71: Ryan Gruss, Drummer/Entrepreneur
Ryan Gruss was working a 9-5 job in Boston with a drumset in the basement and a music career in the rear view mirror. He had come through his New York years, played in a band that was always on the verge of getting the big record contract that never materialized, and assisting the legendary Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Records. Now, finally, he was ready to settle down with a steady paycheck and a mortgage.
Out this environment, his company The Loop Loft emerged. It started with Ryan in his basement, isolated and craving some musical contact, recording loops of himself playing drums and uploading them for free to his blog. Then he charged a small fee. As the loops caught on, he expanded, generating more and more content in different styles, and eventually recruiting other musicians to make content. In short order, he was making loop recordings with some of his musical heroes (and mine), including Matt Chamberlain, Mark Guiliana, and Omar Hakim, and began curating the series much in the same way he had seen Ertegun curate a record label.
It grew into one of the most creative production libraries around. Ryan says he set out to make the “Blue Note of drum loops”, and I know what he means. Today, he runs the Loop Loft out of his original hometown of Des Moines Iowa.
We met recently to talk about how a drummer goes about becoming a tech entrepreneur and the unusual journey that Ryan made to get there.
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