RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST GIACK BAZZ
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I could just tell you the same old story of how I always wanted to sing as a child and then I was gifted an instrument in a very solemn and cathartic way. How many times have you heard this story?
The truth is that I just love to mess around with sounds, I love to scream at the top of my lungs and make people dance and scream too. I’m in it for the noise.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
Well, I’m really the only stable member behind this project, there has been a carousel of members ever since I started in 2015. I just recorded a new album with a wealth of musicians so for the near future you’ll probably see Alessandro Lamborghini on the lead guitar from “Moorder”, he was my guitar teacher since I was 7 years old; Federico Salvarani on bass, a bandmate in “Peter Piper”; Sebastian Papa on drums from the band “Ziqqurhat”; and Joe Sach on keys. To quote Bright Eyes: “there is no beginning to the story” It’s an ongoing adventure in music, you guys are all invited but I’d do it anyway.
Name me your 3 favorite Albums?
Three albums that I would take on a desert island: “Cassadaga” by Bright Eyes for its spiritual meaning; “Figure 8” by Elliott Smith because there’s no better way to cry; and “Ram” by Paul McCartney because come on, it’s Paul.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
We’re going way back. My mother used to sing to me and my little sister Yellow Submarine on road trips to the seaside. One night my dad was driving us back home, my mother in the backseat with me and my sister laying our heads on her lap. In this state of half-sleep I heard “Let It Be” on the radio. My mother had started the chemo a few weeks back and I believe that was the moment I understood that our time is limited and music was the key to eternal life. This is how I like to remember her. This is how I’d like to be remembered. It’s going to be ok.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
I have the very unpopular opinion that not everyone should pursue music as a career. Don’t get me wrong, I believe anyone should pick up an instrument and benefit from it. What I think is sad is that the music market is now saturated with songs that have no soul, no message, no groove. A copy-paste version of “whatever worked before” systematically fed through google translate to provide a slightly new, slightly off result; just to pump more ego into egomaniacs who are only in it for the attention. As for me, I’m doing great because I stopped caring too much about what people think of it. I just write my next favorite song that no one has written yet. It’s my party and I cry if I want to.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
I’ve heard men not feeling safe at my gigs because I throw mic stands and guitars off stage, what can you do to help? Jokes aside, if I caught someone harassing women while I’m on stage I would stop the music and get the attention of the security. The real problem though is out there in the streets, we should really take action and increase the safety in public spaces. It is 2023 and women are being attacked on public transport. It is outrageous.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
I’m doing everything backward. Socials are oversaturated and I don’t trust the like/follower/stream farms. I’m sure you have had a look at any upcoming south London drill act that north londoners would struggle to decypher, yet having a quick glance at their humongous following over 2/3 are russian names. We all know what I’m talking about, no one wants to hear it, but social media have distorted the music industry. New ears on my music? I’m handing out flyers in front of record stores, looking like a creep to most but making a true connection with some wonderful people.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
Devendra Banhart called me on stage to perform my song “Rose Tinted Hell”.
I had lunch with Dawes, Jim James, and Chris Wolstenholme in Berlin.
I made 1000 origami to win my ex back (It didn’t work).
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
Oh, I’m really going to town on this one. Spotify (other streaming platforms are no lesser) only pays after the first 31 seconds of a song are played, the rest of the song is worthless garbage. This is a fact that most musicians (and consumers) aren’t aware of, nonetheless, this behaviour is accepted and enabled by the major labels. Simply put: streams are paid on a “pro-rata” system meaning that all the money you spend in your 9.99 monthly subscriptions is sucked up in a big pot with all the other subs. The end of the month comes around and the pot is divided by the number of streams consumed, and distributed to the artists from the top of the list to the bottom.
Therefore, say your nan pays a Spotify subscription only to listen on repeat to her favourite grandchild’s album, if that month Cardi B drops a track, she’s getting a share of your nan’s subscription even if she had never listened to that song. When they taught me music publishing at university I was so angry that I made an album of 366 short songs to flip the bird at the streaming industry.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
There are enough real crimes being conducted undisturbed by the music industry, I have got grief enough with what’s real without signing up for conspiracy theories. If I was to choose one, I’d say the CERN triggering the multiverse, just because it would be really funny.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
I have ordered from Japan a stack of Gameboy Advance to repair as a pastime. Afterlife went back to normal (whatever normal means these days) I have put them aside. I’m down to the last three but they’re all oxidised, I’m afraid those boys do cry.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I was playing at a festival in central Italy and a crackhead kept harassing my lead guitarist thinking he was some kind of sorcerer when he turned on the Wah pedal. We had to stop mid-song and ask him not to touch the pedalboard. Actually, it was pretty funny, never mind.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.
I’m a big fan of Phoebe Bridgers but I feel weird at her gigs because the whole crowd is much younger and quirkier than me. We’re all great fans of Phoebe here. Let’s collab Phoebe!
What makes you stand out as an artist?
Not much honestly, I’m just a white straight male making music. It is quite average these days. I could say I’m a deeply closeted gay musician and that would be quite the scoop, would it? I think what makes me special is the fact that I don’t take myself too seriously.
I hear you have a new release, what can you tell us about it?
Well, this album is thought to be a spinoff of my sophomore album “Giack Bazz Is Not Famous”, It’s called “Just a Little Bit More Famous” and I was supposed to release it last year but life got in the way. It is a child of the pandemic, conceived in the living room of my London flat, just me and my ex partner Deborah who produced it. I played all the instruments in the recording except for the drums which we had outsourced to Sebastian who went to the Agro Beat studios to track them, coordinated via zoom. Quite the adventure for him as the restrictions in place made it borderline illegal to cross the county border for “non-work” purposes.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
I remember when I wrote “Gotta Kick It” I was really into Kurt Vile, so I tried to write a line with lots of arpeggiated hammer-ons and pull-offs, much like he did in “Pretty Pimpin’”. “Through With Sick and Sacred Stuff” instead was written in the middle of the 366 songs of “Impression A.I.” and I realised that night that It could have been a long-form song, so I decided to save it for later. “No Hard Feelings” is the product of a boring afternoon, reading a few pages from 1984 and listening to Jeff Waynes “The War of The Worlds”.
What was the recording process like?
During the pandemic we had accrued a lot of new material from national grants and brand collaborations thanks to “Impression A.I.” so the whole tracking of vocals, bass, and acoustic guitars happened through a JHS Colourbox, basically a Neve channel strip on the cheap which I think performed great. The screeching fuzz in the solo of “No Hard Feelings” is Jack White’s Bumble Buzz, a really prolific collaboration with the Union Tube & Transistor pedal brand. For this album I have fabricated a guitar of my own, starting from a Squier Mustang, I’ve added a Jaguar floating bridge and swapped the pickups with some Gretsch Filtertron and Hilo-tron. I call it the Cub-stang because it’s a dangerous kitty. I even made my own overdrive pedal for “Gotta Kick It”, but that’s another story.
What was the biggest struggle with the new tunes?
Definitely, the slowest curve was releasing the singles at the end of the pandemic: nobody knew if it was gone for good or only for a while, so the releases we always on the brink of being postponed. Luckily the three singles that anticipated the album performed well.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s a chapter of my story and I like it as it is.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I think I’ve said enough, thank you for having me! I love you for making it to the end. Hug someone you love and give the album a spin! See you out there!