Happps Artist Profile: Greg Gatsby

By Ruth Jiang

Greg Gatsby 2

Greg Gatsby! What a guy. He recently had a track chart on Billboard and from the looks of this Q&A we did with him, he has a lot of incredibly inspiring and meaningful words to offer about what it’s like being a producer and DJ who has toured around North America, sharing the stage with some pretty rad, established musicians. So without further ado, take a look below at our words with Greg Gatsby, one of Boston’s finest and most inspiring in the electronic music scene.

1. How did you get started in DJing/Producing?

I first started getting into it without even knowing. Back in middle school, high school and then college i would make warmup music for basketball. I would pick out intros and piece together different parts of songs that I liked and that kept things hype and then took out what i thought were the boring parts or didn’t flow. I got the software online for free and had no idea I was actually creating mixes and song edits at the time. I just did it because it was fun. Then I got addicted and starting making mixes for gifts. I didn’t learn you could make money doing this till college when I started going to the studio with my roommate in Dorchester. I remember being in love with music production and the concept of performing and interacting with a crowd but I didn’t really start publicly playing out till I saw Diplo from the stage at Ocean Club. The way he crossed genres, and entertained without restrictions. He seemed in love with the music he was playing and the set was definitely uniquely him. It inspired me, the next day I started my career.

2. How has your style changed over the years?

I think early on I was trying to play out and produce tunes that everyone else seemed to be into. A lot of big room and mainstream festival EDM stuff. I wasn’t really in love with what I was playing or making. I personally love all music but especially hip hop and any pop or dance records that seem to cross genres or push boundaries. I had a really great conversation with DJ Snake after a show about two years ago and he told me to make sure I’m making stuff that I love. He said that’s when everything changed for him; when he stopped making music based on what he thought everyone else wanted and started making what he wanted.  I took that to heart and I think you’ll find a whole different vibe on everything I touch now.

3. Where is your favorite place to throw a show and why? 

Anywhere in Quebec. Especially the smaller cities and college towns. The kids appreciate you being there and they come to party. You don’t see a lot of social climbing energy or bottle service, no one is checking their phones or sitting around. They love to party and they really give me a lot of love.

4. Where is a place you want to perform but haven’t yet?

Australia. Any of my homies that have gone there to play, never want to leave. Party Thieves literally met his girl there and then just got a second place. It seems like he’s there half the year now. 

5. What are some challenges you’ve faced being a DJ and producer?

The challenges are endless. I think the biggest one as a DJ is making sure you’re prepared for the different markets you travel too. Even some regions in the States are like traveling to a different country. Venues in different cities, states and regions have totally different vibes and musical tastes. As a producer I think the biggest challenge is cutting through the noise so you can be heard. The Internet is a great blessing and platform for artists to reach fans but its becoming a really over saturated place. Making sure your music actually gets heard is nearly as important as making it now.

6. Have there been any weird/crazy/interesting stories that have happened while at one of your shows? Care to share?

Man, so many! Some I probably shouldn’t share. I do remember one time in front of thousands of people in an arena I had an hour slot after a series of openers and just before Waka Flocka and Big Sean. I was pretty nervous it was still kind of early in my career so I prepared to play that hour exactly. I had a folder of songs that I knew would work in a festival format with both EDM and mainstream hip hop fans but just enough of them that I was confident mixing for about an hour. Well that hour runs out and no sign of Waka. A guy with a head set runs out to me fifteen minutes later and goes, “how much music you got?” I said a shit load but at this point I don’t have many mainstream records left. He goes, “good you may be on another hour haha”. Young, nervous and on the fly, I had to fill in Waka’s prime time set in front of a shit load of hip hop fans that came for him, not me. It ended up going great and it forced me to grow a lot but it definitely had me bugging for a while haha. Waka eventually ended up coming out and killing it but I had another set that same night in the next state over so I missed Big Sean.

7. What music and/or which people have inspired you throughout your time as a DJ?

Man everything today from GTA, Flume, Snake and guys like Diplo. I still constantly listen to legends like The Fugees, NAS and early Kanye. I find inspiration all over the place. Jon Bellion has been inspiring me heavy the last few years. Lesser known artists like oncue as well.

8. What’s it like having a charting Billboard track?!

It’s been really cool to get the recognition but if I’m being honest with you, now it’s only making me want to get another one asap and prove it wasn’t a fluke.

9. Has there been any moment that you have been really proud of yourself for something you’ve accomplished as a DJ? What is it?

Was out of the country, late traveling with tons of stress and my manager forgot the laptop charger by accident and had placed it in another bag. I hadn’t prepared any edits, looked through any records or organized any folders. There were songs i didn’t have that i knew were big in that area and of course i had no laptop now to download anything or organize my record box. At that time in my career, this was a big deal, but because of that experience, I grew a lot and now this would never bother me. The venue loved my set and I had a ton of fun playing on the fly, pulling songs out that I never played and reacting to a crowd in an unfamiliar culture and setting. It forced me to take the training wheels off and just DJ the way it’s meant to be. Having fun, trying new things and exposing people to new music they weren’t always familiar with. I was proud of that show after.

10. What’s something listeners don’t know about your creative process when it comes to producing and DJing?

I’d say two things stand out. That I’m much more like a painter than I am a musician and I LOVE being a part of a team. I explain music in sessions as if I see it visually. My strengths are piecing together ideas, creating layers, and incorporating my old stems, samples, and contributions from friends and other artists. I like to inspire art, I get a lot of people involved with all sorts of different projects. I find a lot of enjoyment in bringing the best out of others. “Painting/drawing” sounds and inspiring my friends are the two things that are keeping me creative and excited about doing this day after day. Oh! And also I take notes ALL DAY every day for lyrics and song ideas. Everything I see seems to inspire a song. I hope I get the time soon to start on all these notes and bring them to life.

11. What are your plans for 2017?

2017 I plan to continue building great relationships, inspiring my friends and allowing them to inspire me. I plan to continue traveling and learning. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to help lots of people and do something significant with my platform. These are the things I look forward to.
You can check out more on Greg Gatsby on his Facebook, SoundCloud, and website.
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