Up until the release of his freshman album, fans only knew Portland-based indie-pop artist Sven Gamsky through sporadic singles and the quirky art that decorates them. Since making a name for himself in 2017 with popular singles “Cooks” and “Goodie Bag,” Gamsky, now known as Still Woozy, has crafted a dedicated and patient fanbase. Released Aug. 13, If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is triumphs an anticipated gift to loyal fans and an open-armed welcome to potential new ones.
On his debut record, Gamsky shares his longer, more vulnerable story, opening a new window into what could be next for the up-and-coming indie artist. In the mix of his discography and now with the release of his fabulous album, what remains true is his gift of making feel-good music that makes for easy listening, and quite possibly, is the epitome of quality indie music.
In the wild music video for “Woof,” his debut album’s enthralling first track, Gamsky performs from center stage, playing guitar amongst a rowdy crowd slamming and pushing into each other. As chaos ensues around him, representative of his fast-paced and frenzied mind, he sings directly into the camera, “You wouldn’t last a day in my brain / You’d probably go insane.” Gamsky is regularly the main character in his oftentimes weird and psychedelic music videos, emphasizing his phenomenal creativity in both the visual and auditory arts.
Although he presents under a stage name, Gamsky’s work persistently portrays his authenticity as an artist. While he’s signed to Interscope Records, he produces under Still Woozy Productions Inc., and most of the peculiar art for his earlier singles was created by his artist girlfriend. If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is often features candidness about his mental health, relationships and sincere outlook on life. Gamsky’s composure to address these difficult topics, especially on his debut, makes his music feel safe in a relatable, comforting way.
“Before You Were Mine” is one of the album’s slower songs, a laid-back love song where Gamsky sings, “I was a waste of space before you were mine/ Yeah just thinking about myself all the time.” Gamsky sweetly conveys his insecurities about being in love, delivering a more personal feeling on this track as well as the record as a whole.
“These Days” similarly opens up about mental health to a slower beat, where Gamsky sings, “I know it’s hard to see me like this, but/ I’m glad you’re here.” If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is presents the artist’s complex struggles with mental health within relationships, revealing their complementary connection in a profound way. Artists frequently separate mental health and love in their music, yet Gamsky’s combination of both subjects makes him stand out in the indie scene.
Even while delivering heartfelt tracks, Gamsky proves they don’t all have to be slow or incredibly heartful in approach. If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is also has a playful side, with quirky and fun songs such as “Window” and “Rocky.” The record is incredibly diverse in its encapsulation of a range of human emotions and moods, once again pushing the album past indie-pop stereotypes.
From upbeat to slow tracks that never fail to impress, Gamsky undeniably shows all sides of himself. His latest record cohesively discusses themes of love, mental health and universal life struggles, giving Gamsky a stronger presence not found in his earlier stand-alone singles. The album as an entity champions over his past pursuits in singles, proving his upward movement as a meticulous artist that makes music for easy listening. Simply put, If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is proves that Still Woozy doesn’t know how to make bad music.
Contact Kaitlin Clapinski at [email protected].