Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blip Nation Interview: Meet GrassyKnoll

Blipper since: April 6, 2009

Pete Dulin: What part of the world do you live in?

GrassyKnoll: I currently live in New York City

Dulin: A lot of your blips are unfamiliar to me. Are they older, more obscure recording artists? Do you own music by some of these artists on LP or CD?

GrassyKnoll: I would agree that a lot of my blips are unfamiliar and are generally older and more obscure recording artists. I enjoy finding these types of recordings both on the web and especially in tangible form such as LP as they give a deeper insight into a specific genre and/or region at definitive point in time.

Sometimes I have a prior interest in the genre/region and the time frame in question; other times it's the recording itself that will drive me to dig deeper. An example of this is when I first found a copy of Mogollar's Les Danses et Rythmes de la Turquie back in 2004/2005. I had no prior knowledge of Turkey's rock scene in the present let alone that scene in the late '60s and early '70s. After that discovery, I was able to dig much deeper and learn quite a bit about the scene, major acts, impact, etc of a special place and time in music.

Dulin: Do you have a favorite genre of music or preferred era of recorded music?

GrassyKnoll: I try not to place one form or era of music over another and in general will give anything a go. From early 20th century recordings of Russian piano compositions to a new hypothetical track that combines, let's say, live traditional Chinese instruments played in a subway mixed with a Biggie a capella track and a sample of a disco synth line that someone put together in Brooklyn last week. What matters to me is if it moves me to groove or helps me to think about the piece both musically and in the context of the society/era in which it was produced.

Dulin: Do you remember the first music you ever purchased? What was it? Format (record, tape, CD, mp3)? Why did you buy it?

GrassyKnoll: The first cassette tape I ever purchased was Chuck Berry's Great 28 immediately followed by a cheap RiteAid Muddy Water's Greatest Hits compilation on cassette. I was into Chuck since I was a little kid, that whole straight forward no frills "rock and roll" vibe. I was a shocked 11-year-old when I first heard Muddy Waters' "40 Days" since one was easily able to distinguish just where Mr Berry had gotten all those riffs. I think the cause for going that far back as a young kid was that the music I was hearing on the radio in the '80s sounded too polished for my taste. When I heard the oldies station, things sounded more "real" to my ears.

Dulin: By estimation, how much time do you spend blipping a week?

GrassyKnoll: These days, I try to keep it to 5-6 hours a week. I work online and really only get a chance to blip if it's slow at the office. Once I leave work after staring at a computer all day I tend to just throw on an LP rather than sit back in front of the computer and blip. However, back in 2009 through early 2010 I was on constantly. I miss having all that free time at work!

Dulin: Tell us about a favorite memory or treasured possession. It doesn't have to be related to music.
GrassyKnoll: I have an autograph book my Grandfather gave me from the Big Band era that includes his ticket stubs, notes about the show, artist autographs and more. It's pretty cool, like a piece of history I keep in my room. I think he has all of the Glenn Miller's orchestra in one section. How he got them all is beyond me.

Dulin: If you could blip one song that could reach everyone on the planet, what would you choose?

GrassyKnoll: Cheesy as it sounds, I would probably go with Daft Punk's "Around the World." There are only 3 words and the bass is hypnotic, which causes me to believe that it would be more inclusive for the non-Anglophones of the planet (including Daft Punk themselves).

Dulin: If text wasn't allowed in the blip and you could only blip the song, then would you still play music on

GrassyKnoll: I would but the focus would be different. If that was the case, I would look at it as building web-based playlists I could share with friends on social networks as opposed to being a social network all it's own. 

Dulin: If you were on a world tour as a Blip.FM DJ and ambassador, what three countries or cities would you visit first? What DJs would you like to meet?

GrassyKnoll: Tough question but I would have to go with the following: UK, EU and Japan (I'm still trying to figure out the whole UK/EU thing so I'm keeping them separate at the moment).

As for DJs I'd like to meet in these countries, I've been talking to the following for years and I have a feeling they are a blast.

From the UK: ShantiBaba, CreepyGirl, TomServo, Corts, NattieB, TreakiePop and Arth

From the EU: Chittamani_tara (formerly the artist known as Lucinda_lala), QuicksandRangero and ElNito

From Canada: Muffinlab!

Dulin: Pick one song that encapsulates your personality, and explain why.

GrassyKnoll: Another tough one! I'm not sure I can find a song that fits that many genres and styles into one cohesive unit succinctly. If there was an album though, I would say the original LP release of Funkadelic's One Nation Under a Groove complete with the bonus EP with the live cut of "Maggot Brain." These guys hit almost every possible genre that was relevant in '78 when it was released and do it better than most who only played one genre. Not until Outkast's Stankonia did we get that on the top of the charts again. I really value a group's ability to easily move from one box to outside the box to a whole new box altogether. I can also be just like that, doing my best to not get pinned down by any one thing.

Dulin: Since you began blipping, have you had any experiences that surprised you? Please explain.
GrassyKnoll: Participating in what we now call the first "NYC Blip Meet" back in late summer 2009. I was surprised by how affable the New York City blippers are compared to the average New Yorker. A group of 10-12 people in the New York City metro area on decided to meet up and have a few drinks. Not knowing what to expect due to the fact that we are still talking about meeting people "from" the internet, I approached it pretty cautiously. Everyone met around 7 PM and by 11 PM it was as if everyone had 12 new friends. The group still hangs out to this day and that was 2 years ago almost.

Dulin: Think of another Blip.FM DJ. You don’t have to reveal who it is. What question would you most like to ask him or her?

GrassyKnoll: I'd love to ask a few of the DJs who didn't build bots to blip from their account at night what it's like to do a [blip] marathon? @Sandyriverside and I were contemplating giving it a go on an upcoming weekend.

Dulin: What artists and/or songs would you want to hear on the soundtrack of your life?

GrassyKnoll: This is incredibly difficult to answer but based on Last.Fm over the past few years, I'm going to go with these songs in no particular order:

The Velvet Underground – I'm Waiting for the Man
Funkadelic - I Got A Thing
The Temptations - Ain't No Sunshine (cover)
Cromagnon - Caledonia
GZA - Liquid Swords
Hooterville Trolley - No Silver Bird
13th Floor Elevators - Street Song
Hawkwind - High Rise
Spacemen 3 - Losing Touch with My Mind
Muddy Waters - 40 Days and 40 Nights
People's Choice - Boogie USA
MFSB - Backstabbers (cover)
Lee Perry - Soul Fire
Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys - Moanin'
Memphis Slim - Havin' Fun
The Fatback Band - Mr Bassman
Pharcyde - Ya Mama
Chuck Berry - Johnny B Goode
Jimi Hendrix - Vilanova Junction (Studio Version)
Mogollar - Cigrik
Eric B & Rakim - Paid In Full (Coldcut Remix)
King Tubby - Herb Man Dub
Nirvana - Aneurysm
Ronnie Foster - Mystic Brew
John Coltrane - Resolution
Frank Zappa - Trouble Everyday
Beastie Boys - Car Thief
Les Rallizes Denudes – The Last One
Nine Inch Nails - Piggy
NWA - 8 Ball

Dulin: What influences your blip picks? Mood, nostalgia, new artist/song, social interaction, or other factors?

GrassyKnoll: I would say the vast majority of my blips are influenced by interest in a certain genre/time/region I'm becoming familiar with on that particular day. After that comes social interaction and mood. I try to keep my channel pretty eclectic which is difficult sometimes.

Dulin: What is the earliest age that you can remember listening to music? What artists/bands did you like in your youth?

GrassyKnoll: I would say very young. My mother pretty much forced me to listen to classical as a kid up to maybe 3rd grade. If I was good I got to listen to jazz or blues but nothing that was current at the time.

Dulin: What is your dream job?

GrassyKnoll: Dream job would be to blip for a living. Who wouldn't love that?!

Dulin: What prompted you to join

GrassyKnoll: Mr Sandyriverside got me to check it out about two years ago so we could trade tunes back and forth.

Dulin: What song reminds you of being a kid?

GrassyKnoll: Oddly, The "1812 Overture" by Tchaikovsky and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B Goode."

Dulin: Last live concert/show you attended? Who played? What did you like or not like about the live music experience?

GrassyKnoll: Last show I caught was Motorhead on 3/4 in Atlantic City, NJ. As far as an experience goes, it was probably as close to perfect for a three-piece act that I have ever seen. Not sure what else to say, it's Lemmy!

Dulin: You're in a vault at a major record label. You get to pick a secret album by any artist never before released that will be shared worldwide in 2011. What artist/band would you pick? What would you want the music to sound like?

GrassyKnoll: Hmm. Going out on a limb here but Velvet Underground backed with MFSB. That would be amazing. You would get Lou's songwriting and Cale's sonic experimentation coupled with MFSB's smooth driving back beat and orchestral prowess. Who said the Sound of Philadelphia's smooth can't mix with the sound of NYC's amphetamine driven angst?

Dulin: Any other thoughts to share?

GrassyKnoll: Blip is a great community and I'm happy to have met so many friends over the year who love music as much as I do.
Pete Dulin is the co-publisher and editor of and writes freelance for magazines, websites, and newspapers. He can be found in the Blip Nation at He can be reached at, and


  1. What a great interview Pete & GrassyKnoll! Pete, loved the question "If text wasn't allowed in the blip..." Brilliant question! & your list of songs for the soundtrack of your life was fascinating, GrassyKnoll!

  2. I really enjoyed Pete's interview questions and @ladyPN, I'm happy you liked my desert island "playlist"!