Q&A: galen tipton

By Kwase Lane, Contributor
Photo by Joey Medlen

Just two months after their latest release, nightbath, galen tipton is on top of their game. Luckily for us, they were kind enough to play at ACRN’s first show of the year at The Union. galen is an electronic music producer from Columbus, Ohio, who brings an interesting twist to the genre. Their music straps listeners into the front seat for a wild ride and rewards them with sonic discovery and some radical earworms. After their performance, I got the chance to pick galen’s brain about their creative process, upcoming project and newfound media buzz.   

Read more: Lobsterfest 2018 Q&A: JPEGMAFIA

This is the first time I’ve been to an event and seen someone perform live like that. What does it feel like when you’re up on stage?

For me, it’s really fun because I sometimes DJ, but I prefer doing this because I feel like I’m having as much fun as other people. Because with DJ’ing and other types of live electronic music, it can feel like just pressing a button, and that has its place, and it’s awesome, but I want to have fun too.

You have the new Halloween album coming out, and I listened to the first two. Could you give me any indication of what the third will be like? It seems like the albums have different flavors.

Pretty much everything I played [at the show] is from the new Halloween project, so this was a chance for me to see how the songs sound live. So it’s gonna sound like that, just slower, more bass-heavy, kind of a little more EDM-influenced.

The Needle Drop! How are you feeling about that?

I still haven’t processed that because I’ve been following The Needle Drop for years just kind of on and off, and it just happened. So low-key I made a track with this person called Mr. Yote, who I played the song that we made in there. And the reason why I found Mr. Yote was through The Needle Drop, and he kind of reviews almost all of Mr. Yote’s stuff, so I was like, “Huh, this could be my way in.” And before I even put that out, he did that little review. Someone got it to him or something, and I’m just like, “Whoa, spoke too soon!” Also, I really haven’t processed it. Since that one little video a couple weeks ago, over 50 people have bought my project. Since that, I’m able to pay rent off of music, which has never happened before. I don’t expect it to keep happening, but it’s like, “Whoa, Anthony Fantano just paid my rent, like what?”

I was listening to “meditations on stigma”, and I wanted to know where you get your sounds from because I think I heard chains and knives. Do you have to do a lot of recording work?

I fucking love samples, and I don’t record a lot of my own samples. I dig on the internet, and almost every sound on that track was actually from The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion soundbank on weapons, and I just pulled all of those out and kind of smushed them all together.

Art? I crept on your Instagram, and you have a bunch of stuff that’s just crazy, but not in a bad way — it’s great and I love it. I want to know what your thought process is when you’re doing that.

I’m trying to be more intentional about it, but at the moment, a lot of the art that I make on Instagram is very much me trying to do a quick sketch of how I’m feeling at that time —  just really throwing up all of my emotions into one solid thing. It doesn’t always make sense or come across as something concrete. To me, it’s really emotionally honest, but I’m trying to make work that has more direction that’s clear. A lot of the work I’ve been making has been for me, but I want to make more work that can connect to more people.

I really like your style; it’s super avant-garde, and I feel like in terms of fashion, people get stuck in a box. What’s it like when you’re picking out an outfit, and what kind of style are you going for?

A couple things I go for. The look I’m going for at this moment, I’ve been told a lot that I look like a first grader on the first day of school — just like the backpack, and I’m trying to stretch that a little bit. I really like wearing bright colorful things at the moment, and I have a whole outfit that’s this bright orange color (gestures to backpack). I fucking love thrifting; almost all of my clothes are thrifted. When I’m going out into the world like for an event like this or a party, I feel safe enough to dress however I want. I really like going all out. Sometimes, I’ll even make an outfit for that night, like I’ll go out thrifting that day, and I’ll be like, “OK I have $5, let’s make a cool ass outfit.”

Any last thoughts before we wrap up?

That was one of the funnest shows I’ve ever played! I don’t think I’ve ever had that many people in a room or that many people tell me that they enjoyed my shit before. I’m used to playing in basements. The last time I played here was in a basement, and that was also great.

You did a DIY show, right?

Yeah, that was one of the best DIY shows I’ve ever played because a lot of people showed up to that, and the person who owned the house was like, “Sorry, normally a lot more people show up,” and I’m like, “What?” because I’m used to like five people in a basement. And that’s why I haven’t played shows in a minute, but something like this makes me feel good about what I’m doing. I feel happier about what I’m doing because I feel like I’m starting to get some of that hard work back.

Listen to galen tipton’s album nightbath here:



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