Today marks the release of progressive superstar Grum's much anticipated Deep State album. After a year's delay, his latest work masterfully blends trance, techno, hints of new wave, and of course, progressive house, in a way that only he can do it. We caught up with Grum for a quick chat about the album, to which he provided a bit of insight as to why the album was delayed, as well as remixing some of the classics he's done recently.
Hey Grum, cheers for sitting with us today. Life seems to be rather exciting for you at the moment. Before we get too into things, tell us what the last 6 months have looked like for you both as a person and as an artist.
Yes, it’s very nice to be back again after a rather difficult period. After working through some "music industry" issues, everything is now back on track. The past 6 months have been very busy for me, with some work updating the Deep State album, a load of remixes, plenty touring and also moving house. I’m really happy to be settled again and back in a good routine.
So nearly a year later, the album has finally been released. The postponement raised some questions and left quite a few fans confused. Mind giving us a bit of insight into what happened?
Its a long and quite complicated story, but without going into too much detail there was an issue which I became embroiled in through no fault of my own. It’s all sorted now and we have a new album release date of November 8th (today), plus a full “rewired” album tour, so I’m extremely happy about all that, and although it was a testing time some good has definitely come of it.
I'm sure that in that period, a benefit was that it allowed you to perhaps make a few changes and really tighten things up, should you have felt it needed it. Did you end up changing anything since the first announcement last year?
Yes exactly. A couple of tracks have been swapped around and I feel that overall its much more representative of me now, as some of the previous tracks were already 2 years old. It also gave us a bit more time to get the artwork and CD/vinyl sleeve designs just right, I really love how these have turned out.
The title Deep State seems a bit mysterious, if not ominous. Did you find it hard to convey this through the music? Did the theme come before the writing or did it develop in the creation process?
I came up with the name quite early on in the creation process, and it all came together quite organically. I suppose I’m on the darker or certainly less commercial side of trance and progressive, and Deep State seemed to encapsulate the music perfectly, whilst also being a play on words in several ways, which is the sort of thing I like!
What were some of your influences for writing the album? Any that might surprise fans?
I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now so I guess people mostly know what to expect. I suppose its a mix of a bit of everything I love - 80’s new wave, pop and rock-like Human League and Depeche Mode, combined with classic trance influences like Sasha, Oakenfold, Rank 1, etc - always brought together through strong melody.
On the remix side of things, you seem to have been quite busy, with your remix for Cosmic Gate and also Luminary's classic "Amsterdam." How did the latter come about?
Labels seem to love asking me to remix classics at the moment! I also have a remix of Mark Knight & D Ramirez "Colombian Soul" out now on Zero3/Toolroom. The Luminary remix actually came about around the time of ABGT 200 a few years ago. Anjuna wanted some interesting remixes for the show, and it was suggested I do that one. I finished a demo for ABGT but never quite got round to finishing it, and given my quiet spell we thought it would be fitting to finally get it out this year before the album drops.
You take is rather dark compared to the original. Was this intentional or did it just naturally happen? Was there anything from the original you tried to keep intact?
I wanted to keep the feel of the original really but just update it to work in my set now. It’s a really brilliant vocal and the whole track is really just based around giving it room to shine.
As for "Exploration Of Space," it's such a classic. How did you go about remixing that?
Well, it's not really a track I would play in my sets, so it was actually really challenging to make it into something I would play, but it ended up sounding much tougher than other stuff I usually make. I went for that old Mauro Picatto/BXR sound just for something a bit different really. I don't know...it's really fun.
Now, you've remixed quite a few classics other than the two just mentioned. How do you walk that line between putting your own touch on the remix, and staying true to the original?
I think you just have to find what you like about it. Like, I did Chicane "Offshore," and I always loved that track, so I really just updated it. Made the drums sound more modern; made everything a bit more modern. I'd say I was pretty respectful to the original.
Deep State is out now via Anjunabeats, available on all major platforms. Grab it here.