Still Woozy: In Conversation
This past month, WIUX had the privilege of sitting down with indie pop artist Still Woozy to discuss the release of his debut LP, If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is
The artist, whose real name is Sven Gamsky, began making music under the Still Woozy moniker following the disbandment of the alternative rock band Feed Me Jack, in which he was involved from 2011 – 2016. In the following years Gamsky would release a series of highly popular singles beginning with 2017’s “Vacation”. These singles showcased a much more soulful, bedroom-pop sound compared to the work he had done before. After 3 years of buildup and a cancelled 31-stop tour in 2020, The new album is finally here for all to enjoy.
The songs on If This Isn’t Nice explore a wide array of musical influences. Gamsky expressed that one of his purposes as a musician is to avoid being put in a metaphorical box – there are too many musical influences and not enough time for one to lock themself into a particular sound or aesthetic. Channeling the vibes of fellow musicians like Steve Lacy and D’Angelo, many of the songs on this album contain the same warm, electronic textures that fans have come to expect from Still Woozy’s previous releases. But the album does not get lost in this world of hazy lo-fi beats. The opening track “Rocky” introduces itself with a choppy guitar riff, and later on in the track “Drake” the entire song is carried by the somber tune of an acoustic guitar. Gamsky revealed that the latter track was written as a tribute to the 1960s musician/guitarist Pete Drake, whose song “forever” had a particular influence with its swinging 6/8 time signature and dreamy, “Motown-y” feel. Specific influences from Jack Johnson and John Mayer carry on the same acoustic undertones throughout the album
While Gamsky denies that there is any general theme to the album, he admits that the mental challenges he faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on his creative process. Several tracks explore complex emotions that are not otherwise found in the artist’s discography. He gets particularly deep in the track “Kenny”, where the lyrics express what it feels like for someone to pull themself together and put on a strong face when the world is seemingly against them. Although this song was inspired by events personal to the artist’s life, it is written in a manner that feels applicable to most people, making it relatable on an individual level for each listener. Gamsky also expressed that he is most proud of the track “All Along”, on which he claims to have gotten more personal than on any other piece he’s written. Most songs he writes are about his romantic partner, but that is not the case here. He also employs a sort of yell-singing on the track in an attempt to expand his vocal acrobatics.
Although the past year and a half has been difficult, Gamsky is optimistic for the future. Kicking off his tour on September 21st in LA, Still Woozy is finally hitting the road and is excited to “get rowdy” on the stage (mosh pit included). He is especially excited to perform the high-energy track “Get By”, which has already become a fan favorite. In terms of recording, Gamsky is looking forward to expanding his musical palette even more, likely with an increased focus on acoustic and straight-ahead rock sounds.
In the meantime, for those who are still struggling in their personal lives, Still Woozy wants those who listen to his album to find solace in it, and also to take themselves a little less seriously. “When I perform live, I have to make a fool out of myself before I can enjoy myself” said Gamsky.
If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is can be streamed on all major platforms. For more information on Still Woozy and his North American tour, go to https://www.woozystill.com/