Keep that brain focused because we have an interview with Graham Luckhurst, a.k.a. Greymatter: a producer, DJ, and house visionary with a truly varied output. He's never been one to stick to just one sound, and he's heavily involved with the Wolf Music imprint, which has been championing and expanding the cutting edge of UK house music with artists like Medlar and Waze & Odyssey on its roster. Greymatter's latest release on said imprint is no exception to that rule (or lack thereof, depending on your viewpoint); jump into this dystopian visual teaser from the new EP before we enter the mind of Greymatter and discuss WOLFEP014 and more.
EARMILK: So what has been going on lately in the world of Greymatter?
Greymatter: I was working on an album but we [WOLF HQ and myself] decided EPs were the way forward to keep the sound tight and the releases banging. I have a lot of spare material at the moment; a lot of it is much more experimental than the WOLF releases so I think maybe a new alias or a collaboration at some point very soon.
Working on a remix of Duke Dumont for Turbo. Started some new tracks for another WOLF release which I imagine will be next year, may sneak a track out before then but it's tight on their schedule these days.
EM: I was relistening to your Mind Over Matter LP the other day and it's clear you've worked with many genres in your career. Could you introduce yourself by going into your musical history a bit? What influences can we see on your latest WOLF EP?
GM: It's nice to hear people listen to that record! My musical history is super diverse – started with commercial pop chart dance, then jungle/hardcore, then trance, main room funky house, big beat, a lot of hip hop, funk/soul breaks, then into rare groove, all styles of jazz but particularly 70's deep/fusion, brazilian, african, pysch, electronica, techno, drone, folk, modern classical. I listen to everything these days. And increasingly I'm watching a lot more of films – world cinema/arthouse stuff mainly. I find it incredibly inspiring and powerful, more-so than music these days – there are more levels to film.
The latest WOLF EP is the most sonically diverse – there is US garage in there, balearic, a couple of big bass lines, dirty growling industrial leads.
EM: How do you feel about this resurgence of the old school house aesthetic? I recently saw you tweet something to the effect of you're bored with the copycat house sound – don't just recreate something, add something new to it. I understand that completely but could you expand on what you said?
GM: I love the classic aesthetic, of course. BUT, I stand by that comment – I am very bored of the copycat house that is being released at the moment, particularly over the last 3 or 4 months. Copycat being the point here – it's lazy and its easy. If you are going to go down that route at least add your own twist or take on it.
I'm not saying for a second that I'm not influenced by these sounds or that I'm writing 100% revolutionary ground breaking music but I do see very little value in stealing ideas straight just because it's a popular trend.
EM: Who are some producers that you think exemplify "something new" in that arena?
GM: Leon Vynehall, Sei A, Bambounou, Dauwd, Shed, Jacques Greene, Darling Farah, Pepe Braddock (always!), Blawan, Workshop Records, Andy Stott, Gerry Read, 2562.
EM: I've become a fan of your mix series The Drum Clinic with Murder He Wrote and Hotflush/Hemlock extraordinaire Guy Andrews. How did that come about and how do you tend to treat the show, more of an artist showcase or whatever you're feeling or? (I realize these often overlap by definition)
GM: Thank you. I met Guy and James through music channels in Brighton, guested on the show last year and Guy recently asked me to get involved with the show officially which I happily accepted. Guy and myself play new music that we are feeling, that's pretty much it. James does a Brighton showcase show once a month.
EM: As a DJ, you probably have a higher standard for mixes than most, so what mixes have you been feeling as of late?
GM: Ha! To be totally honest with you, I haven't had time to properly digest a mix for a long time. The last one that really jumped out was BICEP's Hot Tub Jamz mix from last summer – I absolutely rinsed that one, so good.
EM: You've been described as a vinyl addict. I know I've got my own special/favorite records and stories to go with them, what are some of yours?
GM: I wouldn't necessarily agree there actually! I love vinyl and have a couple of thousand but I would never qualify as a vinyl heavyweight. They do hold special memories though for sure – all of the records bought in foreign countries, particularly in Brazil, mean a lot to me and bring back images and faces which is real nice.
EM: You've had some interesting collaborations/features/remixers – do you have a favorite or anyone you would ideally work with?
GM: I've been pestering KRL for ages but he is a busy boy it seems. We work well as we're brothers so we can be 100% blunt with each other which always helps the process. In fact he is sitting on a couple of collabs of ours at the moment.
I would like to work with some of the Brighton peeps – Dauwd and Guy Andrews in particular
EM: What should we expect after this from you and WOLF?
GM: WOLF is evolving and building. Matt and Stu know house music inside out and their direction of the label is second to none. The schedule is fuller than ever, with a couple more 'Various' EPs penned in, plus new EPs from Medlar and KRL very soon I believe.
As for my projects – I want to evolve the live / AV show first and foremost. And I'm keen to do some more experimental stuff alongside WOLF. New EP for WOLF next year. Maybe an album, but then again I always say that.
WOLFEP014 is full of the influences cited, a rare nuanced yet consistent venture. "Sweat" leads with bright rolling stabs, quickly filling the track to the brim with energy. The disco-funky flares and vocal melody create a very accessible crossover feel atop the already groove-inducing bassline. One can assume from the title that "Tisno" is a reference to Croatia's Garden Festival, and it's easy to imagine yourself in a beautiful far-off locale when you immerse yourself in the icy-smooth balearic vibes of the track. Greymatter then proceeds to turn up the burner with the buzzing warehouse steez of "Pick & Roll" again showcasing his penchant for contagious vocals. Big heater. James Welsh closes out the EP with a swinging flip of "Sweat." It's a more relaxed affair than the original but the groove is still intact and complemented with some full-bodied swelling chords in the latter half. Overall, a masterfully balanced opus that seems designed to leave you fully satisfied but yearning for the next thing from WOLF – what more could you ask for?
The EP drops on vinyl September 10th, digital to follow; if past WOLF releases are any indication, this one is more than worth its weight in black gold.