RESPECT. Interview: Garrett Zoukis Discusses Pushing Genre Boundaries & Debut Album

Garrett Zoukis has been reaching fans since 2013 with the release of his first music video on YouTube. The video organically gained traction as the wave of digital streams began to take over the music industry. Fast forward to 2018 and, as much as the music industry has evolved with the internet, so has Zoukis’ sound. Narrowed down from a collection of over 100 completed tracks, the DMV artist strategically crafted his first full-length offering, EUNOIA.

RESPECT. Magazine got a chance to link up with the 70301 artist for an exclusive interview about the evolution of his sound, influences, debut album and meetings with record labels. Check out the full conversation with Garrett Zoukis below!

RESPECT.: There is a grave difference between your “sound” on your first releases on YouTube/Soundcloud and EUNOIA. What were the main elements that helped you evolve as an artist?
Zoukis: My goal with this project was to show diversity and to stretch the boundaries of what hip-hop/pop music can sound like. In the earlier years I stuck mainly to rapping but as I’ve grown as a person and a thinker, my music has as well. I think EUNOIA is a good representation of the most modern forms of music, seeing that I pulled inspiration from genres ranging from EDM to hip-hop.

What does EUNOIA mean and how did you settle on that as the name for the project?
Zoukis: EUNOIA means, ‘well mind’ or ‘beautiful thinking’. Throughout the year I spent creating the project, I didn’t have a name that I felt perfectly captured the goal behind the album. When I came across the word “eunoia” and learned it’s definition, I knew it was the name I wanted to use. A year is a longtime, and 2017 was undoubtably filled with highs and lows. Learning to maintain a well mind was big for me as an artist and a person.

The music scene in the DMV has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years with artists like Logic, Jefe (Shy Glizzy) and Goldlink emerging onto the national scene. When you started taking music seriously, that culture wasn’t there. What influenced you to start making your style of music?
Growing up I listened to everything from rock to golden age Hip-Hop. When I was 10 years old I started to write song lyrics and by the time I was 14 I was rapping pretty seriously. As I got older and more in tune with the local music scene, my sound became a product of a lot of local producers, engineers, etc. One of the coolest things about the DMV areas music scene is it’s diversity. Like, Logic, Shy [Glizzy] and Goldlink all sound incredibly different, but have made big time waves in their own right. Shoutout to those guys man, inspirations for sure.

Some people may have thought you were crazy for leaving a Division 1 baseball career behind to pursue music. Pictures have surfaced on social media of you meeting with record labels; are you able to discuss who you are leaning towards signing with or will you potentially stay independent throughout your ascent?
As far as my baseball career goes, it was good while it lasted. People can think what they want about my decisions, but ultimately my choices and hard work have led me to a point in my life where I am happier than ever. To touch on labels, I’m just feeling things out. This is my first big project, first time in LA, first time linking with these labels. I’m really just trying to find out where I’m comfortable, whether that be with a label or continuing on the independent route, I’m not sure yet.

You’ve performed with Logic, Skizzy Mars, Mike Stud and traveled across North America with your music. What has stood out as your favorite experience since people have started to recognize you more?
All those shows were dope experiences and I’m super excited to perform my new stuff live. My favorite experiences with music come from connecting with my audience and live shows are a great way to do that. Seeing someone do their thing in person is a different ballgame than just listening to their music.

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