Sorush Ranjba, aka GRANITE, is a 22 year old college student hailing out of San Antonio, Texas, who started playing guitar at the age of 13 years old, and picked up production in his twenties. He’s recently debuted his debut EP called “EventHorizon” and I am pleased to give you my interview with him, digging for some answers about his adventure with progressive music, couchsurfing trip to Spain and twisted mathy tunes. Play his debut EP and give him some love – Sorush has the ability and the passion, but I feel he just needs to team up with some fellow Texarians to make this project a full band.
Hey Sorush! How are you? What’s up?
Great Karol, just settling in. Couchsurfing Spain at the moment. How are you?
Wow! Awesome! First time in Europe?
I would consider this my first proper time in Europe. I’m jealous of you guys.
Please tell me more. What exactly are you doing in Spain? Is this the only country you are visiting this time?
I’m just traveling as much of Europe as I can. I’ve got buddies here in Spain that are putting me up. I’ll be going to Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Germany.
What were your first associations with Europe before you reached our shores and what are some of the most surprising things and observations that you’ve come across so far?
I thought it was going to be a pretty awesome place and it exceeded my expectations. People here are awesome and the food and beer here is great. The most surprising thing to me here is how laid back people are here and how much they savor just relaxing and enjoying themselves.
Are there any live shows that you’re looking forward to seeing during your stay here?
I’m actually seeing this really bad ass folk/flamenco fusion guy named Juanito Makande live in Sevilla. I’ve been a huge fan of him since before I could even dream about going to Spain and seeing him live.
Are you mainly into this kind of stuff? Tell me more about your musical background and your earliest experience with records and live shows.
No, at least not exclusively. I’m into all kinds of music that sound different. Juanito was just something me and a buddy from Australia stumbled upon on youtube. I started playing guitar when I was about 13 years old, and taught myself by ear. Led Zeppelin IV was the record that changed my life, and from then on I fell in love with rock music. Then I started listening to post hardcore and mathcore in 2005 when I was still very young. My favorite band at the time was THE FALL OF TROY, and doppelganger specifically helped shape my own musical identity. Fortunately my parents supported my knack for music by letting me see shows when I was 12. I think the first band I ever saw live was HORSE THE BAND, and I was still in middle school.
Considering my one-man show here on IDIOTEQ, I’m really curious about solo projects like GRANITE. Tell me a bit about the idea of working within your home space and not hiring any additional members for the project.
GRANITE started out of impatience I guess you could say. I started writing my music at the age of 13, but I never had friends to jam with. I wrote a shit ton of music until my senior year of high school, and kind of dropped it when I started college. After a bunch of crazy life events, I realized that I really wanted to make music again and do it alone because it was so hard to find people to jam with. I knew exactly how I wanted my drums and bass to sound, and I was tired of finding people to jam with so I said screw it. Pulled all nighters during finals week just to make eventhorizon and here I am now.
Ha! Cool. Can you describe your working environment and how you use your tools to re-create a full band experience?
So it’s funny because I don’t have much of an environment. I sit in my room, plug my guitar in, and jam. As far as tools go, I’ve got this old laptop from 2008 and a focus rite 2i2 interface. I used this microphone that you use for PS2 singing games to record vocal and certain guitar samples. I play a peavey T60 guitar. I used to have a drum set and I would write drum parts out for the songs, but I never had sophisticated enough mic equipment to record drums, so I transposed them out on Ableton live. I don’t know, it might sound like all of this is a pain in the ass and it probably would have been worth it to book studio time but I had fun.
What sort of feelings or energy differences do you get playing alone as opposed to sharing a rehearsal room with other musicians? Do you have some experience in that matter? If not, how do you think a full band practice would be?
I have played in a couple of bands in high school but I’ve always been at least 5 years younger than my band mates. I feel like I never had proper chemistry with my band mates because of the age and experience gap, but it definitely was still a powerful experience playing music and being on the same musical wavelength as other people. For me, I would not be opposed to expanding GRANITE into a full band project. It’s just a matter of finding people.
Cool! Back to the record, is there a link or a wordless concept between the songs on your debut EP?
There’s definitely a story behind the song titles. For example, in the song 184A1, when I thought of the random chord progressions in the song, I was working with cancer cells in a lab at university that divided rapidly and randomly every day. The name of the cell line that I was working with was called 184A1 and thus the song title was born. I decided to name the EP “eventhorizon” because I was getting over some really tough times, and I was at a point where going back to them was not an option.
By the way your day jobs and duties, how do you find living and working in San Antonio?
I tutor mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics at university during the school semester. Working in SA is cool, I go to university there as well but I plan on moving as soon as I graduate.
Ha, and I was just about to ask if you have lived here your whole life. Can you tell us a bit about your local independent music scene, your friends’ musical work, venue, etc.? Music-wise, how thriving is your local environment?
I have been disconnected from San Antonio’s music scene since high school basically. I played in a band called LONELY HORSE which is now a two piece soul gritty rock n roll band. Super cool guys and also really good music. I played guitar for another band called cure for the radio and I believe they are still playing music. As for local bands I liked a lot, there is this band called HYDRA MELODY that is super talented. Also another band called FEUDING FATHERS which is sick if you’re into bands like HELLA or TERA MELOS. A lot of the scene we have in Texas is based out of Austin which is fairly close to my city, and there are tons of sweet bands and venues there.
Ok buddy, what else? Are you currently working on something? Tell us about your future plans when it comes to composing and performing.
At the moment, not yet as I am on the road and didn’t bring a guitar. I’d like to when I get back to the states and record another EP with just more instrumental work. I think the electronic production aspect I’ll save for another project from now on.
Cool, thanks a lot for your time Sorush! Apart from your own work, are there any other upcoming projects and plans that you’re excited to share here?
Thanks for having me, this was awesome. I’m super stoked about THE FALL OF TROY working on a new album and touring the US again. They are playing “Doppelgänger” in its entirety. Also, CHON‘S new album “Grow” was pretty breathtaking and any upcoming releases from them will be sick.