Garren Langford, who goes under the moniker GARREN, utilizes electronic music to weave his soul, emotion and raw talent throughout the listener’s body to stir an indescribable something within them — a feat that gets to the very essence of musical power and that only the best kind of music can accomplish. He effectively shows that the electronic genre is capable of reaching a level that had been previously reserved for more classic forms of play.
Langford, who works as a music producer for The Daily Californian, creates music with an enveloping depth that displays the great promise of his career. It goes beyond the mere goals of entertaining the masses and beyond the pigeon-hole notions that people have toward the term “electronic music.” Instead, he strives toward a deeply artistic — even romantic — approach to creating sonic paintings rather than superficial laptop flourishes common to many artists.
“The songs that really hit hard don’t even really have to be technically good — they just have things about it that are inexplicable in words,” said Langford during an interview with The Daily Californian. “You feel a tingle in your gut — it gives you chills. Those are the kinds of songs that people identify with, no matter how it sounds or who makes it, and that’s what I’m really interested in. … I’m trying to produce with my gut more than my head.”
After diligently working on his craft since the age of 17 to accomplish these reactions and waiting in frustration for his hard work and talent to gain even the slightest attention beyond his circle of friends, an unfortunate incident propelled the UC Berkeley junior into a most fortunate circumstance.
Last Tuesday night, Langford received a tweet from a random person informing him that a producer named Gvnchi was ripping him off by posting GARREN’s songs as his own. Gvnchi was gaining vast attention for songs that weren’t even his, while Langford struggled within the seemingly inescapable realm of anonymity. Once he realized all of his hard work was being stolen, Langford contacted all the blogs, websites and magazines that featured his music under the name Gvnchi, alerting them of the fraud. After people realized what happened, Langford quickly received incredible attention within 24 hours of the initial stranger’s tweet.
“The people who were working with (Gvnchi), these collectives and labels — he was really networking himself — all these people who he had been in contact with all of a sudden came to me and was like, ‘Dude, this has been happening — we thought he was an awesome producer but realized it was you this entire time,’ ” explained Langford. “ ‘We’re going to try to blow you up because you deserve it. You have like 100 followers on SoundCloud. You deserve thousands. We’re going to do that for you.’ ”
Since the serendipitous occurrence, numerous labels, reputable music producers and normal people alike have reached out to Langford in incredible numbers, offering collaborations and deals, requesting permission to remix his songs and expressing relief that he is finally getting proper recognition. He now has hundreds more followers on SoundCloud, and each song has thousands of plays.
“I’ve never felt on the same level as the people I aspire to, but I’m starting to feel that way,” said Langford. “People are really bringing me up and categorizing me as one of the top. Even though the numbers don’t really reflect that yet — it takes a lot of time and a lot of luck and chain reactions and stuff like that — but I really feel valuable after this experience. I feel like I have a lot to offer to music production to push genres forward and to question what people think, and I really feel like I have a lot to offer that — after this, especially.”
While listening to the nine songs on his SoundCloud, his desire to forge his own forward-thinking style shines through. Soul, gospel and jazz elements intertwine with warm synths and R&B vocal samples, all resonating together to form an all-encompassing atmosphere. There’s a sense of delicacy and even sensuality that truly separates GARREN’s songs — such as the yearning hums on “Could We Be,” the deep and piercing synths on the “Wrote A Song About You” remix and the meandering percussion of “Timeline” — from other electronic artists.
These tracks, plus the remainder of the ones on his SoundCloud, were produced after a creative breakthrough he had this previous summer. During this time, he made advances in his understanding of how to manipulate sound in a certain dynamic and unconventional fashion.
“If you exploit the ability to have no sound for a period of time — you know, like, breaks in a song that are completely silent for a couple of seconds or white noise — and really weird stuff like that, people don’t realize that they’re hearing it, but they’re feeling it as they listen to it,” explained Langford. “And I feel like I’ve gotten really inspired by artists like James Blake, because everything he does is super out there, but I totally get it how he’s manipulating sound and challenging the listener.”
At the moment, Langford is assessing the various offers he has received and making sure he effectively captures the opportunities that have so suddenly plummeted into his life. Meanwhile, he isn’t losing himself or his artistic ambitions along the way: “(After the Gvnchi incident), it was like, OK, people actually do like it — now I don’t really care what happens after this, because I have that confirmation,” said Langford. “So I can comfortably move on and keep doing what I think is awesome, and if people choose to like it, then they’ll support me, and it’ll blow up — and if they don’t, then at least I’m honest to myself, and it’s still really cool.”
Regardless, as the beat goes on, it’s becoming apparent that GARREN is on a trajectory that is only going upward.
Contact Taran Moriates at [email protected].