GG Magree opens up about the artistic process, quarantine-inspired creativity as acoustic version of ‘Nervous Habits’ arrives [Q&A]
Before “Frontlines,” the collaborative hit produced with Zeds Dead and NGHTMRE, Australian DJ/producer GG Magree did not consider herself a singer. In fact, Magree took her first foray into singing by lending her vocals to the 2016 track. Prompted to do so by Tyler Marenyi of NGHTMRE, Magree laid down the lyrics that would later belong to one of the most popular songs from the trio of collaborators.
Now, when Magree sits down to begin a new track, she always starts with vocals. Many of her songs even begin as acoustics, later evolving to include her signature bass-heavy and punk-inspired production. Her latest single, “Nervous Habits,”—which features Joey Fleming of pop-punk band, In Her Own Words—shares this origin. With the release of the acoustic version of “Nervous Habits,” Magree’s husky, raw vocals come to the forefront, providing listeners with a peek into her creative process.
In anticipation of the release, GG Magree talked with Dancing Astronaut about writing new tracks, quarantine-inspired creativity, and a debut album in the works.
Prior to COVID-19, you were touring with Zeds Dead. How did you pivot when the pandemic derailed your plans?
GG Magree: “We were actually touring Europe together when the whole COVID-19 thing went down. While we were in the UK, Zach (Rapp-Rovan, of Zeds Dead) was like, ‘You need to leave.’ I was re-doing my visa, so I was like ‘I can’t. They have my passport.’
Zach ended up getting on an earlier flight and going home and then the borders closed, so I had to go back to Australia, and I ended up getting COVID-19 while in Australia. I was one of the first 300 people in Australia to get it. I was just a little bit achy and kind of had the flu [after my flight to Australia], and the next day when I woke up, I was completely back to normal and felt totally fine. Then, the doctors called me to tell me I had tested positive. I ended up giving it to my family as well, which really sucks, but everyone is okay. It really shows you how important health is right now.”
We’re so glad that you and your family have recovered. Since then, you’ve been busy during quarantine. In addition to “Nervous Habits,” you also released “Flatline” with Sullivan King and Kai Wachi. What was the process of producing a collaboration in quarantine like?
GG Magree: “I was actually in London when I wrote that. I started it, again, as an acoustic version and then sent it to Sullivan King. [King and Kai Wachi] did most of the production and it all came together super fast. I wrote it and sent it and they sent it back to me like a month later. Then it was like, ‘We’re putting it out in a month.’ Shit like that usually does not happen.”
How would you say that this unusual period of time has affected your creativity?
GG Magree: “To be honest, I’ve never really had this much time off. I’ve been more creative than I’ve been in my entire life because I’m not tired. As artists, we travel so much that it’s hard because you’re kind of always catching up on sleep, or catching up on emails, or work, or whatever it is. And then you’re also trying to create. For me to have this time off has been fucking insane. I love it. I’ve just finished writing an album. Never in my life would I have thought I would have time to do that. I’m really grateful for this time. [However,] I do miss shows and I’m ready for 2021 to be full steam ahead.”
It’s a bit of a rarity to see an acoustic track released in the dance music space. Are you planning to do more acoustic work in the future?
GG Magree: “Yeah, definitely. I’ve just finished writing an album and there are a couple of more slowed down acoustic songs [on it]. After taking a little bit of time off during this whole quarantine thing, I want my sets to have moments where [there’s] hard dance and then more of a chilled-out emotional moment where people can really connect.”
Featured image: Lucas MK