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Journeying Through Soundscapes: South African Alt Indie Artist GAZ Discusses 'Lullaby For The World'

Welcome to The Sound Café, your premier destination for artist interviews and the latest music news! Today, we're thrilled to present an in-depth conversation with GAZ, the alt-indie sensation who's making waves with his latest release, ‘Lullaby For The World.’ Join us as we explore GAZ's creative process, his musical journey, and the inspiration behind his captivating new single.

Hailing from the United Kingdom and now rooted in South Africa, alt-indie artist GAZ emerges as a beacon of authenticity and social consciousness with his latest release, ‘Lullaby For The World.’ Produced by the esteemed Mark Beling, this single is a compelling fusion of protest and prayer, reflecting global themes of adversity and hope.


Lullaby For The World’ finds its inspiration in the challenges of our times, navigating through issues of war, politics, and societal disillusionment with a candid sincerity. Through his evocative lyrics and melodic craftsmanship, GAZ invites listeners to confront the complexities of our world, urging introspection and action in the face of adversity.


Despite obstacles encountered during production, GAZ and producer Mark Beling remained steadfast in their commitment to authenticity and meaningful expression. The result is a genuine rock lullaby that strikes a chord with listeners, offering both solace and a call to engage with the pressing issues of our era.


As GAZ continues to make waves in the indie music scene, ‘Lullaby For The World’ emerges as a testament to his artistry and vision. With its compelling message and captivating sound, this single serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative potential of music in times of uncertainty.


Having been on a roll since his return to the music scene, 'Lullaby For The World' marks GAZ's 9th single from his upcoming album. To all those yet to discover GAZ and his music, ‘Lullaby For The World’ promises an experience that is both enlightening and enriching, inviting listeners to embark on a journey of introspection and connection through the power of song.


'Lullaby for the World' was inspired by my profound concern for the current hardships facing the world today. It serves as both a protest song and a prayer for change. Wars, religion, politics, unrest ... wherever one looks, these issues abound. I began questioning whether it might be time for divine intervention from above. I aimed to challenge people's belief systems and ethics while also challenging myself to write something meaningful that could contribute to my prayers for peace and harmony in our world.


Recognizing the differing perspectives that may arise regarding the lyrics, I intentionally ponder whether humanity's challenges have reached a significant enough point to prompt a notion of divine assistance, symbolised by a hypothetical 'second coming.' The song calls upon the heavens, evoking the presence of God and angels, to intercede in our earthly difficulties. In my imagination, heaven is portrayed as a sanctuary amidst the tumult below, where angels observe the trials of humanity while performing solemn duties such as singing hymns, attending to graves, and providing comfort through the sale of flowers.


I reference major cities around the world to warn that they could be next in line, urging people to take a stand. No one is immune to current events, and stepping out of comfort zones is essential for peace. The lyrics suggest that people are losing hope in the face of constant war, loss, pollution, politics, and poverty. The least I could do was to write about these current events, hoping to raise consciousness among listeners, leaders, warmongers, and the world's leadership.


The track entices the listener with colourful melodies, harmonies, and strong lyrics that build to a powerful ending, releasing all my anger and frustrations. Transitioning from the quiet and calm verses to the energetic rock choruses, 'Lullaby for the World' prompts listeners to consider their mortality, beliefs, and contributions to a better world. It becomes the rock lullaby I had originally envisioned.


Recording: The production process proved challenging. I wrote the song in September 2023 and brought it to Mark Beling Studios. We struggled to find the right approach, and our initial session yielded only a few recordings worth keeping. It became apparent that we were not fully prepared to tackle this ambitious project.


After listening to the recorded passages, I suggested rearranging a section of the song, sparking a complete rewrite of the lyrics. Despite encountering various issues, including technical glitches and health concerns, we persevered. Mark's expertise brought the track to life, enhancing it with guitar, bass, drums, and synth, elevating my vocals to a new dimension.

Stream & Watch ‘Lullaby for the World’ Available 8 March


Q: We understand that you've had chart success with your former band CRUSH. How has this previous experience influenced your solo work, particularly considering your recent single ‘Slow Down’ achieving chart success as well?


GAZ: Yes, our late 90s band 'CRUSH enjoyed a short period of chart success with local prominent DJ Barney Simon’s SA Rock Chart. If I recall correctly, we reached No. 6 on the Modern SA Rock chart with a song I wrote with our guitarist, Carl van Wyngaard, called ‘Upside Down.’ This song was a home recording at our bass guitarist, Pieter Theron's, home studio. Our drummer, Darren Mulhearn, and I are still the closest of mates.


Studio time is always great and gets everyone’s juices and excitement going. I would say the big difference between being a 4-piece outfit versus solo is that the band recording process is highly collaborative, and every member gets their turn to create and deliver. You enjoy and share the sessions together and have a common goal. I loved watching each member of our band record their parts and support one another. On the solo front, the recording process is obviously a lot more personal and intimate, and the creative process relies heavily on the artist and producer working closely together. It’s a bit of a lonely place to be in all honesty. Your head races with doubt and self-reflection through the entire process of recording to launch day. I am glad that I had the opportunity to collaborate with three other great guys back then, but I am equally happy that I can see what I can achieve under my own steam. I would say that my current songs are more focused and mature now versus what our 4-piece put out. Nevertheless, I am proud of those days back in the mid-90s and what we came out with.


Q: With nine singles already prepared for your upcoming album, anticipation is certainly high. Can you provide us with some insights into the overarching themes or concepts that unify the album's collection of songs?


GAZ: The overarching theme for me is rebirth, renewal, and the obstacles we all face in this world. On the positive level, it contains a lot of inspiration, spirituality, self-reflection, and connectivity to modern times.


Q: Your repertoire, featuring tracks like 'Pay To Breathe', 'Slow Down', and 'Lullaby For The World', showcases an intriguing blend of dreaminess and power within the alt-indie rock genre. Could you elaborate on your process for striking this delicate balance in your music?


GAZ: For me, I must be inspired by a deep thought or topic that I would like to surround. From here, the music needs to become an extension of these thoughts and the message I want to convey. In my writing process, for some reason, I always have a bass line that cycles on repeat whilst I write. I find this to be the easiest way to get going quickly as I know the melodies of the guitar, synths, and padding will come at a later stage. If I can get the lyrics down with just a bass line in mind whilst singing my vocal melodies to it, then the rest will fall into place at the studio. Whilst this might sound somewhat underprepared to be going into a studio to record, the benefit is that the producer has carte blanche to the supporting melodies and feels fully involved in the creation of the track. The power is driven from the bass, drums, and heavy lead, and the balance comes from dreamy synth, padding, and the surrounding melodic guitar, strings, and vocals. A strong low undertone with melodic heights seems to be the recipe, and the balance.


Q: ‘Lullaby For The World’ delves into global themes of adversity and hope. What specific events or experiences inspired you to write this song?


GAZ: As much as I try to avoid being direct, a religious war is playing out in the Middle East, which is dividing the people of the world more and more the longer it continues. I felt that this was the time for God and his angels to do their part and to intervene. I also sing of the pollution in our world, our dirty skies, and politicians and media who skew the narrative for their gain. It’s not a world that I want to live in, as it is no longer the world I recognize or was raised in. I despair and pray for change. I protest at what we have become, and I pray for help.


Q: Can you walk us through your creative process when writing and producing ‘Lullaby For The World’?


GAZ: I was unhappy with the state of the world late last year. Protests, bombing, war, political hogwash, pollution, and skewed media/news brought me to a point where I considered that the world is in such a mess that it could use a prayer, a poem, or a lullaby. After considering this notion it dawned on me that perhaps it was time for some divine intervention from above to come down and put a halt to the mess that humanity has got itself into. At the same time, I also considered that perhaps the almighty had seen enough of his creation gone wrong and toyed with the concept that he had lost interest in us. I decided that the best way that I could deliver a message of hope and change was to write a rock lullaby. On this line of thought I wanted something subtle, calming, and dreamy to start with.


As the song evolved, I realized that the situation could worsen and spread. This is where anger and protest take over later in the track where I warn that cities sitting safely in their comfort zones could be next. In fact, all the cities I mention have historically had their share of drama in the past and hence I present the past through lyrics referring to their past struggles and warn that should the world continue its current trajectory that these cities and people could all return to their dark days. So, with the above in mind, the track softly draws the listener in, and then punches them with some rhythmic almost rap-like passages that are hard-hitting to drive the point home and grab attention.


Q: Your songwriting process often involves capturing ideas in the moment, such as in the shower. Can you share any memorable experiences where inspiration struck unexpectedly?


GAZ: I am constantly receiving, and quite often this results in me having to capture a raw voice note and melody on my phone as not to forget it. I have lost so many of these moments over the years by not doing this immediately. What I believe would have been incredible songs. For some reason, many of these creative moments arrive when I am in the shower. It must be the white noise from water that cuts me off from the world or something. Obviously, the tiled walls must have some resonance to my humming and squawking vocals. But yes, the shower is a chamber where I can focus. I can spend a good hour in there and then go pick up my phone for a quick voice dump. If these raw voice notes ever leak, I’m doomed!


Q: As an artist who wears multiple hats, from songwriter to lyric video creator, how do you balance the creative process with the technical aspects of music production?


GAZ: The technical aspects of all my music production are handled by my producer Mark Beling. My responsibilities are the writing, singing, promotion, social media, and video production. I usually like to apply meaningful content that aligns with the theme of my tracks. It's not easy wearing multiple hats, but I enjoy every component of the creative process equally. It's time-consuming; however, as I am as much of a stickler for quality with what I do as Mark does with the technical aspects and musical input.


Q: Many of your songs, including ‘Pay To Breathe’, ‘Slow Down’, and ‘Lullaby For The World,’ have a captivating blend of social commentary and introspection. How do you ensure that your music resonates with listeners on a deeper level?


GAZ: I believe that listeners need to buy into the music on many more levels than just their ears. If you can capture their minds and make them, think, dream, and react then their becomes a deeper connection to the music. Personally, I try to drive a message with each song I do that connects at some or another level for the listener. I think honestly and transparency play a major part in the listeners' minds. If it's contrived, they are out. If it relates you are in. If one can deliver tough topics subtly, then half the game is won.


Q: Collaborating with producer Mark Beling on ‘Lullaby For The World’, how does his expertise complement your artistic vision?


GAZ: Mark and I are the greatest of friends both in and out of the studio. He is very easy to connect with and is the most comforting man to work with. I am fully relaxed in Mark's presence, and this goes a long way to seeing us down the line. He gets me and fully understands where we are going. In the earlier part of my new album, there are one or two tracks that are too far over to the Pop vibe so I doubt we will see these on the final album. What I’m saying here is that it took a few experimental songs to find “The GAZ’s Sound”. Now we know who we are, and the tracks are getting better and better in my opinion. This further underline how our collaboration complements what we are trying to achieve. We have hit our straps and are in the groove. Lastly, make no mistake! Mark knows what he wants and will get it out of you one way or the other. He will push you to places you have not been to before, but you don’t want to try to go there with anyone else.


Q: Your music is often praised for its authenticity and social consciousness. How do you navigate the balance between artistic expression and addressing societal issues in your songs?


GAZ: This is always a tough one as at some point you are not going to hit the spot and potentially upset someone or have them turn you off for being too direct on the subject matter. I will likely navigate around this by only making a reference to it in a small or obscure way. What happens from there is that various listeners could be getting different messages. Music is art and should be open to expression and interpretation. If there is a reference to something that may not even have been planned that speaks to someone on a meaningful level, then the work is done. Above said, I do think these instances through to ensure that a variety of listeners get a similar experience in the end.


Q: With ‘Lullaby For The World’ being your 9th single, how do you feel your music has evolved since your return to the music scene?


GAZ: I think working with a professional producer has opened Pandora’s box for me. The amount of knowledge, technique, guidance, and support has been paramount to my evolution from re-entering the music arena. As already stated, we played around with a few Alt-Pop tracks when I first came back to music which were fun to do, but now there is real evidence that I have found my way sonically, locked into a genre that suits me and connected with a producer that understands the full package and is on board for the journey.


Q: What do you hope listeners will take away from ‘Lullaby For The World’?


GAZ: Unless they have been living under a rock, I hope that they recognize that the world is not in a good place currently and that action needs to be taken for peace, harmony, and prosperity for all. I also hope that they recognize that the song is a rock lullaby intended to do good and is for a good cause. I hope that the melodies of Lullaby for the World enter their hearts and that the lyrics inspire them in a positive way.


Q: Finally, what's next for GAZ after the release of ‘Lullaby For The World’?


GAZ: Next would have to be another song of course. We cannot stop here just yet. We are not done. I started writing a new one yesterday (in the shower of course). I have its title, but unfortunately cannot announce this as I believe that it will be the name for the overall album.


Thank you to you and your readers for giving me the time to open and bring you a little closer to understanding both myself and Lullaby for the World. Much Love. GAZ



Thank you, GAZ, for sharing your insights and experiences with us. ‘Lullaby For The World’ is a testament to your talent and dedication as an artist, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for you. To our readers, be sure to listen to ‘Lullaby For The World’ and follow GAZ on his musical journey. Stay tuned to The Sound Café for more interviews and music news.


Stream & Watch ‘Lullaby for the World’ Available 8 March


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More about GAZ:

Garry Mc McCluskey, better known by his stage name GAZ, is a singer-songwriter originally from the UK but now based in South Africa. As the former frontman of the South African 90s rock band CRUSH, GAZ is well-versed in both the studio and stage environments. Throughout his career, he has shared stages with some of South Africa’s most renowned musical talents and achieved chart success with his former 4-piece band.

After a hiatus from the South African music scene, Garry rekindled his passion for writing and recording music in 2020, adopting the stage name ‘GAZ’ for his solo endeavours. SAMA-winning producer Mark Beling has been instrumental in GAZ’s musical journey, overseeing the recording and production of all tracks for GAZ’s highly anticipated debut album at his Johannesburg studio.

Among the standout tracks on his forthcoming album is ‘Lullaby For The World,’ showcasing GAZ's dynamic and hard-hitting style. This single follows a string of hits, including ‘Slow Down’ (which reached No. 1 in North Carolina, USA), ‘Dopamine’ (a South African Top 10 hit), and ‘Pay To Breathe’ (which charted in the South African Top 20), among others that have garnered radio chart success.

GAZ is currently in the final stages of completing his solo album. The charismatic frontman, renowned for his captivating vocals and songwriting prowess, plans to mark the album's release with a return to the stage, accompanied by a full live band. Keep an eye out for GAZ as he continues to make waves in the music industry with his soulful sound and electrifying performances. 


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