GROMO, a high school sophomore in New York City, wakes up every day knowing exactly what he wants to do… produce groundbreaking and powerful music.
But, that may not have been how his life could have turned out.
Adopted from Guatemala at birth, he is keenly aware that his life could have been dramatically different. “I’m privileged and lucky to have the life I currently have, I don’t take that for granted.”
It’s this steely determination and purview on his life that keeps this multi-talented producer/DJ/guitarist/songwriter poised to have a profound impact on the scene.
GROMO (Brae Gromek) grew up hearing music differently than others. As a child, he would listen to his father’s eclectic music collection and dissect songs, dicing them up in his mind into basics; rhythm, melody, and harmony. Armed with this powerful dissection tool, he picked up the guitar and transformed into a young musician / songwriter with a singular vision. He devoted all of his time to playing in a band, immersed in the world of heavy metal. But he soon began to outgrow metal’s boundaries and attitude. Then he found Skrillex.
“When I saw him at age 14, that was it. EDM completely changed my perspective on life, and opened up a whole new direction to take my music,” GROMO says. “Even though there is a lot of negativity in the world, music is something everyone can relate to and it makes people happy. Seeing Skrillex live brought out the same reaction as seeing Metallica did, but on a whole new level. He completely sold me on his live performance, and without this combination, I wouldn’t be as open to merging all of my musical influences.”
As he dove deeper, he found out that like him, Skrillex is adopted, and like him, he started out playing in hard rock bands. GROMO started dabbling in production, approximating the sounds he heard through studying various production techniques on YouTube.
Needing more guidance to fully do justice to the music in his head, he enrolled at Dubspot, the innovative music school for DJs and electronic musicians, and he began to master the software platform to facilitate his creativity, Ableton Live. “Learning that program was a breakthrough for me. My musical ideas were coming so fast and Ableton allowed me to capture them almost immediately.” There, he met JP Solis, cofounder of Dubspot, who became his mentor.
This was a time of profound change for GROMO as a person and an artist, and to commemorate this new era, he took the name “GROMO” as a playful appropriation of his last name, Gromek. As GROMO’s abilities with technology grew, and attained the technical savvy to reproduce fat and dirty basslines among the full scope of his internal vision, he also found that his tastes began expanding.
“I got so close-minded with metal, but as I became more inspired in this new era, I started reaching back to all the music I first heard as a kid for ideas,” he says. “I realized I love everything – jazz, big band, rock n’ roll, metal, classical – the beautiful melodies in progressive house. You can get song ideas from everything; all music is good.” Inspiration like this attributes to his imaginative rearrangements, and astounding musicality.
His aspirations now are to reach main-stage status, while maintaining a fresh approach to the dance music scene. Though he’s 16, he’s fiercely committed to furthering his craft and writing groundbreaking and powerful EDM. He is also committed to giving back to his native country Guatemala by performing there, building schools and establishing music programs. “I want to work harder and harder and get closer to my vision.”
In 2014, his journey began to take flight, which got a major jolt when he shared the stage with EDM icons GTA. “Being in the booth high up and watching people dance to my music and seeing all the energy was the best feeling ever,” he says.” Though that was a highlight in his two-year mission to realize the music within, for GROMO, the true reward comes from the positive impact his music projects onto others. He says: “I set out to do this because I wanted to touch people, make them happy, and help out others the way music has helped me in my life. If someone wakes up in the morning, listens to my music, and it gives them the energy to take on the world, I’ve done my job.”