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Keeping it Grass Roots...

Interview

In an age where drum & bass is truly international and artists fly to every corner of the earth to spread the music's mantra, we catch up with Tom at Grass Roots Artist Management. GRAM has been representing a broad range of artists for 4 years including Zero T, Sabre, Eveson, Concord Dawn, Data, C4C,The Upbeats and Phace to name just a few...

In the UK we are spoilt for choice with both events and DJ line ups. However this is not the case around the world, scenes are different from region to region, as are prevalent sounds and styles. As an agent, which countries do you find the most exciting and why?

Europe in general is a very exciting part of the world when it comes to dance music and over the last 4 years that GRAM has been working in this territory we have booked our artists into some of the most exciting parties they have ever played. The thing that really excites us about it is the willing for promoters who run smaller parties to take a chance on booking an artist who in the UK who is relatively unknown – booking 3 to 4 months in advance then promoting like crazy so by the time the artist touches down they are pretty much a celeb in the country! Obviously that is a bit of an exaggeration :] but willingness to put on a party because you love the music rather than to turn a coin is very apparent in the Europe hence maybe why the line ups are a little more diverse.

If we had to call it the cream of the crop country wise would be Austria because of the Urban Art Forms Festival and Dkays ‘Flex’ in Vienna and Russia in particular Moscow’s ‘Pirate Station’ event.

In the era of the international DJ, drum & bass is more accessible than ever. Your artist roster includes artist from the UK, Europe and as far a field as New Zealand, is the rise of international acts a precursor to drum & bass being less focussed on the UK and specifically London in the future?

As we all know London is the capital of drum & bass, it’s essentially where the music was born and some of the scenes most respected producer/dj’s have come from within the M25! Having said that, over the last 10 years has seen some of the most exciting talent has emerged from New Zealand in the form of Concord Dawn and in more recent times The Upbeats, State Of Mind, Bulletproof, Cern and Trei. It could be said that Europe is home to the techy sound referred to sometimes as ‘neuro’ with countries such as Germany producing the hugely talented Phace & Misanthrop, and Holland delivering us Noisia. Having said that, it doesn’t really matter which country the music/artist is hailing from these days as the ability to distribute it to all 4 corners at the click of a button is common place – what really matters is that when it gets dropped at a party the place erupts.

Russia has exploded in the last few years, in regard to the parties they are putting on and the wealth of artists they are now producing. Where is the next wave of artists coming from? Where is the next drum & bass hotspot?

Scunthorpe is going to be where it’s at for 2011. You heard it here first. Don’t say we didn’t tell you.

On a personal level, which artists either as part of GRAM or otherwise do you find musically exciting at the moment? Also, what are the best and worst bits about drum & bass at the moment?

Here at GRAM we only really work with people whose music we genuinely feel otherwise you can’t get your full drive behind them. If we had to tip who will be making serious waves in 2010 – 2011 then Octane and DLR are ones to watch out for – if you haven’t got their soundcloud on a bookmark then I suggest you google them now!  Zero T continues to produce fantastic music which is showcased on his FabricLive 52 CD which has just hit the shelves. Spinline; one of our latest signings who have music dropping on Ram Records and will be making a stir over the next 12 months and it’s good to see Unknown Error making a comeback with the launch of his digital label, UED.