Gavin Weiland’s rise to fame in the underground music scene was characterized by viral videos, catchy vocals, and immaculate outfits. There was also negative press, namely rumors of autotune implants and rocket launcher-related misdemeanors. But these days, the cult icon has turned a new leaf.
Weiland's fanbase is unlike any other. They run forums, subreddits, and Instagram accounts that pore over his every move. His musicianship, internet-savvy, and ability to be extremely tapped into fashion trends make him a textbook modern multi-hyphenate.
Weiland’s musical influences such as Imogen Heap, Kanye West, and Daft Punk shine through his catchy songs, and are punctuated with an intense use of autotune. Production-wise, he’s always used multiple producers, however, his new project features the legendary Mike Dean, along with young Alabama producer Fish.
After a transitional period, Weiland has altered his genre, opting for a fresher sound. On the cusp of his new release “Vices," we sat down with the man himself.
Before, you said that you began making music because you were bored. Did you ever expect it to take off like this?
I did not expect this to be become a serious thing, honestly.
You grew up in Tampa, what was the best part about living there?
The whole homey vibe and experience. I might feel that because of nostalgia, but every time I go back there, it's just cozy and almost country-like. There's like a little bit of country and a little bit of city. The perfect mix.
How would you describe both your music and fashion sense?
I believe we’re hitting a point in our culture where 100 percent originality is becoming a hard thing to obtain. We're going to revisit the past while doing things in a postmodernist way. That’s what I’d label my style for anything I do. Basically building something new out of references from others' work.
You've adopted a new persona on Instagram, as well as musically, with your single "Heart Stop." What has led you to this change?
I've just realized that my priorities have all been wrong. I don’t care about money, and I don't just have to follow some algorithm or quick get rich formula. I can just be myself and do what I want to do. Fuck everyone and what they may say. It has a lot to do with maturing and getting older as well. Experiences and what you see over time shape you.
I’ve never really been able to explore these new sounds because no producer was ever willing to do something different. People are scared of change. But when I met Fish, he helped me create what I’ve always wanted to create. He has become like a brother to me during the creation of this project and I truly believe in his musical talent.
A lot of rappers are getting their own McDonald's meals. What would the Weiland McDonald's Meal look like?
A 200 piece McNugget meal, man. Keep it simple.
What do the lyrics in your new single “Blaming Myself” mean?
I wrote this song expressing myself in an extremely vulnerable state - in this relationship I loved them so much that I would let them treat me however they wanted, and I’d always turn a blind eye and just blame any negativity on myself. I wanted to be there for them no matter what they put me through, mentally and physically. All I wanted to do was fix it.
So for your new album Vices, what can we expect?
Honestly, no one is going to know what to expect. Every song is a surprise.
What does Vices represent?
It’s about how I feel trapped by all of my vices — living with intruding existential thoughts, depersonalization and anxiety, the feeling of loneliness. All the negatives. I believe it’ll give people who feel similar to me a sound to relate to and not feel alone.
When you’re not working on the album, what else are you doing?
I’m working on a new creative collective with my brother Dominic Chandler. We call it “Bartleby”. Its main focus at the moment is public art. Public art allows people to see something that they may never see in their normal life. It may make them sad, happy, confused, or angry. But when they see that art in public it just causes them to either feel or think. And that’s really amazing to me, so I want to do more in that realm.
What would you like to say to your fan base and supporters?
I feel like I have one of the best and most loyal fan bases in the underground scene right now. I'm just thankful for them. I guess I'd say that I’m about to release a very good project and it will be worth the wait.