a multi-genre producer, BEATMAKER, DJ, AND SOUND ENGINEER
If you're playing massive(ly) multiplayer online role-playing games, or a blockchain game in Web3, it's likely you have been interacting with another human that you know nothing about. Chances are they may be a big kid halfway across the world - or maybe - an incredibly talented multi genre-music producer, beat maker, DJ, and sound engineer! A California born, Sweden raised kid started learning violin over two decades ago, and that love for creating sound through tunes naturally transcended into mixing and mastering music through studio software. Through a lot of trial and error, and the help of other talents in the industry, this led to a journey of music creation spanning over 20 years of industry history. Today, this has accumulated to the seasoned artist we have the gift of meeting in this feature. Let's connect with Sweden based music producer and one of our own dedicated members within the Tuning In family - GritBeat.
"mix and mastering of music for people"
Q: The curse of creative people is ever the perfectionist. Tell me about a messy thing you did or experienced, and walked away from with a smile. A: My work history is grounded in being in the kitchen as a chef. I learned quickly how to adapt to messy situations that were out of my control. It made me learn to appreciate the day-to-day service grind. Cooking for people can become repetitive, and not everything may come out as perfect as it did the day before in delivery. As long as I stayed true to my intentions, I could walk away from near perfect or a mess and be ok with it knowing I could try again tomorrow. Embracing the flows of the creative being and just the complexity of life is a constant work in progress. As creatives, we aim for perfection, but we also have to learn to let go sometimes. Especially in the music industry. If there's a job and I fulfill it to the best of my abilities, even if something goes wrong - I'm ok with it. I also apply this way of thinking to my relationships. I've had a lot of people that hurt me and betrayed me throughout, but I also have really good people in my life and a solid support system. These are my peeps! Every experience is an opportunity to learn something, it might be messy here and there, but that's what makes it a process of growing as a person and as a creative person. I'm all for sometimes "being messy" when deep in the process. Q: Tell me about that first meeting with music, and then tell me about how it's going now? A: I was born in California. I left the states and moved to Europe around 6 years old. I don't have many memories from before that. My stepfather was in the air force, so we moved around and it led us to Spain. My mother is Swedish (and is a G by the way) - she figured some shit out and so we eventually settled in Sweden. That's when I started going to an elementary school that provided music classes to students a few times a week. My first taste of music making started with playing the violin. I wasn't very keen on it at the time, it was just something I had to do while in school. There was always a multitude of different styles, genres, and types of music in my life. I was exposed to a diversity of sounds at an early age. My mother listened to musicals and my stepfather showed me electronic music. He was so cool to me when I saw that side of him! That's the neat thing about music. No boundaries with age or whatever. It opened my eyes to explore and piqued my interest more. It wasn't until I grew up a bit that I discovered Cubase - a digital audio workstation that can be used to edit and sequence audio signals coming from an external sound source. Users can mix tracks and file ready them to be burned into CDs. Back then, there was no such thing as YouTube, so my inception into audio production was mainly self-taught and networking with other like-minded kids doing the same thing. We learned from each other on the streets and through word of mouth. It was so cool and fun, and I found a passion in creating something out of nothing. From then on - I was hooked and I never looked back. I used to be a very shy kid and kept to myself a lot. I was home a lot on my computer - not out and about playing with friends outside. That's what contributed to my gaming life. It wasn't until I turned 18 that I started to gravitate towards music outside of the house. I started going out to where the music was playing, and that led me to people who did music for a living. I'm still a gamer, and that's a piece of me that I embrace fully - as the kid at heart. I like to play and have fun and often enjoy the satisfaction of leveling up and meeting the goals and challenges that I set up for myself. The music now is not so isolating. These days, I'm not doing this all by myself. I self-produce music but it includes a bigger community now that I consider a part of my music. Before, music making was a form of my own self-expression. It was healing and helped me get through some tough seasons in my life. Today, that still holds true, but I make music to be appreciated by others more now. That's the artist's journey - it grows. Music has always been the creative root for me. I started connecting with others doing music and building a support network, and established more relationships in the industry by being more open to putting myself out there. That's the difference between what music was then versus now. It's a part of who I am and who I chose to be, not something like a chore - a music class I had to go to. I want to go where the music is as much as possible now!
Q: What would you say to that kid (younger you) now knowing what you know today about music making? A: BE PATIENT! If you took out my hard drive from when I first started, you can listen and hear how much my music has matured. When I was in my 20's I was focused on making music hits and shooting for the next big thing on the radio. I was chasing fortune and it wasn't really about the love of making music... It was survival, and it felt mostly dead inside. These days, I cut off that mindset of wanting to be the next this and that. I am just interested in making music now. Thinking like before only got myself in my own way, with limiting beliefs and distractions. It stunted my creativity. Now, when I simply focus on staying true to my craft and maintaining the 'no arrogant' headspace to learn more from others, I humbly find myself more at peace and happy. The opportunities open up and come to me more naturally. In this way of being - I've found more success in my journey. Nothing is forced. I just do me.
That doesn't mean I'm not persistent and don't work hard! I just feel more alive doing what I love at the pace and speed I enjoy. I work with who I want to work with and make music I want to make. There's joy to the craft when we aren't chasing what we don't have. If you want something - go for it with GRIT. That takes patience and may not produce immediate results, but every step is a step closer to where you need to be or want to be. BE PATIENT.
Q: What was the anchor that humbled you along that process of "trying to make it" in the industry? A: I've fucked up and hit rock bottom. In the streets and homeless rock bottom. That humbles you quicky. It took me a couple years to find my footing again and as I did, I lost a lot of people, I learned more about myself, and gained appreciation in my own journey. I learned that someone else's success is their own story - and not mine to try to be the same. My time will come without trying to catch up to others. I just needed to focus, stay in my lane, and grow one day at a time. Today, I've found myself in a position where I am no longer on the streets. I have my own studio at my place and people come to me to mix and master their music. It's been a wild ride, but one that I'm grateful for. I found my way back home. Q: What did that season of life teach you that you appreciate today? A: It taught me self-preservation but with a smarter judge of character - so I can let the right people in. Opening myself up to others, but also knowing when to stand my ground in my own convictions. I don't deal with BS and am quicker at shutting it down. I know what I want and am more focused today at getting there with less unnecessary distractions.
Q: EDO Tensei and Whirlpool show what style is coming up from your solo projects the best. Why is that? A: It's super personal because it's just me on these tracks. I am not making music for others. It's just me storytelling through the music. It fully and honestly showcases me as a music producer. I had to design the right sound for telling my story and did not have to consider outside perspectives. The sounds reflect me as the artist that is truly me.
Q: You had mentioned that working in the restaurant industry really helped you build confidence and "put skin on my nose". What has working in the music industry taught you about yourself? A: I'm stubborn as fuck! Haha. I didn't take "no" for an answer. I started DJing during the same time I was working in the kitchen as a chef. It was side hustle doing something I was drawn to. I knocked on all the doors and made all the calls, and I would do it over and over again until someone gave me a chance. That opened up my DJ work history. It's what introduced me to the people, the community, and the overall industry. I'm also cautious about my interactions as I've been burned a few times. It helped me to scope people and be mindful of the circle I keep around me. I want to make sure the right people who have my back are always looking out for me and my best interests. They tell me what I need to hear. Find good honest people. Sometimes the "yes" man is not always your friend. Q: Stubborn people are intrinsically strong willed, resilient, and passionate. You're not easy to fall victim to peer pressure. Do you often find yourself saying no to something you're not ok with? A: Yup. I've kicked out people from my own studio who showed no respect to me or my equipment. To me, the vibes in the room tell me almost everything I need to know. If it doesn't feel right, I don't care how much it might hurt my pocket or a contact and connection, I will not settle for it. Hard stops. No room for being nice and polite. I'm naturally a nice people person, but I don't take well to immaturity, unprofessionalism, and arrogance. People who think they are the shit, aren't humble, or overall have bad energy - I don't work with or network with those people. Those are easy situations to say "no" to no matter the circumstances. It's not even a big stubborn thing, but if a group feels it's a "yes" but I feel "no" I'll go with my own gut. I ignore the bullies and stand my ground. Vibes matter. Q: You obviously have a good ear as your job requires ensuring high-quality audio production. Would it be fair to assume that you are also a good listener and enjoy long conversations with people, or are you pretty quiet in real life? I learned that it took years for you to come out of your own shell... What helped pull you out of it? A: I used to be quiet and shy, so maybe I didn't care to listen much when I was younger or didn't have the skills for it. Not anymore! As I grew up, I had to talk to people. I had to learn to connect with others. It takes practice. People who are real make it really easy to talk to them. I think also working in the service industry exposed me to people reading too. When I was going through anything, I found it helpful to talk to trusted people. That helped me step out of my comfort zone more and things became less isolating. I can be a private person but I also can be open and fully transparent. It just depends on who I am talking to. I can talk your ear off! I can talk about anything with anybody. My friends tell me I'm a good listener and that I'm approachable, so they come to me with a lot on their mind. I'm always open and here to lend my ear to listen to a friend. I trained my ears to listen to details in the music, so that has played well into building my own communication skills. It's a win for all. Q: What is your advice for working with artists who have a different process or method of creating than compared to your own style? A: Have mutual respect for each process and the patience to work on something beautiful together. Quality work is not rushed and takes time. Attention to details matter and I actually appreciate learning different methods of creating because I can take or leave what I believe works in my favor. It's a collaboration, so we both signed up to work together. You're bound to have different ways of doing things. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It is what it is. But, it's a bonus when it works out for sure! That's what we both want mutually. It's worth a try every time. Every track. Every collaboration.
Q: I know that you "listen to everything" but if you could pick the song, genre, or sound that can best reflect your current mood for this season of your life - what would it be and why? A: How about music producer Amon Tobin. The sounds he produces together are so peculiar and stand out. His work overall inspired my upcoming EP Sub-Nautical. Q: Why is "Sub-Nautical" the title of your EP? A: The album has an underwater feeling to it. The oceans have undiscovered depths and mysteries yet to be explored. The EP is a hybrid of different playful sounds in a 3-part series (5 tracks on each and 15 total curated). It comes out in November and the timing of it is a bit synchronized to the waves currently happening in my life. Currently, I am in Sweden but move back and forth between here and the UK. I'm always living in motion now moving where the music takes me. Q: You aspire to play arenas. WHEN that happens, what would that look like? Where would you be? Who would be with you? A: It will be a fully immersive visually aesthetically masterpiece of a stage and overall production. I'm bringing the story telling with me and will play heavy shows. I'll have my closet friends on stage with me and that includes all the Web3 friends I've worked with along the way! Q: You're unapologetic when calling out "fake producers" live. What do you notice first? A: I don't work with producers who lack the knowledge base. If they've got 3 plus years to their name, I'd expect them to have basic sound design down. Arranging effects should come naturally. If they only drag and drop loops - it's a huge red flag. Especially if the loops are being utilized as layers to cover almost all of the entire song! They can use samples as long as they are creative with it - and not use it as is. The biggest problem right now is the accessibility to stemming and people get away with it. That's all it is. When they rush the process and try to get the track done ASAP, they aren't being authentic. When they don't respect the art of sound creation themselves - it really draws the obvious line in the dirt. They're faking the craft, and in doing so mislead the listeners and the artists that work with them. I will not hesitate to call that shit out. Music is a creation process. Not a copy and paste process.
Q: What's next for you? A: I'll be hosting GritBeat Soundboard Championships - a custom soundboard sounds competition to help find talent and share inspiration and connection with others! Check out my X account for details and dates around that. I'm constantly thinking about ways to bring people together and creating opportunities for more music discoveries and networking. Keep a lookout for my EP Sub-Nautical coming out in November 2023! I'm a technical DJ and my performance style is mainly house, techno, and drum and bass. It's been over 3 years since I've been DJing live on stage, but I had that itch to perform again. I love it and miss the energy of people in the room and the adrenaline rush that comes when playing music live. I'll be traveling around Europe to perform, but look forward to branching out even as far as Asia and beyond! I'd love to play in the states sometime too!
What sets GritBeat apart is that he shows up to connect with others and initiates the networking needed for organic community building.
He understands that collaboration is key in the music industry. It's not a competition if we can maintain being grounded in the hustle together. In true Web3 fashion WAGMI (we're all gonna make), it's about the "WE" in this music thing. There's no question that GritBeat will sail far and wide on his musical voyage. We hope that you are inspired to break out and share your story with us. As music fans... and music lovers... It's a treasure to find people in the industry who share more than what's floating only on the surface. We don't need to question what GRIT stands for: Authenticity.