Featured Photo Credit: Elizaveta Porodina
GANGS OF KIN is a new experimental project from Amsterdam-based artist Joël Gaerthé.
Drawing from the “beauty of humanhood,” Gaerthé openly explores subjects like mental health, which can be heard in his new single “Broke.”
In addition to vulnerability, Gaerthé pushes the boundaries of genre and art with beats and melodies that blend futuristic funk, blues, and psychedelic sound.
We chatted with Gaerthé about his powerful new project, collaborating with other artists and more!
How did you first get interested in music and who did you listen to growing up?
Growing up, my parents had an old, beat-up piano they got from a friend. I used to play it all the time. One day a babysitter recognized my interest and started giving me my first lessons. That definitely sparked a deeper passion for music. Growing up, I listened to things like Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley but also J Dilla, Madlib, MFDOOM and so on.
How has growing up and living in Amsterdam influenced your music?
I wouldn’t say it influenced my taste in music. I can say Amsterdam influenced my path on stage. Jamming in pubs like Maloe Melo and performing in Paradiso at a young age instilled something fearless in me.
Your music blends a lot of different genres. How would you describe your sound?
If I had to describe it I would simply say it’s somewhat rootsy with a modern twist. Soulful, raw and honest. I don’t bother trying to stick to one thing. I like the freedom of creating whatever happens in that moment.
Where does the name GANGS OF KIN come from?
I’ve played in bands since I was 14… and I love it. Making music, to me, is a team effort. And that relates to how I see humanity thrive as a whole. We’re all in it together. We are all Gangs of kin.
What inspired your new single, “Broke”?
In 2018, I quit my band and sort of hit a rut. During that time, I saw a lot of my friends going through the same phase in life where change is around the corner. I knew I’d end up back on track again, but for a good while I felt broken but functional.
What was the writing and production process like?
I met this guy Brian Potts who went through the same type of situation. We met on a New Year’s Eve party and I invited him over to write some songs. This was the first track to come out of those sessions. We wrote it in one day.
Did you find healing in writing “Broke”?
I did. It fused a new spark of energy to start Gangs of Kin, and it’s sparked many new songs since, still to come.
You collaborated with David Sitek and Stefan Skarbek, as well as photographer Elizaveta Porodina on this project. Why is it important to you to collaborate with all different types of artists to elevate your art?
Same reason why it’s dubbed Gangs of Kin. Music, to me, should be an egoless adventure. I know what I’m good at but I see a plethora of talent around me who can help me elevate my art by adding their skill set.
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to “Broke,” what do you imagine it looking like?
I imagine it being on a Friday after a week of working on what they believe in. Society puts a lot of pressure on succeeding but measuring success is different for any individual. This is an anthem for the people who follow their gut regardless of any expectations.
How do you hope people feel after listening to your music?
I hope people feel pumped and euphoric. I hope they understand they’re not alone in whatever they face.
What can fans look forward to next?
I’m on a path of exploring a lot of topics surrounding our society. Whether my father’s generation, my generation, or the one after me. I strongly feel like we’ve been moving at a slow pace in my lifetime when it comes to understanding or respecting one another. I’m going to shine some light on that.
What is one quote you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
“Nature knows no kings”