I’ve always suspected that if Drake and I had gone to high school together, we would have been best friends. And when he dropped his latest mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late last week, this irrational feeling was boosted by the realization that we have the same taste in music – at least, judging from his sample choices. There are a lot of stand outs on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late 17 tracks (“10 Bands” will have clubs going through the summer) but it was the Noah “40” Shebib-produced track “Jungle,” that literally made me gasp – because the man singing on the track’s opining is none other than one of my favorite, under-the-radar artists: French-Colombian soul/funk crooner Gabriel Garzón-Montano.
Garzón-Montano’s track “6 8,” – my favorite on his album Bishouné: Alma del Huila and a selection in our Best of 2014 round up – underscores all of “Jungle.” It’s a fitting choice for Drake, since “6 8” is basically the song equivalent of the billowing silk pajamas TLC was wearing in the “Creep” video. And I mean that in the best way possible.
We caught up with Garzón-Montano to learn how this came to be, and what life is like post-being sampled by Drake (hint: it’s kind of the same).
How did Noah “40” Shebib get his hands on “6 8”?
I think he heard it for the first time in like in November. My girl Zoe [Kravitz] played it for Aubrey and he loved it, he was like “Woah. I gotta work on this song with Gabe.” He ran it back she said 10 times. I’m sure that’s an exaggeration, maybe it was something like four times but apparently he couldn’t stop listening to it.
[From there] they pretty much just did it – I didn’t send them any stems or anything they just chopped it up.
How did it feel to listen to “Jungle”?
It was really cool, I admire him greatly. So it was just nice to be acknowledged by an artist like him and literally as I was listening to it I was like ‘Oh wow there I am, they sped me up. Oh shit, how’d they get rid of my stomps and claps?’ I was focusing on what they did with the production. And then I was like wow, this song is still going on after 3 minutes – it’s the longest song on the tape.
We’ve been following you for a little while now, so we recognized the sample right away. But to everyone else you were kind of a mysterious figure, and you were credited only by your initials “GGM.” Was that your choice?
They chose how to credit me, I’ve been a spectator just as much as everyone else. I thought that was curious though – I don’t understand why they didn’t write my full name, I don’t know what there would be to gain or lose by crediting someone that you worked with by using their name the right way. Maybe they wanted to leave it for interpretation, who knows.
What’s the week been like since If You’re Reading This it’s Too Late dropped? Have you gotten hit up by a bunch of people, anyone you were surprised or excited to hear from?
Not really. I’ve heard from friends, people who I went to school with, letting me know they’re proud of me — but no personal heroes or artists or stuff like that. There’s been lots of love online from randoms who just started following me. My Soundcloud numbers went up, I got five times as many plays as I usually get in one week.
You’re in the studio this week. Anything in the works you can tell us about?
I’m working on a new record tentatively titled Jardín, but it’ll be a parenthetical accent on the “i” so it can be in both languages [French/Spanish].