Originally from Chicago, but bred by Seattle’s hip-hop, Grieves, AKA Ben Laub, put it down this past Saturday at Webster Hall NY and we got a chance to get to know him. As part of Rhymesayers Entertainment, he is surrounded by some of the most talented hip-hop artists and producers including, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Aesop Rock. Influenced by Jazz, Blues, Punk Rock, and Hip-Hop, Grieves brings his unique musical style to the label, and this past Saturday he brought it to Webster Hall. "Bloody Poetry," "Boogie man," "Sunny Side of Hell" were just a few of the tracks off of his new album "Together/apart" performed that night. Those who didn't know him before have definitely hit the "like" button now.
DB: How long have you been producing?
Grieves: For a while, I think I moved and I’d say I really started around 2002/2003. It’s when I figured out that the best way for me to accomplish what I wanted to do, is if I did it myself, so I started teaching myself how to do it. I’d say that I didn’t make good stuff until 2004/2005.
DB: How has Seattle influenced your music?
Grieves: Seattle has been and important thing for me because when I moved there I moved from Colorado and I kind of grew up there, I was my home. My friends and family were there. There was no hip-hop, there was no hip-hop community, there were no producers, and there was no outlet for that to happen. I mean, there kind of was but it was pretty rinky-dink. It hadn’t hit there like I wanted it to. Then in the city, there was a massive outlet for me to take part in and I started to meet other rappers, promoters and graphic designers and all this stuff that I had never really had a chance to be apart of. So that’s when I really started finding out more about the music, the whole production process, I started learning different tricks, learning about the equipment, how to access studios that were fully based on hip hop and production. It allowed me to flourish. Then the weather keeps you creative instead of ‘Oh it’s sunny. Let’s run around and fuck off today.’ There’s not a lot of that in Seattle, and I think that’s good for me.
DB: What happened to Budo? Are you guys still working together?
Grieves: We are not. He took off to do his own thing. He’s working with Macklemore now.
DB: I wanted to ask you about that also, because in your song “Lazt Kall” Ryan Lewis’ name is mentioned. Do you have any connection to him and Macklemore besides all of you being from Seattle?
Grieves: Yeah, “Shoot every rapper in Seattle call me Ryan Lewis.’ There’s this big photographer and she would take pictures of all the rapper guys and that’s how we met him. He used to pay us his beats and they were really weird and didn’t make any sense. Structurally, it was the craziest shit I’ve ever seen in my life. Ben (Macklemore) was one of the first people I met when I moved to Washington. I’ve known him for a long time. So, yeah definitely have connection with those guys
DB: Any collabs with fellow Rhymesayers coming up?
Grieves: Slug and I have a song on the new record.
DB: Are you still into writing aggressive tracks like “He wont Answer”?
Grieves: You think that songs aggressive? I think it’s a story song, slightly morbid. Yeah, this is actually a much more aggressive record. Production style, not like I want to tear your fucking face off, but the production is much harder than what I’ve done before.
DB: So, what’s next for you?
Grieves: The new record is done so my focus would be to get it out and tour. I’m on tour with Pepper now. I met those guys at Warped Tour. They were gearing up to do this tour and they needed an opener so they ended up reaching out to us. The drummer text me and asked if I’d be down to do it and I said ‘Hell ya!’ And here we are!
Sorry Daily Beat readers, no pie.