As a rising star in Australia’s electronic music industry, GG Magree has been entertaining audiences as a multi-talented Trap/Bass DJ. In 2016, Magree made her vocal debut on “Frontlines”, a track she collaborated on with NGHTMRE and Zeds Dead. The Sydney-born producer has sold out shows, performed at festivals such as Tomorrowland and Hard Festival, established brand partnerships, and produced original releases. Outside of music, Magree is also the founder of her own streetwear brand called YEAH PUSSY. B-Sides TV reporter Mariana Alzate caught up with GG Magree at the Shaky Beats Music Festival in Atlanta where she discussed about her music career beginnings, YEAH PUSSY, and how she balanced her schedule during a seven-week bus tour.
So tell us about how you started. You’re coming from Australia, you’ve started owning nightclubs, you studied economics, if my good research didn’t do me wrong. Now you’re here playing festivals, producing music, you’re an entrepreneur. Did you see yourself anywhere close to this?
No, I was at university. My dad was a property developer and so he was kinda like, “Yeah, go for it”. I’d never somehow went to school but got great grades and so I went to a top university in Sydney and I was like, “This is tight!”. I went to university for like two years and then I started throwing university parties. I later DJ’ed at university parties, I kinda taught myself how to, and then I met my manager, who was originally my agent and now she’s my manager and then everything kind of started flowing really nicely.
Then I met this guy, everyone knows who he is, I met NGHTMRE and he was like, “GG, do you sing?”, and I was like, “Sure!”, and I’d never sung before in my life. He was like, “Cool! Send me some stuff!”. I went into the studio and I used to write some poetry and things like that so writing for me is not the hardest. It’s just that I don’t know how to sing so I started playing around with my voice and I’d found the cool area where it sits very nicely and then I wrote “Frontlines”.
Did you feel comfortable singing in front of people and recording at all?
No! My first studio session, I recorded with this guy in Australia and I said to him, “I’ve never done this”, and he was like, “Just close your eyes and pretend that you’re in your bedroom”. I was like, “This doesn’t work for me”, and he was like, “Cool, just pretend like you’re playing your voice to yourself” and I was like “Okay”. Now when I go into studio sessions, I’m like super confident because I just know when my voice sounds best but it’s because I took the time to like really figure it out because I’m not a trained singer. I now take vocal lessons but never before in my life and so when people are like, “Hit an A sharp!” and I’m like, “Huh?!?! What was that? Sorry?!?!”.
So like, I don’t know, everything just happened naturally and I’m really lucky because I really feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. You’ll know when you have that feeling and this is when I was in university, I was like, “I don’t know if this is right” and I would go to class and I would literally just sit there and be like, “I don’t care about this”. And you know, with this, it’s not a job for me, it’s an obsession.
I’ve noticed that you’re all about empowering people and bringing people, what you’ve just said, this confidence and making them feel like they are where they’re supposed to be. You’ve also done this brand that you created, YEAH PUSSY. It seems strange to say that with all this research I was doing, as you can imagine.
I basically came up with that because I feel like the brand in itself is so out there. To even say it, it feels like you’re saying something incriminating and you’re like, “Ooh, this isn’t alright to say”. The reason I did that was because it’s like, you know, a lot of people dull their light down so that they can fit into what everyone else is doing and so that brand was created so that people wouldn’t have to dull any light. Be who you are and be who you want to be and eventually people will love it or hate it, as long as you’re true, it will connect, you know?
Going back to music, going back to producing, you’ve done all these different projects with all sorts of artists, Zeds Dead and just to mention a few. Your latest single, “I Wanna Lose You”, I saw the music video. Tell us a little bit about how that came to life.
I did a bus tour, my first ever bus tour which was like in September-October. It was a seven-week bus tour and it was seven shows a week. Some weeks it was six shows and in some weeks I’ve had one day off but most of the time, the first two weeks were just straight shows every day. You get to a point where you’re kinda like exhausted, you know what I mean. You’re not sleeping in your own bed, you’re on a bus, and there’s someone new every day and you physically can’t feel comfortable anywhere. You can get into a groove and whatever, which I did and I was working on eating really healthy and not drinking and not partying and things like that. But you still don’t have your natural surroundings and for the first time ever, I had a panic attack on the last day of the show. I think my body was like super exhausted and then I was just feeling a type of way.
Things like that can take over the way that you feel about, you know, things like when your body shuts down and you’re kinda like, “Do I want to do this? Is this the right thing? Why am I feeling like this?”. “I Wanna Lose You” is about taking away these anxious feelings and those panic attacks and being like, “I’m going to lose those because I am doing what I should be doing”. Everyone’s like, “Oh, it’s about love!” and I’m like, “It’s not!”. It has a deeper meaning and the video clip is like, I wanted to show a juxtaposition between me waking up in bed kind of like “umming” and “arring” about what I’m doing in the day, if I’m doing everything right, if I’m on the right path. So like me getting ready, and you know, there’s a bathroom scene where I’m putting on lipstick and that kind of stuff. There’s me dancing in a pink suit, which I would wear to a show, and being all happy and energetic and I think it just shows the juxtaposition between your normal self and your assured self.
Your role is very creative, you have your own style for sure, and all these different things that you’ve been putting together. I’m sure you’re gonna be meeting a lot of new people and getting a lot of different ideas. Standard question, if you were to find a new job, where do you see yourself in ten years?
I don’t want to stop creating, so like, I’d eventually, you know, once I get my music career to a place where it’s top-line. Then, I want to start creating movies and writing scripts and producing movies and I don’t know, I just feel like I just want to be creative but I want to use my movies and music and just want to tile and create the shit out of it. Just like with everything, I want to do more fashion, I wanna direct things, I wanna create and direct people’s careers, I want to help them. Once I get to a level where I’m like, “Okay, now we can open up another door”, and I don’t know, I just want to keep creating.
You just mentioned that you like to help people who are doing their own thing. What do you think most people need in order to get to that last step for them that people need to get where they want to be? That fun, happy creative space.
I think just be hungry! Be hungry, be aggressive about it and there are people like some of my friends who are like, “Oh, I don’t wanna. What if they don’t like it?”. It’s like, who cares? If you like it, that’s all that matters because at the end of the day, you should never make music for anyone else other than yourself. Because that way, I don’t know, it connects better if I’m really passionate about it, someone else will be passionate about it but if I’m not and I’m just like, “Oh, I feel like people will like this?”, it’s not the right way to do things, you know? Be different, be like you, be fully you.
I heard somewhere that you met Eminem a few years ago. How was that?
When I was 16, I had the biggest crush on Eminem. I used to work for Universal Music, actually no, I was younger, I think I was 14 or 15, I don’t remember. I got to work for Universal Music for free because I was so obsessed with him and he was signed to Universal Music in Australia. Um, and then my friend was his, I think he was his tour manager or something like that and I met a friend of a friend who connected me and he was like, “Yo, I got a mad surprise for you” and I was like, “Okay…” and then literally he’s like, “We’re going to this festival” and I’m like, “I know it’s Eminem’s festival” and I was like, “This is so sweet! Thank you so much!”. I was super appreciative and he was like, “Come meet me at this point”, and I was like, “Cool!”, and so I go meet him at this point and he takes me backstage and I’m like, “Where are we going?”. He told me, “I told you I had a surprise for you!” and I was like, “Is this the surprise?”, and he’s like, “Nah, dude”.
He walks me to a room and Eminem was sitting in the room and I’m like, “Hello!!! Hi!!!”, trying to act casual, cool, and calm like I totally have my shit together but I was literally, “Huuhhh!!! One, two, three, breathe! Huuhhh!!! One, two, three, breathe!”, and I’m certainly sure he thought I was a psychopath. For me, his lyrics and his flows and everything like when I was growing up as a kid, that was my jam, that was my shit! Like, I was so obsessed with him to the point that I was aggressively psychotic. You know like, that was a really cool point of my life and that was when I was kinda like, “Cool! Everyone in music is normal, they’re all real people, they all want to do the same thing and help each other”. So it’s like you can meet someone like Eminem who’s the top of the top and he’s still a nice dude, which is cool!
Would you say that his beats inspired you and how your sound is and what you’ve created so far?
I don’t know because he’s more like rap and I’m more like that pop/indie/rock kinda shit. Yeah maybe, I don’t know, maybe he definitely inspired me to write because I love the way he rapped and the words that he used in all his lyrics and things like that. He told stories which for me is definitely important.
Definitely is! Speaking of which, do you still rap?
No (laughs)! No, that’s something that I would do if I had five tequilas.