Our new Center Stage artist Gasmilk is the solo project of producer/engineer Brian Lee White. Hailing from Oakland, California, Gasmilk crafts punchy pop landscapes around razor witted lyrics that command a sing-a-long. Having spent the last 10 years developing a career as a professional composer and engineer, working in almost every segment of music production, Brian's written music for video games, television shows, commercials that annoyed you, and a bunch of of artists you've probably never heard of. Seeking more than a simple footnote in a nonexistent digital liner, Brian is stepping out from behind the mixing board to dance on top of it, and Gasmilk wants to make every day a casual Friday. Gasmilk’s debut EP, “Beautiful Things” is out now.
Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence
Gasmilk makes fun electronic pop jams with a bit of neon nostalgia thrown in for good measure.
What inspires you to make music?
Listening to other music. As someone who just loves listening to music of almost any genre, from any time period, I am constantly hearing things and thinking, “I love that idea/sound/texture, I want to try something like that!” You have to get your tastes and preferences from somewhere and part of what comes out is always going to be pulled from a continuous running total of everything you’ve ever experienced and been moved by in some way. Sometimes I just sit in the studio all day and do nothing but listen to music, not checking emails or browsing the web and passively listening, but actively listening to music and doing nothing else.
What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
The ability for musical ideas, genres, scenes, etc., to spread instantly across the internet, then split and morph into all kinds of unexpected directions. The idea of sharing independent music via the internet is now very mature and there are countless outlets to accomplish that. Of course you get a lot of static when anyone and their dog can self publish content, but I would rather wade through the static and allow the masses to self curate via their own unique tastes and preferences than live in some sort of walled garden alternative.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a musician?
Getting paid a fair wage for your work has to be any artist or musician’s biggest challenge these days. I could go on for days about how the system is rigged and why the common misconception that, “artists can make a ton of money touring so they don’t need royalties” is a total fallacy, but then I just sound like a angry bro mad at the world, so I won’t go there. I work as a composer and produce commercial content for a living, so I can afford to support my artist alter ego and have no expectation of quitting my day job anytime soon, but in a world of shrinking physical resources (e.g. land, water, food, components to make your smartphone) I don’t think we are doing the best job of promoting the value ethereal content, that ideas are worth just as much, or maybe even more than something you can hold in your hand. But hey, I give my EP away for free, who am I to say what the right way forward is?
What's one of your all-time favorite recordings?
“Get up” by James Brown
Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why- Living or dead.
My Dad, since he encouraged me to play and write music in the first place and introduced me to really great music at a young age. Max Martin, because I think he has changed the way people think about modern pop production and arranging. Neil Young, because his music taught me to preserve and cherish imperfections in the performance, which is a huge contrast to today’s “fix every little thing” digital production workflow.
Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? Tell us about it.
My EP, “Beautiful Things” came out last summer, so that’s available now. I recently scored a video game that’s coming out this spring called Massive Chalice. It’s not “Gasmilk” scoring the game per say, it’s me and my composition partner Brian Trifon (aka Trifonic), but it’s a really cool soundtrack and worth checking out. I’m sure I’ll put out more Gasmilk music in 2015.
What is your ideal or target audience?
Anyone who likes fun electronic pop music and doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
Do you write your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process.
Yes. Usually songs will start with a melodic idea in my head, maybe it’s a lead vocal melody or just a cool riff. A lot of times these ideas come to me in the shower, for whatever reason, which can be kind of wasteful because we are in a drought here in California. Once I have that little idea, I will start working out the production and let the arrangement evolve from there. I usually start to write the lyrics at that point and record a scratch vocal to vibe to. With Gasmilk, I am doing all the writing, recording and production at my studio by myself, so it can be a very isolating experience, but that is sort of the whole idea behind the project. Since I am always collaborating with other creatives in my professional life, the writing and arranging can sometimes be a compromise between many individual’s esthetic goals, when it’s just me, I am free to succeed or fail all by myself, it’s a good creative exercise.
What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
Like I mentioned earlier, while the era of the self publishing artist is amazing, there can be a lot of static out there and attracting an audience who might be into what you’re doing can be difficult. Radio Airplay helps my music reach fans that I might not otherwise be exposed to, and gives the little guy an edge in an otherwise crowded marketplace. I also love that artist’s are rewarded with more plays when fans like your music.
Do you have an interesting story about you, or anything extra you'd like to add?
When I was in 5th grade, a D.A.R.E. officer came to our class and told us a cautionary tale of a guy who consumed cocktails of gasoline and milk in a 1:1 ratio. I'm 99% sure he was making it all up, drinking gasoline would probably kill you, but I have been joking with friends about this disturbing mystery beverage we called “gasmilk” ever since. So that’s where the name came from.
“Beautiful Things” EP (currently a free download) at http://gasmilk.bandcamp.com
Gasmilk on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gasmilkmusic
Gasmilk on Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/gasmilk
Production company: http://www.finishingmoveinc.com