Genji Siraisi grew up in Brooklyn, the son of a visual artist from Japan and a history professor from England. At 15, as the drummer for the punk band Nastyfacts, he was playing in NYC clubs such as Max’s Kansas City, CBGB’s, and The Peppermint Lounge. Their 45″ single “Drive My Car” has become sought after among Punk collectors fetching over $100 a copy. As a teenager while out seeing The Dead Boys, The Talking heads, Defunkt and Bad Brains on his own Genji was also exposed to other worlds of music with his father who would take him to see the likes of Oscar Peterson, Max Roach, Philly Jo Jones, Elvin Jones, Ornette Coleman, Roy Haynes, McCoy Tyner, Sam Rivers, the NY Philharmonic, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley and King Sunny Ade.
In the following years he 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 the legendary producer of Steely Dan, Gary Katz. During this time, he was also the house drummer for the legendary Giant Step parties, playing alongside some of New York’s most celebrated DJ’s. 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 was used in the original Yo!MTV Raps theme bumper for which he was also a co-writer and c0-producer.
Genji co-founded the Latin/Jazz/Hip Hop/Disco band Groove Collective, co-producing their six albums, traveling 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 most of the favorite NYC downtown clubs like Nell’s, Tramps, Irving Plaza, Wetlands, knitting Factory as well as at David Macuso’s famous loft parties securing their place in the New York underground dance music scene. As a touring musician Genji has played many of the major Jazz Festivals and hundreds of clubs around the world. In the studio he has also worked with Masters at Work, Digital Underground, Chucho Valdez, Indie Arie, and Bob Power. On drums he backed up Tupac for MTV Live Jams (voted #2 live rap performance for two consecutive years). For the Red Hot+ series he backed up Pharaoh Sanders, Ramsey Lewis, Digable Planets, Natalie Merchant and Duncan Sheik. Among many others he has performed live with The Sugar Hill Gang, Rahzel, Pharcyde, Branford Marsalis, Fred Wesley, Ultra Nate, Lisa Shaw, Carlos “Patato” Valdes and Bernie Worrell. He has shared the bill with James Brown, The Ohio Players, Tito Puente, Dave Mathews, Maceo Parker, Bad Brains, Isaac Hayes, BB King, Wide Spread Panic and many others.
Genji is known for creating music that covers 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, afro beat, punk, pop, soul, and folk. Genji’s solo releases include the solo 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, Tylenol among others.
Genji continues to live and work in New York City were he still marvels at “…the unbelievable history and wondrous variety of music of New York…”
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…”