From playing 300-person shows to 3000, we chat to rapper G-Eazy ahead of his debut Austrralian tour.
Oakland, California-born rapper Gerald Gillum AKA G-Eazy is headed his way to Australia for the first time this month, bringing his unique blend of doo-wop and hip hop sounds that's seen him playing some huge shows in the US, following early days supporting the likes of Drake and Lil Wayne. His rockabilly aesthetic sets him apart, and when combined with a style, flow and delivery very specific to him, it's not hard to see why. We chatted about that progression from mixtapes with friends in his hometown, to now playing 68 sold-out shows in a row and releasing his debut studio label album These Things Happen last year, along with the tools one requires to make it as an artist in 2015.
We've also got 5 DOUBLE PASSES to giveaway to his Perth Festival appearance on February 18, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'EASY G-EAZY' in the subject header to go in the draw.
Hey man how's it going, where are you today?
I’m on tour, we’ve been going for about a year, but on this leg it’s been about five weeks. We’ve got a few dates left then we fly to Hawaii, then New Zealand and I’m down in Australia.
How has the tour been?
The tour has been amazing - I couldn’t ask for more. Every show is sold out, it was this idea I had a while ago to put together artists all from the Bay Area, and name the tour from the Bay To The Universe. And it’s been 68 shows and it’s all sold out, which is a really special feeling. Waving our flag you know?
How’s the transition been going from the earlier career with those guys to playing the big shows and tours now?
It’s been the most gradual process, ever. We’ve grown this from the soil for the last three years really, on the road, almost non-stop. We rarely get much time off in between. And say the first time we come to a city there’s a hundred people in the crowd. And the next time there’s 300. Then the next time there’s hopefully six or seven hundred. And now, in LA tomorrow we have two sold out nights of 2500 each night. It’s been such a gradual thing you almost don’t even notice. It’s been the same process and same dedication from the beginning, and the same work ethic, you almost don’t look up and you don’t look down. You just continue to go. I feel blessed, that it has continued to grow. We’re about to go overseas, which is the craziest feeling.
With that constant touring cycle, is that just part of being an artist now? You can’t really kick back and have time off anymore right?
The whole industry has changed to this now. You can’t just go platinum anymore you know? Music doesn’t sell the way it used to. The only way artists can make money anymore is to stay on the road. But there’s also much more of a culture around touring now, you see way more rappers in arenas than you used to in the states. And festivals have gotten so big. People appreciate live music more these days.
Being on top of touring, but also social media, the internet, all those things as well – is that something you’ve been on top of since the beginning?
Yeah that’s the world we live in. If you’re not present and visible and engaged at all times, whether that’s getting in front of the fans performing and touring, or on the internet. If you’re not active on all platforms, and out on the road touring, and releasing content at the same time, and music videos and new songs, in today’s world it’s almost like people can lose you so quickly. You just have to be so much more engaged because life moves so fast.
Get exhausting or you get used to it?
It gets tiring, but you just get conditioned for it. And everytime I get worn down or tired I just have to remind myself that it’s a blessing to do this for a living. And you’re really lucky if you get here, making music for a living, it’s something so many people want and so few get to do.
Let’s touch on your music – you’ve got such a unique blending of those old doo-wop kinda sounds and hip hop beats, where did the appeal of that come from for you?
I’ve always been a fan of juxtaposition, and pulling two worlds together you may not think could co-exist or come together to create something new and innovative and trying it to take risks. And with each album I try to push myself and take a new step. As opposed to just getting comfortable and staying in one space creatively from project to project.
And does that producer background give you a really strong leg-up when it comes to the next album or next release.
Yeah because when I work with other producers I have the knowledge and vocabulary to talk about sounds and production and textures, melodies and arrangements. If you didn’t spend years producing, you wouldn’t know how to communicate these ideas you have. The music is every bit as important as the lyrics so it helps having that experience and have that communication when I work with other producers.
You’ll be down here soon, is this you first trip down here?
Yeah it’s my first time I’m excited. I’ve only ever been to Europe, it’s crazy to travel that many miles and for anybody that far away to even know who I am.
What’s the live show like?
I play with a DJ and a drummer. There’s some live dynamic to it, I have fun on stage. I try to bring a lot of energy. And I feel like that’s contagious. If I was to walk on stage and have a good time, then the crowd can reciprocate back. If I walked on stage and acted like I’m bored, then why should they care?
What’s up for you after the Australian tour?
When I get back from Australia I’m taking the first vacation I’ve ever taken, I’m stopping in Kawaii and shutting down for eight days. Turning my phone off, unplugging. And when I do get back home I’m hitting the ground running on the next album. I’m going straight to the studio. I’ve got about 20 songs recorded already, and I’m excited to have some time off the road to create and throw some ideas down and refine those and pick and choose from there. I would love to be able to put out the next album before 2015 is over.
Cool thanks man! Looking forward to the shows when you get down here.
Right on thanks dude.