Gus Dapperton Sells Out His First Night In Chicago In Style

Photos by Julian Carr

Photos by Julian Carr

Gus Dapperton floats with an air of undeniable coolness and chic sensibility. But it was his music that launched him to this moment, performing at Schubas one night in early January. The first stop of his first tour (Yellow and Such), in the Second City and sold out. “I love Chicago... and I don’t like most of the United States. But I love Chicago.” It was a fitting starting block for Gus, who was naturally thrilled about the sell-out. His success here is sure to be replicated elsewhere, a testament to his effectiveness as a complete artist through his music, videos, and style.

Gus recently left Drexel University after 2 years due to the growing demands of his music career. After producing a series of fantastic music videos with his collaborator Matthew Dillon Cohen, he’s found himself gracing the pages of tastemakers like VOGUE and Vice. “I think it’s important to have a specific identity as an artist, as a whole. But, you know, you don’t want to fabricate your image either. I think it’s super important.”

At first, it may be easy, to attribute his success to his distinct look, a charming bowl cut and thick frame glasses shrouded in 90s nostalgia, but the art he produces stands on its own. Even if he were never in front of the camera, his art would still be magnetic. His music videos are cinematic, with distinct narratives and characters. It’s captivating, fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. A tough balancing act, but Gus pulls it off with remarkable ease, and revels in making video a center piece. “I almost consider the videos half & half. Half the music, half the visuals. I would like to do visuals for almost everything I do but, it’s like quality of quantity. The videos that we have done, I’m very proud of.”

Gus grew up in Warwick, NY a town of about 5,000 people close to New York City. Although he mainly produces his music solo, he grew up with a strong group of friends, all of whom were excited about music. ‘I got into music with 5 other homies of mine. In eighth grade they all rapped and I would just make hip hop beats. We all did a mixture of everything.” Many of his friends remain close, playing in the band and acting as a sounding board for business decisions. “Meeting new people, you can’t trust everyone right off the bat. So just having people that I can trust is super important.”

He played different instruments here and there, but felt strongest when looking at music from a macro-level, seeing the entirety of the music fleshed out like a composer. He seems to have a tough time describing his natural ability in this regard, “I wouldn’t say I’m super musically inclined theory wise, but I’m definitely very inclined production wise.”

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This inclination for production allowed him to dive deep into his own sound, getting closer to what he heard in his head as his various skills improved. After producing hip-hop beats as an 8th grader, he now sits comfortably in a sound driven by his own interest in the period of time during his childhood, something he also hints at with his style. His sound is swaggy, capitalizing on the braggadocious nature of hip-hop and r&b while coupling that with the muted, removed coolness of the Grunge-era. He has a new EP arriving soon, where he says he wants to incorporate more live instruments. “I think I have a root sound but I definitely expand on that a lot and have been recently.”

It’s exciting to see a promising new artist bloom, and Gus is sprouting fast. The band, wearing color coordinating outfits, was fantastic (and includes Gus’ sister, who also has an incredible voice). Stage banter not yet perfected, but overall charming. He played a cover of Mario’s ‘Let Me Love You’ that was executed superbly, and culminated with some great new material and the crowd dancing to his big single ‘I’m Just Snacking’. Gus is well supported and talented, a recipe for a great first night on a national tour.