Changing the scene

GVL / Courtesy

GVL / Courtesy

Shelby Pendowski

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Grand Valley State University student Kyle Norton began playing instruments at a young age, and when he came to college he decided to use his musical talents to form the one-man band the Nortroniks. After years of developing as a solo electronic music artist, Norton has expanded the band to include drummer Christian Grow, who is also a GVSU student.

“I actually transferred to Grand Valley and I had like no friends and I got into the music program,” Norton said. “I had always been in bands in high school and stuff, so I just really wanted to make music and had no one to do it with so I started making electronic music and really enjoyed it.”

A couple of years ago, Norton signed with Detroit record label Young Heavy Souls. Since the pairing, he has produced multiple albums including his newest “Greater Colors” that was released in October 2013.

“I think what inspires me is probably how crappy the electronic music scene is,” Norton said. “It is just so full of artists just ripping each other off and there is not a lot of soul to it like other scenes, so I thought I could do something different with it.

“I come from an indie music background so I wanted to add like more of a human element to it, so that is why I keep making it and keep trying to add more things to it.”

Regularly, Norton and Grow invite other musicians who play various types of instruments to play alongside them at shows. Recently at a performance at Founders Brewing Company in downtown Grand Rapids, the duo jammed alongside a saxophonist. It is musical additions such as this that sets the Nortroniks apart, Norton said.

The Nortroniks are hitting the road and will travel across the country in March to begin a short tour including a performance at the Serenity Gathering Music Festival in San Diego, Calif.

“When I was making electronic music (when I first started), I put it on the Internet just messing around, and the guy from my record label saw it and he was like, ‘Hey, I really like this stuff and you should make a release,’” Norton said. “I just booked this music festival out in California and then…through each person that I have met I got another show and then it turned into a mini-tour.”

The Serenity Gathering Music Festival features hundreds of bands throughout the four-day festival.

“I am looking forward to it because it is like bigger crowds that don’t know my music,” Norton said. “It is just a really great way to get out there and show it to different people.”

This will be the first time the Nortroniks will perform in California, and their trip to the West Coast will conclude with a radio appearance on “Culture Remixed” in Los Angeles.

“(Music) makes people move and is really cool to see,” Norton said. “It is the coolest thing to see people like when your music gets more energized…it is a good feeling that something you created is making people act that way.”

The Nortoniks next local appearance will be on Feb. 21 at Bells Brewery in Kalamazoo.