It’s time for Dean J. Grenier — who plays at BeatBox on Friday — to step into the limelight.
The DJ and music producer, known by the shadowy moniker DJG, is finding the name no longer reflects who he is.
“When I started making dubstep music in 2006, 2007,” he says, “I just wanted a name that was forgettable and could just be underground.”
Grenier wanted to spotlight the music, without using a brand, name or an identity to sell it: “I just wanted it to be obscure,” he says.
Now, working using his last name rather than initials, he says, “It still feels personal, and my music is inherently pretty personal, so it makes sense I wouldn’t get conceptual and call myself ‘Nasty Nasty’ or something — that’s not me.”
Along with the ID change, Grenier’s repertoire has changed as well. His productions now run the scale from jazz to hip-hop to various fusions of electronic music.
Grenier reached a crossroads in the winter when he was asked to create promotional materials for a !K7 Records showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, with fellow cohort Photek.
At the time, he thought, “Dude, I can’t put DJG on a sticker.”
As he began to garner serious attention, working on different projects and broadening his scope, he says, “It makes sense to step it up and come out of the shadows.”
But first he had to overcome personal insecurities. “It’s easy to be like, ‘Well, I’m not big because I’m underground,’” he says, “or, ‘My career has only gone this far because I’m just an underground guy.’” For him, ambiguity was effortless.
What wasn’t easy was facing the reality of success. “The truth is, it’s scary. Getting attention and having to be accountable for your choices as an artist — these things are frightening,” he says.
Emerging from bouts of internal conflict and revelation, Grenier is on the cusp of new and exciting things, including his first full-length solo effort. He says, “I’m about to put out a record with Salva and I’ve got two albums I’m working on right now.”
Grenier is now simply Grenier. “I’m just who I am,” he says. Fitting.
IF YOU GO
2562, John Osborn, Grenier
Presented by As You Like It
Where: BeatBox, 314 11th St., S.F.
When: 10 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $10 to $20
We Are Monsters
10 p.m. today. $5. Guest DJ Jeniluv is known for producing music-focused events in Los Angeles dubbed “Making Shapes.” [222 Hyde, 222 Hyde St., S.F., (415) 345-8222, www.222hyde.com]
Lights Down Low: Green Velvet
9:30 p.m. Friday. $10-$15. Green Velvet is house-music don Cajmere — aka Curtis Alan Jones — who created the moniker as an outlet for his nonvocal productions and DJ gigs. [SOM-Bar, 2925 16th St., S.F., (415) 558-8521, www.som-bar.com]
Tormenta Tropical: Rizzla, Tidal Wave
10 p.m. Saturday. $5-$10. Boston DJ Rizzla, a member of Kingdom's Fade to Mind crew, wildly mixes dancehall, house, hip-hop, R&B, ballroom, screwed beats and other sounds too weird to categorize. [Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St., S.F., (415) 552-7788, www.elbo.com]