ACL Music Fest Sunday Interview
A slow-jam matrimony of Midwestern indie rock and hip-hop
Gayngs3pm, Zync Card stage
It's hard to nail down a Gayngs member. It's even harder to keep track of who's in the group, which is basically a social network of Midwestern rock and hip-hop artists nearly two dozen deep: rappers P.O.S. and Dessa, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Ivan Howard of the Rosebuds, and members of Solid Gold and Megafaun, among others, all brought together in slow-jam matrimony.
It's the brainchild of Minneapolis producer/musician Ryan Olson, and debut LP Relayted (Jagjaguwar) is one of the more curious collaborations this year. All the songs are 69 bpm ("It seemed like a good zone to work from," Olson says) and lean heavily on sex, sax, and 1980s soft rock echo. Standouts "The Gaudy Side of Town" and "Faded High" dry-hump with blunted prom night ecstasy. Most recently, they covered George Michael's "One More Try" with Har Mar Superstar on lead vocals. Is this an experiment? Joke? Nostalgia?
"It was more on the uncertainty side of things, with a nostalgic guiding light," Olson quips.
Flipping the script was the idea – Vernon raps; P.O.S. sings – and slipping into the satin sheets of soft rock was new for many involved. The result is funky and familiar and caught the attention of someone who knows about such things. Earlier this year, Gayngs played the storied First Avenue in Minneapolis, and Prince himself was rumored to be just offstage, ready to play with the group if the spirit moved him. It was one of those "holy shit" moments for a superfan like Olson.
With his penchant for playing with Austin's own famous collective Grupo Fantasma, might ACL weekend yield a late-night megajam with the Purple One?
"Way into that!" Olson answers. "I'll try to see what he's up to that weekend."