Over the last couple of years, Adelaide-born, Sydney-based club producer Uberjak’d (aka Ben Grzywacz) has gone from local curiosity to an artist capable of selling out shows both at home and abroad, thanks largely to support from Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak and Laidback Luke’s Mixmash Records. It’s true that certain influential parties have played a part in Uberjak’d’s enviable ascent – but that’s not all it took, as AUGUSTUS WELBY discovers.
“I played a show at Apple Bar in Adelaide, doing the closing set after Laidback Luke,” Grzywacz says of his first major breakthrough. “I opened up with this new track that I’d just finished. It was a remix of Rattle by Bingo Players. The next day I got a tweet from [Laidback Luke] saying ‘Love that first track you played, can you send me a copy of it?’ From there I just kept in touch with Luke.”
These days, Grzywacz too is in an influential position, which means he’s someone you’d want hearing your music. And the possibility of that happening just got a whole lot easier. Along with Canberra’s The Aston Shuffle, Grzywacz has signed on as a Budweiser Made for Music mentor. Basically, this means their experienced ears will listen to every tune that gets uploaded to the Made for Music website before the end of the month.
“I’m really excited to be involved with that,” Grzywacz says. “It’s going to be a really good opportunity, more than anything else, for young producers to get some real industry feedback on their music.”
Providing helpful criticism to young hopefuls isn’t the sole purpose behind the Made for Music initiative. One act demonstrating particular flare will be selected for a rather tasty prize package.
“I think I might enter myself,” Grzywacz jokes. “There’s a lot of studio gear, private listening sessions with the Universal guys, as well as [four finalists] get to support The Aston Shuffle in Sydney. If that isn’t motivation to get involved with it, I don’t know what is.”
He’s right; these are prizes worth going to extraordinary lengths to get your hands on. However, Grzywacz doesn’t advocate adopting a competitive attitude. Rather, he emphasises how valuable it is to build a network of like-minded musicians.
“Especially with the Melbourne sound that’s coming through at the moment, it’s not like you can tie it to any one person that owns that sound. What it comes down to is everyone’s working together and everyone’s playing each other’s tracks and it creates a sound that people can relate to a number of DJs, rather than any one particular person. I think that’s a really cool thing.”
Grzywacz has spent 2014 in a maelstrom of activity. While he’s already released two EPs, conducted multiple overseas tours and issued a stack of remixes, there’s more new music and summer festival appearances to take care of before the year’s out. On top of all this, six months ago he launched the Uberjak’d producer forum on facebook. As it turns out, appraising the work of budding producers is something he’s already rather familiar with.
“[It’s about] getting new guys involved and helping people become better at what they do,” he says. “It’s the only way you learn.”
STEREOSONIC DAY 1
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29 @ CLAREMONT SHOWGROUNDS