Exclusive | King Graint Talks Working With Butch Cassidy, Career & More
First things first, give us a brief introduction and tell us a little about King Graint?
First and foremost, I’m a producer. I just absolutely fucking love music. But a little bit of background, I was born and raised part of my life in Chicago, then my family ended up moving to Indianapolis. I’ve been here in LA for over 6 years.
Tell me about your most recent production for Butch Cassidy, “Get On Up”, and how you guys ended up doing the collaboration.
I met Butch Cassidy through a mutual friend, before I even knew I wanted to make music. Then, when I started making music, we did a couple songs. Nothing really came of those songs. I hit him up another time and he said, “I’m down to do it, but I only want to do it if we’re going to make something come of it this time.” And I told him that I was more ready than ever, and we’d make something happen with it this time.
So I brought 15 beats to the studio, and the beat for “Get On Up” was the second to last one I played. Every beat before that, he said “no” right away. Then he heard the guitar intro and the beat drop on “Get On Up”, and he said it was the one. He asked me to play it on repeat, and he wrote the lyrics right then and there.
Do the two of you have any other collaborations in the works or coming out?
Butch and I will always make music together, but at the moment, he’s working on putting out his album of unreleased music. I’m sure you’ll hear something new from us sometime this year.
Who else have you been working with?
The past eight months, I’ve been working heavy with an upcoming rapper from Philadelphia named Gunny H. We’ve already cut eight songs, and we just released the music video for “Lit” which is already climbing up to 300,000 views. Trapbo’ Chad and I are also releasing a song soon. I’m also working with Dephree, who’s a good friend of mine. I look for rappers who have a classic, timeless sound, but are also really relevant at the same time. That’s exactly how I’d describe Gunny, Trapbo’ and Dephree.
Who has been your greatest inspiration musically?
Throughout my whole life, I’ve been very musically diverse. My dad listened to bands like Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire and The Doobie Brothers, and my mom introduced me to The Jackson 5 and soul music. Right before I started making beats, I was actually really into Phish and The Grateful Dead.
That might sound weird to a lot of people – that I make hip-hop beats and I’m a huge fan of jam bands. But really, what listening to Phish and The Dead helped me with was knowing how to improvise. I just jam away until I hear something cool, then I build off that.
At what moment did you realize that this is what you wanted do?
I didn’t always know I wanted to make music. I moved out to LA, just looking for a change of environment. I met up with Dephree, a rapper that I knew from high school. We were just hanging out when he played me his mixtape. I remember telling him, “Bro, I think I could make beats just as good as this, if not better.” It just hit me, like that. I’d never really thought about it before. Dephree told me I’d need an MPC – that’s all I knew.
Later on, I met someone who happened to be a producer. I actually offered to do his yard work for him, if he’d give me lessons on his MPC. He looked at me like I was crazy, but said yes. So, I came over with trash bags. I bagged leaves for him that day, and he gave me my first lesson on the MPC.
What can current and new fans expect from King Graint?
Gunny H and I are about to follow up “Lit” with a song that I think is even better. It’s called “It’s On Tonight.” We’re shooting the music video for that next month. I’ll also be releasing new music with Trapbo’ and Dephree soon. I’m also planning on fulfilling my dream of putting out an album of my own this year. It’ll include songs I’ve done with everyone I’ve ever worked with. Actually, I might even rap on it.
What other projects are you involved in, not necessarily with music, but maybe other ventures?
I’m working on a couple entrepreneurial ventures at the moment, including launching my own record label. I’m also helping my sister, Lane Petrauskas, with her new app Skorch. Skorch is about to be a game changer. It’s exciting to see.
What do you want people to get from your music?
Music is like a drug to me. Whenever I hear a song I love, I get high. I make music to try to get other people high.
What are some of the spots our readers can check your music and videos?
Check out my YouTube channel, King Graint. Sometimes I’ll also post clips of brand-new, unreleased beats on Instagram and Twitter @KingGraint.