btwgray: Mirroring of Art And Music
What inspires you to create music and how did you start?
GS: I have always been doing music, I took piano lessons when I was little. I started putting out music in my senior year of high school.
Did your parents get you to start the piano first?
GS: Yes definitely. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything unless it's music. You just hear something and it just transports you. Nothing compares to it in that way. With painting and art it's less like that.
Is there a difference between a feeling that turns into a song or a painting?
GS: I think a song for me describes a specific moment, a song has specificity. For me now music is my number one thing. When I was little I was more into drawing, but now when I wanna make something it's usually music. The other stuff is just trying to do more, I don’t wanna put all my eggs in one basket. I feel like in doing everything, it benefits each other.
So the pieces play with each other?
GS: Yeah at least in my head. I don’t think it comes off that way, but I think it's the same feelings.
Do you wanna keep your paintings and music relatively separate?
GS: Yeah I just don’t wanna put it out as something that’s connected. I feel like it's corny to connect it all at this point.
Do you feel like you have to have different aspects of yourself because you're trying to not combine it?
GS: No because it's different enough because it being art and music that other people wouldn’t connect it.
So what made you choose an art school over a music school?
GS: With music school I don’t want to do any type of theory and read music, I did that in high school and it wasn’t that fun. The type of music I wanna make I don’t think would benefit from me going to music. Art school benefits everything. The type of shit I’m learning applies to everything because music is art and art is music. I feel like all these ways of opening yourself up and finding new help to get it out of you creatively applies to music. It doesn’t apply the other way around, music school wouldn’t help my art.
Do you think since art is more applied to who you are as a person that would help with music, but music theory has nothing to do with painting?
GS: Yeah, I think my music benefits a lot from me thinking about it as art and thinking about it visually. I sound pretentious talking about it like that but it's hard to vocalize. I think it's painting on the beat and in art school we learn not to adhere to any specific structure. That’s something I’ve been doing in music lately, but all can appreciate a rigid structure
GS: Just being absurd with it. Not before last July, but it started when I switched majors. I just started thinking about things differently. The new EP I dropped is not as tied down with structure.
I think your art has this wandering feel to it and I think it would transfer to your music not having a structure.
GS: The same feelings of dissociation and paranoia and like periods of isolation are in both my paintings and music. I kinda don’t write that much, it's informed by the previous things, but I also do planned stuff.
Do you have a process?
GS: Kinda, but it switches a lot. I work with these two kids, my friend Francesco and my other friend Jeski Vaca, he raps too. Those two were doing most of the production and I was putting in input. Not that I wasn’t producing beats, but recently I’ve been doing my own production. I feel like it's coming out more authentic because it's being more hands-on. It’s getting more similar to my art because it's just me and not my friend bouncing ideas off of eachother. I’m getting lost in the sauce and my paintings and music are converging more when it’s me doing everything.
Were you guys friends in high school?
GS: More like associates and we had become really close with after high school. My friend Jesse lives in the city and Francesco is like my step brother
So who are your musical influences?
GS: It changes so much, but I would say Prince is a big influence but not so much sonically.
More like aesthetic?
GS: Well my last tape was influenced a lot by him. But now I'm doing some more modern sounding stuff.
It is playful in the lyrics?
GS: In terms of the lyrics and the way I deliver them.
So how as your art and music evolved?
GS: So I was in a metal band in middle school
What instrument did you play?
GS: I sang and played guitar. I learned guitar at a young age. When I first dropped music it was like kinda trap. That was the thing, all these white kids were making trap music ‘cause that’s what they listen to. Then it kinda went less towards imitation and started making music that said something about me. I started thinking about releasing projects instead of singles and that’s when it took a more artistic approach.
So did you like being able to have a body of work and be able to tell more of a story or idea within that?
GS: Not so much storytelling that I’m interested in, but with a body of work there’s more room to build a shape. Like I said when I’m building a song it's very visual. I want all the songs to be a certain shape and I’ll draw the shape. I’ll organize it like how I organize my paintings, a collection that is well balanced. I think an EP is more immersive, there’s more things to do creatively and you aren’t limited to one song. You can be more specific to certain things than a single song.
So why an EP instead of a full length album?
GS: I don’t think that people have the attention span to listen to a full length album if you're just starting out.
Since your style is changing so much you like the flexibility with like a four song EP?
GS: Yeah, exactly. You can experiment a lot more and not every song has to be a banger. You can have the lulls on the high and that’s the beauty of it. One song will hit way harder if the one before it is more of a break?
So it’s more about the full experience?
GS: Yeah you have to get the context. All the songs are supposed to live on their own, but I think it’s definitely better.
Like Pink Floyd's “The Wall” album had songs lead into each other.
GS: Or just like having a set of five songs you can set the tone and everything is relative to each other?
Do you see songs as extensions of each other?
GS: I see them as separate things, but they need each other for the ideas to work.
Where do you want to take your music and art in terms of style?
GS: I don’t know because I think if you can define the style it’s not cool.
Do you like the ambiguity?
GS: Yeah once you label it you’re boxing yourself in. If you’re doing something new you shouldn’t try to pick a style because then you’re just putting yourself on a Spotify playlist.
So trying to find your own unique sound?
GS: Not that I'm neccasey trying to find a new sound, but I’m just making what I make and not feeling like I feel the need to fit in a playlist. Being on a playlist would be cool though.
In terms of your art?
GS: I don’t really know a lot of art. I don’t have favorite painters and I don’t really look at a lot.
Do you think that helps you?
GS: I do, I do think it helps. Obviously it’s good to read and learn about art, but I like it out of context. I don’t like when people are like, “Oh it looks like this artist”.
So like your music you don’t wanna get boxed into one style and look too much like one particular artist?
GS: Yeah exactly. Or I’ll hesitate to listen to an artist too much because then you’ll even get subconsciencly influenced. I guess if I study a broad range of art it won’t matter. I think it’s bad because when people tell you their favorite artist and you can clearly see the influence in their own work.
So you switched into fine arts from fashion?
GS: Yeah I did start with fashion, fashion was cool and I love clothes. It just seemed a little try hard and the way people looked at fashion seemed outta place with what I wanted to do. ] I wanna go back to fashion at some point and not just print on hoodies. But right now I’m making money just printing on hoodies and I’d rather do that then sew something for dumb long and then try to sell it for a ton of money.
Do you find it funny that as soon as you got out of fashion you were scouted as a model?
GS: Actually I think it was because I dyed my hair. The next day I got stopped on the street. I think it’s just funny how the littlest things can change the trajectory of where you’re gonna go. It’s scary because then you can think too deep into it and then think about how every little thing you do can affect your life.
Do you think modeling is another art form or do you think of it as more of a job?
GS: I think you can be a trash model even if you are super good looking. I don’t think it’s an art form, you can learn to be a good model. You can practice poses and stuff for a week and be good, while you can’t do that with painting and making music. I mean you can learn but not it wouldn’t take a week to get really good.
Do you think there has to be some innate ability in order to do music and art?
GS: I think so. I think it shows at an early age, I showed interest in drawing and music at an early age where my brothers weren’t drawing. I think it’s a combination of both, some people are more inclined than others. It’s innate to certain levels, but some people are innately mediocre.
So you need to couple that with time and caring about it?
GS: I think caring is the innate part, if you care about art. You don’t have to really be good at drawing, you just have to see it and if you care about seeing it.
Does that go to innate creativity?
GS: I think people are born with innate creativity. I’m not saying that I am, but you look at these great artists and even athletes and it's like yeah they did that. Some people are just so special that’s what they are supposed to do, it’s the golden nugget thing.
Do you think about being a golden nugget or do you just do your thing?
GS: I think there are more golden nuggets than people that are widely successful. Many of the very successful people might have had it, but sometimes people didn’t have the opportunity to pursue it. I think you need a little luck and putting your mind to it and stuff will work out.
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