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Q&A: Gramatik

Denis Jasarevic, stage name Gramatik, has had a busy week playing shows from Canada to Maine. In the mean time, he’s also released a collaboration with Griz that’s taking EDM blogs by storm. He ended this week at the Fillmore Auditorium Saturday with the debut of his biggest stage set-up yet.

Jasarevic took some time out of his crazy schedule to chat with the CUI about Nikola Tesla, the future of file-sharing and the Daily Show.

What made you want to perform shows with a live guitarist on stage with you?
I don’t really play my own music live; they’re tracks I might have mixed four or five years ago. You can get bored really fast with your own sets. In order for me to be inspiring on stage, I wanted to bring something to the stage that is different. That live music makes the tracks super-fresh for me.

How did you get involved with Pretty Lights Music (PLM)?
Me and Derek [of Pretty Lights] were touring together in 2009 already, and before PLM existed, we were sharing ideas about music. I have a very specific vision for my music, you know. Even at that time, he was like, “You’re the only dude I’d let on my label.”

You and Pretty Lights are at the forefront of the “#digitalfreedom” movement, which releases music for free over the internet. Why do you think artists should release their music for free?
I think that’s the rational thing to do in the 21st century. The war against file-sharing is like the church’s war against masturbation. People are gonna do it. People WILL go online and download your shit for free. The more you tell ‘em “buy my shit” the more they’ll be like “fuck you” and pirate your shit anyway.

People pirate music on a daily basis by the millions. You can’t stop that. People buy your tickets and they buy your merch because they appreciate what you’re doing. That’s a lot of fucking money that students can’t afford. The fact that they can have it for free any moment, they really appreciate that you’ll give it away for free.

You and Griz recently paired up to form the act “Grizmatik.” How has that collaboration been?
We’re brothers from another mother. When we first started touring together, we were on the bus together and partying all day, and we discovered that we have the same vision. It’s been such a smooth process, it was meant to be. It’s magic in the making.

What can Denver expect from your show on Saturday? You mentioned on your Facebook you’ll be debuting your new light/stage set-up, “The Coil.” Can you give us any more info on that?
I’ve been talking about it with my crew since last year. I always thought it would be interesting to use Nikola Tesla’s coil on stage in an abstract way. It’s gonna be our first run on Saturday so we’ll be biting our nails all day.

Who else are you inspired by?
That’s a funny thing you should ask — I’m usually not inspired by [people who are] music-creative. The past few years, I’ve been finding inspiration from weird places—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show. Political satire, stuff like that.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sarah Elsea at

About Sarah Elsea

Sarah Elsea (more commonly known as "Just Elsea") is a junior Poetry and English major at the University of Colorado. Originally hailing from Virginia, she enjoys her cat, cooking biscuits and gravy, and reading poetry. Contact CU Independent Senior Staff Writer Sarah Elsea at

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