This past August at Elements Music and Arts festival, Evan, and Ben of the electronic duo Gilligan Moss sat down with OneEDM to discuss their eclectic sound, their thoughts on their career and the music business.
“U Ruined It”, your song for The “our first 100 days” is an amazing project. You guys came in and did your part. What does it feel like to be a part of something with such a powerful cause given in such a decorative way?
Evan: “As musicians, we feel guilty quite often. Between our girlfriends, our friends, and our career. We feel very lucky to make music while others are out there trying to make a difference. So when something like this comes along we embrace it. When our manager ( who is very plugged into these types of things) told us about it we took it as the perfect opportunity to give back. We have never written a political song or a song about a current event. So it was cool to sit down and write with a purpose or to write a middle finger song. Ben: We are also really thankful to be doing music as a career and we don’t take any of it for granted. So any opportunity we get to do something for a better cause we enjoy. Evan: In electronic music, there haven’t been many political statements unlike other genres, so it’s a little harder without lyrics it’s tough but it was cool to textualize.”
You guys have you remix playlist on Spotify, can you tell us what propelled that action? what inspired you to start it?
Ben: “It’s an interesting way to collect all of your work in once place, When you put your music on the internet, it’s thrown into like a disparate eco system. There’s a ton of different places where it can go. This playlist is really meant to show our collective work outside of originals.”
Your remix to Glass Animals “Gooey” was great, will you guys ever be open to collaborating?
Ben: “We would obviously love to they’re such good friends of ours, we talk about it a fair amount but it would have to be at the right time.”
Elton John played your Betsy remix on his rocket hour, what was your reaction when you heard that?
Ben: “It was wild! We woke up in Rhode Island at a crappy hotel and looked at our phones and saw over 200 notifications. We were both like “Yo, Elton John just played our song on the radio”. It was so cool and we didn’t really know what to do. Evan: It was awesome to hear his voice saying our name especially for our parents, to hear a benchmark like Elton John mention us was special for them. Ben: It was funny, if you hear the recording he says, “And next up the bri….very good remix by Gilligan Moss. So we got downgraded from brilliant to very good.”
Making your move to New York from Chicago was a very big one. How did it change you? and did you find what you were looking for?
Evan: “Amazing artists come out of Chicago but in the electronic genre there is less of a scene there like club culture and followers. So that’s the great thing about New York we can go to many different places close by to DJ and it has our type of scene, Chicago still is a great city Ben: I feel more influenced by Chicago music and connected to it more than New York music. I feel like outside of the bigger cities the smaller cities have the room to build tiny scenes and the music can be more idiosyncratic but a lot of our spirit comes from Chicago.”
How has New York changed your sound?
Ben: “I wouldn’t say it changed our sound” Evan: “We listen to so much stuff from England that U.K music has definitely influenced our sound.”
Ben, I’ve read something you said along the lines of, the responsibility of bigger artists to help raise lesser known artists and to not only be vampiric while working with them. How much is music a tool in building relationships, how much influence can music make on people?
Ben: “Any musician can learn from any other musician and should try. Becuase whether you like what they’re doing personally or not generally they are being effective at something. They are definitely instances of vampirism.”
Yes, you are a duo but what set you guys apart? What does Evan bring to the table and what does Ben bring?
Evan: “We try not to have too firm of a division between the two but philosophically, Ben grew up playing piano and studying jazz piano and I grew up with a more technical background like learning about synths and studio techniques. So it’s nice to have the yin and yang, with his skills we can figure out music theory rules and bang it out. Then I bring up untrained skills and ideas from the other side that work too. Ben: With any partnership, what you’re trying to do is arrive at something bigger than the both of your individual things especially when you’re in the early stages of building a project like this. Both of us are smart enough to know we are better when we use both of our best resources together. There are definitely sometimes when we have to make compromises. Evan: Treating Gilligan Moss like a scientist and divorce yourself from whose idea is what? Ideally to separate ourselves from whose idea is which and put the music first.”
What is next for Gilligan Moss?
Evan: “So we are finishing this second EP that we have been working on for a while that should be out later this year or early next year.”
What advice would have for up and coming DJ’s?
Evan: “Just to be different. There is a temptation to emulate the sound we hear from the main stage DJ’s and there are a million people doing that. To get your foot just an inch into the door you gotta be different. It takes the people that are not discovered to reveal that next sound. Ben: Focus on the music. Work on stuff that you really care about and if it feels meaningful you’re good. It’s also a lot of dumb luck.”