Published Dec 18, 2013Despite both cutting their teeth in Toronto's fertile electronic music scene and gravitating towards Europe's creative hub, Berlin, Adam Marshall and Christian "XI" Andersen hadn't always walked away with positive experiences after collaborating with other artists until the duo hooked up to form Graze. An openness to explore and redefine each other's ideas would be established early on in the process, though they rarely were in the studio together or even in the same city after Andersen moved back to Canada. With early results of trading files and loops back and forth paying off, the duo starting working almost immediately toward developing Graze into a live act, which they debuted at Mutek this past summer to near universal praise. Their bass-addled approach to techno plays off each other's strengths, slicing between the genres and carving out their own space.
You both are from Toronto, but it took Christian moving to Berlin to connect you. What drew you to start working together?
Marshall: I didn't know him that well, but I liked his music for a long time. I found it very refreshing. It seemed to suggest a direction for my label, New Kanada, maybe not in that exact style, but in the sense of moving outwards and opening up a little. For my production, I was interested in a lot of styles of music that traditionally my DJing didn't address. I had a lot of unproductive experiences working with other people, but since I was interested in a lot of the music Christian was making, I thought it might work.
Were you surprised how well those early exchanges of ideas went?
Andersen: Yes. With all the other collaborations I have done in the past there was always this nagging sense that something was going to go wrong or when the ideas aren't flowing well in the session, you get a bit exhausted working with the other person's frame of view. Working with Adam, the most comfortable and creative part for me is that I can hand stuff off to him and he knows he can hand stuff off to me and we are going to get it back in a couple of weeks and be happy with what we see. There are no reservations. You just have to let it go and it works.
How do you see Graze fitting into the current electronic music landscape?
Marshall: Wherever it fits or wherever we fit right now, it feels quite comfortable. I find with the Graze stuff we are hitting in between the genres. People seem to be getting purist. With the Graze stuff, it seems to tie two worlds together quite well.
Your new album, Edges, reinforces the underlying connections between forward-thinking bass music and deep techno.
Andersen: That kind of shifting between styles and keeping that eclecticism in the project completely speaks 100 percent to the both of us. If you look at both of our record collections, nothing is very static. A lot of different styles, a lot of variation and a lot of creative experimentation. That's something that is present in the music we both listen to and the music that we make.