Monday, July 16, 2012

Wireless '12: Childish Gambino

G-Shock parked up our kitted out party bus just behind the main stage at Wireless Festival and, obviously, invited a few celebs on board. First up was comedian/writer/actor Donald Glover who's also pretty good at rapping too, which he does under the alias Childish Gambino. We spoke to the funny man about his most shocking nights out, tough decisions and his sick new mixtape, 'Royalty'.

So the free mix tape, 'Royalty' just dropped and it's getting some heat. For those that haven't heard it yet, what can they expect?
More kind of music that you can play in your car, I guess? It's much darker than CAMP. I mean, I always saw CAMP as green and this mixtape ['Royalty'] it's blue. That's why the cover is blue, all of the songs just felt blue to me.

You hooked up with Josh Osho last time you were here, how did that come about?

Well, he had an album coming out and a song that he wanted me on, so I met him in the studio in London. He told me about his life and it was eerily, like uncannily, similar to mine. We were both raised Jehovah Witness. We were both the only black kid in our class, we grew up under similar circumstances. He was like, 'Everything that you say in CAMP I can relate to'. So he was like, 'I really want you on this record', so I rapped on it and then I got this song 'Wonderful' from Boi-1da and I was like, Josh would destroy this and he just did. I'm so happy that it's one of the people's favourite songs. He's got such a beautiful voice. You just wouldn't expect it from him; it's a very manly, like. John Legend-y voice.

So moving on to your Donald Glover guise and '30 Rock'. What was it like going into that sort of show as a writer. Was there a lot of pressure?
I was terrified! Like, the first year, I thought I was gonna get fired every day. I would have stress dreams about it, like, maybe I'm not good enough. Each night I would stay up and be like, I've got to be better tomorrow. They kind of run it like 'Saturday Night Live' where they don't tell you if you're doing well or not. 'SNL' is infamous for letting you do stuff and not saying whether it was good or not and then you'll either get fired or promoted. One day the head writer came to the room and said, You've been doing really well this season' and that was it! But my dad always told me you wouldn't be there if you weren't supposed to be there.

Is there a common theme between you as a writer and rapper?
Yeah, I've always felt like I had to be as blatant and see-through as possible. I feel like a persona would make it feel untrue. I feel like my family worked really hard and I feel sometimes that some people believe I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I wasn't we were very poor for like a long time.  I went to school, had no money, was broke and living on my grandmother's couch. The theme of it is overcoming and working hard because in America, the ideal of the Amercian dream is the president. I always felt like when I was a kid that wasn't really meant for me. But the point of the music and writing and stuff, the through-line, is anybody can do it if they really want.

So are you living the dream?
I feel like if I ever felt that way, I wouldn't be good at anything anymore. Like if I tried to say I made it, I'd try to make some really s**t music. I'm always like, 'Man we can do so much better'. Even with the mixtape, I don't think you could ask for a better reception from people I looked up to like Beck and the Wu Tang Clan. But the next day, I was like, 'What are we going to do for the album'? Because that's what keeps you hungry.

Your shows at CAMP and XOYO were wild? Not to mention today at Wireless. Explain the importance of your live vibe?
I just try and give them a show. Like when I was a kid, I loved rap but the shows were just like...they didn't have the resources to really make a dope show. Ghostface had his cousin on the ones - they couldn't even afford a twos!  His cousin would be flirting with some girl then he'd rap a bit. I was in love with the album but I just wasn't hype. When I would go see Justice and it's like people's hands were bleeding, like it's insane. That's how hip hop shows should be, like #WTT [Watch The Throne] is incredible so that's how it is now. I'm trying to do shows which you can feel on stage.

What is the toughest decision you had to make?
Probably rapping because it was such a bad idea (laughs). Like I'm in it now and that's cool and I'm glad people are enjoying it, but it's weird. Doing acting and music, sometimes you can lose cred in both fields. But I always made music. So that was probably the hardest thing, like leaving the shows ['30 Rock'] and turning down movies and big stuff because I was like, 'I have to work on the record'. I don't think it was wrong I think it was hard.

What is the most shocking night out you've had?
Wow! I probably shouldn't tell you this but one night in Austin, which is always crazy, after the show I got really really drunk. I was like 'Let me jump over this parking meter'. I hit it and flipped over and hit my head on the ground, making a sound like (*does konk sound). I was like 'Man whoever that was is in trouble because that sounded painful'.

It took me a second to be like 'oh that was me'. My friends lifted me up and got me on the tourbus. I felt all of this stuff come out of my nose. Like,' f**k I'm bleeding'. If you want to know what is a scarier feeling than hitting your head and blood coming out of your nose then the scarier feeling is hitting your head and clear liquid comes out. Everything was shaking. So I'm thinking, 'oh no I have this weird concussion thing' and I'm getting really cold so they're putting blankets on me. Then this girl is like, 'I know you just hit your head but do you want to have sex?' (laughs) I'm like 'yes'. so I had sex with a concussion. That's like the craziest thing that's probably happened. It made sense because I was like I have got to stay awake.

Lastly what does the G stand for in G-Shock to you?
G stands for Gangsta obviously. 

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