Vic Grimes takes no hostages: the cinematic grimey sound in hip hop.
Crate Divizion is the name of the independent label that is the “home” of the English-speaking beatmakers Vic Grimes and Giallo Point, and emcees Phyba and Daniel Son.
The label harks back to the sick sound of hardcore New York City and has a no-nonsense horror-library aftertaste that often works very well. A few days after the release of Themes for Crimes, an instrumental album by Vic himself, released exclusively on vinyl, we heard the Italian-born beatmaker (the grandparents are from Naples) to tell us something about his latest effort and his production style.
For those unfamiliar with Vic, let it be known that he’s the same producer who has recently made a name for himself with productions and collaborations with artists such as The UN, Spit Gemz, Starvin B, Goretex, Dro Pesci, Vado, Phyba, Rock (of Heltah Skeltah) and Nems, among many many others.
Standard-bearer of an appropriately “Grimey” style and a great lover of horror memorabilia (in particular masks), Grimes, together with his companion Giallo Point, is the mastermind behind releases and compilations of instrumentals in both digital and physical formats, such as the recent Themes for Crime .
Ladies and gents, mister Vic Grimes.
I’d like to thank you for being with us, and I’d like to give a bit of a background about your work. What was the first commercial beat that you’ve sold or placed?
That would have to be a track called Live or Die by Rock of Heltah Skeltah, featuring Top Dogg of Originoo Gunn Clappaz and True Sun Ali. It was back in 2011.
How long did it take you to produce something that you were proud of, at the beginning?
I’d say the first years were all learning. Digging. Researching. Forming the technique. Learning tricks. Put together gems here and there definitely, but I’ll chalk it up to 4/5 years.
What was the inspiration for Crime Themes?
I wanted to put a record out that really had a library feel. Something crate diggers and beat heads everywhere could appreciate. Something that looked like and sounded like a library joint…but is hop hop enough to write and spit rhymes to.
In my eyes, the tracks on there aren’t just my everyday style of beats I make. I tried to really hone in on a particular vibe. To me, the tracks work as both hip hop beats and production music. I could hear these tracks in the background of a 70’s cops’ story/crime flick.
Crime Themes is pressed in only 200 copies and the first 100 vinyls are translucent blue colour. What was the reason for this choice? Are you going for a second printing, if things go well?
I wanted to do a really small, limited run. Thought it would be cool to have the first 100 colored…something extra for the people paying close attention to my stuff. If all goes well with the release I don’t think I would press more. Just move on to the next idea. So grab it when it drops!!!
You opted for no digital, no CD version. There seems to be a general trend towards this kind of choice, bringing back vinyl, in the last years. What are your thoughts in this respect? What do you like about vinyl?
I’m all for it. I copped Hus Kingpin’s Cognac Tape months back…it was a cognac-colored vinyl, I thought that was cool. I grab all these crazy color vinyl horror soundtracks from Waxworks and Death Waltz Recording Co. Grabbed both of Ka’s albums when he dropped them on vinyl.
I’m not sure exactly what the obsession with it is if you want to call it that. CDs are small and get lost and sat on and crushed and what not. You let your friends borrow a CD then you never see it again. I haven’t bought a CD in years. I’m a sucker for dope artwork. So having an LP with larger artwork is better than a little CD. With digital, you get no artwork.
I like to look at the covers and read all the notes on the back and the instruments played and all that while I listen. I don’t know, not a whole lot of thought has gone into why I like vinyl more really, maybe it’s ‘cause the music I’m after is mostly only available on vinyl. My dad had a big record collection and constantly played music in the house growing up. Who knows.
At Crate Divizion you guys seem to have a particular fondness for library music. Can you advise our readers on a label or a series that is essential listening?
We do. After years of digging for samples in library stuff, we’ve kind of grown an appreciation for the music and the composers. It’s the sort of music I find myself listening to these days, without any intention of sampling. Movie soundtracks and library records. The darker ones and funkier ones of course. I would say De Wolfe would be my personal favorite. Infinite gems on that label.
What’s your favourite production set-up to this day?
Records, turntable, Reason, Korg Microkontrol controller.
Best digging advice from someone ever? Do you have something to share?
I don’t think anyone has ever given me digging advice. I guess mine would be “prepare to put a lot of time into it.” There’s lots of ground to cover.
Producer, in the last 3 months, that made you say: “Oh, shit, I have to go back to the lab!”:
Last 3 months? Probably The Alchemist. Giallo Point too.
Your worst production mistake ever made, if any?
Letting bozos mix your beats all wrong. It’s a shame sending a beat out, then hearing the final product and the beat doesn’t sound right.
One essential mixing tip:
If the beat isn’t sounding right, it’s probably cause it needs more cowbell.