The music industry has seen some unlikely pairings over the years: David Bowie and Bing Crosby; Wale and Lady Gaga; Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds with Kylie Minogue. But none, and I mean none, make you go ‘WHAT?’ like Gangstagrass do! Their unexpected fusion of two American musical cultures that couldn’t be more different, hip-hop and bluegrass, is something you must experience. And i can’t stop loving.
I caught up with brainchild of this unusual collaboration, Brooklyn-based independent singer, songwriter, and producer, Rench, to discuss the band and their upcoming UK tour.
Having been to the UK before, I ask what the guys are looking forward to on their 2019 return. Rench starts with, ‘we had a wonderful run a couple years ago and we are so excited to be back – especially returning to the places we played before, like Exeter Phoenix. We enjoy seeing the crowds grow. Our fusion of music is different and people seem to really love it in the UK’. Rench continues, ‘we have a new line up and can’t wait to share our newest incarnation, and of course our new album.’
The album ‘Pocket Full of Fire’ will be released on February 15th. ‘It was definitely time for a new album release,’ says Rench. ‘Over the years, we have really developed a dynamic approach to having rappers and bluegrass players on stage together. We take full advantage of the fact that both genres have a strong improvisational element. Verses are sometimes freestyled, songs are sometimes restructured on the fly. And the songs themselves have evolved into new animals that come to life on stage. We captured some great performances and it will be great to get to share what we’ve created with our fans.’
As a final question I ask, ‘there must be times with Gangstagrass that you look back on and smile, thinking, “that was a great moment”.’ Rench returns with ‘plenty’ and gives me little smile. ‘Like when we debuted on the Billboard charts or playing to 10,000 people at the Rudolstadt Festival in Germany. We visited the Adult Swim headquarters to be on “Fishcenter Live”, that was absolutely bizarre. Or having a video of us performing in the L.R. Baggs YouTube series reach 1.4 million views. But out of everything, to me what really stands out is not the specific moment as much as the whole experience of playing a tour to so many wonderful fans, even in small venues it can be so gratifying to feel their energy.’
If your planing on catching The Emmy nominated Gangstagrass, their 2019 UK tour will be kicking off next week, bringing their unique sound to the Exeter Phoenix on Thursday 31st January. Tickets are available here.