Community Artist Of The Month   2023 - GRAYSONP

Community Artist Of The Month 2023 - GRAYSONP

Community Artist Of The Month Feb ‘24 - GRAYSONP

In the first edition of Community Artist of the Month of 2024, we are excited to chat with producer GRAYSONP.

Join us as we venture all the way back to the beginning of Grayson's musical journey. From those early days clicking away on a trial version of FL Studio to the vibrant soundscape of his 2023 album CRAYONCANYON. Along the way, we'll delve into how he achieves his sound, discovering the plugins he can’t live without and the producers that inspire him.


Let's start all the way back at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got started making music?

I think I started experimenting with a DAW around 2016, when I tried the trial version of FL Studio using a Mac wrapper (since FL Studio didn't have a version for Mac at that time). I was in my first year of high school and had been listening to a lot of future bass and trap music; I was absolutely amazed by their expansive and grand sound. Initially, I experimented with creating trap beats until I stumbled upon lo-fi (thank you tomppabeats and eevee for changing my life!). The first song I ever released on SoundCloud was a lo-fi remix of Super Mario Galaxy 2 called "Cosmic Cove (Super Mario Galaxy 2 Lofi Remix)." It's on my old "inverted colors" account and seems to have garnered some attention!

Can we talk a little bit about your setup. What sort of software and hardware are you using?

Currently, in terms of software, I interchangeably use both FL Studio and Logic Pro, and am currently trying out Ableton. For my controller, I have the Alesis V49, and my interfaces are a Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2nd Gen and a Presonus Audiobox iTwo that I switch out from time to time. I also have an M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 that I use for portability, and a Maschine MKII for live sets and experiments. I also have a Yamaha Arius Piano that I hope to be able to route to my setup someday, as some of its sounds and presets sound amazing. I run most of my songs through an SP404SX to add some wacky effects, and I also burn the songs to tape using a deck my grandfather loaned. (thank you grandpa!) And then there's also an AKG P120 mic and Yamaha HS5's for the monitors.

Do you have any favourite plugins that you use on pretty much everything? Likewise, is there a piece of gear that you just couldn’t live without?

My favorite plugin of all time is Deelay. It's a delay plugin that's super easy to use and fun to mess with - I absolutely love its diffusion features and its "chaos" algorithms. I swear - this plugin should not be free!! I also love Decent Sampler, as it is also free and tons of people have made some absolutely amazing free sample libraries for it. A piece of gear I would not live without would be my Oxygen Pro 25 controller, as I think it can basically do everything when it comes to MIDI (or, at least, everything I need it to). It was my first controller, and it took several years of drawing midi notes by hand before I finally got one. Absolute game changer!

We really enjoyed your album ‘Crayoncanyon’ last year, could you take us back to the process of making that project and how it all came together?

Thank you guys so much for listening! It was a bit of a wacky project to make - the whole idea for the album came from a cartoon that I'm planning, in which CRAYONCANYON would be a location that my characters would visit. The idea was also inspired by a Mr. Rogers episode, in which he would draw a house with crayons (more on that later). I wanted the whole sound of the album to feel kinda strange and dreamlike, and the songs would represent different set pieces that the characters would discover on their journey through.

I think the entire album was made on Logic Pro, aside from the Soundcloud/YouTube exclusive track CRAYONCOLORS, which was made on FL Studio. I feel like this whole album was my opportunity to just experiment and go wild with sound and create something wacky.

I started working on the album with MEMENTOS at my grandmother's house around April, which I wanted to have an air of nostalgia to it, since I was basically surrounded by nostalgic feelings every time I was there.

CRAYONCREATURE, as one of the set pieces, was based on a GIANT crayon-looking monster that I envisioned, and the loud saxophone bit at the beginning of the song was basically its roar. It brings a sort of intense atmosphere that quickly becomes more calm with the keys that come in afterwards. In my head, the story was that the characters were intimidated but were quick to find out the creature was friendly.

WAX and TAPE were songs that didn't really have a story to them, but were meant to kind of add to the strange atmosphere of the album.

CRAYONCOLONY was my first time using vocals in a song, and, with the vocals being the foundation, I had fun building around it!

CRAYONCAPITOL was my first ever collab track, and it was with goomdan! He provided the guitar on the track, and it was fun to bounce ideas and see what we could come up with. (Hope we can collab again!)

ORANGE was made in collaboration with awp_fancy, who is one of my college close friends. We had access to the University's studio and got to work on the track there. The main chord progression of the track remained the same throughout, but he improvised on the flute pads, and I improvised on the rhode keys throughout the entire track. It was so much fun having that in-person jam session at the studio, and one of my core memories with the album! (Andrew if you're reading this, we gotta hop back in!!)

I made the title track CRAYONCANYON lastly, as I wanted it to be the tonesetter that basically explained the entire atmosphere of the album at a glance. It was a fun conclusion to this project and I'm super satisfied as to how it all came out! Mr. Rogers said something in that particular episode that inspired this album into existence, which is: "The make believe-pretending just won't do it for you, you've got to do it."

You also put together all the artwork for your releases (if i’m not mistaken). How do you come up with the ideas for those? And creatively do you think there are many similarities between production and art?

It's true, I love creating my own art for my releases. The art mostly comes from what I think about while listening to the track in full - A lot of my track names and art are decided based on where my imagination takes me while listening. Sometimes I have an initial idea for an album art and create the track based on that, which is what happened around a quarter of the way through the production of CRAYONCANYON. I love giving the art a sort of cartoony feel, as I feel that accurately reflects the "wackiness" of my music. My art and music go hand in hand, and I think the album art is the first impression when it comes to any song - I would like it to accurately reflect what the listener is about to listen to, if that makes sense.

And you’ve recently just started a new weekly event on the Chillhop/Bread & Butter Discord called ‘Beat Club’, could you enlighten us and tell us what that’s all about?

B&B Beat Club has been a blast! Basically, those who come are tasked with bringing a song that they like to the meeting for us all to sit down and listen to all the way through. Afterwards, we have a discussion about anything regarding the song. That can be, for example, how the song made you feel when you first heard it, or what interesting things you notice about the song that could be incorporated in to your own music; really anything goes. The song itself doesn't necessarily have to be within the chillhop sphere - it can be any genre! We do these Beat Club meetings at 5:30PM EST Every Thursday in the Chillhop Discord, so slide through and bring a song! (NOTE: It can't be one you made!!)

You’ve just released two new tracks ‘Teddy’s New Track’ & ‘Trick’. How did those two tracks come together?

Both TEDDY'S NEW PLAN and TRICK are songs that derive from the same cartoon idea as CRAYONCANYON - and they feature some of the same characters on both their album artworks! Like the album, I really wanted to hone in on that sort of strangeness while still vaguely keeping them chillhop/lofi/boombap - oriented. These tracks allowed me to experiment and learn more about synthesis, and I feel like I can produce even better results in the future! For TRICK especially, I wanted that cursed, tape feel, which is why there are many warbles and distortions in the song. Both were super fun to work on!

How do you tackle creative blocks and seek inspiration when feeling stuck when making music?

I have two solutions to that problem, and it depends on my situation which one I use. Right now, I'm studying Animation in college, so if I'm busy with a semester and hit a creative block in music, I simply take a break from music and focus on my animation projects. If I'm in a break from college where I can really hone in on music, I usually make stupid joke songs for my friends that vary WILDLY in both genre and - well, I guess their quality, haha. Doing this usually gets me back into the flow, and if it doesn't, then I take a break to focus on other things until I'm motivated again. My favorite joke song I ever made was "You should not be here," which was a metal song in which a side character from "Voltron: Legendary Defender" sings it. Me and my friends all absolutely hated his voice in the show, so why not have him sing? I don't think this song will ever get released, and only those who listened to it and are reading this will get the joke. Joke songs are the best!

Who are some of your favourite beatmakers/producers in the scene right now?

Some of my favourite producers right now are invention_, Bunko Stew, Sleepdealer, Birocratic, Philanthrope and Natse. These are all huge inspirations to me, and they all have a sound that is addictive and just sticks with me, and I can't pinpoint exactly why. Please go check them out!

And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to somebody getting into making music now,what would it be? it could be something someone has told you, or just something you’ve learned along the way.

My advice for beginners would be to listen to a ton of music. A ton of it! And another thing - make the music you love, you'll learn more about the intricacies and the technical stuff as your journey continues. You just have to do it!

A big thanks to Grayson for giving us a glimpse into his world. You can find all of his music on Spotify, and be sure to follow him on Instagram.