Gasp: Making It In A Digital World
Gasp a.k.a Eden Lee Burns is a 17-year-old producer living in Dunedin who is quickly making a name for himself throughout the country with his self-described ‘weird house’ music.
Gasp is still not old enough to enter a club but has been playing alongside some of the most notable producers to come to New Zealand. He only began releasing his tracks via his Soundcloud account last year, however has already had praise from some of the most influential publications in the world.
Gasp began playing the drums at the age of six. He played in a number of bands before his musical taste changed at around 12 years old. He became really interested in electronic music and fascinated about how this genre of music was made. He taught himself to play instruments from watching how-to videos on Youtube.
With his new found passion for electronic music, Gasp began producing Hip-Hop beats for rappers such as Young Tapz. After creating beats for others for a period of time, he discovered Australian artist Flume and French duo Justice’s music. These artists were only producing electronic music but were growing as large a fan base as notable rappers. This inspired him to began producing his own tracks that could stand alone under the moniker of Gasp.
Gasp was born in Dunedin then spent much of his life in Christchurch before returning south with his family last year. He spent a period of time last year at Mainz in Christchurch, however found it didn’t fit his creative needs so again returned to Dunedin to lock himself in his bedroom and make music.
Soundcloud has been a place where Gasp has made his name. Soundcloud is an online community of musicians who can create a profile and post their own music to the world for feedback and others’ enjoyment. These sentences are taken from the platform’s home page which sum up it up well, “Making your first upload to SoundCloud. Planning your next worldwide release. Whatever you create, wherever you are in your career, On SoundCloud is for you.” We are now seeing a number of artists who have followed similar paths to Gasp popping up allover the world with a huge following online and are now translating this into live shows everywhere. Ollie O’Neil a.k.a. Hucci is an example of this. The 19 year old English producer from Brighton was named as one of the most outstanding artists in 2013 by website Run The Trap and regularly featured on BBC Radio 1 Xtra’s Diplo and Friends show. He like Gasp has begun to build a music career that has stemmed from regularly posting to his Soundcloud account.
Some of his successes to date are being played on BBC Radio 1 by Canadian producer B.Traits, London-based Rinse FM, Los Angeles-based Soulection Radio. He said he would send the radio stations links on Soundcloud and would hope they played his tracks. Other successes worth mentioning are an outstanding review in Mixmag, one of largest magazines in electronic music which gave his track ‘Lagoons’ an 8 out of 10, also an article on the infamous Vice Magazine’s website. He is constantly putting himself out there, emailing and making contact with influential people, blogs, radio stations or magazines that he wishes to be featured by. Then it is a matter of hoping they follow through with a response.
Gasp’s first show was opening for Australian artist What So Not’s DJ set at the Glenroy Auditorium in Dunedin although there were only a handful of people watching this was the young producer’s first opportunity to play on a professional sound set-up. The organisers of Rhythm and Alps must’ve seen or heard something in him because they booked Gasp to play at the 2-day outdoor festival before he had ever played a live show. This was all about a year ago now. He has played with names like Flume, Katraynada and soon to be alongside Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5 when he plays in Dunedin later this month.
Gasp is now regularly playing shows in each of New Zealand’s main centres and more excitingly has been booked to play at the country’s premiere New Year’s festival Rhythm and Vines at Waiohika Estate, Gisborne. A pretty fine effort for someone who still won’t be old enough to buy themselves a beer to see in the New Year. This driven producer says he has achieved all the goals he set for the year, and Rhythm and Vines was all part of his vision. Applying for and gaining Making Tracks funding from NZ On Air that will allow him to produce a high-quality music video is next on Gasp’s to-do list.
When he is creating his tracks, he is thinking about the context his listening might be in while listening to his music. An example of this is the Events EP that was released on Gasp’s Soundcloud account was meant to be a ‘headphones EP,' the sort of music that you would put your headphones on and enjoy while on the computer. He says the next EP will be more dance infused and will appeal to people at his live shows.
He has an eclectic taste and would like to create some Post-Punk music and rattles of names like Mac DeMarco, The Smiths and The Cure as names that he is listening to at the moment and says he wouldn’t mind creating something like that, completely different from what he is known for. What might surprise some people is that a lot of the music that Gasp likes and listens to is nothing like what he produces. He listens to a lot of Rock music and this is what inspires him to make his own music electronically.
Gasp hopes eventually his music will take him to the UK and Europe where he can really hone his craft and play to many ears in some of the largest clubs in the world. It is exciting and inspiring to see what can be achieved in such as short space of time by someone who is driven to make a name for themselves from such a young age. The internet is breaking down barriers and now providing opportunities for New Zealand creatives and businesses to excel on the world stage. The next few years are looking bright for our country.