It’s just past 1 AM on a February night in London’s Corsica Studios, and Gramrcy has lit a fuse. DJing in a cowboy hat, he’s been running through a set of tough, wobbly techno, house and electro when the unmistakable chant of Gwen Stefani’s ‘Hollaback Girl’ sneaks into the mix, echoing over thunderous syncopated drums. The edit is Henzo’s ‘On Some Other Shit (Velodrome Mix)’ and, like a glitter bomb, it goes off.
It’s a moment that perfectly embodies the vibe of Peach Party, the event side of the Peach Discs label he co-runs with Shanti Celeste, where heft and bass weight are always served with a colourful twist and a smile on the face. Gwen Stefani appears again in Gramrcy’s Fresh Kicks mix, this time courtesy of Miami’s Nick León, whose percussive club take on ‘Yummy’ beams between the luminous UK funky glow of Actraiser’s ‘Lakitu’ and Pearson Sound’s sunrise slammer ‘Starburst’. The mix is based on a “very sweaty” set he played at a recent Refuge Worldwide party in Berlin and, as he puts it now, “it's what I hope to get away with in the club at the moment.”
The Berlin-based, UK-born DJ and producer’s own music strikes a similar balance between the jagged and joyful, with tracks and EPs on labels like FTD, Ancient Monarchy, Glass Talk Records and Peach Discs bouncing from bubbly deep house (‘Going On Eleven’) into rowdy breakbeat hardcore (‘Ruffian’) and beyond. His recent collaboration with John Loveless, ‘Highdive’, released via Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound, has been played out by everyone from Gerd Janson, HAAi and Peggy Gou to Justice and former Spice Girl Mel C, everywhere from Berghain’s Panorama Bar and Ibiza’s Pacha to the Palace of Versailles. It even helped soundtrack the Moschino Menswear Spring / Summer 2023 show earlier this summer. The track’s success is no surprise, it stomps with an audacious electro flair that’ll chime with fans of the label’s back catalogue, erupting like a spiritual successor to Alkan and Boys Noize’s 2010 behemoth, ‘Lemonade’.
“I just want to make tracks that are fun to hear loud and maybe make you feel a bit wild,” Gramrcy tells DJ Mag. “It’s the music I want to DJ and it’s the music I want to hear when I’m on the dancefloor.”
It’s a simple but effective ethos that’s mirrored in his 2022 EP for Loveless’ Hot Concept label, ‘Gliding Again’. Summed up as "a pair of club tracks to go clubbing to", the release has been a regular feature in sets by the likes of Ben UFO. Its dazzling title track features additional production from Minor Science, and radiates a ‘90s prog trance glow that feels fine tuned for rave euphoria. Set alongside the heads-down dose of gnarly, snarly techno on the B-Side, the EP encapsulates all the club-tuned NRG that makes Gramrcy’s music so magnetic.
His love for unbridled bangers goes back to his childhood, when the first song he remembers becoming obsessed with was 2 Unlimited’s ‘No Limit’. “I finally got around to playing it out last week,” he says. “My mum’s love of rinsing ‘90s house belters in the car when I was a kid must’ve had a big effect on me, though I only made that link pretty recently.”
From there, Gramrcy became absorbed in electronic music through the blog house era and the early 2010’s post-dubstep sound, picking up subtle influences that would eventually be woven into his own music as he went. “Spending uni watching Fake Blood DJ in Bristol and watching Ben UFO DJ on Boiler Room was the real education,” he says.
As a producer, Gramrcy works “without structure and mainly in-the-box”, with an approach that feels intuitive. “I’ll almost always start with a sample I’ve found somewhere and muck around with it until it resembles something I’m interested by. Then I’ll throw some drums in and try to give it a shape as quickly as possible,” he says. “I’ll sometimes produce with an idea or deeper process in mind, but that’s more to keep me entertained while I’m putting the thing together.”
Since 2018, he’s co-run Peach Discs with his friend Shanti Celeste, who founded the imprint the year before. The pair previously lived together and shared a studio space in Bristol, and continue to run the regular Housework party series together alongside DJs Daisy Moon and Golesworthy. With an emphasis on spotlighting artists whose takes on house and techno burst with vibrancy and light, Peach Discs has released EPs from the likes of Ciel, Call Super, Parris and Chekov, as well as Shanti’s debut album, ‘Tangerine’ and ‘Peach Pals’ compilations featuring Knopha, buen clima, Happa, ISAbella and more, including Gramrcy himself. “I feel like the label has broadened its musical remit a decent amount over time,” he says. “Things are still rooted in house music with a particular lightness of touch, but within that there’s a lot of scope and I like to think we’ve explored a solid chunk of it.”
The label has a few releases lined up, so now it's just a matter of “waiting on the pressing-plant gods to shine upon us,” he says. “I won’t give away who they’re by right now in case I jinx something, but it’s a mix of big-deal good pals and exciting newer talent that I hope we’re known for by now.”
He’s also working on his own solo EP debut for the label, in the midst of a busy summer of DJing across the UK and Berlin and holding down his Refuge Worldwide residencies (“plural - one is kind of a secret”). With more Peach Parties and Housework events in the calendar for the coming months, his Fresh Kicks mix is an electrifying hour from a DJ who, above all, just wants you to have a really good time. “The highest praise for any mix I do is when someone puts it on before going out, so if you do that I’ll be very happy indeed.”
Listen to Gramrcy’s Fresh Kicks mix, and check the tracklist, below.
Nation of Noise ‘Xes Noiz - A1’ [Seven Hills Records]
Tammo Hesselink ‘Water Plus’ [Lurch]
Jackson Ryland ‘Hyprogruuv’ [unreleased]
Todd Terry ‘Freakin’ [CLS Records]
NA DJ ‘coming in strong’ [self-released]
DJ Gregory & Sidney Samson feat. Damas ‘Dama’S Salon (Dub)’ [Defected]
Lighter - ‘Skanker (James Fox Work Vocal Edit)’ [unreleased]
Laidback Luke, Diplo ‘Hey! (Dre Skull Remix)’ [Southern Fried Records]
Oklou ‘God’s Chariot (SH Remix)’ [Welt Discos]
Ice Wing ‘HyperCubed’ [CloudCore]
Jeigo ‘18 03 95 Brock & Groove’ [Air Miles]
Actraiser ‘Lakitu’ [Fresh Minute Music]
Gwen Stefani ‘Yummy (Nick León Club Edit)’ [self-released]
Pearson Sound ‘Starburst’ [Hessle Audio]
DJ Urban, DJ Deeon ‘Work This MF’ [Ghetto Rhythm Composers]
Oceanic ‘Yellow Cone (Unison)’ [Nous’klaer]
INVT ‘EL PREMIO’ [INVT]
Gramrcy ‘Gliding Again’ [Hot Concept]