Galimatias Dishes on His Tour, Remixing Porter Robinson, and Sade [TMN RESIDENT ARTIST INTERVIEW]


As we started planning this month-long spotlight on Danish producer Galimatias, we were anxiously awaiting this portion of his Residency. Knowing that we would soon enter a selective group of very few publications who have had a chance to talk with this quickly rising star, we relished in the opportunity. The only drawback to this exclusive chat was how difficult it would soon be to narrow our questions down to a reasonable amount. In all honesty, we could have dialed up at least twenty-five, but that would have been a tremendously long read. Instead, we went with what you’ll find below.

TMN: First off, thank you so much for being a part of our Residency program. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you. You’ve just come off tour and a wildly successful EP. Did you take a moment to breathe, or have you jumped right back into the studio?

Thank you, it’s been a while since I’ve had time, so yeah, I’ve been excited to get back to making music. It was a pretty short tour run, but being the very first live shows for me and Alina both, we had a lot to learn going into it. So, it was still a big process.

TMN: Speaking of the tour, we have to imagine that you had a few “Holy shit!” moments. Was there any particular show or fan interaction that made you step back in disbelief?

Oh yeah, the first show in Santa Ana was for sure the craziest experience. It was so packed that some people couldn’t fit into the room and were standing in the hallway. The energy was so raw and positive. It’s one thing to see the numbers on the internet, but getting out there and feeling the people behind it is a whole new world. Once Alina started singing, everybody was singing along. My proudest moment was when Nas shook my hand after the show and said he was down with it. He was one of the artists I grew up listening to.

TMN Let’s touch on Urban Flora. It’s safe to say that this whole project started from a simple Soundcloud message, correct?

Back when Alina was just starting to write, which is only about 2 years ago, she was looking for instrumentals and came across a track of mine. So she wrote what would become “Drift” and sent it to me on Soundcloud. I was blown away and we started talking about music. Already then, I knew she was very different it was apparent not just in her songwriting, but also in the way she presented it. She is the most beautiful girl, but used this pitch black square as her picture across all social media and I remember asking her why. But, that’s how she connected with the right people and built a fanbase that fell in love with her art and not her face. I don’t know who would make that compromise and not just utilize everything they have. It was very intriguing to me. That’s when I knew this girl is 100% about her music. She sent me some acapellas of songs she had recorded. With two acapellas, I would make what became “Make You Feel” and “Pretty Thoughts”. This was late 2013. We released all those 3 tracks on Soundcloud. I didn’t look elsewhere for people to collaborate with after that. I was so set on us making a project together. From then we would just send back and forth ideas until we had created the 8 tracks of the EP.


TMN: While there are a few songs that are upbeat, a lot of them are slow and seductive. We’re not quite sure how to put this, but did you set out to create perfect tracks for all those “Bedroom Playlists” out there?

No. It’s intimate and sensual, but the music can be whatever the listener wants it to be. If that’s bedroom music, then that’s cool, but it wasn’t necessarily created with that intent.

TMN: One thing that came up a few times while listening through Urban Flora is a slight resemblance to Sade, especially “No Ordinary Love”. The association actually came up while listening to “Unfold.” Are you a fan of Love Deluxe, or was that purely coincidence?

’Alina Baraz & Galimatias – Unfold’

I’m definitely a fan of Sade. My parents listened to her a lot, so I grew up on that. I wouldn’t say I’ve been directly inspired by any of the tracks to create Urban Flora, but maybe subconsciously, considering this is the music I’ve been listening to.

TMN: Let’s talk your remix for Porter Robinson. Talk about a perfect pairing! Two artists who are pushing the boundaries of electronic music on the same track. How did that opportunity come to be?

’Porter Robinson – Sea Of Voices (Galimatias Remix)’

On Twitter, he asked me if I wanted to remix a track from his album. This was in early 2015, I picked “Fresh Static Snow” at the time because that song inspired me the most. I remember making a cool section, but then I was just stuck with it for months. Around summer time I gave up, but then he asked if I wanted to try another one of the tracks and I picked “Sea of Voices.” I was thinking a lot of the approach, cause the original is so cinematic and beautiful. It’s one of those songs that people develop a special relationship with, the kind of song that will represent a time or a certain moment in their life cause it’s so visual. It wasn’t just a generic pop song I was remixing. So, with that in mind, I decided that instead of trying to outdo the original in this kind of vibe, I’ll do something completely different.

TMN: Before we head into a few random questions, can you fill us in on what your musical upbringing was like? Did your parents stress this when you were a kid, or was it something you were naturally drawn to?

I was obsessed with music ever since I was young. As an 8-year-old kid, I would dance to my dad’s Michael Jackson records and force my parents and brother to watch it. I got my own CD player and would eventually start listening to a lot of hip-hop like Dr. Dre, Gangstarr, Nas, etc. I was always fascinated by the productions; the idea of creating a short loop so perfect that you could just listen to it on repeat for hours – and that’s exactly what I did. I’d find one song or a segment that I’d fall in love with and then repeat it over and over forever. My beginning with music production stems from one certain moment –

I was in this Danish store called Føtex with my dad just grocery shopping. I saw this computer program called Hiphop eJay which is basically a kid-friendly, intuitive version of modern DAW’s. I was 10 years old and had no idea what it was but it just caught my attention, so I begged my dad to get it for me, and he did. I wouldn’t be making music this day if it weren’t for that because that program sparked my curiosity and the desire to create.

TMN: One last business-related question. Can you talk to us about the Danish music scene, and what kind of impact that had on you? Can you name a few influences that people wouldn’t normally deduce from listening to your work? Is there anything specific you’re listening to now?

I grew up way out on the countryside – lots of cows, horses, and corn fields. As a kid that was the perfect environment, but nobody I was around were in any way interested in music production, so I was just creating in solitude at home and started putting my music online. I would start working with rappers around the country and learned a lot during the process. I enjoyed it, and I always wanted music to be my life, but Denmark is such a small country and the market for music is likewise. Even though the rappers I worked with were super talented, it isn’t even an option to make a living off of music in Denmark, unless you are one of the top few pop/mainstream artists. When I was 20 years old, I realized I wasn’t growing musically as I wanted, so I started doing my own thing. That’s when I released my 4-track EP as a solo artist, Galimatias, which happened to catch the attention of Alina. There is a lot of great music to be found in Denmark. Right now I am listening to Ukendt Kunstner, an electronic R&B duo. Check them out.

TMN: At the end of each interview, we like to ask a few personal questions, just for fun. Let’s start with this – If we could look back in time, what posters would we find on teenage Gali’s walls?

No posters stand out in my memory, but my dad built me these two CD-racks to mount on my wall that would put my CD covers on display and I loved that thing. I would always put the albums I listened to the most on there. Busta Rhymes – Genesis, Nas’ Gods Son, Illmatic, Jazzmatazz by Guru, 2001 by Dre, etc.

TMN: What was your very first job that didn’t have anything to do with music?

I was a paperboy when I was 13. I quit when I was 15 and started selling beats instead.

TMN: Name one food you were introduced to when you moved to LA, that you now can’t live without.

I was put on to frozen dates by Alina. Dates are good already, but 10 times better when frozen. They can be found in my freezer at all times now.

TMN: If aliens landed on earth today, and asked you what music was, who would you show them first?

I would play them the Sweetheart of Kairi EP by Sorrow and Owsey. And, I would have some customized cans made for their obscure alien heads, because that kind of music needs to be heard on headphones, not speakers.

TMN: Finally, if your music were an animal, what would it be?

A jellyfish. Entrancing slow movements underwater. My music is underwater.