Childish Gambino’s Camp tour is wrapping up shows nightly with support from Danny Brown. Crowds are being pleased, and the Gambino girls are going gaga for rapper/actor Donald Glover, star of NBC’s Community. Part of the backbone of his music is provided by composer Ludwig Goransson, who scored music for FOX’s New Girl, 30 Minutes or Less, and Community. They checked in from the road to tell us a little about what they’re working on and some dream collaborations.
Mass Appeal: I know you grew up in Sweden. Would you have ever imagined working in the US?
Ludwig Goeransson: Yes. When I was around 10 I wanted to be the best guitar player in the world. When I was 15, I wanted to be the next Max Martin. From age 17 to 21 I only played jazz guitar. Last year in college (age 22) after playing and exploring all kinds of genres, it struck me that the best place to work with my versatility was film scoring and since that moment I’ve never looked back.
How many instruments do you play?
LG: I play guitar really well, keys pretty OK. I can fake play most other instruments.
Who are your musical inspirations?
LG: Keith Jarret and Kurt Rosenwinkel. They are both on such a high level of musical thinking. Their improvisations and music flow is coming out in a way that’s almost too difficult for me to understand sometimes. When I go to see Jarret play live I almost feel like there’s a higher force just using his body and fingers to send out a message.
Who did you listen growing up?
LG: It all started out with Metallica. After Metallica and heavy metal I got into jazz. Through jazz I got introduced to Q-Tip and hip-hop. Although the first hip-hop album I ever bought was Foxy Brown’s Broken Silence.
What does your production set up look like? Which programs do you use?
LG: I use DP as my main sequencer, that’s where I run all my MIDI. I rewire with Ableton Live, that’s where I put all my samples and loops. My sequencer computer is routing its audio into Pro Tools where I do all my printing and mixing.
Who are you working with at the moment and what projects are ahead?
Working with Childish Gambino on his new mixtape, just produced the EP for an all sister band from LA called HAIM. Going in to the studio with T Mills next week to finish up two new tracks for his new album, that kid is funny. I’m also working with the really talented ZZ Ward, the album is coming out in a couple of months I think. I just put out my own EP too, download it for free here.
Mass Appeal: Who were your musical inspirations growing up?
Childish Gambino: Prince, The Cranberries, The Pharcyde.
What’s the concept behind Camp? It seems to us that 50% is autobiography, 50% living life, having fun, sex, girls, club bangers.
CG: Yeah. That’s pretty much it. I just wanted to make something for me when I was 13. I don’t think there’s a lot of shit for teenagers anymore, honestly. And they listen to the most music. They have the time and to listen to everything. Plus they’re super emotional. So that’s the kinda album I would’ve wanted when I was 13.
On the music level, who would you like to work with in the future AND who would you have liked to work with in the past (dead or alive)?
CG: Jack White, Biggie, Stevie Wonder, MJ, The Neptunes.
How do you approach making songs?
CG: Usually I’ll make a beat and whatever I feel is coming out of it, I’ll write about. That’s almost always how all the songs are made.
What’s planned in the near future? Projects, collaborations, etc.
CG: Mixtape is coming out. Lots of collabs on it. First time I’ve been in the studio with other artists. I think there’s lots of good stuff there.
CHILDISH GAMBINO “HEARTBEAT”