Navigating the power of music as both an expressive art form, and a practical medium, local artist Aaron Davis delivers his highly-anticipated debut single under the solo-moniker Gyp$yfoot featuring Spooky Fruit.
Davis has been steadily working away at his craft since the ripe age of 14 when he negotiated a deal with his mother to invest in guitar and guitar lessons.
“I started playing the guitar at the age of 14 after hounding my mother for years about getting lessons which never eventuated,” Davis explains. “So, I made her a deal: if I get her half of the money for the guitar would she pay the rest. Then her compromise was that I have to do lessons for a year on top of that. 14-15 years later here we are.
“I didn’t always make hip hop or play blues at all, that happened much later. I started off learning every Pantera song possible, Metallica, Iron Maiden then I eventually moved onto Death Metal.”
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More than a decade later, Davis is now taking his music to new heights, with a promising future as one of Australian hip hop’s most idiosyncratic voices, seamlessly blending in soul, and R&B in what could be described as a love child between Dr Dre, Mac Miller, Eddie Hazel, BB KING and Pink Floyd.
Going from performing at open mics to busking on the city streets, Davis decided to take the chance to develop his music academically, studying music in Geelong and combining his learned understanding of music production with the ethereal rush of experimentation.
“I’ve been making music under Gyp$yfoot for a few years, about 4-5 years, but making music has always been the “side thing”. I started playing open mics at every opportunity I could. At that time, I was just using my loop pedal, getting lessons in blues and jazz.
“I started busking in the city every day, and when I was making $30ph I knew I had a chance so I had to take it. While I was busking, I decided to go to uni and study music in Geelong.”
A landmark moment in his creative journey and a solidified introduction of his artistry, the debut single ‘Smashing’ has established Davis’ penchant for crafting immersive hip hop, inspired by the smorgasbord of influences.
Effortlessly partnering a melting pot of modern jazz, smooth R&B, tender melodies, alluring vocals and hip-hop beats, the single’s eclectic sounds are a nod to the likes of Dr Dre, Mac Miller, Eryka Badu, Pantera, Death, Eddie Hazel, The Weeknd, Freddie Gibbs, Iron Maiden, and Amy Winehouse, to name a few.
Spanning three and a half minutes, ‘Smashing’ marries a bouncy R&B beat with buttery neo-soul vocals, lashes of electronica and a hypnotic hook. Dreamy yet instantly catchy, the track is infectiously smooth with a sultry groove that makes you want to move.
Recorded, mixed and produced by Davis, the single release revels in the beauty of collaboration and connection, featuring emerging singer-songwriter Spooky Fruit on vocals. With a voice that is reminiscent of the blues era and lush layered melodies, the single evokes an ethereal quality with nods to the likes of Erykah Badu and Nai Palm.
“Spooky Fruit brings very feminine energy as well as gorgeous melodies and great lyrics. Her vocals layer so well and her ability to harmonize is fantastic, plus we both fuck with Erykah Badu heavily so she brings this R&B vibe with this fantastic standard of performance,” Davis explains.
“This collab came about after Uni one day. Spooky Fruit came to give a speech about what to expect from the course and later that week was playing a gig, so I went to the gig and I was thoroughly impressed and beelined to her, gave her my number and sent her about three or four tracks to listen to.
“About a week or so later we had a meeting about what we both wanted and the week after we recorded a track called ‘Slow Beginnings’ and we started working almost instantly. It took a long time for us to get into gear as I was still trying to find my sound and learning new skills mixing and mastering, arranging etc.”
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Musically, ‘Smashing’ is emotionally-driven and vulnerable at its heart, anchored by pent-up emotions and bouncing melodies. It feels simultaneously energetic and melancholic, reflecting an escape from the day to day of COVID lockdowns.
“All I wanted to do was smoke some weed, go to a mate’s place and maybe get laid,” Davis says of the burdens of lockdown. “All in all, this song was written in a bout of sexual frustration and I’m not even ashamed to admit it.”
Presented with a lush mid-tempo, RnB-infused jam, Spooky Fruit took on the songwriting, finding the words to bring their sound to a whole new level.
Inspired by a time when Spooky Fruit found herself in a situation with someone where there was this desire and tension, but always out of each other’s reach, Spooky Fruit carries herself with a vivid coolness through the track, reaching full flight in the dynamic, emotive and soulful chorus.
“The meaning behind the lyrics is inspired by the 8th house in astrology. It’s an intense sector that governs things like death, sexuality and taboos. I have a lot of 8th house placements in my birth chart and was doing research into it.
“At the time the lyrics and vocals were written I was in a situation with someone where there was this desire and tension but we were always just out of each other’s reach. It was a constant tug of war and a power struggle. When I heard ‘Smashing’ it had a smooth, sensual vibe with this underlying darkness to it. It literally sounded like my situation; the energies matched so everything just flowed together.”
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A refreshing take on hip-hop blues with an unexpected bite showcasing Davis’ unique blend and ability to delicately balance multiple energies at once, ‘Smashing’ is just a taste of Gyp$yfoot who is already gearing up to release his forthcoming EP ‘Emotional Nourishment’ in the not too distant future.
Promising to be a textured, sonically rich record that explores a sophisticated blend of euphoric, dark, and youthful energies bolstered by Davis’ flair for experimentation, the EP will continue to feature prolific collaborations with Spooky Fruit, continuing to bring a brooding, hard-edged vulnerability to the project.
“The song is a great indicator for this EP. It wasn’t my first choice, to be honest, or even Spooky Fruits either, it wasn’t until I got the tracks back from mastering and started to arrange the orders of the tracks for the EP that we realised it had to be ‘Smashing’. We have put so much into these tracks.
“This entire process has been super surprising for me. I’ve always played the guitar but I haven’t always mixed or produced that only came once I started studying, every track on this ep has taught me something, from problem-solving, learning how to mix, arranging tracks, how certain elements sound with other elements and how they interact with each other to learning how to be a recording engineer and how to layer harmonies. For instance, the harmonies on ‘Yellow and Blue’ off the EP took me 120 hours to get right not even perfect when the track only took me 50 all layers including.
“The most important thing for myself is the level of self-love I’ve gained in this process. ‘Emotional Nourishment’ as a title sums up exactly what I needed at the time.”
The amount of love, craft and care that went into this release and forthcoming release is paramount and is sure to be a hit for fans of indie music and hip hop. Certainly one to watch in 2022.
Made in partnership with Gyp$yfoot