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INTERVIEW: GYASI

Hi Gyasi, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I have been great! I’m currently traveling through Mississippi picking up gigs at some blues venues and experiencing the delta for the first time. It’s incredible. I’ve gotten to meet and play with some of the last remaining blues men here and it is such a powerful experience for me.

Can you talk to us more about your song “Sugar Mama”?

It’s a bit of a take on a Howlin Wolf thing. I love some of the repetitive riff recordings of his that have such a power about them. That was the last song we did for the record and it was very spontaneous. We were just playing and it happened.

Did any event inspire you to write this song?

No real event, but more just being out dancing with my lady. We go swing and blues dancing a lot and I wanted to capture that raw blues sexual energy.

How was the recording and writing process?

The core of the song was actually composed and recorded in one take, which is what you hear on the record. I had my studio all set up from a previous session and my 12 year old neighbor Chris stopped by on his bicycle, as he often does. He plays every week at his church and is an incredible drummer. I asked him if he wanted to jam and he went and hopped on the drum set and I hit record. What you hear is us just freely playing together. I made up lyrics on the spot and later went back and re-tracked the vocals and added some more guitars and the bass, and that’s it.

What made you want to record the whole thing in one take?

I love recording that way. There is something about capturing an immediacy that makes for a very exciting recording. It’s raw and unpredictable and you can hear it. Songs are very fragile things, and often for me they can lose their original inspiration if too much time is spent trying to make them perfect or overly thought out. I like capturing songs as close to the time they were written as possible, as I’ve found it to always make them more exciting and tangible.

How has the 60s and 90s influenced your music?

Well I’d say the 60s influenced it very much in that my first obsession was the Beatles when I was 6. I became more of a Stones guy after that and then went on to Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. So that great burst of inspiration that happened in the 60s really hit me as being this magic moment of creativity and that music is what made me pick up a guitar. The 90s was my childhood but I was in such a removed world in rural West Virginia that I didn’t really experience the pop culture of the 90s. I didn’t really hear much if the music of that time until much later.

What role does Nashville play in your writing?

Hmm I suppose the biggest role it plays is in the musicians and the community that is here. There are so many great players and writers and people just really excited about making music. As far as my writing I think my experiences traveling have seeped in more than Nashville somehow, but of course anywhere you are influences your writing.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new album – how’s that coming along?

Yes! The EP will be out very soon and then I have a full length that will be coming out not too long after that so lots of music will be coming out by next summer.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

The name of the EP is Peacock Fantasies and it will be available Feb 2nd.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes we’re working on hitting the road in the spring with some Nashville shows happening before that.

What else is happening next in GYASI’s world?

New music! I’m constantly writing and I have tons of material that I’m recording now so I’m really excited to finish these new tunes and keep creating. I’m also booking a lot of solo blues shows in Mississippi for the spring and doing some vaudeville performing in a burlesque show in February. There’s also music coming out from other artists that I have produced or co-written, including Kim Logan and Sara Rachele.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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