When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., Denver, 303-837-0360.
More info: fillmoreauditorium.org
G ramatik is adamant about a lot of things (including weed and watching TV), but his biggest cause is free music.
The Slovenian producer and DJ is on the Pretty Lights label, which releases music in the form of free downloads with the option to make a donation. In case his agreement with that system wasn't totally clear, Gramatik titled his April 2012 EP #digitalfreedom.
"This whole war against free file sharing is almost as absurd as the church's age-old war against masturbation," he said. "It's a war you just can't win."
His philosophy is a combination of internet-age savvy and faith in the fans. Giving his music away isn't an act of resignation or cynicism. He does it as both a matter of pragmatism and an act of sharing.
"Once I became -- how should I put this? -- an advanced internet user, I realized that the best way for 21st century distribution of music is to have it free online. No matter what you do or say as a musician, people are gonna pirate your shit. Just accept the fact that putting music up for free, you're basically freeing it. Your fan will appreciate you for it and donate money when he has it. All these kids that usually buy our music -- if they wanted to buy all their favorite artists' albums that come out that year -- they can't afford that. That's privileged. That's a lot of money if you think about it...they'd go fucking broke."
#digitalfreedom, as a title, works nicely for Gramatik's music, too, in the sense that an EDM producer has the freedom to mix tons of styles (and samples, of course). Gramatik's No Shortcuts landed well for that reason, so he stuck with that formula and worked to refine it on #digitalfreedom.
"It's one of my most proudest works, I guess. It's an accumulation of a really intricate accumulation of all the styles I really like and produce," he said. "It's just one huge cocktail -- downtempo, EDM, blues. I was working a lot on those six tracks, trying to make the next level of what No Shortcuts was in 2010, which was my first attempt at combining those genres."
At his show at Fillmore Auditorium with Talib Kweli and Mux Mool this Saturday, Gramatik will unveil a new stage and lighting design called "The Coil," inspired by Nikola Tesla. He wants it to be a surprise, but he would say this:
"It's a very, very cool abstract interpretation of the Tesla Coil empowering the booth table, where the music comes from."
He'll set out on tour with "The Coil" just as he's wrapping up a run with Bassnectar, but Gramatik has a ton of other projects in the works. He's working on an EP with GRiZ, under the name Grizmatik, and he just finished producing a record with his buddies Eric Mendelson and Tyler Dondero on the instrumentals.
"The entire album is going to be our homage to Lettuce, Soulive and D'Angelo," he said. "Neo soul, new jazz, new funk stuff -- very organic, no samples. It's all original stuff."
He's also planning for his next album to be released on his own label, both projects still under construction.
For now, use that internet connection to check out Gramatik's music, because as he said, "Music should be wherever you have a laptop and a hotspot."