Grain (n): roughness in texture; the arrangement and size of constituent particles – the rough or textured outer surface of a person’s character or natural tendency.
What Elliott Niezel and San ‘The Instru-Monumentalist’ have created is Against the Grain – contrary to one’s natural inclination or feeling of someone or something. This project goes against the mean and popular belief, following an entirely new path.
The year was 1996 and San, music producer, graphic designer, and business man, happened to find himself amongst the right people, leading him to serious pursuit of a career in music. Sixteen years later, he was introduced to the work of emcee, Elliott Niezel, on a record titled “Dream Catchers” from Soulogik’s album, Cabin Fever. After exploring more of Elliott’s work, including his studio album, The Leap Year, he decided to reach out to him in the hopes of working together. At that point, these two music-focused souls started tossing ideas and concepts around for a collaboration, leading them to the conclusion of something against the grain. Their idea was to create something completely new and unique – unorthodox; an album focused on the idea of the ‘plague doctors’. It was a desperate time that called for desperate measures, where men of conviction and raw passion were needed more than ever. San and Elliott began developing a theme that would bring a new and interesting flavor to the role of social commentator, emcee, while carving out a sound rich enough for the role of producer – overall sonic orchestrator and conductor.
Elliott and San are using this album to convey their opinions of music business and their roles within it. Frustrated with the lack of musical creativity, innovation, and integrity in the business, these two men felt obliged to ‘inject the life serum’ into this otherwise diseased and desperate playing field. By scrapping against the grain, they have created a project completely opposite of today’s musical trends.
Against the Grain is spanning continents, with San located in Maseru, Lesotho, and Elliott, in Santa Barbara, California. This distance and cultural diversity has helped expand their boundaries and push the creativity to an unexplored level. The hope is that this project leaves the listener with a deeper understanding of these two talented men and their thoughts on grinding against the grain – no rules pertaining. So, sit down and roll up, and feel the energy, passion, and truth resonating through your speakers.
released March 13, 2013
San and Elliott would like to thank Mr. Riz of Block Kids on the New for engineering this project, as well as Joseph Meegar, Alias, Shorty Bang, O-Nerve, and Lyrical Tip. We also can't forget our perspective squads Inverse Tangent and Audible Braile Entertainment.