Mark your calendars- this Hamilton electronic artist is releasing his debut album on July 20th.
Hamilton raised DJ and electronic artist Stephan Codenys is releasing his first electronic album this summer, titled Outside The Box.
Set to release on July 20th 2020, the debut album reflects on a variety of feelings and subjects from the artist's life; fast, bass-heavy tracks are followed by calm, easy-listening electronic beats that describe times in Grind Abrasion's life. Like DJ-ing in a techno-heavy venue, to gun control debates in the United States, to pet hamsters named Potato.
Grind Abrasion says he's been working on the album since March of 2018.
"I've always liked electronic music albums that have a variety of tracks that don't all sound the same, and take the listener on a journey from start to finish," said Grind Abrasion. "It's been really important to make an album that accomplishes that and stands on it's own. The album explores a lot of different subjects, but mostly it's about questioning things, using your imagination, and not conforming to what people expect of you."
The artist starts off Outside The Box with a fast-paced, heart-thumping track called "Hypervelocity". You don't have to worry about your favourite rave being postponed- just close your eyes and turn up "Hypervelocity" to full volume.
"I wanted to start the album with a burst of energy that brings you on an audio adventure of different sounds at a fast pace," said Grind Abrasion.
Next up, you're soothed with a more relaxed beat on "Cloudsurf".
"This track is definitely a more light kind of feel," said Grind Abrasion. "It's a more chill vibe with some good heavy bass over it, and it takes the listener in a different direction."
Here's where the techno comes in. "Breaking Through" is a full-on party. You won't want to miss the night that Grind debuts this track.
"About a year ago I started going to Studio L14 and DJ-ing there on the Open Deck nights, and I've met a lot of great people there from a more techno kind of background," said Grind Abrasion. "So it was really important for me to have a Techno track on the album and provide that flavour."
"Soliciting a Coincidence" starts off with a sweet and slow psychedelic sound- but the track mixes and bends, warping into a bad trip by the end.
"It's basically supposed to provide a mind-bending experience," said Grind Abrasion. "The track has a bit of a pop feel in the melodies, but also has some harsher sounds that evolve throughout the song."
Intermission time. "Outermission" is short, but unsettling. The track fills your head with screeching buzzes and electronic whirrs, sending goosebumps up your back. There's something very OK Computer about "Outermission".
"It's basically a brief intermission halfway throughout the album that provides a demonstration of different sounds," said Grind Abrasion.
"Intensity Not Extremism" is more beat-heavy than the previous tracks, and is the first song that addresses a message.
""Intensity Not Extremism" deals with having that energy or passion within you that you need to express through actions, and how to deal with that in a healthy way," said Grind Abrasion. "It's okay to be an intense, high-energy person or to have strong views, but it's also important to consider others and not be an extremist."
Ever wanted to hear what a hamster sounds like in music form? "Tatus" explores the life and death of Grind's girlfriend's hamster, Potato.
"My girlfriend rescued a hamster called Potato that was always really high energy and wanted to explore everything," said Grind Abrasion. "We called her Tatus for short, and when the hamster died suddenly it became an inspiration for the track. This is why it's a high energy song, but
also has a bit of a sad feel."
The eighth track is one of the most unique listens on the album. The sound of what seems like clattering bones, and a percussion track made with an old skateboard deck, gives the song a creepy but engaging style.
""Ritualistic"- this track first came about by experimenting with distorted bass sounds," said Grind Abrasion. "I got my buddy to jam over it by drumming on an old skateboard deck I had lying around. The result is a 'ritualistic' track with a tribal feel that hopefully makes you feel like you're in some sort of trance."
"No Restriction Allowed" is the most political song on Outside The Box. The song begins with a sampled clip from a newscaster explaining the lift of certain gun restrictions in the United States. The song is low and bass-heavy, setting an eerie tone from the start.
""No Restriction Allowed" stands for "N.R.A"," said Grind Abrasion. "There's been a lot of discussion lately about gun control in the United States. I wanted to show how extreme things can get, and with more shootings going on in Hamilton I think it's important to
explore this subject."
The final track on the album is "Spilt Milk". Grind decided to end his debut project by exploring another politically charged topic- war. Through the use of distorted shouts, machine-gun fire, and explosions, "Spilt Milk" is more message than song.
"I wanted to end with a bang and so the last song on the album continues where the last one left off by immersing the listener into a war zone. This track basically simulates the confusion and chaos that occurs on the battlefield. The terror, the loss and the madness of it. We all live on the same planet that is connected through the internet but somehow we're divided and spend all of these resources killing each other over money or greed."
The artist mixed and produced the album himself, as well as designing the cover art.
"The process has taken a while because I wanted it to be something really special," said Grind Abrasion. "I also took a bit of a break from the studio to focus on DJ-ing, live shows, and promotion within the local scene. It's definitely been a journey from being a bedroom producer on Soundcloud to having experience with organizing shows, meeting people, putting up posters, and really becoming Grind Abrasion and turning it into something artistic. Something that has a physical presence."
Grind Abrasion hopes his listeners find something profound in Outside The Box.
"I want to almost overwhelm the listener with a wide variety of different sounds, and make them challenge what music can be," said Grind Abrasion. "I want people to break through their shell and question things like existence, morals, violence, society, freedom, extremism, politics, perception. But at the end of the day, I just hope people enjoy the cool sounds."
Outside The Box will be released on July 20th 2020. It'll be available on all streaming services, and 12-inch vinyl.
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)