Alt-R&B musician Gess (née Eddie Gessford) named his latest EP, Plastic City, with his new home in mind. The singer relocated from San Francisco to L.A. just over a year ago, and he noticed a stark difference.
“There’s so much drive and people are really coming here to live their dreams, but there is a certain layer of superficiality and focusing on followers and name-dropping for no reason,” he tells Billboard. “It’s not everyone, but there’s a lot of stuff like that. I’ll deal with it to get what I want, but I’m not trying to be one of those girls.”
Throughout Plastic City, a collaboration with producer MCMC, Gessford explores his relationship with lust and romance in new surroundings. “Living alone in a new city and dating — or failing at dating — had me all up in my emotions and this EP was the only outlet that made me feel sane,” he says. “Once I wrote the first song “WITR,” which is about being ghosted, and it came out so honest, I decided I wanted the rest of the EP to [have that same] stream of consciousness-type lyrics.”
One of the EP’s five tracks features RuPaul’s Drag Race star Shea Couleé. Gessford, who has also worked with with Aja and The Vixen, said that making music the show’s queens was on his bucket list: “I’m such a Drag Race fan. So it’s always been in the back of my mind, trying to manifest that shit.”
To celebrate the release of Plastic City, we quizzed Gessford on everything from the music he associates with coming out to his biggest guilty pleasure.
First celebrity crush: It was the Backstreet Boys, I think it was Nick [Carter]. I had a dream and woke up with a feeling I didn’t have a word for. Looking back, it was definitely an attraction.
What color is your aura: Black, but not in a dark way. In an aesthetic way.
Favorite feature about myself: My eyelashes. In the Drag Race challenge when they have to highlight their best feature on the runway, I’m just like, “Oh, I would do my eyelashes, bitch.”
Hidden talent: I was a cheerleader for almost thirteen years, so I can do lots of crazy flips.
Guilty pleasure: Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Desert island album: Lianne La Havas. She’s a super soulful, really downtempo singer/songwriter. Her first album [Is Your Love Big Enough?] is a ton of tracks of just her and guitars. It’s heartbreaking and so beautiful.
Spirit animal: Probably a sloth. I go from a crazy, obsessive workaholic mode to literally not even wanting to sing. I’ll just watch TV all day and order pizza, and that’s what I call sloth mode.
Pet peeve: There’s so many. This is where I relate to my Virgo where I’m critical of everything in the world. I hate bad communication.
Song I associate with coming out: For me, it’s when the Avicii phase started — the beginning of the EDM phase, before it was so played out. Getting into the festival mentality and everything is love and you can express yourself on the dancefloor. I came out earlier, but I was finding myself in this new community.
Favorite movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. When I got older, I realized he is such a c–ty bitch and I love it.
Dream date: Somewhere in nature with a blunt. Can I say that?