Interview by Nick Woolley, Photography by Anthony Taylor

Digital Romance. In a generation that has long since forgotten the art of a written letter, and is all too accustomed to the emoji, it's no wonder the artist known as GANGSIGNS attributes his largest inspirations from relationships and modern communication.

Hailing from a city more known for its satirical television series, then its electronic dance scene, GANGSIGNS has been a trailblazer in the Portland music scene. Not only with his genre of music that he reluctantly dubbed "Future-Bass", but also with his monthly event Verified, held at Holocene.

When we sat down with the young up and comer, this is what he had to say about his most recent EP release, "Defining Moments."

So how long have you been working on this newest release?

"I never really rush myself to make songs, so I have to feel my way into it. I have to be in the moment, hence the name [of the EP] I guess haha."

It seems like you’ve had a lot of recent positive momentum leading up to the release, how has that been?

"I spent the year before kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do as far as my direction, sound, and genre. I spent a lot of time studying, so it's cool that people are starting to recognize, like actually say, “You have a sound now.” Music I used to make was more EDM based. But back then, I felt like I didn't really put myself into the music, like I would just make “bangers”. Whereas Defining Moments was more like me actually putting a lot more thought into what I was writing, and chord progression, and song structure. It's funny cause [I] was in a hardcore band before that and we just made “bangers” and then I softened up and played some pop-punk, and I guess the same kind of thing happened to me for GANGSIGNS hahaha. That is definitely it. I never actually realized that until now haha. That’s funny."

How would you classify the musical direction for the Defining Moments EP?

"Everyone likes to put me in this genre now called “Future-Bass”. That could mean a lot of things to me haha. Me and my friends, like DJ Rel from Jersey, we've been kind of playing around with this idea of this genre called “Jersey-Club”. Which is where Jersey meets the whole new-style trap - happier, beat music - I guess. I hate the word "Future", but I don't know. I guess it’s... kind of… future haha. Yeah, it's happening anyway."

Were there any external influences outside of your evolution as an artist that lent some inspirations for this project? Seems like a bit of a departure…

"You know what?  Honestly, the biggest influence to this album is how we think of digital love. I read a book over the summer, Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance. That was actually a huge influence to the EP, because I really started thinking about how we communicated with people that we like and are dating. And in the EP you'll hear cross references to funny ass puns like "Netflix & Chill", and cellphone rings here and there, because each song is about a different time I've had, true life story stuff I guess. Especially this last summer."

So what’s next from GANGSIGNS?

"More music. Putting out more original music is the most important thing to me right now."




Instagram: @GangsignsPDX