-Interview- Gadè (11/2/20)

Gadè talks about his genre bending music, the UK music scene and much more.


Sounds like: Metal/Pop/Dancehall/Hip Hop

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Gadè" and is there any meaning behind it?

I was brought up on music, my dad was a touring bassist/guitarist and tech working with Sister Sledge, Alison Moyet, Stray and others. My parents had a wall-length vinyl collection that was like an auditory library. From there I played in bands through school, three chord punk to indie rock - then in college I joined the Aylesbury alternative and metal scene and that was it. The sound of Gadè was born out of that lifetime of broad education and gigging, with the added wrinkles that lead me to create the project itself.

It had always been my knowledge that since my mother immigrated from St Lucia in the Carribean I was a little different, but never felt its effects too much as I look mostly white. When the Brexit vote result came in and I witnessed attacks on foreigners first hand, and older immigrants from the islands were fighting to stay in England - it hit me that the place I had lived in all my life was perhaps not the place I belonged. Where did I belong? I started to delve into St Lucian culture, history and music more than ever - and out of that attempt to find my place, my metal roots mixed with modern hip hop and dancehall/soca beats from the islands.

The name 'Gadè' itself is a St Lucian Kwéyòl word, referring to the practice of traditional seer and magic services called Obeah. The Gadè is a practitioner, but is caught between the westernised mindset denouncing such practices and deep roots of cultural history pulling people to seek their help. Being both needed and confined to the fringes as a dirty secret struck a chord with me when I was feeling lost. When the lockdown happened I knew I had no more excuses but to face those feelings and express them for my own mental health.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

Hopefully a sense that all things are possible, the music is not the first to do it, but I think it recombines genres in new ways that guarantee it doesn't fit so neatly into a playlist header - not that it was intentional, because I love metal and always thought it was most vital when was it doing something different. SOAD, NIN, Deftones, RATM, BMTH and Fever 333 are all great examples of artists pushing against boundaries.

I would love listeners to hear my music and search out the broader scope of the art offered by connection to a global community and fresh listening experiences. Lyrically too I try to offer newer subjects, not only for our divided culture to come together but also that these styles can talk about difficulties of starting a family and the strength found in personal and collective caring. British music carries a history of that, of celebrating music and cultures that incorporate pieces of the wider world - even if that has to be done in the underground and underbelly at times. I admire that determination to find a powerful genuine voice in any circumstance.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

My best attempt to make a new sound from Britain's innovations in Metal, Goth, EDM, Punk, UK Garage, Drum N Bass and Pop. If you just love music we can connect, because I love it too.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

I'd love to play with Puscifer, Bilmuri or Skindred.

5. How has Covid affected what you do as a band?

Basically i'd been kind of playing around for years in groups that wanted to get out there and make a noise, but didn't really take it all the way. The Covid lockdown got me to finally focus and knuckle down to do something myself. At one album and an EP released from March to November, seems like such a strange positive thing to discover in this horrific time - but we have to make our own beauty in the world sometimes in order to survive it.

6. What’s your take on the current state of genre bending music such as yours?

It's never been a more vital time, with some popular artists that get tagged as Emo Rap etc. producing tracks that blur lines, release more frequently and eschew the established rapper or band career dynamic - I think many decoupling from the older label model has only made artists less predictable and interesting. If Ghostmane, Mimi Barks, 93 Feet of Smoke and Bloodywood can independently do what they feel creatively and generate a healthy fanbase, that's only good for the industry.

7. What’s the current music scene like there in the UK?

The scene nationwide is amazing but naturally struggling, the lockdown hasn't slowed the progression of music any - just forced some who hadn't embraced remote recording and performance streaming to do so - myself included. In fact I don't think i've seen more music being made and shared by people now they have the time and focus away from the grind. Locally, my hometown had a big alternative scene that seems to have dried over time, along with venues drying up and no longer booking acts in that vein. The town that once hosted gigs by David Bowie, The Prodigy, Enter Shikari, Bullet For My Valentine, So Solid Crew and Bowling For Soup doesn't really have any big tours come through it anymore - i'd love to redress that, as I think the demand is still there.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

I remember reading quotes from Frank Zappa and Mike Patton about how they got messed with by labels, even huge boy bands used to get terribly underpaid. Now there's stories of services putting together fake artists and listener bots to avoid paying out a decent amount to labels, it's the same story but instead of record companies it's now platforms. Bandcamp seems to be good at heart, but the really big hitters are the same classic example of artists getting screwed by the people with the money. I'm not saying that's right, just the online freedom offered to many has become horribly and globally co-opted, as all the cool stuff humans make tends to. You'd think we really ought to have learned our lesson or found a solution after all this time, but the slow march of human advancement doesn't really give a hoot about the immediate needs and wants of individuals. I say artists would get a better deal with a more fractured competitive market of smaller platforms that don't hold the majority of the cards, they would have to a more balanced bargaining and collaborative relationship.

9. What’s next for Gadè?

I still have about 10 songs and various parts being worked on for another full album, maybe next year - and finding like-minded musicians to take the songs into a live context would be transformative. 2021 still seems far ahead, so i'll take the time to develop and perhaps collaborate - i've had a couple of interesting offers.

10. Any shoutouts?

My beautifully weird family, I adore you. My old DJ friend Fried Egg Beats and other pals for encouraging me with balanced feedback when writing and recording. Independent artists of all genres for showing me that you can reach people with bedroom recordings and budget videos - Vulfpeck, Bilmuri, Twelve Foot Ninja, Donny Benét to name a few. Thank you all, you made my work come to life.