Bristol’s GARDNA has been pretty busy. The MC and lyricist has been celebrating the release of his debut release Good Time Not A Long Time, which features liquid MCing and prolific collaborations.
We spoke to GARDNA about his influences, the importance of collaboration along with his Bristol faves.
Your work is saturated in reggae and dub – saturated in the best way possible! What and who are your main influences? Basically, whose work do you admire!
I take influence from so many things, essentially I use my reggae and sound system influence as a base for the tunes but I hope that the listeners can also hear the influence and sounds from the other genres I’m into creeping in there too. In terms of reggae and dub in the UK I always look up and love what Gentlemans Dub Club and The Skints do. They’re the absolute best.
How would you rate the current grime scene in Bristol?
It’s getting stronger and stronger. Artists like Jay 0117 are shining through and taking it to new places and it’s great to see that.
I’ve noticed that you’ve collaborated with loads of different artists including Bristol’s Eva Lazarus, how important are collaborations within the sphere of your work?
I’m all about collaborating, It’s very important for my musical process. It’s good to know your strengths and weaknesses, singing choruses isn’t something that’s leaving the four walls of my house at the moment haha. It means I get to work with some of my favourite artists. It’s a win win.
Your work is punchy, observational and there is a sense of whimsicality to some of the tongue in cheek lyrics, in particular ‘I woke up feeling bougie, I don’t know what I put in my cereal’. How do your initial ideas come into fruition?
I feel like the lyrics on Good Time Not A Long Time fully represent me as to where I’m at as a person. I’m 24, I’m still going out a lot, playing loads of shows, travelling, not taking things too seriously. Hence the title. The ideas come about when I get a sent a beat that reminds me of particular feeling or takes me back to a certain place, then I can get stuck in.
I really loved ‘Welcome To The Garden’ intro and the ‘Outro‘, it feels like a well rounded collection, the ornate piano and orchestral elements definitely elevated things. How did this concept come to mind? And do you get angry if people leave the gate open wide.
Thanks! I really like it too. People keep saying it sounds like a proper album and I have to thank the main man Brad Baloo of The Nextmen who did a sterling job producing this album. When we played ‘Welcome / Outro‘ live at the Thekla show with Catching Cairo there might have been a tear or two. EMOSH.
Finally, tell me 3 Bristol songs which you’ve had on repeat recently.
1. Watch The Ride – Original Format (ft. D Double E)
2. Bas ft. J Cole – Tribe (TREX Bootleg)
3. Eva Lazarus x Mungo’s HiFi – Light as a Feather (ft. Kiko Bun)
To hear GARDNA’s debut, listen here.
Read more: Review: GARDNA, Thekla