Most people think of shady characters flashing hand signals when they hear the word gang signs. I tend to think of an up and coming producer making a name for himself in the Jersey Club/Future Bass/Trap genres. Nick Sisouphanh AKA Gang$ign$ has been pushing the boundaries of club and bass music in Portland, Oregon. I caught up with the budding star before he’s off to play his biggest party to date, What The Festival, to get some insight and see what the hype is about.
TrapStyle: Let’s get a little background going. Where were you born or raised?
Nick: I was born in San Pablo, CA but raised in Portland, OR.
TrapStyle: What’s it like growing up there? What’s the music scene about?
Nick: I grew up playing in Hardcore/Pop Punk bands. Portland’s music scene has always been pretty small compared to other cities. I’ve definitely seen the ups and downs of the hardcore and electronic scenes.
TrapStyle: So what instruments do you play?
Nick: Guitar, Saxophone, Bass, Clarinet, Piano, Drums.
TrapStyle: That’s quite the list. How did you decide to pick up producing this mixture of music? Who are your main inspirations?
Nick: I’m a huge fan of different regions around the world when it comes to my music. Obviously, Jersey Club is a HUGE influence to me. I’m also a huge fan of what has been coming out of Norway and Australia. My main inspirations are Cashmere Cat, Lido, DJ Sliink, DJ Tray, and Rustie.
TrapStyle: How did the name Gang$ign$ come about?
Nick: Started kind of as a joke, it was a high-dea when I started making trap. At the time, the money sign was hot.
TrapStyle: That’s awesome. High-deas normally work out pretty funny like that. What track would you say was your breakthrough? When did you realize that you were going to take your career to that next step?
Nick: I’d say my breakthrough track so far has definitely been my ASAP Ferg remix of ‘Work’ – It really solidified the Jersey Club / Trap influenced sound that I have today. That track had support from Flosstradamus, DJ Sliink, Heroes x Villains, Nadus, and others. From what I hear my homies tell me, it still gets played out to this day.
TrapStyle: Support from some big names then for sure. What have been some of your favorite moments as a musician?
Nick: I love meeting new people. Some of my favorite moments include meeting another producer after years of following each other. URL to IRL is very surreal and cool to me. Also meeting fans that have been following my music since the beginning is crazy to me. I love it.
TrapStyle: Who would be your ultimate collab partner if you could pick anyone?
Nick: Lido. Everything Lido touches is amazing. He’s such an amazing musician and his production is incredible. There isn’t a single Lido track that I don’t like, real talk.
TrapStyle: Lido is definitely killing it. What’s your studio setup look like?
Nick: Just recently built my very first studio, nothing too fancy but it gets the job done. My production computer is a 2011 27-inch iMac, Yamaha HS5 studio monitors, Subpac, M-Audio Keystation, and Audio Technica studio mic.
TrapStyle: I love Subpacs. Those things definitely bump. Any favorite midi or plug-ins?
Nick: Massive by Native Instruments. I absolutely love building sounds from the ground up with this plug-in. I feel like I’m always learning something new when I use it.
TrapStyle: Massive is definitely a must have. So what’s to come for you in 2016? Any big festival sets?
Nick: 2016 has been pretty busy! Coming from no festival bookings, I’m very fortunate to play 3 festivals this year! Just got done at SXSW in Austin and Tree Fort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho. Next up I’m playing What the Festival in Dufur, Oregon.
TrapStyle: Is WTF going to be you’re largest-scale performance to date?
Nick: For sure! What The Festival was actually my first festival ever last year. I saw how amazing the vibe was and I told myself that I HAD to play the following year. For us Oregonians, this festival is a pretty big deal for local djs/producers. So it’s definitely an honor that I was asked to be on the lineup this year.
TrapStyle: Any bucket list things for you as a musician?
Nick: I would love to play internationally and see the world. My dream is to tour Asia. Obviously it would be a dream to collaborate with people like Lido, Cashmere Cat, DJ Sliink.
TrapStyle: If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Nick: Do what makes you happy. I got really caught up in worrying about what other people think. Never been happier when I started making music for myself, and surprisingly I feel like I started getting a lot more respect for being in my own lane.
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