Gat$ is an indie hip hop artist from Tampa, Florida. I got a chance to see him perform in my hometown of Fort Myers a few years ago and I was extremely impressed. He had a really dark vibe and absolutely commanded the crowd. It was one of the few times I was fortunate enough to see an artist live before ever hearing their music. I’ve been listening to him every since and I recently sat down and spoke with him about his recent release, #HEELtv.
N: When did you start recording music?
G: “Seriously? Four years ago. I was in a band before I started making hip hop though. I played guitar. I don’t play much anymore, just a little here and there.”
N: How long was the recording process for #HEELtv?
G: “I started recording on New Years Eve 2014. I had gotten through majority of the album by July but it just wasn’t sounding the way I wanted it to. I knew I had to basically start from scratch. In January and throughout March I started to get a good idea of the direction I wanted to head in. I went back to the studio October to December after having to push the release date back.”
N: Do you write before the studio or while you’re there?
G: “I write before I go in. I rarely write in the studio. I think that’s a waste of time. A lot of artists look at the studio as a place to hang out. That’s where I go to work. I spend a majority of my time writing. Im surrounded by sticky notes. My girlfriend probably hates me.” (he laughs)
N: Do you write a lot of things knowing they won’t be songs?
G: “I write everything with a “survival of the fittest” mentality. I write until there’s nothing left. I go back and edit my stuff for sure but I just let the thoughts flow until I’m done.
In college I had numerous majors from Music to English. Writing means a lot to me. I like the idea of telling certain stories and taking specific directions with songs. Creating something out of nothing.”
N: Did you feel like you were wasting your time in school?
G: “Yeah definitely, I enjoyed learning but at a certain point, considering that I want to follow music as a career it didn’t seem smart to spend money on school anymore when I can learn what I need to know on the internet.”
N: Can you explain a bit of what inspired #HEELtv?
G: “There’s two main concepts with mini ones all the way through it. The inspiration for the project as a whole was Frankenstein, which is written as a framework story. I wanted to present an album that way. The three “TV” tracks are all connected. It’s all my viewpoint on the media and specifically hip hop on television. The mainstream media is busy glorifying sex, drugs, and women. “Everything on TV” is my take on that: chasing those things only leaves you empty.
“Something on TV” is glorification of women in hip hop. I reference a lot of drugs and women on that song. I just feel like if that’s what you’re chasing it’ll never leave you fully satisfied.
“Nothing on TV” I was talking about all the things you wouldn’t expect to hear from a rapper.
The rest of the album really is a kind of journal. It’s just all the things that were on my mind.”
N: Did you see a lot of difference between the creative process between Starship and #HEELtv?
G: “It was a very different process. The making of Starship was really “micro”. I spent a lot of time on details. I spent a lot more time in the studio on that release than this one.
There’s a narrative in Starship if you look for one.
With #HEELtv I had one direction I wanted to go with it and it didn’t work the way I wanted it to. Then when I went back into the studio the second time I just started recording whatever I wanted. It was a much more liberating process. I felt I was being a lot more honest that way, instead of trying to overthink every detail. I wasn’t trying to have a super deep concept even though there is one. I just want to show people who I am.”
N: Is there any artist that you’re consistently impressed by?
G: “The artistI listen to the most is Tame Impala. “Currents” was definitely my most played album last year.
As far as hip hop I like Pusha T and Kendrick. I listen to a totally inappropriate amount of Future also.”
N: Are you planning on touring?
G: “That’s to be announced.”
N: Do you know what’s next for you?
G: “I have an idea but then again I have a lot of ideas.” (he laughs)
“I want to let the next few months play out and see what happens.
I’m just glad this album is finally out. I made this without really having the masses in mind. I made this for the group of people that have been following my music since I started.
The people I wanted to be happy about it are. I was able to have another Gat$mania show this year and sell out of CD’s. That definitely feels good.
I could really give two fucks about making a ton of money. Sure, I would love to tour arenas someday but if I’m playing sold out arenas and not touching every persons life in that room, then what’s the point?
I just want to bring joy into people’s lives. That’s why I do what I do.”
Listen to Gat$‘ new album, #HEELtv in it’s entirety below.
Check out his site and download the album for free HERE!