After attending a conservative high school, Grillo was eager to partake in the diversity of the inner city and sought a BA degree at Chicago's Roosevelt University, a culturally and ethnically diverse urban setting. The freeform curriculum allowed him to explore and define a strong interest in ancient history, film, and literature. After graduating, he spent a year in Italy, studying the Italian language by day and soaking in the music by night. He forged links with DJs and producers and developed an interest in progressive forms of urban music, notably ambient, house, and acid jazz. Upon his return to Chicago, Grillo began collaborating with Italy's Black Zone Records, an independent dance music record label based in Turin. He took on the role of finding manufacturing, distribution, and promotion for Black Zone's recordings. More importantly, he also had his hand in music production in Black Zone's recording studios.
In '95, together with other notable Chicago jazz musicians, Grillo began producing his own musical works under the name Underground Evolution. After several European releases on labels such as