Henry Steinway (RL Grime) has a knack for beating down the competition, genre-bending anything in his path and paving the way for the next wave of potential trap hopefuls. His electro-house Clockwork project saw him provide tracks for EDM kingpins Steve Aoki via Dim Mak and for Diplo's Mad Decent label. It all reached a peak when he bootlegged Avicii's "Levels", and dealt crowd-stoking mashups like Wolfgang Gartner's "Nuke" with the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army", Beast status was reached and there was no escaping his atom-smashing snares, roller-coaster crescendos, and supersonic drops.
Around the same time that he first signed to Dim Mak, Steinway began exploring a different sound under the alias RL Grime. A 2011 mix etched him in the ranks of trap's finest featuring Rustie, Untold, and Joy Orbison on the one hand, and Drake, D'Angelo, and Missy Elliott on the other. He's issued a series of Halloween mixes that consistently push boundaries, shifting from heavy hip hop to atmospheric interludes and all imbued with a feeling of haunted dread akin to the first time you opened a Goosebumps book.
Reading RL Grime's Resident Advisor profile piece, you get a picture of a man torn between two worlds. On one hand, Henry Steinway could probably do the predictable massive EDM festivals for another 10 years and make a killing — in fact, he's already done that more than practically anyone his age. But the art is in the details with RL Grime.
Friday the 1st of May saw this story unfold. 170 Russell St, Melbourne @Bllboards is where we got a taste for why RL Grime is at the head of the game, choosing tracks that vary radically from minute to minute with uncanniness and genre-bending drops from Katy Perry, What So Not and O.T Genasis' "I'm in Love with the Coco," but all the while giving you a sense of calculated improvisation that keeps you guessing and forever wanting more.
Three turntables and a Pioneer mixer to his name, Steinway makes every moment count. Sending the crowd berserk to 'Void' favourite "Kingpin" layered with brush strokes from Asap Rocky's "Wild For The Night", followed with the mosh inducing "Core" swirling like a magma pit to the centre of the earth. Steinway exists all in a world of his own, where a multitude of genres clash together in sync with a tribal display of electronic production excellence.
Towards the end of his set, Steinway rides the last wave doing an encore performance of What So Not collaborative Banger "Tell Me" which solidified the bond between the US and Australian EDM scene.
RL Grime will be on the 'Void' tour till August, so be sure to catch one of his shows.
Photography Credit: Melissa Cowan