Since the age of 13, GUS has been capturing universal coming of age moments through song. Over the years, he has worked to define the sound behind those messages with the help of Ryan Worsley (Dear Rouge, Nuella Charles, Mathew V), Joel Stouffer the drummer of Dragonette, and Rob Wells (Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Backstreet Boys).
Now the Canadian artist is continuing to expand his vocal and production range with his latest single “LIES.”
In the indie-pop bop produced by Steven Moella (Finger Eleven), GUS finds himself in that awkward state of limbo between friendship and something more, while questioning “what other lies are we telling ourselves.”
We chatted with GUS about the single, the video, and more!
What inspired your new single “Lies”?
“Lies” was inspired by my chronic inability to express how I feel. It’s a song born out of the frustration and excitement that comes with talking to someone you like when you’re pretty sure they feel the same way.
How did you get connected with Steven Moella (Finger Eleven) and what was it like collaborating with him on the single?
Steve Moella was introduced to me by my label and he’s a wickedly talented guy. When we made “Lies,” I brought in a verse I had written to Steve and my great friend and co-writer LOLO. It was such a fun and easy afternoon building the song and recording the vocals… GREAT FRIENDS MAKE GREAT MUSIC!
Your songs are often about the formative moments throughout our lives. What inspires you to write about those moments?
I tend to take a while to digest moments in my life, especially formative stages in life like moving away or falling in love. My song “Party” was about missing high school, my song “19” came out when I was 20, and “Lies” was written about a girl I was talking to 2 years ago. My favorite songs of mine are the ones about these big life experiences because if it’s still worth writing about after months/years etc then it must have been pretty important.
This new single is edgier than your previous releases and we get to hear more of your vocal range. What drew you to start exploring those aspects of your music?
I think the sound of the song is really reflective of the emotions that went into making it. The chorus is big, full of gang vocals and pop punk drums, and it really sounds like I’m desperate to expose all the lies I’ve been telling myself.
Where did the concept for the music video come from and what was it like filming it?
The aesthetic of the music video was inspired by Los Angeles, where it was filmed. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was a big visual reference. I came up with the concept with the Director, Harry Toohey, and we wanted to make a video that captured all the stages of going from friends to lovers.
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to “LIES,” what do you imagine it looking like?
In my mind, listening to “Lies” is best done like this: You’re with a couple friends driving on a highway through a city at night. You’re driving fast, (not illegally fast but fast enough), but you roll the windows down anyway and blast “Lies” on your car speakers. Screaming along in the chorus is encouraged!
You started writing your own music at age 13. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
The initial interest for me came from the moment I realized I could sit down at my piano and write any song I wanted. The first ones were BAD but I would sing them to myself and kept doing that for years. No one heard any of the songs I wrote until years later. Lorde has always been my biggest inspiration when it comes to writing songs and since then the list has only grown. Julia Michaels, Harry Styles, Briston Maroney, Decklan McKenna and so many more continue to inspire me as a songwriter.
What can fans look forward to next?
I have plans for an EP that will give listeners a coherent body of work to sink their teeth into, until then I’ve got some singles that I am very excited about!
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
LIFE IS SHORT, THE WORLD IS WIDE