“I hear music the same way you would look at artwork and squint your eyes,” Sam Gellaitry tells American Songwriter over video from a park on an unexpectedly sunny day in Scotland. “The way it feels comes first, and then the lyrics come next.”
Steeped in medieval history and boasting sweeping views, Stirling is an archaic town in central Scotland. Situated to the North of both Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gellaitry’s hometown is 500 miles from the electronic music scene of London and a 15-hour flight from Los Angeles—another major EDM hub.
Gellaitry, a songwriter and producer, was first exposed to electronic music through his older brother, who listened to happy hardcore. Bred in the UK and among Europe’s rave scene, Gellaitry was struck by the hard dance music. A creative spirit brewing within him began to blossom as he uncovered Daft Punk and LA producers Samiyam and Flying Lotus, via YouTube, in his early teens. Next, he taught himself to produce.
For him, songwriting and producing has always connected to a process of pairing and contrasting different tone—“using the notes to create different sensations—like tension or relief in your head.”
Now 23, the artist is slated to deliver a new EP, IV on May 14. Produced, written, vocalized, mixed, and mastered by Gellaitry, IV is a collection of four songs and four emotions. The cohesive set envelops his artistic evolution that began in 2015 with his debut EP, Escapism. The following releases unfolded as a trilogy, with Escapism II in 2016 and III in 2017. In these Flume-inspired songs, Gellaitry evokes falsetto sounds and vocals with high-pitched flute or top lines made from melodics. This time around, he feels ready to employ his voice in his imaginative storytelling.
“My vocals are now similar to how I speak normally, it sounds like me finally,” says the artist, who admits to attempting an American accent in past vocal work. He says it never felt like his “true artistry.”
“I’ve spent the last three years finding my voice and comfort level. I feel even though I haven’t done vocal stuff as well, I’m very ready to share it.”
IV begins at the break of day when Gellaitry admits he is “never awake” with “New Dawn.” This production-dense track shimmers signaling a rebirth.
The EP then follows the sun through a full day until it set, as to not impede the moon’s radiance. “Duo,” which he released as the lead single on April 16, hones in on that French house music Sam discovered in his early teens, leaning more heavily into his vocals than ever before. He says the fullness of its elements makes the track feel like a “secret weapon.”
“Games,” he says, “is about not knowing someone’s intentions, or helping a friend with their romantic partner, who changes their mind all the time.” Gellaitry evokes the rollercoaster of emotion with a deceptively weighty first drop before dropping a second time in an unexpected buildup. “The sonics of that beat match the uncertainty, matching content with elements,” he says. “By Incorporating context into that beat as producer, you add double layers here.”
By the time the closing track “Assumptions” comes around, the soundscape has developed into a full euphoric state. Gellaitry says, “it’s that moment when you’re saying things that aren’t realistic because you’re on a high.”
This project was mostly finished before the pandemic, the artist feels ready to share this next chapter with his audience. He says, “I’ve progressed a lot behind the scenes, this is going to be a big jump for the people who have been with me the whole time.”
“As an artist, I always want to be that,” he continues. “I don’t want people to expect what’s next. I don’t want a formula; I want to continue to evolve.”