Gigamesh, real name Matt Masurka, achieved higher success before releasing his first EP than many music producers do in their entire careers. As the producer of Mike Posner’s “Cooler Than Me,” the 2010 iTunes Pop Single of the Year, he was making waves behind the scenes long before coming to the spotlight. Eventually, however, music blogs caught wind of Masurka’s talent when he started releasing bootlegged reworks of tracks by artists like Michael Jackson and The Clash, and he has since been tapped for remixes for Foster the People and Theophilus London–this time, officially. The artist’s interest in multiple genres comes through in these reworks, but also in his own music, a combination of indie and dance that often pushes the boundaries of both genres. Now a three time multi-platinum selling artist, Gigamesh has released music on both legendary outfits Kitsuné and Our Label International, and a continuous touring schedule keeps him reaching fans new and old.
He’s finally recorded a full length record, complete with 11 brand new original tracks, that drops today! We were lucky enough to get to chat with him a bit.
You’re a Minnesota native. How has this affected your musical style?
Minnesota does not have a very big dance music audience so the DJ/producer community there is pretty small. As a result, I started out playing a lot of events where the crowd expected to hear stuff they recognized (ie: radio pop). I think that’s primarily why I made so many bootleg remixes early on, but I also think it helped become a better DJ and learn the nuts & bolts of good pop music.
I know you’re a massive Prince fan – could you tell us a bit more about your relationship with him?
Yeah – I actually just recently remembered a Prince story that in hindsight, was pretty formative for me. I rarely remember my dreams but one morning in high school, I was awaking from a lucid dream. This was before smart phones so I was using a clock radio, and it happened to be playing “I Would Die For U” as I was waking up. Because I was in that dream state, it kind of morphed into this weird psychedelic epiphany. I always liked Prince’s music but my appreciation stepped up to a whole new level that morning. After college, I ended up interning at a studio where his original drummer Bobby Z is still based (he might be a partial owner of the studio). The head engineer got his start by touring with Prince and I interned under him for a while. Just about any musician in Minneapolis has only a couple degrees of separation from Prince because he had so much output and worked with so many other talented musicians (ex: Flyte Time Studios & Janet Jackson).
So how has Prince affected your sound?
I think he helped forge my love of mid-tempo, funky beats. I’m also really into his dry mixing style on songs like Kiss & Controversy. On a more general level, his aesthetic also helped me become accepting of eccentric fashion and gender nonconformity– which are things I wasn’t exposed to as a kid growing up in the distant outskirts of the metro area and I didn’t fully appreciate until adulthood.
What do you think of the scene in New York?
It’s awesome! It’s huge! There are so many talented people in New York.
You now have a residency at the Brooklyn Bowl – how did that work out?
I played here for the first time maybe like two years ago, and a few times since then. It’s kind of been a continual build. I guess the staff really likes me and the crowds have been great. It’s a natural fit.
What equipment and programs do you produce with? Any particular reason why?
I use Ableton just because it’s what I started with. It’s the most intuitive for me. Bass and trombone were my primary instruments in school, so sometimes I will add horns or play bass on my tracks. I got into guitar in college, so I try to throw that in where appropriate as well. At the moment, I’m in love with practicing keyboard so I tend to use a lot of synths and sample libraries.
You have a new album coming out. What can we expect from the new release?
It’s kind of building off what I’m known for in terms of the general aesthetic. I wanted to have a big variety of tempos and styles, several different vocalists as well as some instrumentals. I was trying to go for a pretty wide variety of songs without it sounding too schizophrenic. I think I pulled it off — I’m pretty happy with it.
How is this album different than your previous releases (Gigamesh on Our Label Records and All My Life on Kitsune)?
I think the primary difference is I was trying to make this one more bass heavy. I started touring years ago and this made me get more into house and all the various subgenres that work well on dance floors. I tried to lean that direction without compromising the more artistic side of my previous music.
Is that the direction you want to head towards?
It depends on the song. The reason I wanted to make a full-length album was because what I like to listen to and make in the studio changes from day to day. I wanted to have a platform where I could have a lot of different colors on the palette.
Do you prefer playing festivals, clubs or smaller venues?
In general I think I prefer clubs but only because festivals are less predictable. Like all touring DJs, I’ve played some poorly-organized festivals that most people have probably never heard of because they were so small or they only lasted one year. That’s why at this point in my career I prefer playing clubs but as long as the festival is organized well, they can be amazing too.
What prompted you to make this full length album?
It’s something that I always wanted to do. I grew up listening to albums but I started making music during the period where mp3s started taking over. When I got my driver’s license I would only listen to albums and sometimes I’d listen to the same one for days. I think that’s a big reason why I have an affinity for albums. It was also due to having a variety of musical interests and the desire to present it all in one project.
What else is in store for this summer besides the new album and the residency? Any festival appearances?
I’m working with some singers. There is one in particular I’m really excited about but I shouldn’t say who it is until we finish and release something together. I also started a bunch of demos that might become singles or EPs over the next year.
– Yasemin Kosereisoglu