There is that classic moment in life when you throw on headphones, fall back into bed and into the music. In these moments find the rising New York based producer, Guantanamo Bae. Listen to how he transforms his grand piano melodies into electronic fairy-tale-like experiences of emotive music you can get comfortably lost in. Premiering here and now is his most accomplished release yet, ‘Heartbeat Sync To Mine‘.
With commanding, dynamic, hard-hitting melodic bass and crystalline vocals from the featured artist, Flakey, ‘Heartbeat Sync To Mine’, engulfs the ear and caresses the soul causing you to forget where you are and literally lose it to the music. It’s precisely what we need right now, to be wholly immersed in it and not to be reminded that all the clubs are closed.
Inspired by one of his favorite artists, Seven Lions, ‘Heartbeat Sync to Mine’ is the first of the new collection from powerhouse G-Bae.
For Guantanamo Bae, his whole reason for getting into electronic music was from being in a state of deep depression after getting out of the military. Guantanamo Bae shares, “It got more apparent as I entered my post-service years. I went to my first music festival and really heard dance music for the first time in a trance tent. I absolutely lost it to the music, and it started my mental health journey.”
Alongside the release of ‘Heartbeat Sync to Mine’, Guantanamo Bae is holding a remix contest for his ‘I Want You To Be Kind’.
When GB joined the Navy as an operations specialist, he volunteered to sing the U.S. Navy’s Fight Song “Anchors Away” that he had learned from the honor choir. Hoping to be a navigator and spending the next few years exploring exotic ports, his dreams were crushed when he discovered that he was being sent as a detention specialist to guard what the government had branded detained enemy combatants at the infamous Guantanamo Bay.
After serving in the U.S. Navy, he relocated to New York City to attend college and the music passion began. Guantanamo Bae understands everyone’s need for a diversion from these challenges. He accomplishes this by incorporating melodic mixes and uplifting elements that is a celebration on the dance floor. With sizable performances shows forthcoming, we took our chance to interview Guantanamo Bae.
I understand you found peace of mind in a trance tent. What was your first electronic music experience? Can you recall any positive thoughts or realizations that came to you on the dancefloor?
I remember when I was a kid, and there was a new video game I just bought, I would get so excited on the way home. After getting out of the military, I would always think about that feeling, that anticipation, but I could no longer achieve it because of my anxiety and PTSD. Suddenly, I was in this tent, this music was speaking to me, I was stuck in place, and I started to feel that not-so-familiar anticipation from when I was a kid. My group wanted to see the headliner, and I just said, “No, I’m good.” I think the thing that made it even more meaningful was a good friend of mine stayed there with me the whole time, and we just took in this 4-hour experience together; it feels like a dream every time I think about it. That day was the beginning of my mental health journey.
Do you think they should require all soldiers to attend a music festival when they come back from war?
I think we should force everyone to have a good time for sure. Of course, forcing them to do it would never work, so every veteran needs to go on their journey to find out whom they want to be when they return from their service. Combat veteran or not, it’s a difficult transition for all of us, and we need to acknowledge that it’s not an easy road. Suppose your peace is a music festival, an underground rave, a small jazz spot, hiking, etc. I support it. Just challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and don’t isolate yourself from society. Someone, somewhere, want to meet you.
What are 5 electronic music tracks that have a place in your heart?
I’m all about melody and feelz, so I’m going with:
All of these are empowerment songs or love songs in one way or another. I get so hyped to hear upbeat lyrics; I listen to a lot of deep house and trance, however, my favorites will always be the songs with lyrics that pierce my heart.
Lets talk ‘Heartbeat Sync to Mine’, what inspired you to create this single? Can you share a little about the different layers of the beat?
I’m all about melodies, melodies to me are what catchy lyrics are to most. I’m always thinking, “What did I hear yesterday where it went “dun da, dunnn, da, duuu”. It feels like nonsense because your thinking in keystrokes is almost the same approach I take when writing. I put every midi I write into the grand piano before I add anything to it. If it doesn’t sound good on a grand piano, then it’s not good. That’s the philosophy I live by. I tried to keep the drops steep to match the lyrics’ intensity to blend rather than competing for attention. You can tell when two sounds don’t like each other, and that’s what I’m always trying to harmonize. The melody combined with the lyrics will get you on this one.
How did you and Flakey work together to bring this release together?
Flakey always has some fresh lyrics in her head. We’re on this empowerment kick; I’ve been trying to be more purposeful in the words I use in the tracks I make. We really wanted something powerful and melodic, so she came up with something based on the trance tent’s story earlier. Losing it to the music is the theme for this release, and I think it’s something we all need right now. Give up everything going on in the world, clear your head (I like to focus on a single grain of sand), move your work laptop off the living room table, turn your phone down and set it to do not disturb. Go straight into the music from there, and lose it.
What intentions do you put into creating your music?
Up to this point, it’s been a learning experience; it was about having fun and just making something groovy, but no real direction. With this single, and from now on, I’m focusing on putting meaning into the music. We’re going to have tracks about PTSD, death of loved ones, government-mandated shutdowns, but also positive tracks about overcoming substance abuse, living in the moment, letting go of past mistakes. It’s as much a project to help others as it is a project to help myself.
Where are you from? Who are some local artists you are fond of? What are some of your favorite spots to attend shows?
Jämes Jäger is a name you should be looking out for. He did a remix of one of my tracks, and it’s honestly my favorite release I have yet. We’ve been doing some virtual editing sessions, and he knows what plugin to use at all times, edits faster than you’ve ever seen, and hears things you’d never notice if he didn’t point it out. He’s focused on remix packs in the past, but we’ve been chatting, and he’s about ready to release an official single. The guy is also a killer DJ, can read any room like a big; I see big things in his future.
Another artist I’m always looking forward to releases from is JulezP. I remember we had this virtual festival with a doomsday theme, and he came in dressed as Rick from Rick and Morty and had a whole theme from the show; it was sick. He’s had some really dope dubstep releases lately as well. “AREA 69” and “Bring It Back”. Both are bangers.
What is one philosophy you live by?
When Socrates was questioned as to who is a wiser man, among himself and a man who claimed to be very wise, Socrates responded, “I seem, then, in just this little thing to be wiser than this man at any rate, that what I do not know I do not think I know either.”
To paraphrase, “I know that I know nothing, and because I know that, I know more than this man who claims to know things.” Always remember that your pool of knowledge is minimal, be humble, listen to others, don’t suppose to know things you don’t, ask questions about things you hear but don’t know what they mean.
What is next for Guantanamo Bae?
All this free time not playing shows means hella fresh songs for your ears; I’m working on this intense track that addresses the whole government-enforced shutdown of nightlife and compares that to prohibition as well as the ’80s, and 90’s when music festivals were just raves getting shutdown because everyone always has to be mad at people having a good time. Maybe I’ll be playing some of those new underground raves, who knows? Just don’t tell Big Brother.
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