What was the initial reason you wanted to go to school in Philadelphia?
I went to New York a lot, I lived there over the summer, I’d sublet from people’s apartments. Then I started studying in Philadelphia because it was the best music school that I got into, it just so happened. I didn’t have a great experience in school, I never liked school. I think the best time in Philly was when I actually dropped out of school and lived with a couple of friends in this big warehouse apartment for a year. I got to make music whenever I wanted and I think that was a more beneficial time for me.
You mentioned before that your music and style inspirations derive from when you were a toddler and the influences you had growing up. What is it about that childlike way of thinking that inspires you? Was it a somewhat untainted wonder?
That’s exactly what it was. Just a pure fascination. Not being surrounded by evil, knowing that pure learning and pure fascination is supported as opposed to when I got older and I got judged. You’re not judged as a kid. Everything derives from that very naive sense that I’m not going to be judged and I can conquer the world and do what I want, how I want to do it.
Speaking of being judged, now that the media has had their initial buzz around your fashion sense and artistic vision, do you feel writers and critics are now focusing more on your music? Have the questions about wearing make-up and ‘women’s’ clothes ceased a little?
In the music scene it’s starting to die down a little bit and people are just like, ‘Gus can do his thing, whatever’. But there are some people who just don’t get it and will ask me weird questions… That’s the thing though, when I was in Warwick and I was in this weird funk it was very tough for me to be myself. I still did it because I didn’t give a fuck, but I definitely let people affect my feelings. Nowadays I just do me and don’t let it affect me, but I used to be heavily affected by other people’s opinions.
How did you make that change?
It was literally the flip of a switch. I was going through a really dark time in my life and it was probably the most depressing moment in my life. Something sparked in my head and I said, ‘Fuck it. From here on out we’re doing it all out, 100 per cent of the time, putting in the work and don’t stop until the work is done’. I was coming out of a really rough time and I had a big opportunity to… For example, you could be at a really level place with yourself, where you’re really just content with your life, but then you can be a person who has really happy moments and then really depressing moments. Really happy, then really depressed, those are more influential then being gradually content. I think I was so deep down that I had a big opportunity to go right up.
Gus Dapperton plays Button Factory on March 4 & 5.