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Streaming from a Distance: George Gretton Interview

25 June 20 words: Alanah Kholsa

The local musician has been busy in his bedroom studio finishing his latest EP, soon to be released to the world. When Alanah Kholsa caught up with George, ‘streaming’ was the order of the day, as she learned about his virtual gigs and his latest single, Slipstream.

George Gretton is a Notts native to be proud of, a truly authentic artist making waves with his genre-defying sound and intricate lyricism. Gretton’s output wonderfully champions Nottingham’s alternative music scene with rhythms that magically flow with your emotions, coupled with some seriously rich synths.

Though his journey began performing with local bands around the city, his solo venture went full throttle in 2017. Since then Gretton has already achieved a great deal with over 20,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and some remarkable live performances, including a landmark headline show at Bodega last November (view our photos from the night here.)

This month marks the release of his latest single Slipstream, a little teaser whilst we anticipate the release of its namesake EP later this year. The track pretty much confirms that the wait will be worthwhile, but in the meantime, we managed to have a catch up with George to get the low down on life as a rising musical force…

Who or what inspired you when you first started making music in 2017, and has this changed over the years?
I have been in a few bands before that with differing levels of success, but I think I was just ready to try something different. I just started making tracks on my laptop that I thought sounded cool and a bit weird. Then I just wanted to belt vocals over the top. Before I knew it, I had about seven or eight demos that were nearly finished. That was when it became a proper thing.

Your music feels authentic and experimental. But how exactly would you describe your sound?  
Thank you! I nab things from a lot of genres. The more the better. Ambient, hip-hop, pop, film music, indie. I tend to shove a bit of it all in.

It’s probably best described as Alternative Electronic, or Electronic Indie. 

What is your creative process like, and what do you use to make each track?
Making a song for me usually starts with clicking around Logic Pro, making synth sounds, chopping up samples and drum patterns until something grabs me. Lyrics usually come last as they’re the hardest for me. It’s an incredibly inefficient process in some ways, but I like that. 

Has the process of creating and releasing the EP had to change due to current lockdown measures?
Not really, as I make it all in a bedroom studio, things haven’t changed much. A bit of a cliché, but I do think that you have to do some living to get inspired. We’ve had to re-think the release a bit. I’d love to do launch shows and festivals and make it way more of a party, but that’s not quite possible at the moment.

You’ve been likened to some admirable artists like James Blake and Bon Iver, which other musicians do you admire?
Fka twigs and Kanye for sure. I thought the latest Fka twigs album was pretty special. It’s difficult for me to say Kanye because he comes across as an incredibly lost person and he does ignorant stuff, but every time I think I’m over him I’ll find myself listening to one of his albums and being blown away by the music. I think it’s a really exciting time for Nottingham music too, I really love the music of Camille Christel and Megatrain. 

Do you have any dream collaborations?
One day I’d love to work with artists from around the world in various genres. I’ve always thought it would be fun to travel somewhere, get to know cool local musicians and learn about their cultures, and come away with some collaborations.

You performed on a live stream for Nottstopping festival - while shows in venues might be put on hold for the time being, have you been doing anything else similar to stay connected to your fans virtually?
Nottstopping was really cool - that kind of thing makes you proud to be from a city like this. I’ve been doing a few livestream bits here and there. I hated the idea of live streaming before lockdown happened, but now I love it. I’ll be doing way more of these sorts of things while we wait for gigs to start again.

What has been your proudest moment in your career so far?
Headlining the Bodega at the back end of last year was special to me. And we also played at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall for a charity event called WeDay. That was the first time I’d ever heard music I made in my bedroom in a massive theatre, so I felt a little bit surreal then.

We can’t wait for your first EP - what can we expect from it? 
I think it’s pretty authentic, like an honest insight into my sound and thoughts. I want it to be all written and produced by me for this first one, just to show people what I’m about. I’d hope people who have heard one or two of my tracks will enjoy having something a bit longer to sink their teeth into.

Other than the EP, do you have any other projects to look forward to?
More writing and producing for myself and other artists too. Once this EP is out, we’ll see. I’m looking forward to getting back on the road for gigs and getting my music in front of as many people as I can. I’m thinking pretty short-term at the moment. 

Slipstream is out now on all major platforms, and all streaming revenue will be donated to Black Minds Matter UK. 

Follow George on Instagram.

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