Interview: GAWP Talks His North American Tour, His Production Style, and the Success of ‘Coolade’

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After a long month in March Oliver Portamento is finally back home in the U.K. Better known by his stage name GAWP, the Tech Bass House DJ and producer just wrapped up his first North American tour. Between an impressive string of releases on some of the biggest labels in underground house and a killer vibe during his sets, GAWP is definitely a force to be reckoned with. In a recent interview with EDMTunes Portamento opened up about his time in North America and the unexpected success of his recent track ‘Coolade.’

1EDMTunes: GAWP is one of the most interesting names we’ve ever seen and a musician’s stage name is a huge part of their persona. Where does GAWP come from and how does it reflect your identity in the music world?

GAWP: Well basically I made a track in 2015 and a friend came to the studio and when I
played him it he said “Who will play that when they DJ???” and just looked at me with his mouth open.. I replied “What you Gawping at?” he said whats “Gawping” then I explained GAWP meant to stare in a rude manner. The name was born.. but I’m lead to believe Americans use the work GAWK / Gawking. 😉 Now it all makes sense right!

2Recently you’ve started up GAWP Presents…, a monthly radio show with each episode including a mix by yourself and a guest mix. What do you enjoy about doing a regular monthly show and who has been your favorite guest so far?

One of the best things about the syndicated radio show is i get to showcase my latest material to the true fans. Also I love being able to get my personality over in my presenting although I will admit I do it last minute each month as its bottom of my list so sometimes my presenting skills are lame but the music makes up for it. The best guest mix I have is from Steve Darko, its coming up! So get on iTunes podcasts and subscribe to not miss it.

3During March you came across the pond from the U.K. for your debut North American tour. The Mind The GAWP tour took you from San Francisco to Detroit, from Edmonton in Canada to Las Vegas where you closed out the tour. Do you have any moments in particular that stand out as professional milestones or favorite personal experiences?

There were so many great memories with great people but the ones that stood out the most had to be… Adriania took some drone footage of me in Miami and I was shatting my pants it was going to hit me in the head! Also loved doing the tourist things in Seattle like Pike Place and going up the Space Needle. Oh and also I loved San Fransisco, it was so cool to go a BBQ back at where Dirtybird first started.. the list goes on, so many good things.

4You’ve obviously been keeping busy. Before you even made it back home we caught wind of your production tutorial with Sonic Academy featuring your most recent Birdfeed exclusive release, “Coolade.” Without giving it all up for free, what is one thing about your productions that make them undeniably GAWP?

My biggest secret is: I don’t have a clue what I’m doing… Jokes.
I would say to give me the GAWP sound I experiment a lot. In the tutorial I was clock watching so it was straight to the point but usually I spend hours making noises until one hits the spot.

5’Coolade’ is obviously a popular track since it was also selected as one of five tracks to be included on Dirtybird’s Best of Birdfeed compilation album. What does it mean to be one of the top choices of one of the biggest and most impressive labels in underground house music?

Funny story… I hated the track and only made it for the Sonic Academy tutorial. Quite basic in my eyes but then when the guys picked the track up I was astonished! It wasn’t until I played it on a big system that I then realised how much of a tune it was.. Claude has a great ear for good tracks and I guess this was his call otherwise it would prob just been on the video.

6You have ‘Prime Society’ and ‘Coolade’ out on Dirtybird, your Clownbite EP on This Ain’t Bristol, and countless remixes and collabs on various other labels. So the big question is… when is the GAWP full length album coming?

The full length album is not on my horizon at the moment as I’m aiming to just keep making the dance floor material, i will never say never but theres prob more chance i make an album on collaborations when they are more musical and laid back.

7People in the U.S. think Brits are strange for loving tea so much or calling the bathroom a loo. What is the strangest thing about American culture that you experienced during your travels across the country?

The strangest thing i noticed were Americans love to eat especially after an after show.. I just find it a little odd at 5 in the morning sitting in a diner full of fresh faced people to eat a “mountain” of pancakes. But I guess its same as us eating Kebabs just not in a vibe place sat down. Oh and also I noticed the toilets are a lot bigger than the UK… and FLusssh.

Thanks to GAWP for the great interview and excellent sense of humor. You can buy GAWP’s ‘Coolade’ on the Best of Birdfeed compilation coming out soon on Dirtybird. You can also sign up here to get his video tutorial on how he made ‘Coolade’ in a multi-point series courtesy of Sonic Academy. Keep your eyes peeled for the newest GAWP material, we guarantee he’s hard at work on something already.