Take discovering acid jazz at the age of 12, then studying classical music and throw some beatboxing into the mix, and you’ll have some of the pieces visible that make up Bristol musician and activist, Krantz.
After discovering his music on X (formerly known as Twitter) I contacted Krantz to learn more about his work. It was clear that the man uses all his talents very specifically, and directly, to tackle certain political issues that belong to his proximate surroundings as well as around the globe. One of his latest tracks is a piece of emotional, moving electronica, that is created around a speech from US Senator Nina Turner, which Krantz sampled and puzzled in with the music – as if the powerful words were performed to the music.
During recent Covid lockdowns, Krantz used all of his musical talents, every Sunday, to entertain his fellow neighbors by performing music from his garden patio. Later on, other neighbors and musicians started participating, sending tones across rooftops and lifting people’s spirits.
Krantz took a moment to answer a few questions to further explain his background, music, and future projects. Read his message to the world below and check out his webpage and socials to follow his music.
Halldór Kristínarson: Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions! First of all, who is Krantz and how did you first get into making music?
Krantz: I’m a pianist, producer, composer, songwriter and beatboxer from Bristol who has a passion for politics and wants to help those speaking truth to power by sampling their spoken dialogue from Youtube videos to create impactful and memorable songs. I want to help them reach as far and wide as possible to show that people are leading the fight against those who continue to want to divide us.
I’m a classically trained pianist and after discovering Acid Jazz at the age of 12 and teaching myself to play Jazz and Funk, I also found a love for emotive classical music after hearing Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio For Strings’. When I began composing on the piano I started beatboxing to give each piece it’s character/ genre and this ability to beatbox and play piano at the same time has led to me supporting the likes of the Dub Pistols, Kosheen and performing at the world-renowned Boom Town Festival on multiple occasions.
My passion for many musical genres is displayed in my huge catalogue of tracks which include Classical, Post Classical, Orchestral Dubstep, Electronica, Hip Hop, Jazz, Beatbox, Funk, DnB, House, Trip Hop and World Fusion and I look forward to continue sharing as much music of varying genres as possible in the future.
HK: Did you decide from the beginning of your career to use your music and your voice for good? Or did politics and protest come into your craft at a later stage?
K: Politics and protest definitely came the more I emotionally matured and realised the good fortune and privilege I’ve had by having opportunities and choices. Before deciding to use the dialogue of truth teller’s dialogue in my tracks, my own lyrics were always very zeitgeist and addressed social, political and environmental issues so it was a natural progression and perhaps was destined to happen.
HK: Why do you think music is such an effective vessel for protest and activism?
K: Most people won’t spend the time watching a debate, an interview or even reading full articles and mostly make decisions on very little information e.g. ‘get Brexit done’. To be able to deliver the truth and the words of truth-tellers to the general public we have to be creative and find vessels that push against the [mainstream media] narrative that are entertaining, memorable through repetition and help induce introspection- you can take a horse to water but can’t make it drink. People need to be in a neutral space away from bias or influence to truly reflect and this is where art and specifically music can be most powerful. I’m creating alternative versions and remixes of multiple dance genres for every song so that the dialogue has a chance to reach as far and wide as possible and for the tracks to be used in DJ mixes online, in bars, festivals, radio and in clubs. The hope is people really enjoy the music, find the dialogue intriguing, want to find out who’s delivering the lyrics and then hopefully start following that person.
HK: You mentioned via our chat, on the medium formerly known as Twitter, that Facebook and Instagram had suppressed your posts after sharing a certain song. Can you tell me more about that?
K: I produced a song and lyric video featuring the dialogue of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) called “The Insurrection” and when trying to boost a post containing the video, Facebook responded by saying it was inappropriate and was not following the rules and regulations. Ever since that point my exposure has been incredibly small and is proving to be a massive obstacle in sharing content with people even within my own social circles let alone the wider public. Twitter is the only platform that really offers me the opportunity to share content to a wide audience and therefore the potential for increased awareness and followers.
HK: How is the scenery around you, music and activism-wise? Where you live and work, do you feel artists are using their voices to create change?
K: I very much keep myself to myself in regards to music creation however I don’t feel enough people are using their privilege and platform for positive means. I’m incredibly lucky to be in a position where I can make a difference in people’s lives and I feel it’s now my duty to make this happen. Fear and hate are constantly being fed to the public and we need to fight against this with an abundance of art filled with messages of optimism, truth and unity.
HK: Who are some of the artists or people that have inspired you?
K: Herbie Hancock, Samuel Barber, Hybrid, Outside, James Brown, Tower Of Power, Pink Floyd, Jazzanova
HK: What do you hope to achieve with your music?
K: I hope to help inspire other artists to produce their own political/protest art, for people to listen to the songs and be inclined to find out more about the featured speaker and to help sow some seeds that lead to introspection. Even if someone initially only engages with the composition hopefully through repetition, the lyrical content will start to penetrate their thoughts.
HK: What is on the horizon for you?
K: I’m continuing to produce a vast amount of songs with alternative versions and remixes which I’ll be releasing over the coming months. The next release is a track featuring James O’Brien (LBC) called “Twaddle Is Still The Order Of The Day” which is about the collusion between politicians and the right-wing newspapers. I’m looking to release it before the end of the year. I’ll then be releasing 3 different versions of a narrative I’ve created using Nina Turner- the song is called “Many Hands Make For Light Work”. The genres are classical, Jazz and Dub.
HK: Thank you again for participating. Anything else you‘d like to shout from the rooftops?
K: Want to say a massive thanks to yourself for putting the time and effort into trying to help make a difference. It’s not easy, you have to have self-belief, believe that hope can materialize and the aptitude to be able to keep on pushing. Keep up the good work as it will pay off and we will help to implement change.