Raj Singh (Rajuju) and Andrew Why (Butterfly), better known for their stage name GRUMBY, are a jazz, soul, and electronic duo based out of Brooklyn. GRUMBY’s signature sound combines influences from jazz, R&B, soul, and world music evoking the nostalgia of the 90s with an undeniable contemporary, electronica twist. After capturing worldwide attention with their debut EP, Changes, the duo are back with a new track and the official release date for Changes PT II. We chatted with the guys to learn about their new EP, which features a guest appearance from Heems of Das Racist, the origin behind their name, and the role that two producers from diverse backgrounds play when it comes to writing and production.
What’s good GRUMBY? Thanks for chatting with us! Tell us about yourselves—what’s the story behind GRUMBY?
When we were first introduced and heard each other’s sound, we realized that the combination of our influences and styles would make for some dope compositions. Butterfly is strongly rooted in a Jazz background while Rajuju grew up performing and producing a lot of Soul and R&B. Our first few joints were made from tiny bedrooms in Brooklyn and Alphabet City; we’ve come a long way since then with each release. The style of our Changes EP and our live show is reminiscent of The Robert Glasper Experiment. We’ve nurtured an atmosphere of collaboration with a rotation of talented vocalists and musicians all performing the vibes of Jazz and Soul. That’s GRUMBY in a nutshell.
GRUMBY is a neat name—what’s the origin behind it?
Actually if you take the word “Traffic” and replace a few letters with these letters – Y G M B U R – and then also delete a few letters – you could get “GRUMBY.” So that’s how we got our name. It might not make sense now, but you’ll understand in a few years. Just think about it.
You guys released your debut EP last year, which featured a delightful selection of sexy atmospheric tracks that attracted the likes of BBC Radio, Hillydilly, and Earmilk—what can we expect from your forthcoming EP?
We’re calling this upcoming EP Changes Part II. The album stays true to the original vibe of Changes Part I with its organic production but it also showcases a wider range of the sound palette and explores more interesting textures. We’re excited to feature a few new vocalists on this project as well; Hari Mint makes a return on a couple tracks along with a guest appearance from Heems of Das Racist and Jus Reign.
What part do each of you play in the writing and production of a song?
We are both very technical and enjoy quality musicianship, so it’s generally a back and forth between us on what sounds like flames and what sounds like absolute garbage. Most of the stuff Butterfly makes is absolute garbage. Rajuju is the best though. Butterfly is super ill on the jazz piano but he still sucks is the general consensus and Rajuju is the best. Hope that makes sense.
You both met in NYC, but are both from Texas and both have very diverse backgrounds. How has that influenced you personally and as artists?
It’s totally crazy that we grew up 30 minutes from each other but didn’t end up linking until we both found ourselves in NYC. It feels great to break free from the typecasts that people like to put you in because of the way you look. Our aim is to be ourselves while creating and performing and inspire others to pursue their dreams. It’s motivated us to keep doing what we do and push the boundaries.
What’s next for GRUMBY?
Man, we just out here hustling – stop asking us questions, we’re just trying to make music and shit you know? Shit.