LOCAL Spotlight Interview: galleryCat (Dallas)
Photo: Hal Samples
Interview By: Molly Mollotova
For our first installment of “LOCAL Spotlight” interviews, staff writer Molly Mollotova had a chance to throw some questions at Angelo Gonzales, lead vocalist of galleryCat, one of Dallas’ premier hip-hop acts.
Formed back in 2008, galleryCat has released multiple tracks over the years, including most recently, its 3rd full length album, It Won’t Be Long. The group is known for its enthusiastic support of other musicians and artists, the belief in keeping its music affordable (name your price) and/or free, as well as providing fans with an unwaveringly killer live show. In 2009, the group’s energetically electric beats garnered them the number 17 spot on the Dallas Observer’s Best Songs in Dallas Music and in 2010, they scored a Dallas Observer Music Award nomination for “Best Rap/Hip Hop Act”. With the release of It Won’t Be Long, we’re guessing that it won’t be long until galleryCat becomes a nationwide, household name.
Photo: Bill Ellison
Q. It Won’t Be Long” is your 3rd, full-length album release. So, we gotta know….what is it that “wont be long”?
A. We go through a lot in life – I know I have. Sometimes we feel like we fight and fight without any rest or resolution. Like, “seriously, I just want a break or a good nights sleep” . I have to tell myself and I genuinely believe things will get better for all of us no matter where we are or what we are going through because everything is temporal and for me there is something greater with my interest at heart whether it’s God, karma or just faith in the universe as a whole, I do have my personal beliefs. I know one thing for sure, we aren’t meant to walk this world alone. We all need hope and we all have some measure of faith in something even if its nothing at all, we still truly put weight and rest a part of our being in whatever that is. For me personally “It Won’t Be Long” is that hope that just beyond my reach or just around the corner is that place where I get rest or peace or validation or acceptance or whatever the hell it is that I’m truly looking for. It’s the journey of knowing that I’m closer today than I was yesterday.
Q. You recently relocated from Dallas to Phoenix. How has that affected galleryCat as a group?
A. It was an unofficial move. I went to go help my older brother with a start up company and just spent some time with him and his amazing family since I spent so much time on the road. The effect it had on the band was minimal since everyone is always so busy with other projects. It is currently in a state of limbo …kind of. We started the band solely to have a good time and we’ve done just that. In light of everyone’s busy schedule (self included) it’s a bit difficult but we are all still waiting on what could possibly happen next.
Q. What artist you would say is your favorite or most inspirational – or maybe one that you’d like to work with?
A. My list of favorite artists jump all over the place for several different reasons. From indie to hip hop to folk to blues to blah blah blah. I am easily inspired, especially if it’s something pure and sincere. I’ve always been drawn to Daniel Johnston‘s honesty and passion but that can be said for a lot of my favorites. As far as working with like right now right now I’ve had Cashmere Cat‘s EP on repeat (it’s just so sexy).
Q. I feel like every time I turn around, you’re off in some exotic, far away land. Is this in relation to your music or other projects?
A. It’s usually music based. I just got hired on as the head of international operations for a non-profit tour that takes athletes and musicians into small towns and inner cities for free community events where we also do service projects. I get to play as well, so it works for me all around. I get to travel and feed both my bleeding heart tendencies and my desire to be on stage.
Q. “It Won’t Be Long” has a very different sound than your previous releases. Still all grassroots hip-hop, but I feel as though it is definitely deeper, more insightful and even dark, at times. Can you discuss your inspiration for these tracks?
A. Yeah, definitely. In the past few years I went through a lot with watching my parents’ house burn down, finding our brother hanging, almost a year later finding out it was an attempted murder, seeing my parents go through a very destructive divorce, then finding my uncle dead in a garage in a pool of blood, my aunt being diagnosed with cancer and trying to be there for all of them put me in a depression (which I’ve always dealt with, hence the Bipolaroid album). I started self medicating in ways I shouldn’t have, but I guess we all do. So, a lot of this album was written from the perspective of what I was going through and what I was feeling at that time and I guess what I still face today.
Q. As far as writing and creating goes, how did you and your crew put this together? Do you all have “assigned” roles in the creative process or do you all work together on the lyrics, beats, etc.?
A. I have known Rob Vargas of Healthy Habitz for years and when I got back from tour this summer I told him I was feeling really inspired and wanted to write and record an album in the three weeks before I had to leave again. He showed me what he had been working on and I immediately identified with it and started writing. It was like he already knew exactly what I was going through. And he did – considering he let me live in his studio for nearly two years during the whole mess of what I was going through. He is truly one of the most underrated producers in Dallas if not the US, especially with the limited resources he has. If it weren’t for him and his countless hours of work, there wouldn’t have been as honest of a project to pour out of me.
Q. Are you guys planning on touring any time soon? If so, when/where?
A. As of now, I tour solo, either with tracks or acoustic, depending on the setting. I won’t be on the road until the spring, but haven’t begun booking yet. There will definitely be some North America dates (most likely west coast) and then in the summer, I’m set for the UK, Japan and India with other options still being weighed.
Photo: Bill Ellison
Q. galleryCat has been a staple in the Dallas hip hope scene for years and have a huge fan following. What are the long-term goals for galleryCat?
A. I think right now the goals are to keep writing, keep recording and keep playing as much as possible. I’m actually already working on a new project based on the “Back Beat Recordings” EP I released while touring Japan.
Q. What are three things you think are essential to be a successful artist?
A. I think you have to start with your definition of success and for me it has nothing to do with money or album sales.