Still Woozy: Unrestricted and Liberated from the Genres of Society
Written by Angelina Hue
On August 13th, Sven Gamsky, known artistically as Still Woozy, released his long-awaited debut album If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is, which features 13 genre-bending, dreamlike, and emotionally penetrating songs. His music, considered by some as indie pop and by others as psychedelic bedroom pop, is simultaneously relaxing and existential; simple and deeply complex; happy and sad -- and “That’s Life.” Still Woozy makes music that fans describe, ironically, as serotonin-boosting, while Sven Gamsky draws his lyrics from the myriad of turbulent emotions swirling in his head. “When I make music, I make it from this place of longing and feeling dealing with my own emotions of turbulence,” he says. And like many a compelling artist, Gamsky channeled these emotions into his art and created a deeply authentic aura that penetrated the soul of his listeners coping with the same complicated and raw process of feeling.
Gamsky’s personal fashion is marked by an amalgamation of colors and patterns thrown together that uniquely reflect his personal manifesto to take life as it is. In fact, he advocates that “the more you take yourself less seriously, the better for your own mental health.” Gamsky’s hope for the album is that “if there are people who struggle, they can find some solace in this album and take themselves less seriously.”
In many ways, this goal of taking a deep breath to calm the anxieties of the mind is exhibited by Gamsky’s carefree style. META had the opportunity to sit down with him and ask about the relationship between his music and his personal style.
META: How do you collaborate with your stylists for outfits that you wear on tour?
SVEN GAMSKY: I don’t really work with stylists, only once or twice on photo shoots. My stylist is just my partner, actually. Before we started dating, I was just wearing gray on gray. (Laughs). She opened my eyes to that.
META: What’s your staple wardrobe piece that you have to wear on stage with you?
SVEN GAMSKY: I try to wear something purple. Purple shirt, purple pants, just something purple.
Indeed, there’s a comfortable simplicity to Gamsky’s image. In his “Woof” music video, he sports a loose-fitting black button-down and relaxed straight-leg trousers, the clothes hanging effortlessly over his relaxed frame. And in the “Window” video, filmed casually with a hand-held camera, he mixes a sensory combination of bright blues and pinks, oversized graphic T-shirts, patterned button-downs, a neon yellow corduroy jacket. His style is thrown together into a jigsaw of complexity and spontaneity.
The same unrestricted feeling is present in his music, too. Still Woozy’s melodies feature complex instrumentals, but the key elements are not electronic sound bites but organic, free-standing guitar riffs. In other words, what makes his music special is not some production magic, but the originality. “I don’t want to be put in a box,” he says in his carefree, soft-spoken manner that is also full of a detectable artistic vigor. This speaks to why the album incorporates so many disparate genres, from rock-and-roll to heavy bass to slow-rolling beachy beats. “There’s too many influences out in the world for me to just make one kind of music.”
Gamsky will almost always be seen wearing loose-fitting, unrestricted clothes -- which perhaps speaks to a subconscious choice to be unrestricted by society. After all, clothing is the very thing that determines how the rest of the world perceives us at first glance. Still Woozy remains unrestrained, unrestricted, undefined by the conventional boundaries of genre and expectation. Liberated by the labels, he creates as he wants.
“I don’t know what I'm expected to do, I just follow what feels good to me.” Gamsky is as authentic as musicians come. His goal is to shake off the pretense (which he does quite literally before performances by “making a fool of myself to have fun”) in his image and his behavior.
One thing’s for certain with Gamsky’s first album -- it won’t be the last. He says If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is represents the spectrum of music he wants to pursue throughout his future career. And as “Woof” kicks off yet another night drive full of thoughts and thoughtlessness, Gamsky can rest assured that his music has created a swirling aura among us of solidarity in the comfort that we are not alone, we’re all just living and getting by -- and if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.