The music scene in Slovenia is very localized, when you sing in Slovene language your market is only 2 million people, that’s how many of us is there. So everyone that decides to do it in our language automatically disqualifies themselves from hitting the global market. You probably heard about Umek, a techno DJ and producer from Slovenia, Laibach – huge electro band or maybe Smooth, drum.n.bass producer and DJ but that’s about it. Everyone else is only there to cater to Slovenian population.
Gramatik plays Thekla on Friday 12 December.