On Friday the 4th, Anjunabeats heavyweights Grum, Andrew Bayer, Ilan Bluestone and Jason Ross respectively blew the roof off of Exchange, LA with tracks both (g)old and new. It’s the tail-end of the Anjunabeats North America Tour, which features supporting acts from big names like Audien, Myon & Shane 54, and Seven Lions to legendary acts from Kyau & Albert, 16 Bit Lolitas, and Jerome Isma-ae. During the night, we got the opportunity to have a one-on-one with Scottish producer Graeme Shepherd, known behind the decks as Grum. Here’s what he had to say, as well as what we thought of the show:
The first act of the night was an entrancing and electrifying set by Grum, filled with an overall sound that he describes as “euphoric, deep and progressive.” The set was primarily instrumental, driven by wavy, hard-hitting basslines from tracks like “U” while riling up the crowd with the emotional vocals of “Something About You” and “Under Your Skin.” First featured during his energetic set at ABGT 150 in Sydney, Australia, “Under Your Skin” features the vocals of artist Rothchild, known as Rob Harvey, as well as Shepherd’s progressive platinum touch. In his earlier years, the young Shepherd was a big fan of a band that Harvey was in. The opportunity to collaborate with Harvey on a track was a dream fulfilled: Shepherd sent Harvey a demo song that Harvey wrote a vocal over, then Shepherd remixed Harvey’s vocal into the song and changed it completely, producing the brilliant “Under Your Skin.” The track is a personal favorite, and I was delighted to finally experience it live on the dancefloor.
When producing his tracks, Shepherd always tries to arouse an emotion, treading on what he calls “the fine line between melancholy and uplifting” — the contrast in the breakdown where the underlying bass meets the overarching trance riff. His inspiration comes from new wave, old trance, and techno, specifically a classic trance track from 1988 by Lucid titled “I Can’t Help Myself.” What’s next for this rising artist? As of now, Shepherd’s adding the finishing touches to “a bit deeper” caliber of tunes that he conveys will allow his set to flow more nicely, as well as big trance anthems. At the top of his list of artists he would like to collaborate with is mau5trap and Anjunabeats artist Fehrplay, so be on the lookout for this. Also, if there is anything that Shepherd would change with a snap of a finger, it would be for people to dance more at shows. So, get out there, shake what your daddy gave ya, and show us your fancy footwork!
Following Shepherd’s act was a heavier set by our lord and savior Andrew Bayer, who merged the mechanical earth with the celestial sky: the yin and the yang. Opening his set with the all-killer no-filler throwback “England,” Bayer subsequently followed with bass-heavy gems like “Nobody Told Me” and “Memories” from his recently released “Anamnesis EP,” as well as Above & Beyond’s latest big-room track titled “A.I.” The greatest thing about Bayer’s sets is that he keeps you on his toes — he artfully weaves his personal tracks in and out of phase with others from the likes of Above & Beyond’s classic shout-a-longs “Sticky Fingers” and “Sun & Moon,” as well as his very own death-defying “Bullet Catch.” Needless to say, Bayer’s set was my favorite of the night. Don’t act surprised, either. After all, he is Bayer the Slayer.
Following Andrew Bayer was the shining star of Anjunabeats — Ilan Bluestone — with the most lively set of the night. Bluestone opened with a new “Cloudchaser”-esque track and followed with his very own hard-hitters like “Tesseract,” “Thing Called Tension” and the thundering “Under My Skin,” as well as the epic “Spheres” that somehow has you singing the melody every time. He transformed the crowd into a harmonious choir with classic anthems like the Above & Beyond mash-up of the vibrant instrumental from Bluestone’s “43” with the luminous vocals of Oceanlab’s “Sky Falls Down,” as well as his perfect remix of Oceanlab’s “Satellite.” But let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room — the track that everyone on the dance floow was dying to hear: the ebullient “Bigger Than Love.” Debuted in his ABGT 150 set, this track features the gripping, reverberating vocals of Giuseppe De Luca. This track is also a personal favorite. Click play on the YouTube link below to experience all its joy and happiness:
After Bluestone wrecked the halls, Jason Ross went in for the kill with his thundering collaborations with Wrechinski, like “Atlas” and “Frontier,” as well as his fantastic remix of Above & Beyond’s classic “Alone Tonight” and the Above & Beyond mash-up of Luminary’s captivating vocals from “Amsterdam” with Ross’s instrumentals from “Cairo.” There are only six more opportunities for you to catch the Anjunabeats North America Tour this time around, with notable mentions to The Raleigh in Miami, FL with a jaw-dropping lineup: Andrew Bayer, Audien, Genix, Grum, Ilan Bluestone, Jason Ross, Jerome Isma-ae, Kyau & Albert, Maor Levi and Nick Sember. Don’t worry, I’ve got to change my pants, too. Hop on those tickets, y’all!