Stream 'Epigram'—the brand new album from the Slovenia-via-New York mastermind.
Gramatik is undoubtably a man of the people. The Slovenian-born, New York City-based artist, real name Denis Jašarević, can wax poetic on Tesla (his last album Age of Reason was even devoted to the philanthropic electricity-genius), just as he can on government corruption, and has long been loved by fans for releasing all of his music for free. At festivals and venues around the world, he turns bass music into a supremely musical affair; electric guitars strummed by guest artists like guitarist Andrew Block, often collide with jazzy trumpet croons from Russ Liquid, who resides on the artist's Lowtemp label. Now, on March 25, Jašarević is continuing his journey with a new album Epigram, a title he tells THUMP cheekily eludes to the fact that "making a funny, bold, and lucid point in just a sentence or two is an art form." "It's often a key inspiration when thinking about a new song," he says.
Packed heavy with collaborations, the album leans on a variety of different sounds while consistently centering around on his penchant for instrumental glitch-bass. This time around though, Jašarević has a hefty focus specifically on grittier hip-hop sounds (instead of the more stripped-down vibe of his early work)—one track features Wu-Tang legend Raekwon, another with up-and-coming MC ProbCause—turning this latest LP into his most diverse project yet.
Along with with a full stream of the album ahead of tomorrow's release, we caught up with Gramatik to hear about the last year in his life, his upcoming European tour, and even a little gossip about that iconic flat-brim he loves so much.
THUMP: What have been some of the greatest things you've accomplished as a human since your last album?
Gramatik: Since my last album I got a girlfriend, I bought a 75" 4K TV, I've sat on my couch with my girlfriend watching that TV a lot more than ever before in my life, I got a NY state ID, which is my first US identification document besides my artist visa, I went to see Louis CK at Madison Square Garden, I took a bus to Montreal, I bought a killer professional espresso machine, I got addicted to Netflix, I played a show in Alaska, I've tweeted a lot, I've watched a lot of HD porn, and I made some more music
There's a lot of collaboration on the new LP, as well as what seems like more of a focus on hip-hop. What was the intention there?
I just went with the flow. I don't really plan on making albums this way or that way, I just make a bunch of music and then decide which tracks feel work the best. I try to keep the workflow as natural as possible with every track and just go with the genre I feel like making at that very moment.
What can we look forward to with your festival sets this summer, and what are some places you're most amped to play?
I'm amped to play all of them. Everywhere. Europe will be fun this summer—I love playing back home—especially because I get to have proper espressos everywhere. The thing you can potentially look most forward to about my festival sets this summer is that I'm thinking about playing them without my hat and glasses. I can't make any promises yet though, I gotta first figure out how to take them off because they are kinda fused with my skin and bones by now. I also might start standing on the table, which I've never done before, and if I can properly figure out the logistics of it, it will become a huge upgrade to my live shows. Wish me luck!
It's been a big year for space-study, travel, and technology. What are you especially excited about?
I'm generally really excited about all scientific and technological advancements that make our lives easier and better. I'm looking forward to and rooting for the success of the Hyperloop and the new supersonic commercial aircraft NASA is developing right now; those two projects might finally revolutionize the way we travel the world which is desperately needed. I'm also really impressed by the latest space exploration breakthroughs, Astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko just came back from their historic "1 year in space" mission, where they laid down ground work for the mission to Mars that's planned for the 2030s which is really exciting. This also gives me a great opportunity to finish this answer with a perfect example of an epigram by the great Isaac Asimov: "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."