By Caitlin Dunn
Twenty-six-year-old Oakland, Calif. local Sven Gamsky goes by the alias Still Woozy. Although Still Woozy is Gamsky’s one-man solo project, only releasing a couple of songs, he has been playing for 16 years or so. While still being a solo project, he has a band when performing live, and a little help with mixing and mastering, but other than that, Gamsky is independent of any labels. Before Gamsky went solo, he was in a math rock band called Feed Me Jack, in which he played guitar and occasionally did vocals. The band released their first album, Chumpfree, in 2012 and their last, Ultra Ego, in 2016. Though Gamsky enjoyed the group, he felt limited and chose to go solo for more control over his music. The band ended in 2017 when he shifted his focus more on his solo project, Still Woozy; shortly after this, he released his song, “Vacation.”
Gamsky makes all his music in his garage, where he is equipped with a wide range of instruments: a guitar, bass, piano, drum pad, and a synthesizer. Although, in the recent release of his song “Lucy,” which features ODIE, he generally plays solo. He has also been noted as having recently added a drummer to the mix for future projects. Gamsky does not like working on one project for an extended amount of time. He wants his music to resemble his progress as an artist in real time. Whenever he is finished with a song, he usually will drop it within a day. Gamsky’s style is tailored more toward singles than albums.
A few months after the release of “Vacation,” Gamsky released another song, “Cooks.” It was soon featured on Spotify’s fresh finds playlist that has thousands of followers, which helped kick-start his growing popularity. After the release of his second song, Gamsky had a nice size fan base waiting for his next drop of music. He is still featured in roughly four Spotify playlists, equalling over 830,000 followers. “Cooks” was the first Still Woozy song to have a music video, which allowed fans to attach some visuals to the music. The music video was fun, simple and weird, showing a quirky love story over basketball and a Pepto-Bismol drink. It featured Gamsky and his friends, who did the entire music video. The makeup in the video was intended to portray Gamsky as an old man, although many viewers thought he looked like a zombie.
However, after the release of another single, “Wolfcat,” Still Woozy released his biggest song yet, “Goodie Bag.” If you know of Still Woozy, it is probably because of this song. Firstly the music video blew up on YouTube with roughly 2.2 million views, then on other streaming services with millions upon millions of listens, and was featured in almost all indie playlists. “Goodie Bag” seemed like a good starting point for Gamsky, but still almost a year after the release, he does not have millions of followers nor does he have a big record deal. This might be due to the fact that he only has seven songs. Gamsky had his first solo performance on Dec. 5, 2017, where he opened for Know Fortune, and later had a couple of shows with Gus Dapperton and Jason Bones. Though he has been touring for a year or so, the setlist has to include covers to keep the show from being too short.
Gamsky is clearly a guy that listens to a lot of different music, as his songs show influences from multiple different genres such as electronic, jazz, blues, folk, rock and pop. He puts a nice drizzle synth in his music, while his lyrics are not too crazy, but interesting enough to keep one listening. The overall aesthetic of Still Woozy is intriguing because of the name itself. The word “woozy” seems to blend perfectly into the type of music Gamsky is producing. For the most part, it is laid-back and mellow, but there are hints of something disorienting about it. And like a truly well-rounded artist, Gamsky has cover art to match this woozy feel. All the artwork is done by Gamsky’s partner Amiya Kahn-Tietz.
Steve Lacey was listed as a major musical inspiration for Gamsky, and that is well represented in his music. Lacey has made some of his most famous songs on his iPhone. There is plenty of overlap between the two, genre-bending conceptual artists making the most out of what they have. Gamsky takes advantage of modern electronic techniques, while still making a conscious effort to incorporate conventional instruments. This comes from his desire to make his music feel alive.
Still Woozy has been hitting pretty big stages recently. He played at Tropicália in 2018 and is playing at Governors Ball and Coachella this year. Last December, he dropped another song called “Habits,” so go give him a listen; he only has six songs, so it is not that much. If you like Steve Lacy, Roy Blair or Gus Dapperton, you will more than likely like Still Woozy.
Screenshot taken by Caitlin Dunn from YouTube.