Gritsy will turn seven this Saturday, July 20th.
The party has been going strong since 2006, booking international names in dubstep (and drum & bass) over a variety of venues in Houston. DJs like Distance, Rusko and V.I.V.E.K. are among some of the highlights, sticking to a relatively rootsy dubstep sound but also occasionally branching out with artists like Girl Unit and Kingdom.
Taking place at Warehouse Live, their birthday celebration represents showcases this ethos—the dungeon sound of dubstep OG and Rinse FM staple Youngsta takes top billing, backed up by Japanese dubstep ambassador and Deep Medi signee Goth-Trad, who will perform live. Santa Cruz's Matty G and a host of locals, including Sines and Gritsy founder Suraj K, will provide support. Sound on the night will be provided by Aura Systems' Super Wall Of Bass, with free earplugs handed out throughout the night. We spoke to promoter Suraj Kurian via email about the party's history in the Houston scene.
How has Gritsy changed and grown over the years?
The first Gritsy was in July 2006. The venue was a 150-capacity dive bar in downtown Houston, near the central Greyhound station (translation—not the best area, nor a traditional venue for this type of event). The lineup consisted of only three DJs on the bill, one of them being Joe Nice. Since then, it's been progression as well a learning experience. It has grown and changed in the sense that more people know about it, and what it's about. Regardless, Gritsy has always been about showing appreciation to the culture, the sound, the music and the artists, consistently working to maintain a certain level of quality with everything, and doing it in/for Houston, Texas.
It seems like there's a significant dubstep scene in Houston and Texas in general.
As electronic music's profile grows, we do get our fair share of corporate/stadium/festival circuit performer types, but Houston has had a strong foundation in forward-leaning bass music for a long time. We've been privy to a lot of cutting-edge local, national and international talent spanning the entire spectrum of bass music, not limited to BPM, that a lot of cities in the states might not have access to outside a festival setting.
Honestly, I never thought it would have lasted this long, host all the amazing talent that has come to Houston, and be where it's at today. I started this as a way to deal with death and heartbreak, and to let some creativity flow. Each event is a landmark because that's one more past the first one in 2006. It's an honour to be able to continue this type of event, dedicated to non-mainstream electronic music, deep in the heart of Texas.
Why choose these particular headliners for the birthday?
Youngsta has been an inspiration since day one! He's clearly a figurehead who has access to some of the most upfront prolific producers/music and someone who knows how to skillfully translate this knowledge into very distinct live performances. I was finally able to get him to Houston for the first time in February this year. It also happened to be the same weekend as the NBA All-Star game, which meant a Herculean effort to make it happen and to stay one step ahead of all the superstar money being thrown around. While the event went off, it just wasn't the venue I wanted to host him at, nor the sound system I wanted Houston to hear him on. I felt he deserved the best we could offer and the stars aligned to have him headline the anniversary event at one of our best venues, and on our best sound system.
As for Goth-Trad, I've also followed his music for quite some time. His first Deep Medi release is always within arms' reach in my record box. He has also been to Gritsy before for a DJ set in 2012 which blew people's minds. He's an amazingly talented producer that has made waves all across the world, and this time we get to have him do his thing via a live hardware set. Besides Joe Nice, Matty G was one of the first guest headliners to play Gritsy during our first year. Since then he's played several Gritsy events and has basically become an unofficial resident DJ. He's always been consistent with his production, and Houston, being steeped with slower beats à la DJ Screw, has always had love for him whenever he's come down.