Student music producer GARREN unmasks his soul on new EP

Campus Spotlight

Rachael Garner/File

While listening to producer Garren Langford’s music, it becomes clear that there is an indescribable sincerity and soul that infuses itself throughout the fabric of his beats. His physical voice may be silenced as his electronic tracks pulse forward, but the underlying soul waltzes along in illuminating expression beyond words.

In his debut EP titled The Late Day Sessions, which was released Tuesday, Langford, who goes by the moniker GARREN, places a premium on exposing his distinct humanness from underneath the electronic mask, as swelling synths, guitar flourishes and talk box effects all contribute to giving a face to the otherwise metallic technology.

“When you listen to (electronic) music, a lot of people think they are just listening to a computer, and you’re just pressing buttons and it’s coming out good because of all the technology,” the UC Berkeley senior and former music producer for The Daily Californian said. “But what I’m trying to communicate is that I’m a real person with real feelings making these real songs to make you feel some kind of way.”

And thus, the concept of The Late Day Sessions was born. The desire to capture a moment of authenticity within pockets of time during the late afternoon filled Langford with enough inspiration to produce four cohesive, elaborate tracks.

His quest for realness is immediately established with the very first sound on the EP. The first track, “17 Weeks,” begins with a raw iPhone recording of a random few seconds while Langford was in the car, which signals the human aspect of the project before a single note has even resonated. This trend continues at the end of the funky, ‘80s-inspired “You’re The Dance,” and the ethereal “Late Day,” as static from a scratchy vinyl sounds and then morphs into snippets of disparate, beautiful melodic meanderings that provide interludes between the tracks. These features further the concept that Langford is trying to express, as the scratches portray a physical record that is freed from the cold, virtual bind of a computer and the interludes establish a flow of emotional acuity that combines the EP as a whole into an overarching storyline.

“It’s supposed to take you on this journey rather than just hearing banger after banger,” Langford said. “It’s more delicate than that. … I’m trying to bring electronic music to an earth, human level.”

Before the release of The Late Day Sessions, Langford worked with various established hip-hop artists. Most notable of these is Chance the Rapper, who reached out to him on Twitter a few months ago. As a result, Langford flew out to Chicago a couple of times to produce tracks alongside Chance and other popular artists based in the area. Although these collaborations and nods from important figures are a boost in a career for any music producer, Langford also wants to establish himself as a solo artist who is known for his own music rather than simply for songs produced for others.

“I wanted to do a project that people could latch onto,” Langford said. “It’s about introducing people who haven’t heard about me to my scene and what I’m about. … So this project is really me taking the initiative to enter the game as my own solo artist.”

Particularly, he wants to be known for music that unabashedly illuminates his true, inner nature while pushing the genre forward. Rather than succumbing to the temptations of following the trends, Langford understands the necessity of shining a light on the intangible, unique creativity flourishing within: “(I want to) think about what I genuinely love and what my parents raised me on,” Langford said. “I really want to make sure I embrace who I am, because it doesn’t matter, I could have 30 million views on some remix, but at the end of the day that’s just a remix, it’s not who I am. … I want my voice to be heard, essentially.”

Within his work, Langford’s voice comes in clearly — but only when mediated through the synths and beats that crescendo into crystalline poetry.

Contact Taran Moriates at [email protected].