Thursday, May 23, 2013
Falmouth-based singer-songwriter/pianist Will Gattis released his debut album, "Dullard," while still in high school. A few years later, he followed that up with an EP called, appropriately enough, "E.P." -- which is home to his poignant ballad "Metropolis," about the death of a superhero.
Will Gattis wrote his first song in elementary school. His musical influences include The Beatles and Nobuo Uematsu, former music composer for the “Final Fantasy” video games.
WILL GATTIS EP-RELEASE SHOW
WITH: Kourus and There Is No Sin
WHEN: 9 p.m. Nov. 1
WHERE: Empire Dine and Dance, 575 Congress St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $7; 21-plus
WHAT'S ON WILL GATTIS' IPOD?
"What a Fool Believes," The Doobie Brothers
"Take Me Home," Phil Collins
"The Diary of Horace Wimp," Electric Light Orchestra
"Eleanor Rigby," The Beatles
"I Am the Walrus," The Beatles
"Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen
"Land of Confusion," Genesis
"The Rabbit, the Bat, and the Reindeer," Dr. Dog
"With a Little Help From My Friends," Joe Cocker
"Birdhouse in Your Soul," They Might Be Giants
TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.
Now Gattis is back in action with a new four-song EP, "The Living Dream," which he will unveil next Thursday at Empire Dine and Dance in Portland. GO caught up with him to get the skinny on the new tunes and to get a glimpse into his background.
To learn more, hear clips and purchase Gattis' music, head to willgattis.com.
"The Living Dream" is a digital-only release. Why did you decide to go with a name-your-own-price format for it?
It seems to me to be the fairest pricing method. People can pay me whatever my music is worth to them. If someone wants to hear my music, I'm not going to deny them that opportunity on account of the price being too high. I might be doing it differently if I was in music for the money, but then again, I'd have to be pretty crazy to be in music just for the money.
Why is it called "The Living Dream"?
It's the first time I've taken an actual lyric from a song and used it as the title of a release. I like the sound of it, and it expresses the theme of the EP nicely. Every song on "The Living Dream" has to do with "living the dream," either as being granted or denied the ability to do so.
What's the song "Lee Weston" about? What inspired it?
"Lee"' is a caricature of my view of the negative aspects of suburbia, and it was a reflection of my having grown up in a very suburban world. The direct inspiration was a picture I once saw of a guy with a mustache who looked halfway between a used car salesman and a game show host.
This was a few years ago. My friend Brandon and I started playing a silly song about him, but then we forgot about it. I remembered a piece of that jam a few years later, and I added the story of Mr. Weston's increasingly large ego.
When did you start playing piano and writing songs?
I've been playing as long as I can remember, but I started getting formal piano lessons at age 8. The first song I remember writing was in either second or third grade. It was eight notes, and it was called "Colors of the Rainbow." I don't remember the lyrics, but I'm almost positive I didn't mention any specific colors. I've come a long way.
What did you grow up listening to?
My parents did a good job of exposing me to classic '60s bands when I was growing up, and I'm still a huge Beatles nut as a result. My favorite music growing up, though, was video game music. Specifically, music from the "Final Fantasy" series. I would leave the games running and try to figure out the songs by ear on the piano.
Who do you consider to be major influences?
The biggest one is Nobuo Uematsu. Uematsu used to be the music composer for "Final Fantasy" games, and I fell in love with the way he could express non-musical things musically. Every character, place and situation that needed a theme song was perfectly captured in music. It's because of him that I try so hard to capture non-musical things in my songs. Uematsu is easily my greatest musical influence.
Other than him, the way that The Beatles tried to do something different with every song remains a major influence on me. Also, if it plays on a classic rock station, it's probably influenced me.
Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at: