We talk creative control and Sir David Attenborough with the Swedish rapper.
First and foremost, GNUČČI can take care of herself – after all, she’s a “self-made Balkan babe”, as she chants in her latest release, “Ultimate Syndrome”. The exuberant pop track, in collaboration with Berlin-based singer and producer Tami T, exposes the delicate negotiation between absolute self-confidence and the desire to please a lover; her conclusion? “Not going to give you my all but you will get the best.”
GNUČČI, real name Ana Rab, is a Swedish rapper, singer and songwriter; she left the former Yugoslavia at the age of five in the midst of the Yugoslav Wars. A self-described ‘control freak’, she’s her own songwriter, creative director, manager and label owner; she declares in “Ultimate Syndrome” that she’ll “do the label, video, sing, rap, dance” (with echoes of Kanye’s “Monster”: “do the rap and the track, triple double no assist”). Her self-produced visuals garner as much attention as her sound – the video for previous release “WORK!”, for example, was nominated at the Los Angeles Music Video Festival.
Currently touring across Europe, GNUČČI has two EPs under her belt and a debut album set to drop this year. Oh, and she once heard Sir David Attenborough’s voice whilst swimming naked in a Mexican cenote. Intrigued? Read our interview below.
What kind of music influences your sound?
This is such a frequently asked question that I should be better at answering it, but it’s always so difficult because I’m a product of so much. An immigrant kid with the TV as her BFF, a million feelings and a positive identity crisis to soundtrack. But in a nutshell I grew up listening to as much turbo folk as I did Wu Tang Clan, Spice Girls and eurodance.
You’ve talked about getting your inspirations from different places. What new places have inspired the album?
It’s more observations of human behaviour in certain places that inspire me the most. I love the mall and the club. I just came back from a month in Mexico; the cantinas and cenotes were my absolute favorite places. It was breathtaking – I cannot believe I’ve seen and physically, emotionally experienced cenotes. We were swimming around in a cave once at 1 am, naked, and I swear I could hear God or Sir David Attenborough’s voice bouncing around that cave. Experiences like that trip me out for life. Obsess-watching BBC Planet Earth and then one day basically being IRL BBC Planet Earth swimming round with bats in caves. Like wtf. That realization, that connection and feeling is what would inspire me to make a song.
What about personal experiences – how do they fit in?
Well, all songs and creative ideas that big bang into something come from me and my experiences, so it’s not that they fit in – they are the necessary starting point. I really do care about being a genuine performer. If I rap that I’m a unicorn, a pitaya, a shoe, I want it to come from an honest place, so I truly believe I am a pitaya and therefore you should believe me too.
Why do you choose to have total creative direction and produce your own videos? How has this benefited you so far?
Because it’s fun. No one believes in my ideas more than I do and I’m DIY til I DIE. Even if it at times is killing me, the pride of making big ideas happen despite small means makes it worth the pain and struggle. It’s rewarding being a control freak, mainly because I love learning new things. I wanna know as much as possible about as much as possible. Feeling knowledgeable is my favourite feeling in the world; it makes me feel grown and wise and kid-hyper at the same damn time.
Tell us about your collaboration with Tami T. How was the process of working together?
Tami is the ultimate sweetheart! It was beautiful, genuine and easy. We listened to and liked each others music before doing the song, so the road to “Ultimate Syndrome” was an exchange of admiration, love and help. She reached out to me for advice on the music business, which is sweet considering “Ultimate Syndrome” is a boastful Balkan babe too proud to ask for help.
Songs like “WORK!” and “A.Rab” address some important topics. How essential is it for your music to take on these subjects?
I dunno. It’s fun that I made something as badass as “WORK!” from my not so badass experience cleaning toilets, watching a TV shop and seeing people buy flatscreen after flatscreen on credit at the mall. I guess I do get a kick from making something fun and melodic outta sad and dull subjects such as capitalism, consumerism and monotony. “A.Rab” is about women, and women and girls are very essential. Very and always.
Although people interpret music in different ways, what impact do you personally want your music to have on fans?
I hope it has a positive effect on their bodies. I hope the melodies caress their physique and help them feel real real guuud about the body. That’s why I love making dance music, because it encourages you to move your body, feel your body, explore your body, use your body, not just look and criticize it.
The album is expected this year – what different themes or sounds can we expect, without giving too much away?
Booty rollin while crying. Optimism. Oral sex. A sinner’s needs. The club. Superwomen aka Goodahs. Contradictions. Militant cuteness and hardcore sweetness. It’s called “You Good I’m Good Let’s Be Great”.
Let’s talk visuals. Why is it important to have a strong relation between your songs and their visuals?
They are made possible thanks to the intensely satisfying collaborations I have with my kind, creative friends. When I write or produce songs there are little visual worlds forming in my head; the songs are all connected to colours, textures, forms, stories etc that I know and feel. The visuals are the tail to the song that is the head, and when they come together it becomes a creature that can go on and live its own life, outside my head.
Can you tell us five tracks you’re listening to at the minute?
GNUČČI – Ultimate Syndrome with Tami T (Shiftee Remix)