INSIDE THE MIND OF BOY $COUT GATSBY AND HIS NEW EP ‘FROM GATSBY WITH LOVE’
“The fact that I could speak about the way that I was feeling was revolutionary,” First Nations artist BOY $COUT GATSBY reminisces on sharing his music for the first time.
He was 16 years old when he initially posted his music to Facebook, in search of a way to deal with a breakup and the passing of a friend to suicide. Born in Western Sydney before moving to Wollongong at five years old, GATSBY’s father worked multiple jobs and his mother “struggled with having to raise [him and his three brothers]”. “It led me to find the love I wasn’t receiving from other places.”
“There’s a cool sense of community especially in Wollongong. It’s a weird diaspora though, you can do just well enough to grow up poor around rich people.”
Raised in environments of toxic masculinity, where “I’d rather be the hammer, I never wanted to be the nail”, he was inherently hesitant to speak on his vulnerabilities and “give people an in.” GATSBY credits two forces that changed this sentiment: “The shift in how Australians view mental health” and the 2016 SoundCloud era that widened the lane of imported influences.
“You just had people online willing to look at new music and hear new things which were different. Before that it was tastemakers who would tell us what to listen to.”
In high school, one of BOY $COUT GATSBY’s teachers gave him advice that has resonated with him ever since – “Whatever you know, bring it into whatever art you make.” Growing up, his life revolved around being “out doing naughty stuff or home playing video games.” Knowing that he could make money from both but “one of them didn’t require me to be stressed out and paranoid”, he decided to pursue his interest in the latter.
Offering his songs to YouTubers to use as copyright free music in their videos, his streaming numbers skyrocketed as a result. Not only building the foundation of GATSBY’s fanbase, it inevitably led to invaluable friendships with YouTubers Anything4Views, Misfit Minds, SwaggerSouls, Fresh, Modest Pelican and more.
“Those boys forever changed my life, not just in the opportunity they provided me but in the conversations they’ve had with me over the years.”– BOY $COUT GATSBY (2023).
Highlighting their importance in GATSBY’s life, he reflects on a particular conversation with one of them on a drunken night out. “I remember there was one night I was having a chat with one of them and they said ‘I appreciate you acting hard but you know you dont have to’ and I think I was a little drunk and said ‘yeah but if I dont act this way you guys arent gonna fuck with me’. He turned around and said ‘nah bro we fuck with you because you’re you.’”
“Little moments like that where they’ve helped me develop as a man and as a person outside the music has been most important which has then crossed over to improve the music.”
Eight years in the making, BOY $COUT GATSBY’s debut EP FROM GATSBY WITH LOVE has finally arrived. Mixed and mastered by LA-based Scotty Bay, the project is produced by Tasker, one of the country’s finest creatives whose production credits include Huskii, YNG Martyr and Ivan Ooze. Consisting of previous releases from 2022, FROM GATSBY WITH LOVE is a collection of melodic offerings inspired by the likes of Post Malone and Dave. “Lyrically, I see it is an open love letter to everyone that I know, or once knew.”
When GATSBY supported Canadian rapper bbno$ on his Australian tour earlier this year, he brought out Miko Mal (previously known as Babyface Mal) to perform their effortlessly cool collaboration ‘BoywiZard’ to a sold-out audience. “Mal has so much steez to the way he does stuff.”
The remaining features on FGWL are delivered by Mason Dane and Oliver Cronin on ‘Rolls Royce’ and ‘One Time’ respectively. While the local scene has historically fallen victim to cliquing up instead of expanding community, GATSBY shows his gratitude to the young musicians for being “willing to speak to anyone or point anyone in the right direction.”
“I wouldn’t even call him a music friend, he’s like my best friend, that’s my boy. You name any artist in this country and Mason has five songs with them, his work ethic is insane and his vault is nuts.”– BOY $COUT GATSBY (2023).
The EP isn’t short of solo offerings either, including the previously released ‘Wish You Well’ and ‘Act The Same’, as well as new tracks ‘Clearly Business’ and ‘Hasta La Vista’. From upbeat melodic raps to moments of vulnerable introspection, FGWL is a refined product achieved through years’ of GATSBY’s artistic and personal evolution. “The amount of times I’ve seen ‘Act The Same’ change and the different beats it’s been on and the different ways it’s been recorded. It’s come so far and the lyrics still hit hard for me so it’s a super important song.”
“Everyday I get more comfortable with myself and who I am, a lot of that is a self love process.”
While he wasn’t able to organise a release party for this EP, GATBSY promises to double down on the next. Already in the early process of deciding the style, sound and potential international feature candidates, his eyes are already set on new music. “I want a full-length album next year, that’s my main goal.”
Until then, stream FROM GATSBY WITH LOVE.