By: Charlotte Biancardi
Charlotte Biancardi (CB): What was the first show like last night:
Ron Gallo (RG): Last night was great in Philly, definitely nerve-wracking cause it was the first one and was like walking into the unknown, but after playing the show we were like ‘we can do this, this felt really good’. It was a good release especially after so long to just get out all of the pent up energy and to play for people and have a tangible reaction to it, I’ve definitely missed that. So far so good. We just have to get through unscaved.
CB: Do you have a song you usually look forward to playing that you’re excited for or that the fans are excited for and react well to?
RG: One thing I’ve been excited about is kind of getting back to, I guess, the roots of when I first started touring. The ethos of those shows was really intense and in your face. Since then I’ve zig-zagged around and I’m excited to get back to that. I’m excited to play the old songs which is weird because you kind of get burned out on them. I like to play “Always Elsewhere” and “Saturday” cause it’s just mostly fun for me.
CB: If you had to have one thing taken away from your music what would it be: a message, an emotion, an idea…
RG: I guess my primary goal from what I do is not really about the music, I guess it does lie more in the message and I think that ultimately I just want people to challenge themselves and the things around them so we can all live better. I use music as my own sort of therapeutic thing in that way and I hope that people can take that and that’s why a lot of my stuff is like a lot of introspection and look at the world around you and maybe question if any of it is as it should be and how do we make it, you know, what we think it should look like. I guess it’s like a sense of self empowerment through questioning stuff is what I want people to take from it. You can’t just make music just for music’s sake, there’s enough good music in the world, you know. It just feels weird making music in 2021,’just another guy making music about his night last night’ like who cares. Just for me personally I feel like I need a reason, I have to justify it through something that all people can connect to, not just making it all about me.
CB: What does it feel like to have 33,000,000 streams as your top song?
RG: I don’t feel anything about it; to be completely honest because honestly, I don’t really… a few years ago if you were to say the song would be heard that many times I would be doubtful. But I guess now that that’s happened it doesn’t feel any different, it’s just… I don’t know. Maybe it’s not even real, maybe it’s fake. I’m grateful for it all, the more people can hear it the better especially how it translates when you go to a show. Short answer, I really don’t think about it or acknowledge it but when I do think about it I think it’s pretty cool, I’m lucky.
CB: Was it ever a goal for you to have a number of streams or were you more just trying to see what happens?
RG: I would probably not play music if I thought about that stuff when I made it. I think that numerics and the whole way that people think about it, especially in the industry, is just absolute poison. So much of it is about perception and false perception; I think you can even kind of fool yourself if you ‘look at your numbers, look at your numbers’ you can kind of create a distorted idea about yourself. I think that that just creates a lot of mental illness in people especially with social media. If you’re an artist that counts their streams or a person that’s constantly monitoring their likes, as people that use the internet we’re all guilty of it to some extent, it’s all poison. Who gives a shit. Just make stuff that matters to you, get off of it, and go live your life; absorb the world and your surroundings. Stop worrying about the outcomes, cause who even knows, who even really knows what it means. You can have a billion plays on a song then go play a show to 6 people, it doesn’t fucking matter. You just gotta make good stuff and not worry about that.
CB: Does social media have an effect on how you write songs, how you portray yourself at all, if it’s had any effect like that personally or if you’ve noticed that.
RG: Social media kind of gives me a little bit of a creative spark to try to comment and fight against it. I allude to that in some songs, I think it’s really important so that humanity does not crumble to this kind of stuff which it kind of already is; everyone’s hopelessly addicted. I mean, look around, I don’t see a single person in view right now that’s not holding a phone. I just think that it’s important to be aware of it so that we don’t become… because I do it myself, we all do this: you sit on your phone and then like 45 minutes of your life will go by and it’s just lost time. And so I like to combat myself on that so I don’t get lost in it. I found, especially over the last year and a half or so, where there really hasn’t been much going on, as a music maker on social media you kind of have to make a choice, cause there’s nothing really to talk about, especially as a musician you either have to choose: do I show people my real self and how boring my daily life is or do I fake it. So that was conflicting for me so I try to stand back from it all until you have something to share cause it’s… I don’t know, it’s a weird thing. I like when I approach it with like a sort of carelessness and just have fun with it, that’s what it’s supposed to be for.
CB: What is like branding yourself because you’re kind of the brand; how do you choose the colors, what you wear, your album art and the visuals for music videos. What makes you choose what you’re doing?
RG: Just whatever I’m into, whatever I really like at any given moment. I’m kinda always fluctuating; like I’ll get really into certain colors and then everything I do will be those. It’s like constantly being in tune with what you genuinely like at a given moment and if you don’t like something anymore and it doesn’t feel genuine, leave it behind, find something new and just continuously chase that. Just if I like it or not.
CB: Yea it’s hard to find an aesthetic and force it.
RG: I think a lot of people do that and it works well for them, I’m just somebody that… I don’t really want to commit to one thing. I just think people change constantly. Nobody is the same person they were a year or two ago. I just feel like whatever I present should be reflective of that. If you’re one person and you come up with all of this, and then three years pass and you’re a kind of different person but you feel like you stay with the previous look or sound or vibe as before, it kind of starts to get a little bit exhausting and not genuine.
CB: I’ve noticed you’re very into orange. Like you were saying, you really gravitate towards one color, and I am obsessed with it too, but what sparked it?
RG: I’ve loved it since I was a kid, and I don’t know why I kinda remember people thinking it was weird and like that orange is a weird color to like, and I kind of, then, over the last few years, reconnected and was like ‘no I actually, the truth is I actually really like that color and want everything to be that color’. It’s warm but it’s also… kinda got this ‘daaaaaa’ and I like that. It’s warm but also kind of in your face and I feel like that’s probably closest to what I am. I just like it so much.
And I think a lot of people don’t like it or think they don’t like it so there’s not a lot of it, like I don’t really see much now. So when you do, you’re like ‘oh I actually really like that’. It’s like the color that everyone deep down actually really likes but they’re not aware of it. When you see an orange car you’re like ‘wow that car is awesome’ because it’s not common.
CB: Your song where you talk about cancel culture, “CANCELLED!!!”, what are your views about it? How do you feel about it and why did you choose to write a song about it?
RG: I think it’s a really, really, really complex issue… for me it’s less about cancel culture and it’s kind of like an almost a half joke song; the lyrics are nonsensical playing on the concept of people being expired or canceled but not just in the way that we think about it now in the terms of cancel culture. There are a lot of very valid things or people that have done not good shit are now being held accountable and having to take responsibility, and I think that that is great, obviously. But the problem is that I feel like, and I’m saying this from a first-person perspective cause I’ve watched people do this, but I’ve also seen a lot of people fabricate stories and make up things or amplify things that really weren’t a certain things to be a part of a certain “movement” and I that that is extremely toxic because it kind of devalues the whole point of it all. It waters down actually awful things that happened to people and then the people that did those things being held accountable, it waters it down by all these other people that are trying to be a part of that but not for a valid reason and I really think that that’s, that’s not good.
Other side to it is, all human beings are fucked up to a certain extent and we all have traumas and damage and it’s what causes us to act out in certain good or bad ways, we all have evil and darkness inside of us and it comes out; in some people it comes out in much worse ways… and I think that while it’s good that people are being held accountable, I also think that human beings are not designed to be shoved into a corner. I feel like that’s just a way to perpetuate problems. Whereas, maybe there’s another way where people can… we can look at certain people as ‘okay, what they did was awful and not good’, instead of them being inherently evil maybe it’s just a deep, serious issue and they need a lot of help to overcome that issue and then, instead of throwing all the bad seeds into a pit and burying them, maybe there’s a better way to give people a chance in a certain way, see this is why it’s complex; I’m now talking for like 5 hours about it, cause this is where it gets complex because there’s certain situations where it’s like… kind of hard to look at it like that and there’s others where it is so I don’t really know, I don’t have the answers. But there are some people where you’re like ‘yea, fuck that, that person is fucking awful and I can’t believe they hurt this many people’. And there’s other situations where maybe they don’t deserve to be trapped up and buried in like the trash. I don’t have the answers.
Probably what’s true is like the scenarios in which actually illicit the cancellation are probably way more few and far between in which it actually happens. So yea, it’s so, so complex: I don’t want to be somebody that’s like: ‘yea, feel bad for the people that have done awful shit’ it’s not the point, if it gets to the point where everything everyone does is problematic then like we’re not gonna be able to live anymore. People are gonna be so afraid to do anything and I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is: let’s have people heal themselves enough so that they don’t have to harm other human beings.
CB: I love the way you approach topics like that, you’re joking but bringing up awareness of topics that actually need to be talked about.
RG: I think it’s important to always be a little bit light about heavy topics because otherwise it just gets to be too much. You gotta make it more digestible. There’s a way to find a little bit of humor, it makes it a little bit easier to deal with.