Music’s next big thing talks to Friend of a Friend about growing up with Eminem, spontaneous bursts of creativity, and how to be a music producer today.
“I’m from Warwick, NY, which is like an hour west of New York City. It’s a very rural town, and me and my friends were always in the know and listening to new music. Growing up I listened to a lot of really low key, old school hip-hop. My dad would play a lot of hip-hop when I was younger—he played a lot of Eminem, as well as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Elton John, the Beatles, David Bowie. I’ve always loved music—In eighth grade we were asked to produce a song for a contest, and I won it, and they put it on local radio and I just kept making music after that.”
Friend of a Friend: Where do you produce your music?
Gus Dapperton: I play a bunch of instruments. I have a studio in my basement, and I produce the drums and the bass through my audiowork station on my computer, but then I’ll record live guitar and live keyboards and vocals.
FOAF: Do you perform a lot or are you mostly focused on just putting out new music?
GD: My core is producing. There are periods of time where I would just sit in my basement all summer producing tracks. I only started singing about a year ago.
FOAF: Are there any people in the industry right now that you admire?
GD: This dude, King Krule, from the UK—I really like his music, I listen to it all the time. He stays completely original and is so smart with his investments and endorsements. You’ve probably never heard of him, but he was like the highest-grossing musician a few years ago in 2013. I really admire him.
FOAF: What is your music-making process like?
GD: I’ll get random urges. I probably have, like, twenty-five notebooks filled up, but I’ll get bursts of creativity anywhere. Last year I was not feeling it, so I was just writing all the time. Whenever it is raining out or I get sick, I’ll write. I’ll make time to go to work in my basement and figure stuff out, but it happens randomly.
I definitely like to stick to the roots of all of my influences. Honestly, I just try to make stuff that has never been made before. I can listen to an artist and say, “I want to make a song like this,” but all the music that I make is just what happens—that’s what comes out. I’m not trying to push in one direction or another; I’m just trying to make something that is totally different.
We got to hang out with Gus at one of his concerts in New York City! See the footage below, and listen to more Gus here.