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GAWTBASS: Trap Producer with a Style that is Truly Irreplicable
As of 2012, Graham Gawthorpe aka GAWTBASS, has quickly attracted the attention of the electronic dance music (EDM) scene by his trap music. Having only been in the game for about two years, he not only already has over 60 tracks on SoundCloud, but most have tens of thousands of listens, some already reaching 100,000 or more. For those of you who are not savvy with SoundCloud, it's a site where any producer can post their music and publicly share it to gain more support. Having almost 30,000 followers is an impressive feat for someone so new to electronic music production.
From Chicago, IL, Gawthorpe grew up playing the cello followed by guitar and piano. When he decided to get into producing electronic music in late 2012, it's clear that he had found his niche. Don't believe me? Check it out yourself in the link to his profile I have provided below. You won't be left unimpressed.
GAWTBASS on SoundCloud
Now I'm going to pick apart a few of his best tracks (in my opinion) and explain why his sound is so original. Every time I go to his profile on SoundCloud, I either see a new song by him or a collaboration with another producer. It's DJ's like Graham who end up making it out alive, and successfully in the vicious trap game because of how much time he obviously spends creating insane beats that are so different and unique that make it difficult for any other producer to replicate. That's why his music sticks in your head once you give it a listen. You'd be able to recognize GAWTBASS's songs being dropped by other DJ's at a show just because of his distinct style. Below I've listed a few of my favorite tracks I'm going to analyze and really give specific examples as to why Graham is so talented.
- Nightfall (with Creaky Jackals)
- Maniac (with THEREALBOSS & Mister Black)
- Puppets (with Tincup)
Views on SoundCloud
Nightfall (w/ Creaky Jackals)
The intro to this track sounds almost like a lullaby, a high-pitched plucking sound to create a nighttime sort of ambiance. Obviously a great intro if they were shooting to have it reflect the title of the song. Shortly after, the snare drums kick in and create a more up-beat rhythm so the listener has an idea of what to expect when the song climaxes. But before the buildup, they lead into a soft break where a few bars are created to calm down the song with a quiet melody again to enhance the buildup and of course, the drop.
The buildup isn't exactly "boring" but it's not that hype either which I think is appropriate for the song to keep up with the smooth night time melody. So the high-pitched plucking sound jumps in again to initiate the melody for the chorus throughout the somewhat subtle buildup.
Finally, the song drops with heavy bass that literally feels like it drags you along with it through each beat by their use of fading the sounds in and out, and softer then louder. The lullaby-like melody flows with the bass and the snare kicks in at all the right times.
This was one of the first tracks I listened to by GAWTBASS back when it was released about six months ago. It truly captivated me and I knew just from listening to this one song, that he had such an interesting, original sound to his music that just gives off incredible vibes and left me wanting more. Thus, GAWTBASS became one of my top favorite trap producers and has kept me satisfied ever since then with constant new releases.
Nightfall Track Link:
The introduction to Phobia makes me think I am in a large warehouse, or garage with the repetition of hollow metal-sounding beats that echo and accurately coincide with the bass and up-beat rhythm that the snare drums exert. The buildup comes on quickly, about 30 seconds into the track, with multiple sounds that remind me of a maraca (shaker), a high-pitched beeping sound almost like a computer would make to create the melody, and various percussion instruments in the background.
The drop sounds pretty ominous to me, it insinuates a dark, mysterious atmosphere. The bass fades in and out and he adds a dubstep sort of sound (womps and wubs) to the chorus that makes it feel more deep, and dramatic. It sounds like there's a lot going on but it's actually very well put together if you really break it apart in your head as you listen.
Phobia Track Link
One of my absolute favorite tracks right now, "Maniac" is something I don't think I was mentally prepared enough to listen to. So, I'll explain what to expect right now so that you're not taken as off guard as I was! The intro is quite simple. It sounds like the melody is produced by electronic guitar chords, that lead into the same melody plus a lower octave accompanied by a few simple piano keys in the background. After a few measures of this, all of the sounds come to an abrupt stop, and are replaced by an intense buildup created by a deep bass and kick drum, an ascending siren, and a rhythm that prepares you for one heavy drop.
The sample lyrics he uses are, "Yes, I'm a maniac", and an addition of an evil sort of revenge-seeking laugh after the second drop. If you're also a dubstep fan, I think you'll be a fan of this track. The bassline is obviously heavy, but the low dubby wave that corresponds with a cow bell kind of sound, leads perfectly into each break that pulls into the next measure. The snare drums give it more of a trap feel, but ultimately I feel that most sounds used in this track are those similar of dubstep songs.
This is quite a masterpiece if you ask me, you'll feel like you're in trouble or some sort of danger after the drop because it's just so dark and powerful. You can tell he was going for that "maniac" kind of feel and I think he definitely pulled it off.
Produced in part by Tincup (another one of my favorite trap artists), "Puppets" has rap lyrics that give the song extra fluff, with only a few sounds in the background including: a plucking sound that resembles the high notes on a piano, a kick drum every now and then and ascending/descending sounds that follow along with the pattern of the lyrics.
The buildup is created by the lyrics and the steady raise in tempo of the bass. It drops nicely into a crisp sounding melody made by a hollow-metal-pipe-striking-another-kind-of sound (it gets hard describing these sounds!). Throughout each measure there is a dubby sound that kind of "wraps" into the next. Of course the bass and snares are all there. But all in all, it sounds like a simple rhythm but you can tell if you listen carefully that the timing between each sound must have taken hours to perfect.
Puppets Track Link
This track is interesting because it's ethnically diverse, meaning the word "Flamenco" is Spanish for a form of folk music and dance from Spain. For example: when I hear this kind of music, the first thing that pops into my head is salsa dancing. Now that you know what to expect, here's how GAWTBASS takes those Spanish roots and morphs it into a filthy trap song.
The intro is exactly how you would imagine a Spanish band with acoustic guitars and hand claps. He then throws that trappy snare drum sound every now and then to set up the transition. Brass instruments kick in (I believe it's a trumpet) to play a soft melody to add volume to the song. The trumpet begins to play a single ascending note to act as the anchor of the buildup. Then finally, the drop.
I don't know how else to describe the drop besides, exotic. It really makes you feel as if you are vacationing in Spain enjoying a night of live music that suddenly forms a catchy trap beat. The snares pick up, the melody is quite swingy and he also adds in his infamous sound of the bass fading in and out to highlight how heavy it actually is. There is a shuffling sound that leads in to each measure to add some more trap roots as well. Dancing to this is a given. I haven't heard anybody drop this track live, but it has a unique feel to it that I know would go over well with the crowd.
Flamenco Track Link
One Last Thing!
GAWTBASS just released a track on his SoundCloud with XAVI3R3 & Kaizer called "Mob". I won't go deep into this one considering I really haven't even listened to the whole song yet, but just by hearing the first drop I could tell this one was going to be a knockout. The video for this track is posted below. Give GAWTBASS some support by checking out his Facebook and SoundCloud now that you know more about his style. He's amazed me so far by his performance in the trap music genre and I'm sure I'm not the only one.