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Interview: Gazsi Rap Show

Published June, 2012
by Easterndaze

Having three sides as painter, rapper and songwriter-poet Gazsi Rap Show aka Gáspár Szőke is one of those multi-facetted artists. Gathering attention of the DIY-art scene with his memorable live shows and visual aesthetics of trash art he is finishing now his first album Az Atom Utolsó Erkölcsös Vak Királya (in English: The Last Virtous Blind King Of The Atom).

Tell us about yourself, how did you musical and artistic development happen?
I attended a music school as a kid; then later MC Columbo and I founded our first rap band when we were fourteen. We recorded a 12-track album which had a limited edition self-release of one piece, which was lost for years. After the music elementary I went to an art high school and when I was 16-17 we made another rap team called DSP Bradaz which I left later to start my solo career. At that time I also finished up with graffiti and started writing rap lyrics and songs with my friends and my brother.

How do you work together?
Some of the songs are produced by them. In the beginning I wrote the lyrics first, then they made the music, but lately it’s been reversed. All of lo-fi quality, but later I wanted to develop the sound a bit after I started to perform it, but I do like lo-fi sounds.

Why do you like lo-fi?
I realized that it’s not only my work method, but also I’m much more into trash stuff than clear-cut commercial things. I know how to build up a rap track to be a hit, but I just don’t feel like doing it. I think it’s better to create a stronger impact by my poems and rapping. I know, this way I’m aiming for a niche, but I don’t want to push my music, I’d just better find my audience which is open for it. It might be a bit selfish that I’m doing what I like, but autonomy is important for me even if that of the artist is also questionable in the world of art galleries. I studied art as a painter at the University of Fine Art in Budapest, and I have been taught to think and create independently.

You’re a painter, right?
I played clarinet in the music elementary but I reached my limits. After that I applied to an art high school, then to university. It was somehow obvious that I want to become a painter. Visual thinking is important for me, even if I’m busy with music making I don’t want to stop painting.

What artistic directions are you into lately?
Lately I’m into trash stuff, aesthetics of tumblr and other web graphics.

90’s influenced visual aesthetics like web graphics, gif’s are very popular on tumblr now, what do you think about this?
Yeah, tumblr is a platform which your parents don’t follow and you can post whatever you want. When I was 15, the visual aesthetics was totally different. Today’s visual styles have some influence from the 90’s but it has a fresh taste. I like the fact that technological development allows showcasing yourself and age of the artist won’t be important anymore, because your work speaks for itself. I think this whole thing goes to a good direction; I don’t want to be pessimistic. Interwebz are a huge surface, it’s easier to find something good.

You’ve successfully drawn a recognizable visual aesthetics of your own creative output, especially pertaining your live performance which has an additional atmosphere with surreal screening and costumes
I started to set up a show one and a half year ago, before that I just had a mic. So I started to work with Balu (B-Kund), he gave me some clothes to put on, that’s how it became more like a show. And he is also responsible for the screening.

You write poems which you perform in your rap show, what are your lyrics about?
Almost you can say I’m setting poems to music, yeah, it’s something like that. I have a lot of notebooks and I cover almost everything, various social problems, family, education, alcoholism, but also spring, autumn, winter, street. I don’t know. Stealing on trains or anything that comes to my mind; travelling on a tram or farting, lots of shit. This serial killer thing (listen to Sorozatgyilkos naplója, Diary of a serial Killer) is something I like reading stories about, there is a cult for this in the US. But I’m also inspired by painting itself, or self-defining in terms of I’m a teacher or painter. I also write about moral things, or what I feel. My favorite topic is environmental protection.

What are your main influences?
I have some oldschool rap records from Cypress Hill Temples Of Boom, or I was a huge Wu-Tang Clan and Busta Rhymes, but also listening to lot of Madlib, Mos Def. Sensational’s sick works made a big impact on me, too. But I also like The Knife and Fever Ray, lately I’ve been listening to various kind of electronic music. As for the writing, I’m inspired by Bernard Malamud, Kafka, Vonnegut, Japanese or American writers, but currently I rediscovered Hungary’s pride Attila József.

What are your future plans?
I’m readying my new album, it’s titled Az Atom Utolsó Erkölcsös Vak Királya (in English: The Last Virtous Blind King Of The Atom). Cyclops from the comics X-Men was an inspiration for that. I created a layout for the record, many gifs and also a cover with symbols of the title’s words. Atom as Omega, Two Swords as Fight of Morality, White Glasses for Blind, Crone for King. I’m working on the final version and mastering of the tracks, and the album will be out this summer. I also have some exhibitions in Budapest going on.

Gazsi Rap Show live @ easterndaze release party (11. 5. 2012)

Listen to Gazsi speaking on our Radio Wave show:

by András G. Varga