- 05 Nov 20
Drummer, rapper, and producer Alex Gough is finishing up a degree in music, and has released his debut mixtape to critical acclaim across the board.
Forever Classic is a lot more jazz-oriented than your past work. Is that something you noticed as you were writing it?
Growing up, I never really understood jazz. What six-year old do you know that’s listening jazz, unless their parents are into it? Nobody in my family was listening to jazz, so I only discovered it as my musicianship called for me to find more complex music. My hunger to learn drove me to listen to it all the time, and immerse myself in it. With ‘Plastic’ and the start of ‘Backbeat’, I did want that broody, jazzy tone. The emotion you can get across in jazz is something you don’t necessarily get, in hip-hop. Take John Coltrane: he says a million things without ever speaking any words. Historically and culturally, jazz has had way more of an emotional voice. It might be weird to say, but jazz is cool.
How has drumming helped you rap?
Both of them are intrinsically linked, even if you don’t realise it straight away. The basis of drumming is rhythm, and it’s the same with rap. The only difference is where you apply the rhythm. One is words, and one is sounds. I think it’s easier to rap and play drums than it is to sing and play drums. All the rhythms coming out of your mouth will often line up with the rhythms you’re playing. With singing, there’s more to think about.
What do you want people to get out of Forever Classic?
Every word, sentence, and sound you hear, I wanted it to take you into a world that I created, mainly because I couldn’t get out and be in the world, with lockdown. I tried to create this world based on my love for the ‘80s and ‘90s. I’ve described it to a few people now as being like a movie. The end is supposed to be this tongue-in-cheek interview, summing up the project like credits in a film. I want people to be able to immerse themselves in it, and create a world that might not be immediately obvious, but if you really look at it and dig, you’ll find it.
• Forever Classic is out now.