track-by-track: singer a.chal walks us through his second mixtape, on gaz
The LA-based artist who counts A$AP Rocky and Oliver El-Khatib as fans breaks down his right-on new record.
"I spent less time working on this mixtape, compared to my last," says Alejandro Chal aka A.CHAL. "I recorded in in LA over two months and it was more so about me having fun and focusing on the songwriting. I wanted the lyrics to be the focus, rather than over complicated production."
He may describe ON GAZ's beats as uncomplicated, but paired with the record's words, the two become a thing of real wonder and great beauty. Over the course of 11 impeccably curated compositions, the Peruvian born, LA based multi-hyphenate (CHAL writes, sings and produces) offers a glimpse into a beatific world of bliss and self-revelation that ponders karma, clubs, guilt and vanity. "It's called ON GAZ because I got to a point where I was starting to look at things in my life and career in a dissatisfied way," CHAL continues. "I realised that it's only because I'm not on my job as much as I should be, focusing on the things I have in front of me as opposed to the things that I don't. So ON GAZ is about being on your Ps and Qs, being on top of everything, being the best you can be at all times."
Produced alongside Phil Good Music, Bizness Boi, P On The Boards, Daniel Worthy, FKi 1st, and GAZI GHOST, and with guest spots from A$AP Nast, French Montana and GHOST, ON GAZ continues the mission that CHAL began on his debut mixtape WELCOME TO GAZI: to push culture forwards. "I'm not in this for the politics, the money or the status," CHAL insists. "I'm here for the opportunity that lots of people from my walk of life don't have. It's really important for me to manifest the truth. And to keep pushing forward to the light. Fuck the money!"
Read below as A.CHAL takes us through ON GAZ, track by glorious track.
"Straight vibes. Setting the tone that I want you to be in as I take you, the listener, on a ride."
"This track talks about karma following you like your own shadow. In life, sometimes you have the option of taking a short cut but the price you pay may not be worth it."
3. Cuanto ft. A$AP NAST
"Cuanto started as a freestyle I did on my phone when Phil Mic played me the beat. Later on that day, I FaceTimed A$AP Nast and played him the song. He came the next day and cut his verse in 15 minutes. I think you can see how fun and effortless it was to make that song."
4. To the Light
"I made that song right after realising how much I fucked up in a recent break up. I was in my room for a couple of days alone, sulking in guilt. I was tired of trying to distract myself. Phil Mic emailed the guitar riffs and I knew at that moment I was going to make a song that would document this moment. In the process of making this song, I had to find the light within myself again, which is self-love. And this is why this song holds a special place for me."
"This was inspired by a trip to the strip club on shrooms, pun intended."
6. Past Chick
"So that's about saying 'fuck the guilt' and moving forward from a situation that no longer served me."
7. Love N Hennessy
"This defines most of my relationships."
"This is the second song I did with FKi 1st, the other being the previous song. From the moment 1st started making the beat, to me recording the last verse, took about an hour. Perdóname means pardon me or I'm sorry in Spanish. This song is about two girls I was dealing with at the same time."
9. Criminal ft. GAZI GHOST
"GAZI Ghost is a longtime friend of mine and a creative partner in GAZI World. He sent me a demo of Criminal, which I then took and added my sauce. I'm excited for people to hear the music we are making together."
10. No Service
"So this describes the scenery of an after-party in the [Malibu] hills... chill vibes and no Hollywood shit."
11. Round Whippin' [Remix] ft. French Montana
"French Montana was one of the first people to reach out via my sister Gizzle. French was a fan of Round Whippin'. French invited me to the studio, I vibed with him and everything from there was a wrap!"
ON GAZ is out now
Text Hattie Collins