Editors note: In this series, Billboard Dance is speaking with each 2022 Grammy nominee from the dance/electronic categories ahead of the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on April 3 in Las Vegas.

While he’s not yet taken home a Grammy, Bonobo is a clear favorite amongst the dance/electronic categories at the awards. The Los Angeles-based producer, born Simon Green, has five total nominations across the two categories going back the past four years, a timeline that parallels these categories shifting away from bombastic EDM and towards the subtler form of IDM that has long been Green’s signature.

This year his chances of winning are doubled, with Bonobo showing up twice in the best dance/electronic recording category. One nomination is for his own “Heartbreak” — a smartly euphoric slice of U.K. rave made in collaboration with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs released as a single in September 2020 through his own Outlier Records. The other is for his work with Icelandic composer/producer Ólafur Arnalds on Arnalds’ ambient “Loom,” which is also up for the award this year.

While Green thus holds a roughly 30% chance of winning, he says he’s less concerned with which producer takes home the trophy and more excited about “all of us getting to DJ in our suits and having a party” on Sunday (April 3) in Las Vegas.

Where was “Heartbreak” made, and when?

We made it in L.A., with Orlando. We actually started it in his studio. He lived up in Beachwood Canyon at the time. It started off as a kind of demo that he had. We started working on it together and I added the vocal part and brought the sample in. Between our two studios — I’m over on the east side of L.A. and he’s up in the hills — we finished it over summer 2019. Then we just kind of sat on it for a little while and decided to put it out.

Why did you release it when you did?

I thought it could be a good way to start my Outlier Record label, because it was more club focused. But I felt that even though there were no clubs open, it was 2020, that whole thing, I was trying to put dance floor music out even though there was no dancing. Like, let’s try and make it sort of a celebration anyways?

Besides Orlando, who was the first person you played it for and how did they react?

Actually, I did get a chance to play it out, like in March of 2020. I still played a couple of shows. One of them was Elsewhere in Brooklyn. I got like, one opportunity to play it out before everything shut down.

How did the audience react?

Good. It’s a very euphoric tune, especially that long breakdown and build up. It worked really well, so I was excited to keep playing for the rest of 2020, and then didn’t have the opportunity until about six months ago.

Did you know when you made it that it was special or a “hit”?

I was hoping. I didn’t really know. I thought that it had the ingredients to be something special. I knew that it was probably going to work really well on the dance floor and that was the kind of whole focus of it, to make something that was really for the club and to create one of those special moments in the club.

It must have been especially special to play it again all this time later. Did it take on a different meaning when you got to do that?

Yeah, it does. The whole thing with “Heartbreak” is that it was a dance floor song with a very sentimental lyric. So yeah, it fit with the times quite perfectly. It’s a Class Action sample, which is the “can’t take the heartbreak” vocal. But I think a lot of those tunes that didn’t get to be played in 2020, they’re still valid to play now. Even if they didn’t get the exposure at the time, it’s good to play them out.

Why do you think the track appealed to Grammy voters?

It has that sort of euphoria. It’s a good time, that song. I think it represents club music in a good place.

What were you doing when you found out you were nominated?

I was in the studio working on some stuff and my phone started going off. It started blowing up, and I didn’t know what was going on. I was getting people going, “Congrats! That’s amazing news.” I was like, “What news?” There were a lot of people texting me without any context, assuming that I knew what was happening, but I didn’t. I had to piece it together. It’s either good or bad news, when you get 100 text messages from everyone you know.

The collection of tracks nominated this year is really sonically diverse, from EDM to IDM to rave to dance pop. What’s your take on quite disparate styles of dance music competing against each other in the same category?

I’m not familiar with every tune in this category, I have to be honest. But I like that there’s ambient Icelandic music in there along with Tiësto. Perhaps the diversity could have been more across the genders.

Right. There are no female producers nominated in this category in 2022, and this isn’t the first year that this has happened. How do you explain the lack of female artists represented here?

I don’t know. I’m not super familiar with the Grammys. It’s not something I grew up with that much. I’m not sure how those systems are in place, but I feel like that especially after the last few years, if they’re not getting it now, then I don’t know what to say. There are more and more women in music, especially in electronic music, now more than ever, so it would be nice to see more representation in those categories.

Do you think male artists have a responsibility to create greater equality in the scene, and if so how can they do that?

Absolutely. If you’re somebody in a position to be programming festivals or parties, I think that’s on you to create that inclusivity. If you’re making playlists or in any sort of curatorial position in dance music, then that’s your responsibility as well.

Would you like to see the Recording Academy in any way expand or update the way they handle electronic music?

I’m not sure. I don’t really know how it works with the Grammys, because I don’t feel like I really sort of represent them in a way. I don’t know how it really works, to suggest how it could work going forward. It’s such a huge category, and I think that perhaps the Grammys is more catered towards the pop categories and more a binary recognition of commercial success in those categories. That’s not necessarily how it works with dance music. I think electronic is a very new category to the Grammys and something they’re catching up with as a cultural shift. I think they’re still kind of finding their feet with it and still trying to understand the genre a bit.

You’re competing against yourself in this category, with your collaboration on Ólafur Arnalds’ “Loom.” Which song do you want to win?

I don’t really care, honestly. I’m just in it for all of us getting to DJ in our suits and having a party. I never set out to get the Grammy, but it’s great to be recognized. The nomination is great. There are people who maybe wouldn’t be paying attention to you that are now. I think that in itself is excellent and we get to have a fun night in Vegas.

What’s the best Grammy afterparty you’ve ever been to?

They haven’t generally been the best parties I’ve been to. There have been some fun ones. I like the energy of it, even when I wasn’t nominated. Just being around it when it’s in Los Angeles is quite fun to dip into. It’s this side of L.A. that even though I live there, I don’t see very often. It’s nice to get a foot into that world of glitzy Hollywood. It’s a very fun thing to do for a weekend.

If you win, how will you celebrate?

We’ll probably crash the televised event so I can acknowledge my family on TV.

Go to Source

Categories: Music News