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.