Right place, right time. That’s how Christian Mochizuki p/k/a graves will tell you he made his break in the music industry over seven years ago when a chance self-imposed exile to Hawaii from Kanye West landed Christian a less-than-savory assistant position in the early stages of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. He stuck it out for a year, running around doing errands for West and his small army of guests, collaborators, and crew before permanently sliding his way into the studio, first as an assistant engineer and ultimately as a full time engineer. He became a member of the squad, practically living in the studio for the duration of MBDTF — the record that eventually put a Grammy in Christian’s pocket and led to another credit on Watch The Throne. The dawn of Christian’s career in music had started at the top rung of the industry ladder, but a hunger to pursue his own musical path soon emerged.
This spawned the native Hawaiian trio, OOF, which Christian now recalls as “bad”, “cheesy”, and “terrible”, but it did give him the opportunity to play EDC New York through Insomniac’s Discovery Project and provide a taste of the touring DJ life. It also confirmed what kind of music he didn’t want to make, and it wasn’t long before Christian created the solo project we know him as today — graves.
Now graves is rising quickly as one of the most exciting names in bass music. He just released his latest original, “Heretic“, this week on NEST ahead of a forthcoming blockbuster collaboration with Flosstradamus, Post Malone, and Key!, and he’s been spending some quality studio time with a pair of the genre’s top billers which we’ll hear much more about in coming months. Ahead of his first-ever solo festival performance this weekend at HARD Summer here in Southern California, we called up graves to chat about everything that’s got him to this point — from Kanye West and the pro’s and con’s of seclusion of Hawaii to inspiration from Skrillex and an unfazed approach to “keeping it weird.”