A three bedroom apartment in the heart of Williamsburg serves as both a place of work and rest for Gilligan Moss. Complete with FIFA, an impressive collection of records, instruments, and artwork by an array of people including members of his family, the apartment is a place to relax and unwind, and also, a musical playground.
His bedroom is divided into two sections – one side occupied by his bed, the other, large speakers, microphones, monitors, keyboards, synthesizers, and some analog instruments. All of this comes together to comprise the cavernous and sun-filled bedroom studio that Moss has built for himself. There is a certain level of honesty in the appearance of his bedroom, the juxtaposition of clothes strewn on his bed and floor and the immaculate set-up of an incredibly legitimate home-studio.
“After college, I was working and just as a hobby, I set up a studio kind of like this, and that’s when I started to make music,” he says. Moss studied at George Washington University, where he took studio and experimental music classes and began exploring 15-20 minute ambient sounds, more distant from the style of music that he makes today. “We learned all about recording techniques and synthesizers, and the whole studio world. The teacher was an avant garde composer kind of guy, so that’s where a lot of that experimental stuff comes from,” Moss says. “At the end of every class, he’d play 20 minutes of an experimental piece and put up the iTunes visualizers. He’d teach the whole class with his feet up on the desk. I don’t know if I ever saw him with his feet on the ground.”
“He’d play 20 minutes of an experimental piece and put up the iTunes visualizers. He’d teach the whole class with his feet up on the desk. I don’t know if I ever saw him with his feet on the ground.”
There are certainly still hints of his experimental side in much of the music he makes. He explains his process of making music in a way that conveys building walls of sound: “I usually start with bass, drums, and a vocal idea. From there, I like going up the frequency spectrum, starting low and then getting higher. Earlier on, it was more about starting with samples and chopping them up.” As he explains his process, a new song that he’s been working on plays over the large speakers. He manages to break it down at one point by showing the bass drum foundation that gets overlayed with a hand clap. The effect is catchy, and then vocals layer up on top which give the song a more R&B vibe with an upbeat rhythmic edge.
“Venue to venue, it’s so variable and as a musician, it drives you crazy if it’s not the way you intended it to sound."
It’s clear that good sound is important to him, and he discusses this further after using Here. “The number one thing that drives us crazy is that we’ll come off stage and complain about something with the sound. Venue to venue, it’s so variable and as a musician, it drives you crazy if it’s not the way you intended it to sound. Here would compensate for the fact that a lot of venues don’t have great sound... I also think Here would be most useful in big spaces, stadiums, and festivals.”
A quick browse through Soundcloud (which was actually how he was able to launch his career as a musician), shows the progression in his style. Ceremonial, his new EP, showcases the present day evolution of his music, from chopped vocal and song samples, to full length musical narratives that follow ebbs and flows. He explains that while the music he produces might actually be done electronically, he’d consider his music to be more electronic with a splash of every other genre that exists.
He feels strongly about the subject of electronic music, beyond the actual genre and how it’s permeated the likes of almost every genre that currently exists. “My dad will try to pretend to like my stuff, but every chance he gets, he talks about how I have to get some drums and guitars in there...there’s a while to go before electronic music becomes a mature thing. That, to me, is exciting,” he says. “There will be a next wave of the young genre to come in the future. I also think that the concept of electronic music, is going to become a meaningless term...it already kind of is that. Most music brings in more and more electronic elements...there’s already so much software, where you have to do so little and these tools will help generate sound for you.”