by Madeline Turner ('23) and Alberto Morales Nuñez ('21)
“It was definitely nerve-wracking to do, but was the most gratifying feeling” is how Gus Dapperton describes working on his upcoming album, “ORCA.” Recently, we sat down with the artist to talk about his work on the album, life in quarantine, and his most recent collaborations.
“ORCA” is set to be Gus Dapperton’s sophomore release, begun while on tour in 2018. Though the album was created before the pandemic, Dapperton feels it is an honest reflection of our current moment.
“I think a lot of people can relate to the theme of feeling trapped, and that’s what the album is about,” he says.
Dapperton describes “ORCA” as being more about his internal struggles. “I think I was neglecting some of the deeper and more personal emotions. Being honest in the music, and knowing that it's gonna be out there, and shared with people, and everyone can hear my thoughts,” he shares. “It’s really therapeutic for me to put it into the music.”
Two singles from the album–“First Aid” and “Post Humorous”–have already been released and are on air at 93.5 WVBR-FM.
“I’ve been trying to let the music speak for itself, make content where I can, and not really force it,” Dapperton says, reflecting on the choice to continue with the album release despite the COVID-19 crisis. He reveals he has enjoyed extending the typical album cycle for “ORCA,” promising acoustic releases, videos, and in-depth looks at the origins of each single.
When society does finally return to “normal,” Dapperton predicts that music that will be put out is going to have a longer shelf life. With the ability to listen to new songs indefinitely after their release, listeners will feel an added impact when they finally have the opportunity to hear music live for the first time.
During this period of strain with mental health and artistic creativity, he reflects on the compulsion many artists feel to constantly produce content. Fortunately for the “Prune, You Talk Funny” singer, staying at home without much social interaction is not too terrible. As an introvert, Dapperton has not felt a big shift in his artistry between pre-pandemic times and now. Unlike other artists, he says, he appreciates having the ability to make music when inspiration comes.
“I don’t treat music or art as work to me,” he says. “I don’t think pressure helps, I think what helps is sitting back, reflecting, studying, observing while you’re in this time, and when you come out of it, you’ll have all this momentum to get to work.”
Nevertheless, the upstate New York native misses his in-person interactions with his fans. After taking a long break for himself at the beginning of 2020, the artist has had to face the fact that his hiatus had to become longer than he originally planned.
“One of my happiest moments,” he says, “is when I can play music and the crowd sings back the music to me, or they’re reacting to what I’m doing. That was such a gift to have that.”
Perfect words from an artist known for the creativity and energy he imbues, not only into his music, but into his overall aesthetic and personal brand.