Behind the Scenes: Gus White

Gus White

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As you step inside Gus’ home studio you immediately get a sense of the type of artist he is. Album covers and photographs of Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake and Neil Young adorn the wall above his desk. Gus is an acoustic musician; he describes his work as “tree music”, a comment once made by his student, which rather aptly sums the intangible nature of his music. When it comes to influences Gus is open minded, finding inspiration across many genres “I’m influenced by everything”. Despite his all-encompassing approach to sounds, Gus is clear that he is first and foremost a singer-songwriter.

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Gus’ upcoming EP “True Really Do Come Dreams” is a deep dive musical exploration into the world of dreams. “I’ve always been fascinated by dreams, they’re so intrinsic to being and yet have somehow been neglected”. As Gus expands on his concept behind the EP, his face lights up as he charismatically traverses across mystery and the unknown. “Dreams are like a mystery to me, and I’m intrigued by mystery”. As we delved into increasingly metaphysical aspects of dreaming, I wondered how such a concept could be turned into a musical reality? The answer was naturally not straightforward. However, integral to Gus’ writing is his dream diary, in which he documents all the dreams that he can recall at first waking. Influenced by the eastern philosopher Alan Watts and inspired by a collection of works “Sleeping and Dreaming”, Gus’ dreams did indeed begin to turn into a musical reality.

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In order to fully grasp this great concept behind the EP, we took a look at the first track ‘Falling’. In this track Gus used the characteristics of dreams to inform his lyrics and structure. The disjointed and yet interconnecting manner typical of dreams, is reflected in sentences that only make sense when linked together. Gus strives for “the perfect line between playful and serious”. He is unquestionably a serious musician, however the comic and curious are never too far away. In terms of sound the EP leaves conventional singer-song writing as a distant horizon. Gus talks about how he has experimented with different sounds in order to use accousmatic elements as a way of intriguing the listener. Despite using more technical elements, Gus sticks with his motto that “whatever I do I have to be able to recreate it live”. In this vein, Gus opts for his speakers to be arranged in quad whenever possible, using the back two speakers (placed behind the audience) to fire out the accousmatic elements. By using such an arrangement the audience has a fully immersive sonic experience.

Check out Gus’ new single ‘Life is But a Dream’, released on 21st January accompanied by a music video. The EP “True Really Do Come Dreams” is to be released in early spring.