If you couldn’t tell from his music, talking to Gaff will make you realise just how remarkably self-assured he is – he’s comfortably confident, even when placed into the awkward confines of a Zoom interview.
His lyricism positively pulses with bravado and a sense of swagger, accompanied by silky riffs and intricate trap-lite beats. It’s a genuinely fresh combination, making his eclectic sound a constantly swirling mass of genres.
How It Goes
He’s amassed a massive listenership in a surprisingly short timeframe and continues to gain fans at a rapid rate – it’s plain to see why they keep coming when you stick on one of his buttery smooth singles.
Hailing from Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Gaff joins a prestigious line of natives – first and foremost Chris O’Dowd, or at least that’s the only one that comes to mind when we put him on the spot. It’s a town with “no gig scene, and a big pint scene”, but he doesn’t give off the impression that the latter is a negative.
Gaff made his start recording beats for other Irish artists on SoundCloud, before going on to record his own material from the comfort of his bedroom.
However, any opportunities for collaboration recently have been hamstrung by his rural location and travel restrictions.
“I was so isolated here so it wasn’t easy – I’ve worked with a few people in studios and it’s a definitely a thing I’d like to do in the future, I’d like to have access to all the fancy equipment – I’ve got a nice setup now though, thank God!”
"Another thing that's weird to adjust to is that I was just making music in my bedroom for fun"
His vocals are delivered with a deep, easy-going lilt, making them uniquely suited to the slick and effortlessly stylish songs he crafts. His upbringing undoubtedly left him musically-minded, with early memories of his father playing guitar and sibling influence gently pushing him towards certain artists.
“When I was growing up I was big into The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, everything my brother was listening to.” This history gives his bodacious claim on MYPLAN – “first beat I ever made motherfucker, I was 5 years old” – some solid backup.
These early forays into music left him a talented multi-instrumentalist – he emphasises his affinity for the drums at a young age, before moving to the guitar which he’s currently “trying to push as much as possible” in his music.
It’s certainly placed squarely at the forefront, with twinkly loops accentuating thumping 808s in the background. That’s not to mention the impressive keyboard playing that he humbly describes as “basic”.
His diverse set of influences range from indie darlings like King Krule and Tyler the Creator to prominent members of the US trap scene like Trippie Redd – he notes the latter two as dream collaborations.
As someone who almost exclusively produces in his room, it’d be easy for Gaff to be placed under the dreaded and all-consuming umbrella of bedroom pop. However, he doesn’t view it as a particularly important label when even those with star power are still managing to pull off phoned-in performances despite having a full studio setup.
“I’ve seen videos of Travis Scott recording last-minute verses for Astroworld in a very bad condition, it’s all relative.”
He’s remarkably blasé about his stream count that only continues to grow by the day – he describes first hitting the 100,000 play mark on Spotify as “kinda cool” more than anything, and with tracks like ‘Last Night’ racking up nearly 500,000 plays alone there’s been a serious leap since he broke that initial milestone in 2019.
“Another thing that’s weird to adjust to is that I was just making music in my bedroom for fun, I didn’t know anything was going to start happening with it. I’ve always been doing it as a hobby and to see it creating these opportunities, it took a while to adjust to.”
"I've steadily, in my head anyway, figured out where I wanna go."
Even with the impressive numbers he’s managed to pull in, he believes there’s always room for him to improve his craft. “I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, but I know I’ve got a long way to go and I’ve got to work towards it.”
With social media being his core avenue when it comes to dropping tracks, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t quite hit his career as hard as his peers due to his primarily digital methods of promotion.
Its most tangible impact for him has been in regards to getting into the gigging circuit – he hasn’t had an opportunity to just yet but is hopeful that will change next year.
“Everything really started happening for me from March when I released All Day, that’s when my numbers started to come up a bit, but the plan is to definitely do that next summer. I know some people were used to going out playing gigs, but I’m not really used to that so I don’t know what I’m missing there.”
When it comes to the Irish rap scene, he has a strong admiration for his peers too, with particular appreciation going towards Soft Boy Records and its members. “Kean Kavanagh, Luka Palm, Kojaque, they’re doing really cool shit and I can’t wait to hear more from them.”
He intends to release a new single in mid-January as he works up to his first EP in the springtime, “definitely towards May”. With a veritable supply of unreleased songs and successful singles, an EP drop could have been done before now, but he decided to hold off in pursuit of perfection.
“I could have made a really OG Gaff EP but I feel like just by doing the singles, I’ve steadily, in my head anyway, figured out where I wanna go. When I wanna do an EP I wanna make sure it’s fuckin’ right.”
If it turns out anything like the quality assortment of loose singles he’s put out over the past two years, it’ll certainly be one to look out for come spring.