By: Sterling Martin
The exponential growth of electronic music seen today has led to fewer and fewer artists incorporating live vocals and instruments, simply because they can sample what they need. While this trend is being somewhat reversed by bigger artists and their live band setting, most notably Pretty Lights, there is still somewhat of a lack in variety amongst emerging artists.
For this reason, it’s refreshing to see an artist break conventions and find a niche where their talents can shine through. GiBBZ, the solo project backed by musical prodigy Mike Gibney, literally does it all. He sings, plays guitar, the keys, drum machines, and anything else required for getting a party started.
His talents haven’t gone unnoticed, as his voice and signature disco sound have landed him numerous features and even further a spot on Gramatik’s Lowtemp roster.
Today, TheUntz gives you an exclusive video sneak peak into his creative process. “I wanted to film how I make ideas for tracks,” said Gibbz. His new song titled “Love Again,” is a slower-paced track about love, hope and optimism for the future. The vocals are powerful and draw emotion out of places you didn’t know you had, truly making it the perfect release for Valentine’s Day.
Describe your history with music before and leading up to the “Gibbz” project.
Before starting the "Gibbz" solo project, I was part of a few different musical endeavors. I've had the benefit of making music with really talented, inspirational artists my whole life. I went to Berklee College of music in Boston, which surrounded me with virtuosos, then after graduation I answered a few Craigslist ads and got into the studio, mixing records for Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch, Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, and Consequense, among many others.
How’d you get into the crowd with Gramatik and all your label mates over at Lowtemp?
I met Gramatik when I took a gig tour managing him and Break Science on a co-headlining run. The next time he went on tour he asked me to join and tour manage again. That's where I really got to know Eric Mendelson and the Exmag guys. Without them, I wouldn't be making music. They kept pushing me to create, even though I was tour managing. After shows, we would be writing on the bus on the way to the next city. They didn't see me as a tour manager, but more as an artist who has a hard-on for accounting.
Any specific route or approach you take when making a track? Describe your process a bit.
I try to write all my music on the guitar or keyboard first. I like to make sure it's a solid song before taking it to the computer. Then I'll start adding electronic elements and whatever else is needed, sonically, to back the message and vibe of the song. I do a lot of looping and sitting for hours finding the right sounds before tracking. If I'm dancing while I'm creating--it'll be a good track. If I'm focusing too hard and not moving, I generally move onto another idea. Not a lot of listeners sit and think "Oh gee, what a wonderful sustain on that bass guitar." Rather, "This song makes me want to party, party is fun, more party, party.
With a steady increase in solely EDM festivals AND a drastic increase in electronic acts at notoriously famous festivals, what’s your take on it all?
If the current dance music that is prominent at EDM festivals is what the people want to hear, who am I to say it's bad? It's what the listener wants. I like a catchy song, no matter what genre it's in, or how many people are into it. If a crowd-drawing EDM artist is bringing a lot of fans to a festival that I'm playing, that's more people who'll get to hear my set. On the way to the porta-potty, generally, but they'll STILL hear it.
Where can we expect "the Gibbz adventures” to take us as fans?
I've currently been fully immersed in making a new record and trying to sing for as many other artists as I can. On top of my own record, I'm hoping in the next few months I'll release an EP with French producer, DAZE.
Anything else to keep an eye out for specifically?
I'd like to use some free time soon to further the idea of "Cheryl" with ProbCause. We've brainstormed a lot of scenarios for her to get into, and I want to voice them all. Maybe we can make a little series out of it. With that, I've also been writing a lot of screen plays and I hope to get more into film acting. I'm sure some film needs a chubby guy with fantastic hair and shitty teeth. I'm available.
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