Gus Dapperton is properly running his own race.
Whilst other artists would look to the collaborative experience to process their own shit, Gus goes inwards.
An album made near-entirely on his lonesome, I dived into why he makes better music that way & the universal-yet-personal approach to his songwriting on album number two, one that feels like a more grand, fully fleshed out and downright emotional way of processing the feeling of not looking after yourself and relishing in the comfort of your surroundings.
Nic Kelly in bold, Gus Dapperton in not-bold.
Gus Dapperton. How do you feel so close to release time? How do you feel about all these thoughts being out in the world?
Honestly, these last like couple weeks have gone by so fast because I’ve kind of just been prepping for the release of it. So I haven’t really been able to like sit back and acknowledge that it’s coming out. I think when it comes out, I’ll have this moment of realisation, but I’m just so excited. It’s just gonna feel really nice once it’s out. I’ve had them done for so long.
There’s no nerves of everyone hearing the bare bones of your thoughts? There’s some seriously personal shit on here.
Oh, definitely. I was nervous to put out the first single, which was First Aid. And then once I put that out, and kind of saw that my fans were acknowledging that I was touching on some deeper things and they were able to relate to it and take away something beneficial from it, I became less nervous to put out the rest of it, so I’m just really excited now.
I’m excited for you. I heard you say in another conversation that Medicine is kind of the integral track on the record. I wanted to see if you could speak to that and why that kind of is the centerpiece.
If I had to pick one song that defines the record the best, if someone had a listen to just one song that sort of sums up the concept, I would pick Medicine. It just kind of talks on the three themes that I’m trying to get across which is that everyone can hurt, everyone can heal, and everyone can help each other when they’re hurt. And basically, this track kind of talks about someone who is self-destructive because they don’t have many consequences for their actions and they have an unconditional support system that they can fall back on. So, in reality, it’s the healing process that they get addicted to in the end, they’re addicted to this healing process because they know they won’t have any consequences for further actions.
Has that person been you sometimes in the past?
Yes. A lot of a lot of these songs are based on personal experiences and emotions that I’ve felt. Some are stories and some are based on real things that have happened to me but also the that song, musically, I’m proud of as well.
One of my favourite things when I find an artist that I love is going to the credit section. And I love that so much of the time for you, it’s performed by Gus Dapperton, written by Gus Dapperton, produced by Gus Dapperton, released by Gus Dapperton. What’s your relationship to the collaborative process?
I think sometimes when people see that they like, you know, think I like have to be in control of it all. And that’s not necessarily the case. I just think when it’s my thoughts and feelings that I want to get across, and I have a vision in my head, then I’d rather just do those things myself. I know how to do those things and I have the tools to do them, so it’s easy for me to just sit down and get right to it. But I love collaborating in other ways, like I love producing for other artists like my sister’s an artists I like producing for her, sometimes I’ll mix and master my friends’ music and sometimes they’ll come play instruments on my songs or come sing on my songs. It’s more that I like to keep my deep thoughts and feelings in the music that I make, for my own release, I like to keep that a little bit separate in that way.
Have you ever been pushed by anyone into doing those classic blind-date style co-writing sessions? Have people tried to push you that way in the past?
Yeah, totally. I’ve done those and I like them sometimes. And sometimes I don’t. I think there was a part of me that really wanted to accomplish and prove to myself that I could do these things on my own, for the longest time, and now on this record, it’s less of me like, proving anything to myself and more speaking from my heart and whatnot. And also it’s just really fun to me to to put it all together myself!
Do you ever get in your own head sometimes doing it that way?
Yeah, definitely. But I think that if you make a decision, like, an executive decision and you’re decisive in the recording process, and you’re making music that way, I think there’s validity to those decisions you make, even if at the end of the day you listen to the song back and it sounds terrible. Like, they’re still valid reasons to why maybe you made those decisions previously. I try not to be like too hard on myself for it. I’m kind of just like, “that’s where I was back then, that’s where I was yesterday, that’s how it sounded yesterday, but now maybe I’m better today, maybe there’s someone else who can do better than me…” but I try not to be too hard on myself. I think like music is just, you know, to be made for the sake of music.
I like what you said about you know, the three themes being hurt, heal, help. That kind of process. Where are you in that process as a person at the moment?
I’m pretty healed up at the moment. I took a long break just to kind of sit back and observe and learn and relax and take some time off, so I’m feeling really good now. I think I learned a lot making this album. I think I learned a lot that will help me in the future when I’m feeling not so great. I’m just excited that maybe this music could potentially help other people. Not even help other people, but you just feel like you need music sometimes and I’m excited to give people some more music to listen to.