I step out of the car and immediately my ears are welcomed by the faint sound of hard-bumping electronic bass. As I near the front door, the bass gradually gets louder and chills begin dancing down my spine. I enter the house and instantly, my head starts bobbing up and down to a trancy, electro, hip-hop beat.
Keyboards, guitars, speakers, endless amounts of audio and digital equipment decorate the production area. The two producers happen to be in mid-production and maintain their intense concentration. I sit on the couch behind them and several minutes pass before either of them notices my presence.
Wearing dark blue jeans and a bright blue Neff shirt, Daniel smiles with satisfaction as he bobs his head up and down with the beat blaring through his bright red headphones. Jimmy, dressed in a green tank-top and khakis, concentrates hard on perfecting the next big sound for their new track.
Watching the 56-inch television screen and each of their 17-inch Macs, I admire as they move, tweak, re-tweak and remove audio samples along different editing tracks. I listen intently and attempt to differentiate between the sounds being made from what I actually hear. Jimmy spends a good 15 to 20 minutes tweaking one sound that, in all honesty, sounds exactly the same to me. When finished, they relax for a moment, listen closely to the track and dance around the room excitedly.
Once they’ve found the perfect sound, created the perfect beat, mixed with the perfect rhythm that drops at the perfect time, they direct roughly ten minutes of their undivided attention towards me.
Daniel Grant Litman, 21, from Fairfax Station, Va., produces progressive house, bouncy electro and smooth trance rhythms.
Across the country, from Berkeley, Calif., Jimmy Duval, 20, produces hard-style drum and bass, hip-hop trap and wompy dubstep.
Together, they combine West Coast styles with East Coast techniques, mixed with a variety of other Electronic Dance Music (EDM) sub-genres, so as to establish their own collaborative style.
Their exquisite behavior, exceptional talent, young age and extreme dedication make Grant & Duval both exceptional and remarkable.
Both students at the University of Miami, Grant & Duval have combined their musical talent in hopes of not only making a name for themselves, but also creating a label that inspires a cultural movement in relation to their own moral values and principles.
“It’s all about motivating and inspiring and thinking about sound on a higher level. We work hard, we play hard and we go harder than anyone else, and it really shows in our performances. Our end goal is to create a label, start a revolution and eventually have other artists produce under us,“ said Grant.
On Feb. 12, they saw their dream come true. Partnering with Metin Kumru, Grant & Duval have created their own record label called, Stache Records. They currently have several UM students signed under them including Nathan “Littlefoot” Fouts, Adam Brien and Ray Lewis III.
Grant’s charismatic, extraverted and gregarious personality make him affable and charming. He is exuberant, enthusiastic and goofy, always cracking jokes, keeping the mood light and easy.
Duval is more laid-back, quiet and serious yet amiable and well-mannered. As he works, Duval gives off an intensely focused vibe motivated by passion and dedication yet automatically hypes up and dances around the room while reviewing his track. Both are ambitious, handsome, industrious, humble and exceptionally talented individuals.
University of Miami student, John Nichols,19, lives with Duval and witnesses the music making process first hand.
“Jimmy’s more production whereas Daniel’s more on the business side of things. They both produce, but they also know what their good at. Daniel’s outgoing and energetic personality makes it easy for him to meet people, network and build connections, leaving Jimmy to focus on production and really fine tune the quality of his work,” said Nichols.
As a music major, Nichols makes his own music and released his own EP called “Where I Go,” last December.
This past semester, Grant & Duval opened for Doctor P, Twinbeatz, Corporate Slackers, and Butch Clancy. When asked what it was like to open for such artists, both described it as an electrifying learning experience.
“It was super awesome to finally be playing with artists who initially inspired me to make EDM. You get a chance to ask questions, implement and learn from them. When I come out of a big show like that, my motivation to make music quadruples,” said Duval.
With excitement, Grant added, “I literally sit behind them, watch them work, ask questions, listen to their sounds, watch their fingers, and how they hype up the crowd”.
Grant & Duval have played at Miami nightclubs such as Grand Central, Mekka, Club 50, and Gavvana. This past Halloween, they played their very first, sold-out show at Club Cinema in Boca Raton, Fla.
Friend and freestyle rapper, Jake Frey, 21, describes their performances as epic, lively and motivating.
“They have so much energy; they literally just vibe off each other. On stage, you can see the amplitude of their excitement. They play well together and create this energetic, invigorating, spine-tingling atmosphere. Throw some hot girls on stage with them, and its even more mind-blowing,” said Frey.
From the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep, their focus is all about the music. As friends come and go, stopping by to hear new songs, spit out a freestyle or two and/or give personal insight, Grant & Duval remain persistent, diligent and convivial.
They work through all hours of the night, rarely taking breaks, staying up for days at a time just to complete a song. Individually, they each spend about 10 to 12 hours a day producing; combined they average about 20 to 24 hours a day, further amplifying their dedication and drive.
“When you’re sleeping, we’re not. When you’re partying, we’re not. We strive for success because we don’t go out. Our job is the party, so in a way, I guess you could say we are the party. We dedicate ourselves to mastering and mixing in a new and different way, always trying to create the next big thing and always pushing ourselves to be better,” said Grant.
Luckily, both Grant and Duval have parents who help support them while their in school. The money they make from mixing and mastering other artists’ work as well as performing live also contributes.
Rising to fame, Grant & Duval are definitely a collaboration to look out for. These friendly, down to earth, compassionate individuals create exotic and exhilarating music, that just makes you want to dance uncontrollably and play on repeat all day.
“At the end of the day, I’m a producer. I take the professional standard and turn it into the basics. Before I start a song, I hear it in my head and I know exactly how it’ll sound. Then it’s all about finding and tuning the sounds that go with what I already hear in my head,” concludes Duval.
The amount of time, dedication and energy put into every sound, every beat, and every song is extraordinarily admirable. They give off this wonderful positive energy which makes them exceptionally fun to be around. Their remarkable passion, motivation and dedication should inspire everyone, regardless of what they pursue.
Humble and good-hearted, they aspire to inspire, and display gratitude and appreciation for all of their support. It is my strongest opinion that within the next two to five years, Grant & Duval will be touring the country, playing big venues and music festivals, and their indefinite determination to succeed will eventually progress them all the way to the very tippy top of the EDM scene.
Move over Avicii, because Grant & Duval are making moves and coming up fast. When they do, they have the potential to influence the EDM scene forever.
Be sure to check out their music on SoundCloud at Grant & Duval
and like them on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/grantandduval
words and photos_melissa mallin.