top of page

gnash: 'The Art of Letting Go', Learning to Heal, Starting a Label, & More!

Cover Shoot Team: Photographer: Maegan Grendell @Maegangrendellphoto
Model/Artist: Gnash (Garrett Nash) @gnash
Makeup Artist/Groomer: Lana Hrachian @lanaharachian_mua
Wardrobe Stylist: Chechel Joson @chech_joson
BTS Photographer: Nadja Aumueller @omillershots
BTS Videographer: Connor Fornes @fornesfilm
Journalist/Interview by: Jewel Fiorillo @jewelfphoto

What is your new album "The Art of Letting Go" about?

The Art of Letting Go dropped on 3/23 which is the area code that I grew up with. The album's about LA, where I'm from, and about my family. It's a very personal body of work. It's like opening up my journal which is a bit of a departure from the normal lyrical direction of The gnash Project. We played with changing my name to Garrett Nash last year. We switched back to gnash. I think we're gonna double tag the album on Spotify to both Garrett Nash and gnash. It feels like a very smart step into adulthood for me. It also is something outside of the wheelhouse of the norm for my project.

Nice, it'll be cool also so that way you can almost separate your past work from your future work.

Yeah, totally. Moving forward, I'm sitting on a lot of records that I've been teasing about lives and stuff. That I feel is a little bit more in the wheelhouse of what people may expect from the next step on the gnash project. This project is something I'm super proud of. I made most of it over the pandemic with my buddy Gabe Simon, who recently did all the Noah Kahan stuff. He's the producer on a lot of that stuff. It's a really beautiful body of work. I'm extremely proud of it, and I'm just excited to have it out in the world so people can hear it and heal from it … just like I did making it.

Awesome. Reading from the excerpt about this album, you mentioned struggles with letting go of certain emotions, relationships, or issues of situations. I was curious when you're like sitting with those emotions that you can't seem to let go of, is writing music a way for you to fully process the situation that you're going through or help you work through those emotions easier?

Yeah. I was struggling with resentment, frustration, and anger during the pandemic, just in general. I was also being forced to face feelings of potential imminent loss and doom. All of these things that I think we all kind of universally felt together. The way that I chose to deal with that and knew how to deal with that was through writing. So I just started writing songs about how I was feeling and for the first time in a long time, using music as therapy. It's me saying that I don't have the answer, but I think this is kind of the process, you know? The album goes through a journey. It talks about me personally, my personal relationships, my thoughts on life and death, and things like that … kind of goes through this story. At the end of the day, we all end up at the same light at the end of the tunnel, and the lessons you learn along the way can come up in different ways or directions. Your soul will reflect those differences. I'm a big believer that we get popped out into this existence as souls with a certain set of lessons to learn. How we receive those is kind of at the discretion of the choices we make in the past that you choose. At the end of the day, we're gonna learn those lessons one way or another and then carry those on to our next life. This project summarizes a lot of those feelings and also at the same time letting go of these things that I've been carrying. During the process, I found out I have a genetic disease called hemochromatosis, which is a thing that makes too much iron in your body. I'm a big believer that everything has a spiritual connotation as well as a medical connotation. It has a lot to do with your liver. Your liver carries a lot of resentment. I think that that was a huge wake-up call for me because this isn't something that activates in everybody's body that has the double gene but it did for me. I was like “What am I carrying?” It really forced me to look in the mirror, reflect on those things, meditate on them, and genuinely do my best to let go of them. I've done a lot of purging and releasing. It's been really beautiful.

It's a catharsis method. You're doing it also to cope with your emotions, but also to really process what you just recently found out about yourself and be open about it. Bringing awareness is so important because you don't know who's gonna hear your music and maybe they can relate in so many different ways.

It's a blessing that I have a perspective like this. I've been involved in a couple of the biggest songs of the last decade. I'm very grateful for that. Something that I've taken away is that you don't really get to choose how music impacts people. Once it's out in the world. It's not really yours anymore, it's up to them and their vibration and how they reflect that back onto you. I'm really looking forward to seeing how “The Art of Letting Go” helps people in their own healing process because it definitely helped me. I'm excited to have it out in the world and move on to new stuff. I try not to ruminate too long on anything in particular anymore because our attention spans are just getting smaller and smaller. I'm really focused on just releasing a lot of music because that's the best way I have to communicate how I'm feeling and people seem to really resonate with it.

Seriously. I like what you said once you release the album or the project, you don't wanna fixate on it because you wanna keep growing … almost like transitioning from how you learned “The Art of Letting Go”

It belongs to everyone else, you know? I now need to continue my creative journey but we're still gonna keep dropping a song at least every month for the rest of the year, if not the next two years. I made about 180 songs for this project. There are only 12 on the project. I've got a lot of things in the backlog that I'm gonna drop, but I've also got a lot of new stuff. I mean make new songs every day. That's the best way I've learned that I make a difference in the world. People are so afraid of death because they fear leaving a legacy, what they’ll leave behind, and people’s opinions. I touched on that a little bit in a song on the project called “Be Here Now”. It was right after Kobe died. I wrote about that. It felt like everybody had an opinion about him. Some people were negative, and some people were bringing up things from 15 years before. It just made me think, “What are people gonna say about me?” Then the chorus is like, “I don't really have much say over that, so I'm just gonna be here now.”

What does this project and the music that you're creating with this project mean to you? What would you want it to mean to your listeners?

I don't really have any say over what people think of the project or how it affects their life. I hope that it encourages people to be more present, kind, live in awareness, and be open to spirituality, other lifetimes, and soul-level lessons. The core of it is that I hope that people are more present when they hear it. I hope people listen to the whole thing from top to bottom. It becomes their bedtime, meditation, or their road trip music … Or they like one or two songs and the rest of it isn't for them. I've got two favorite songs on the project … “Money, Love, and Death” and “Family Man” are amazing songs. I hope it is what the light means to them … whether that's the inner light, something in the sky, or something you learn in a book. I don't know any answers, but I hope that it encourages people to be more present. There's a song called “Rainbow” that I love and the chorus is, “When did my darkness get all of this confidence? I was an optimist holding onto half full. Where did my happiness go? If you find it, let me know cause I could use a rainbow.” That song's just me looking out the window and feeling sad today. Reflect on being so you can become - you have to do the being. I hope when people hear they also wanna focus on being, even if it's just for five minutes of just sitting with yourself … the noise that goes on in your head without the noise of the world, you know?

It’s gonna be a personal journey for everybody who listens. For example, this year I've been taking cold showers for the first time and it's been changing my life. I love it. It gives me a whole new kick in the morning. I made my, um, alarm on my phone, “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. When my five minutes are over, it comes on, and I start dancing. I don't know what combination or cataclysmic order of events caused me to want to do that. Maybe it was just the right amount of “10 things all Billionaires do” on Instagram or whatever it is, right? Taking time to myself, being in my meditation practice, and saying, “Hey, something still isn't clicking here.” Then, bringing the cold showers. That might only work for a week. But because I was present I was able to add a new thing to my routine to expand my horizon for myself.

Onto the next area, I know that you were on tour not too long ago. Do you have any plans for touring again or any live performance?

Yeah, I would like to play one more show in LA so I don't have to go very far. I started a label in the last year in partnership with Atlantic, my fiance and manager Rosabelle is my business partner on it. It's called “Overall.” We have four amazing artists assigned to it. I'd probably like to do a short showcase hybrid gnash show moment where they play upstairs at a venue and then I'm downstairs. Possibly later in the year. The concept of touring is a bit antiquated to me at this point, just because I am crossing into 30 and have a cat. I am open to it depending on the calling, right? The best use of my brain is here at home developing these projects. Creating music and putting that out in the world as fast as possible. No concrete plans.

What made you want to start your own label?

I've always been super passionate about artist development. That's horribly overlooked in the music business. We have a couple of artists on the label that are incredible and have all started in different positions. Over the last six to eight years of the gnash project, it really kicked off in 2015/2016. My creative director Max makes all my art and helps me with all my videos and things like that. He's fantastic across all these other projects too. I have a really great understanding and have really great taste for things that I like. My value on the label is finding things I like helping develop. Rosabelle is an incredible business person, extremely well organized in a way that my brain will never be. Between the three of us, it’s a nice team. Partnership with a company as incredible as Atlantic to help fund that has been amazing and it's allowed for me and Rosabelle and Max to serve as this nice buffer zone between what could be a big scary label and a small developing artist. It helped bridge that gap and show it’s not all that scary. I care about creatives. I've had a really wonderful experience in the music industry and a lot of people don't. So I'm just trying to shine that light on artists that maybe need a little bit of that perspective.

Do you have any large inspirations that you plan to work with in the future? Is anyone that you were really inspired by and now you get to make projects with them?

I work with amazing people that I grew up on all the time. This Monday I worked with this artist I grew up listening to, Donovan Woods. I got to make a couple of songs with my buddy Shwayze last year, and I grew up working as his intern for him and Cisco Adler. I'd love to work with Ben Gibbard. I'd love to do a song with George Harrison. Uh, I'm a huge George Harrison fan. His first album was hugely inspirational for me. I have a whole box set of “All Things Must Pass” down here. I got the collectors box. I'd love to work with Jack Johnson. There are a million people I'd love to work with. Then beyond that, I'm obsessed with Taylor Swift. I think the Harry Styles stuff that's happening is amazing. I'm a huge fan of his stuff. I'd love to write with Ed Sheeran. I met him once. He's a really good guy. I'm always open to whatever.

How did you get into songwriting and becoming a musician?

I've always loved music since I was a little kid. I started DJing when I was 13. If my grandparents had a wedding anniversary, I was the performer when I was two or three years old. I've always been like the center of the show. I ended up going to college at USC and started putting out little covers. I was going through my first breakup, so I had this idea to make three EPs about the journey through that breakup: finding someone, finding myself, and then finding something new. On the other end of that process, I thought I was just gonna go to law school, but people started to really like the music by the time “i hate u, i love u” came out. I had a record deal with Atlantic and I guess I'm an artist. That's where the universe put me. I dealt with inevitable imposter syndrome and all the things that come from that. I'm just extremely grateful at the end of the day.

How did you meet Olivia O'Brien who's featured on “i hate u, i love u”?

Olivia covered my first single, and I heard it was like, wow, this person's voice is amazing. We connected over that. She started sending me demos. One of them was “i hate u, i love u” . I thought it was incredible. Her dad brought her down to LA, and we recorded it. I put my verse on it, and I dropped it hoping to drive her a bunch of fans cause I was ready to throw in the towel on the gnash project and just kind of develop her as an artist. Then it did really well and all of a sudden everybody was looking at me and her. We met through music.

I loved that you helped you use your platform to help a small artist grow. What does your ideal studio session look like? What does your whole creative process look like?

It happens here in this room. I write my stuff. I have a couple of key collaborators that I tend to cycle back to. When I write for other people, I usually like to play a middleman between the artist and a producer. I play a little bit of songwriter, production, and kind of just giving pointers. I can only really work in house setups. I like a good studio hang from time to time. I feel the most comfortable here at home.

If you could choose anywhere in the world to perform, where would it be and why?

Usually, the places that I'm most excited to go to, the shows are not the most fun. I haven't done any in Sweden. I'd be open to that. There have been a couple of really cool venues that I love. When we go to Brussels, we play in this very cool botanical garden venue that's a part of this garden. I love playing the Roxy. My favorite place to perform is here at home with my pets. We make up songs. all the time for them. They all have nicknames obviously. It's all like a moment of inspiration, funny songs. Those are my favorite venues: kitchen, bedroom, and front yard while I'm watering the garden is nice.

That is hilarious. What is your favorite thing about being a musician and what's your favorite thing about music?

I don't actually consider myself a musician. I consider myself someone who has listened to a lot of & loves songs. Being a musician gives me an opportunity to share my opinion. It kind of is this selfish and selfless process at the same time because it's cathartic for me. It’s how much music can mean to people and how far music can reach. Maybe someone hasn’t used the Internet before, but they know who the Beatles are, you know? That's a beautiful thing about music. It’s one of the oldest forms of creative expression. Music has been here forever, and it will be here forever. I'm just a little tiny part of that story. I'm a grain of sand in the beach of music. Also, I just wanted to share that there's an amazing animal organization that we're gonna be working with on this project called “Best Friends Animal Sanctuary” which is leading the end of kill shelters in America by 2025. They have a wonderful sanctuary in Utah that we went and visited. We're really obsessed with them. I'm a big supporter of animal adoption and all of our pets are rescues. Just wanted to put a little seed in someone's brain that maybe they could. The place feels like a national forest when you go. There are sanctuaries for different types of animals: dogs, cats, pigeons, lizards, ferrets, etc. They put them in habitats that are natural for them because basically, the sanctuary is where animals go when they can't be adopted and they need special medical care. This organization refuses to put animals down so they will send them to the sanctuary to be cared for forever. The food is completely vegan and it's just a wonderful experience. They have tours you can do and you can meet the animals. We had a great time. A whole era of my life is finding ways to give back directly and animals are huge for me. Eventually, my dream would be to have a studio at the Utah location. Artists could go and they have a hotel. I'd love to make one of the rooms a studio and name it after Hazy. Then artists can go and they can help with the animals and can record and then kind of do it as a trade.

Amazing, I'm gonna look them up. That is really cool. It was so great to meet you. Thank you so much for your time!

Yeah, of course. Thank you!


bottom of page