gallant finally drops his glittery new video for 'weight in gold'
We speak to the alt rnb giant about writing the most remixed song of 2015 and beyond.
Rising rnb singer Gallant has been nothing but impressive with everything he's released. Ever since Zane Lowe introduced Gallant's Weight In Gold to the world to kick off Apple's Beats 1 radio launch, the record has erupted, billowing out into a bunch of remixes and racking up over 15 million plays online. With the track also capturing hearts of the industry and the likes of Elton John, Patrick Stump, and Moby leading the outpour of love, the dust is yet to settle with this beastro.
Yesterday he released the long anticipated music video for Weight In Gold. Simultaneously caught in a fiery burn and overwhelming storm, the music video captures the essence of Gallant through a complex paradox of feelings and expression. The video peers into his soul, delicately illustrating the song's narrative of burden, and his hunger to escape with a ripped-out-of-your-diary type fearlessness. He tells a tale of guilt and regret shrouded with poetic mystery.
What was it like growing up in Columbia and do you credit this time as the starting point for the Gallant sound?
It was something I might have taken for granted at first. It was a really quiet, suburban storybook setting with cul-de-sacs flooded with all your closest friends and a ton of wooded trails that seemed to go on forever. I wouldn't say it was where I started making anything that resembles the stuff I've put out recently but memories of how safe and picturesque it was are going to continue to inspire me for the rest of my life.
When did you fall in love with music?
Honestly, I don't even know if I can pinpoint a distinct moment… I remember I used to hear a bunch of stuff I found on cassette tapes—mostly 70s-90s R&B stuff—and some songs I would just get really obsessed with in an unhealthy way. Like just listening over and over again on repeat and thinking to myself things like, "damn I wish he had used this melody for the whole song instead of just the bridge" or, "yo what if this song by this person and this other song from this other person were just one giant 8-minute thing?" Then I would just kind of sit and make up my own lyrics, maybe re-arrange the melodies the way I wanted, and mumble it to myself under my breath throughout the day.
Run us through the motivations behind your initial move from NY to L.A and how crucial it was in your pilgrimage to clarity?
New York just really wasn't sitting well with me at the time; no matter how productive I was or how much fun I was supposedly having, it all just felt like I was stuck in an elevator. Even if the pros of living in LA were all in my head, the placebo effect helped me get into a better zone. On top of that, just the freedom to sit in a car and drive to whatever environment or setting I'm feeling at that moment was a game changer for me.
Are there any artists that cemented the music you gravitate toward?
Yeah—too many to name though I think. So many artists who came out of the 90s rnb boom really pushed the boundaries of conventional melody and made it a special movement that I still think is underappreciated. And then all the emo bands my friends were listening to in middle and high school approached lyrics with that like ripped-out-of-your-diary fearlessness, while the alt-rock and prog-rock guys took and shrouded in this poetic mystery. I mean, I don't know, the whole thing is really inspiring. It's hard to list just a few.
Your track Weight in Gold did 2 million plays in 2 months!
After I put it out I was just honored to see it getting any response at all. I felt like I put a lot into it and so to see a positive reaction back was extremely humbling.
Weight in Gold is sure to be one of the most remixed tracks of 2015. What are your thoughts on its many re-interpretations? And who holds your favourite re-invention?
The seven on the remix package I put out were my top favorites, and there are a handful from outside the package that I think are incredible. But when I heard the Brasstracks remix for the first time man, I couldn't believe it. They set the bar so, so high that it's almost unfair to call what they did a 'remix'.
This quote from Jake Udell still gets me every time: "Gallant is the future. When I heard him sing live for the first time I cried - white doves literally fly from his vocal cords."
What's the weirdest description you've heard about your alt rnb sound?
Before I had pictures of myself online I would get a lot of like "white-boy rnb" or "blue-eyed soul" type qualifiers, which I guess isn't ridiculously weird but the more I thought about it, the more confused I got.
There might not be a more powerful DJ co-sign right now than Zane Lowe's, and you were his first "World Exclusive." What was that like?
I don't think it hit me at the time but now when I think back, that was surreal, especially for this day and age. Everyone in the world was wondering what the Beats 1 experience was going to be like… and we were all sitting there listening… on the internet… at the same time… the very first hour of the first show of its kind ever. Completely honored.
What should we expect from your future live shows?
I'm lucky enough to play with a full band made up of the most talented and musical people I have ever met. The whole show is kind of its own entity—completely independent of the vibe of the recorded stuff. But it's just as intense and emotionally charged in more of an anger-management type way, if that makes any sense.
At this point, what do you want new listeners to know about you above all else?
Not much except I try not to overanalyze or take anything too seriously. I think complete transparency and honesty is the best way to live life. I don't think anyone should care about coming off too vulnerable, or whatever—none of that bravado stuff really matters.
Text Christopher Thompson