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Interview: Gnash

“I never thought I’d go much further than an hour or two outside of California, so Hong Kong is gonna be awesome”

Written by
Graham Turner

American singer, songwriter, rapper, DJ and record producer, Garrett Nash – aka Gnash – announced himself to the planet back in 2015 with his breakout hit, I Hate You, I Love You, alongside San Francisco songwriter Olivia O’ Brien. Although the song had a humble birth on Gnash’s Soundcloud page, its searingly honest portrayal of a couple in emotional flux, post-breakup, spoke to a huge number of people and gained traction across the internet. It broke into pop charts around world, most notably in Australia, where it reached number one. 

Gnash’s writing is purposely bereft of verbosity, giving it an intuitive accessibility to anyone that’s experienced heartache. This free-flowing clarity extends to our conversation with the young creative....

How do you think things like YouTube and Spotify have changed the music industry?
I think they’ve made it so that artists like me can put stuff out whenever we want with pretty little effort, which is awesome because it gives me a straight line to my listeners that artists didn’t have in the past.

You’ve said you’re quite hesitant when dealing with the media and you like to really consider what you say. Is that still the case or do you feel a little more comfortable now?
I’m pretty limited in my recorded conversation because I could be feeling a certain way that day and then potentially, even though this is entirely a hypothetical fear, I would have to hear about it forever [laughs].

Your EPs about your previous break up were obviously very cathartic, but where are you seeking inspiration for your next release?
Going through a breakup is a time where, all of the sudden, you have all these feelings and you want to talk to all your friends and family about them. Now I’m being more introspective about everything I feel, assessing if I’m overreacting or if it’s something worth getting off my chest and then making a song about it... It’s going pretty well. 

U, Me and Us is a very candid series of EPs. Do you worry that it’s opened the door for fans and journalists to probe your private affairs more?
Not really. When questions come up that I’m uncomfortable with I just flip the question and encourage the listener to ask themselves something. I like it when things I hear make me think about how I think.

You collaborated with the very talented Olivia O’ Brien on your breakout hit, I Hate You, I Love You and that turned out really well. Who would love to work with in the future?
I’d love to work with Jack Johnson. I grew up listening to his songs and I’ll always take any excuse to check out and go to Hawaii [where Johnson lives] for a while.

You’re quite stringent about the stylistic use of lower-case letters, why is that?
Capitalisation takes longer when I’m free-writing my feelings.

Are you excited to come to Hong Kong?
Yes, very! I never thought I’d go much further than an hour or two outside of California, so this is gonna be awesome.

What can we expect?
A whole lot of feelings and a whole lot of smiles. If we feel together we'll feel better.

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