Put your name on every stage you perform on. This one is quite literal; it will help fans know who you are.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ben Cronin and Evan Dorfman.
Ben Cronin and Evan Dorfman of Giligan Moss met at Park West preschool in Chicago at age three. They attended summer camp together in the north woods of Wisconsin as kids and started making music together in 2015. Currently based a few blocks from one another in Brooklyn, the music they make is joyful & built on a love of dance music and a wide range of influences, old and new. It’s meant to be fun & crack a smile, on a walk, at home, or at a club (someday!).
On April 9th, the duo released their self titled debut album via ODESZA’s label Foreign Family Collective which includes recently released singless Special Thing, Ferris Wheel, Ultraparadiso, and ‘Slow Down’(which is accompanied by a fantastic claymation music video).
Gilligan Moss’s work includes a handful of well recognized remixes for artists such The Knocks & SOFI TUKKER and Sebasian Tellier, and two EPs, ‘Ceremonial’ and ‘What Happened?’ They have toured with Glass Animals, Toro Y Moi, Tourist, and have played many major festivals including Coachella, Pitchfork Paris, and Electric Forest.
The pair have also recently released a 13-track mix for Adventure Time: Distant Lands — a spin-off of the popular Cartoon Network show Adventure Time — where they remixed and reimagined original clips from the show.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Slowly at first, but then very rapidly. Taller, wider, wiser — in that order.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Ben: For me? It was failure that brought me on this path. I had tried to get a ‘job in music’ for forever and the closest I could get was working at Dan Deacon’s weird startup company. It was really fun, but I was ultimately fired for being bad at sales. That led me back to New York and since I had been reconnecting with Evan, he asked me to be a tour manager and go on tour with him. I said yes, and ultimately joined the creative fold. Guess the thought there is like, failure can be good?
Evan: For me it was living in a city where I didn’t know anybody and having a job I hated. I spent all my free time making music, and eventually mustered up the courage to post some songs online. From there it’s been lots of good fortune that has led to this career
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
So many interesting things, not even sure where to begin. We’ve played a show in an aquarium, a show in a casino, and a show at a community center in rural Wisconsin. We once accidentally drank Bonobo’s backstage whiskey. We ran a race against Glass Animals in an alley in Rhode Island. We had a fan deliver us crystals from Georgia, and another time we had to Milly Vanilly an entire concert because our computer crashed mid-set.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Easy. On the eve of our first tour ever (with Glass Animals) we accidentally left our show computers at the rental car agency. An employee working at the agency stole the backpack and there was an extremely dramatic hour where we thought we wouldn’t be able to play our shows. Luckily, Ben had seen the employee running off with the bag, so the ending was ultimately a happy one, but it could have turned out really bad. Like, horribly. Lesson? Always keep track of your gear.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
We just finished up a mixtape project for Adventure Time at the end of last year that was super fun and exciting. We had the opportunity to remix and reimagine a bunch of original work from Adventure Time, and the project was more fun than we could have imagined. Other than that, the only other thing we have been working on is AN ENTIRE ALBUM. Out on April 9. Hyped.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
There are about a million ways to measure ‘diversity,’ and framing things as 1 diversity = 1 good is a little complicated, but we can say a couple things. In the music and creative sphere, it’s really important to have a diversity of thought and cultural background, because art is the most human thing possible. Creativity is also agnostic, I think, so it’s super important to lift up art made by all kinds of people. As far as the larger entertainment industry goes, as far as we know it is still mostly dominated by men, and even more so by white men. Yea this is a big issue.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Put your name on every stage you perform on. This one is quite literal; it will help fans know who you are.
- One song can only do so much. Keep working on new music all the time and don’t invest too much spiritual energy on any singular piece.
- Being successful requires more time and patience than you can imagine.
- Make things that are fun and don’t worry too much about them.
- Your audience will only ever judge you on your best work.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Try to develop many other interests, and other projects altogether. When you make success (whatever that means to you) a destination, it can be hard to enjoy what you are doing. Try to lose focus of the main goal for little bits of time and return to it later. A change of perspective is always helpful.
You are both people of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Currently working with an organization called UMAW (the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers) to lobby for better treatment of artists worldwide. We’re fighting for more equitable pay at streaming services, better practices at venues, more resources for artists to be able to succeed in a competitive field.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I think the Glass Animals lads really helped us a lot when we were starting off. They brought us on our first tour, helped us figure out how to perform live, and were really encouraging to us. I think Dave spent the first show or two of the tour standing out in the audience during sound check and helping us make sure everything sounded good. It was a big risk for them to take us on tour at such an early stage of our career, but it helped us enormously.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Invest in a bidet” Up until a year ago, we were living in the stone ages without Bidets, we both bought bidets and our music got 15 times better — and here we are with a great album on our hands.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Hm, good question. Private breakfast sounds pretty exciting. I think we’d put together a roundtable of our biggest inspirations. Joakim Noah (our favorite athlete), DJ Koze (our favorite musician), Odesza (our music dads), Evan’s dog Izzie (if it’s a private breakfast, she’ll be allowed into the restaurant), and Greta Thunberg (I’m sure she’ll see this if you tag her).
How can our readers follow you online?
Give us a follow on Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud, LinkedIn and Onlyfans!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!