Genji Siraisi is an artist, composer, producer and founding member of the Grammy-nominated New York City Latin/Jazz/Hip Hop/Disco band Groove Collective. He has produced, composed, and recorded for labels such as Warner Bros, Universal, Savoy, London, Pony Canyon, and has toured worldwide as a musician.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, the son of a visual artist from Japan and a history professor from England, Genji began performing in NYC clubs such as Max’s Kansas City, CBGB’s, and The Peppermint Lounge at the age of 15, as the drummer for the punk band Nastyfacts. [In 2006 a copy of an original pressing of the band’s 1980 45″ single “Drive My Car” sold for $142.58 on eBay.] As a teenager while out seeing The Dead Boys, James Chance & the Contortions, Defunkt and Bad Brains with his friends, Genji was also exposed to other worlds of music with his father who would take him to see live performances around New York City by living legends such as Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Ornette Coleman, Roy Haynes, McCoy Tyner, Sam Rivers, the NY Philharmonic, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and King Sunny Adé.
In the following years, Genji became an audio engineer and producer working in some of New York’s top studios of the day including The Record Plant and Greene Street. In the early ’90’s he joined the underground neo-soul group Repercussions and co-produced their record for Warner Bros with veteran producer Gary Katz (Steely Dan). During this time, he became the house drummer for the legendary Giant Step parties in downtown Manhattan, playing alongside some of New York’s most celebrated DJs, MCs, and musicians. Genji wrote and produced the first Giant Step single Satsuki for 8Ball records giving him the opportunity to work with dance groove veterans Danny Tenaglia and DJ Jazzy Nice. His image and drumming were used in the original Yo!MTV Raps theme bumper for which he was also a co-writer and co-producer.
Genji co-founded the Latin/Jazz/Hip Hop/Disco band Groove Collective, co-producing their six albums, travelling the world on numerous tours and receiving a Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for the album People People Music Music. In the early days, Groove Collective played at many of the favorite NYC clubs like Nell’s, Tramps, Irving Plaza, Wetlands, Webster Hall, Knitting Factory, as well as at David Mancuso’s famous loft parties, securing the band’s place in the New York underground dance music scene. Over his career, Genji has performed at major jazz festivals and venues around the world and worked in the studio with Masters at Work, Digital Underground, Chucho Valdez, Curtis Mayfield, Tom Browne, Rick Derringer, and Bob Power, among others. On drums, he played with Tupac Shakur for MTV Live Jams (voted #2 live rap performance) and for the Red Hot+ series with Pharaoh Sanders, Ramsey Lewis, Digable Planets, Last Poets, Don Cherry, Tony Williams, Natalie Merchant, Lester Bowie, and Duncan Sheik. Among others, he has performed live with The Sugar Hill Gang, Rahzel, Pharcyde, Branford Marsalis, Fred Wesley, Ultra Nate, Lisa Shaw, Carlos “Patato” Valdes, Jody Watley, and Bernie Worrell. Genji has also shared the bill with people such as James Brown, The Ohio Players, Tito Puente, Dave Mathews, Maceo Parker, Bad Brains, Isaac Hayes, BB King, and Wide Spread Panic.
Genji is known for creating music across a wide range of styles with an emphasis on grooves and moods, covering sounds both eclectic and accessible. It has given him the opportunity to work on projects that call for electronica, funk, ambient, hip-hop, house, jazz, Latin, afrobeat, punk, pop, soul, and folk. Genji’s solo releases include the electronic album Censorsh!t as well as the ambient project Baby Winter with keyboardist/composer Barney McAll. His original compositions and drumming have been featured in full-length films such as Liberia: An Uncivil War, Comedian (Jerry Seinfeld), Undefeated (John Leguizamo), Jezebel, Brutal and in national ad campaigns for American Express, Diet Pepsi, and Tylenol among others.
Genji resides in New York City’s Lower East Side with his wife and two children. He is currently spearheading the creation of the Museum of Music & Entertainment in New York City (MOMENT NYC)
Groove Collective in the press
“Jazz/funk fusion at it’s most sublime.”
“Groove Collective’s identity lies not in one fixed style but in it’s capable hospitality to whatever might keep hips swaying.”
-John Pareles, New York Times
“A truly dynamic force.”
– Straight No Chaser UK
Genji Siraisi in the press
“…mad programmed beats with full set acoustic assaults, resulting in an experience like surfing electronic/hip-hop waves with Afrika Bambaataa and Bernard Purdie…”
– Ken Micallef, EQ Magazine
“Kids, don’t let you parents listen to this! It might seriously blow their minds”
– Katrina Richter, Rephlektor Magazine
“With atmospheric glitch-hop grooves steeped in cinematic clubspun downtempo, Surviving Freedom would be the
soundtrack if David Mancuso’s Loft ever went on a liquid MDMA-fueled pirate space rave.”
– Trace Blog
“Intelligent programming binds a sparse landscape of beat shards and textures…a lesson in postproduction and audio editing. All in the key of brooklyn….like being dropped in the middle of some uber sexy post modern mashup between Edit’s recent work and a 70’s porno classic….A configuration of… shifting elements and textures, disassembled layers restitched with a series of clicks, cuts, and warbling synth overtones. Soothing, alienating, and challenging simultaneously.”
“Genji Siraisi shines on…”
– Zach Danzinger, Modern Drummer
“Genre bending with the joy of discovery Genji creates a unique and memorable soundtrack…”