We all know him as Vincent Chase, but when Adrian Grenier isn't gallivanting through La-La Land as his fictional character on Entourage
, he's on the Right Coast, making great music with talented artists in his Williamsburg apartment. After years of playing music with close friends, Grenier has created his own WRECKROOM, offering his home's sonic space to regular and transient musicians.
We recently caught up with Grenier to discuss his New York City musical roots, the WRECKROOM, and an impressive group of teen musicians that he can't stop listening to.
Growing up in New York City, what music scene did you find yourself attached to?
I've run the gamut. But I remember, you know, falling in love in the mosh pit at CBGB's, as well as venues that have come and gone. Eventually, having the opportunity to play bigger venues, like the Bowery Ballroom and the like. So, just seeking out whatever it is. It's been sort of a luxury to have grown up in New York. To be in the center of a great music scene. Everybody plays in New York.
Tell us about WRECKROOM.
So ever since I was younger I've always fantasized about having a music space. It wasn't until I finally got kicked out of the house when I was like 19, and I got my own apartment in Williamsburg, that I realized, "I'm paying rent here, I can do whatever I want -- I can play loud music if I want. My mom's not gonna tell me no." So I went out and bought a drum kit -- I think it was like $200 -- and in those days I was quite ignorant, I thought it was going to be a whole drum kit but in fact it was the cheapest drum kit ever, it didn't even have all the pieces. So we ended up doing a makeshift hi-hat using a cauldron, like a pasta strainer. And uh, it had sort of a kick pedal with a knife and tape. But we made due. And you know, it was just in a little scrappy corner of my apartment and that was our music space. But we had one of the old cassette tapes -- 4-tracks and whatnot -- and you know, it was awesome. Ever since then I've just started accumulating equipment, started upgrading slowly over the years. Then my next apartment was a little bigger and I got an extra room for the space specifically, and eventually Pro Tools. It just sort of mounted over the years. And now that I'm older and I have a real job, I was able to afford the studio of my childhood dreams. I built this really great professional studio in my basement. And I had this great studio but I couldn't possibly utilize you know, the whole thing for what it's good to use for. So I decided not to hoard it -- isolate it, keep it all to myself -- and I decided to let my friends come in and record music. All the bands that I've known over the years, or played with over the years, or their band friends started calling up and I couldn't help but say, "Yeah, come on down." And eventually we started to expand from there -- reach out to bands we didn't necessarily know, after shows we'd go up to the bands and ask them if they wanted to come in and record. So it's sort of been this long journey to get here.
And how does the environment your own home benefit the music that's being recorded in there?
Well the one thing that I can say is that everybody who comes through has a great time. It's very relaxed, everybody that we work with are friends that I've known for years with the exception of Brian who's new to the team, but he's necessary because he's got the skills and he's just a great guy so But Damien and I grew up together playing music. He's one of my best friends for 20 years. You know, he's a little whipper-snapper of a personality, people really take to him. And my apartment's my house so people feel just like banging out, having fun. Sometimes after a session we'll walk to dinner. You know, it's not one of those stuffy, media situations where you go in and there's sort of an agenda. I think people appreciate that. Also, they know that what we're doing is really for a collective. It's like a union of musicians who all share the same vision to be creative, make music, and share it. And we've all sort of embraced the new landscape of music. Not to like hold on to your IP or songwriting and wait for the big record deal -- it's about constantly being creative and letting it flow.
Is there a certain WRECKROOM recording that stands out to you, that you think should be featured?
We were blown away by The Skins. And we've embarked on a longer relationship with the band, and we've been helping to manage them, basically making a promise to continue to create content with them, and to record an album with them. So I'm gonna say The Skins because of that relationship, but also because their talent is so apparent. If anyone represents WRECKROOM, it's definitely The Skins.
Can you give us a little bio on The Skins?
It's three siblings, all in their teens. Yeah, I think Bailey's 18 now and her brother is 13 on the drums. And then the sister is 15, she plays bass. And then their two friends come in to round out with the rhythm and the lead guitar.
What types of places are you finding these bands -- are there any in particular?
Well for example, I was in Austin recently, I went to see Gary Clarke Jr. play and I just went up to him after the show and invited him to come record when he's in New York. We've been talking and I'd love to get him in. You know, it's a scheduling thing at that point. Who else? Delta Spirit, I saw them in Central Park. Yeah I mean it's just random bands that you end up digging. And then of course everybody and their mother recommend bands -- once they see the thing they say, "Oh, you should check out this band!" I do pay attention, and we do a fair amount of you know, listening because you never know where you're going to find something that's worth exploring. I've always been that way with bands. People come up to me on the street and hand me their CDs and I always listen because you know, there's so much great talent out there.
You can explore the WRECKROOM, and watch Adrian Grenier jam with his friends.