I found out about Gimm + Icky and their music when I was looking for places to take my sister when she was in the Nashville area visiting from Seattle. I saw that they were having a “Balls and Sweaters Dance Party” at the historic 12th and Porter in Nashville, Tennessee. Intrigued, I began looking into and listening to their music, and I was hooked. Their music makes me want to get up and dance as I haven’t danced in a while, and as Tripp Weir, the rapper of the duo says, that’s why he wanted to make music. To make people dance.
That’s right. I got to sit down before the show with Tripp Weir and Jeff Garrison, the duo who are Gimm + Icky, and interview them. Here’s some of the transcription from the interview.
Tara: Can you say your names again and what part you guys have in this?
Jeff: I am Jeff Garrison, and I am the important part.
Tripp: True. I’m Tripp Weir, and –
Jeff: He’s the face.
Tripp: And I’m the face. No, so, I’m Tripp Weir, I’m rapping. Jeff Garrison –
Jeff: Is singing. But Tripp is the face.
(Here they begin talking about album titles and covers they’d thought up and were excited about, and other random “band issues.”)
Tara: Where does the name “Gimm and Icky” come from?
Tripp: Glad you asked.
Jeff: It is Icelandic for…
Tripp: Nothing. No, the first time we ever met, was November the…
Tripp: …Fifth, 2011. So, just over a year ago. We decided we were going to do a five song EP, and we wrote five song titles that day, just the titles, and we decided we only wanted to do super gimmicky songs. Because those are the songs that we liked to sing along to on the radio. There were two of us, Jeff and myself. So, we would be Gimm and Icky. It’s just “Gimmicky”, there’s two of us, and that’s the only reason. Because we did have a big picture in mind that was, like, large scale, however we were only planning to do five songs, and it was just to keep our sanity, because we were both, you know, baristas and waiters who needed to do something creative on the side.
Jeff: Yea, and we both just wanted to have fun and write gimmicky songs and get away from taking ourselves seriously. Now we take each other as complete jokes.
(Here Jeff and Tripp poke fun at each other, but you can tell it’s all good natured.)
Jeff: I’m real glad we didn’t go with Gimm OR Icky, because that would’ve not been as good. Because that was on the table.
Tripp: That was on the table.
Jeff: “Gimmicky” was always the core –
Tripp: And we just said, “What can we do with that word?”
Jeff: What can we put in the middle of that?
Tara: Cool. Thinking back to when you were tiny, what was your first experience with music?
Jeff: I was raised in a musical family, where my mom played fiddle, we were a bluegrass family band. I played the tambourine.
Tripp: He was very tam-buoyant at that age. You’re welcome for that.
Jeff: We sang bluegrass tunes and cajun tunes, then I got a bass and started playing funk. Then I got an acoustic guitar and started writing songs and then I met this guy and now I hate my life now.
Tripp: So, my first experience with music… my mom, growing up, she would clean people’s houses, and sometimes she would have to take me because after school care didn’t really exist. And there was this one house that we would go clean when I was really young, like six, maybe seven, and they had a movie that some of you might remember called Moonwalker. And Moonwalker was from the late ’80s, and all it was, was this director decided he was going to try to take all of Michael Jackson’s music video’s from the ’80s and make them one continuous storyline. It is absolutely horrible. When it comes to the story and, like, everything else, it’s not a good movie. However, you cannot watch the movie without getting up and dancing. And I vividly remember every time my mom had to clean that house, once a month, I would request to go with her. So that me, [and the children of the house], as six, seven, eight year olds, would be in their living room, watching Moonwalker and trying to learn how to dance like Michael Jackson. And ever since then I knew I wanted to not only dance, but make people dance. That was it, Moonwalker, Michael Jackson. I’ve got a poster of it in my room now. I mean, that is it. That movie, as bad as it is, is incredible.
Tara: What are your guys’s musical influences today?
Jeff: Well, this is where we’re really going to disagree.
Tripp: Yea, but I think that’s why the combo works.
Jeff: I do, I agree. I concur.
Tripp: For me, for unexplained reasons that I still don’t understand, because it’s not at all my background, but I grew up listening to –
Tripp: How dare you. I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop and rap. Jay-Z, I love, I can’t consider him an influence, ’cause I don’t do many things like him at all, but I do love him. Right now, the guy that I listen to most and study and figure out what he does with his formatting and lyrics and everything is B.O.B. I think he’s just, he’s taking hip hop and making it more pop, and that’s what I wanted to do with this project. I also really, as an artist, not as anything else, but I really like Lupe Fiasco and his ability to redefine his writing style based off what’s current, but still stay true to himself. It’s a really rare quality that not many people in that genre possess. So, Lupe, B.O.B., Machine Gun Kelly is another guy that I really like right now. Maroon 5 I’ll mention.
Jeff: That we agree on.
Tripp: They understand four on the floor and synths better than anybody since the eighties. Just give me a kick drum on every quarter note and then synth tones. Since the George Michael solo album, no one does it better. It’s true. What about you?
Jeff: I would say, first and foremost, I gotta name the trio influence. Which would be Paul McCartney. I just, I can’t live without that man. I gotta give him a big hug before I go. He’s gonna get a bear hug, don’t you worry. He’s just phenomenal, I mean, “Yesterday,” that’s all I have to say. That song, biggest hit of all time.
Tripp: It’s the most recorded song of all time, yea.
Jeff: 17,000 recuts of that. Stevie Wonder. Nobody moves vocally like that man does. And as much as I will try to copy him, I will never do it. And Bill Withers. That’s another really good songwriter. “Lean On Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Use Me.”
Tripp: Man, if you’re going back, I’ve gotta mention a couple more real quick.
Jeff: I was just doing the trio. Now we’re present day. I love Ke$ha. I think she’s the Queen of Hooks. I do. That Glitter Pop thing –
Tripp: Man, I would love to meet her, for obvious reasons, but she’s not one of my influences.
Jeff: Yea, well, that’s where we’re gonna disagree on that. I think she’s really good at making a hook. Here’s why I really like her. Because she’s not trying to hide what she is. And that happens so much. People take themselves way too seriously. Who else do I like these days?
Tripp: You already mentioned Maroon 5.
Jeff: Yea, we like Maroon 5.
Tripp: Pretty much anything Rick Rubin’s done in the last ten years.
Jeff: Oh, Ryan Turner.
Tripp: Best songwriter in the business right now. Ryan Turner. No one can touch him. If we’re goin’ back, man, obviously Michael Jackson.
Jeff: Bruno Mars.
Tripp: Bruno Mars? Okay, yea, he’s one of mine, too.
Jeff: The only thing we’re ever going to differ on majorly is Ke$ha.
Tripp: But, yea, if we’re going back, obviously Michael Jackson. Obviously he founded pop, like modern pop is what Michael Jackson founded, and that’s the number one thing everyone listens to.
Tripp: Yea, Prince is another HUGE one for me. He can make an electric guitar make sense with a synth and that’s –
Tripp: I will always thank him for that.
Jeff: And he was really one of the first people to really play everything.
Tripp: And also, as a lover of percussion, going back to Led Zeppelin IV. It was the first time they ever mic’d drums with more than just a couple mic’s, and they were the ones that said, “Drums are gonna drive this album.” And that had never been done before, ever. And everything after Led Zeppelin IV, too, just listen to the drums on those albums and it’s not rock, it is beats, it’s eight bar repeated, looped, beats. And it’s awesome.
Jeff: Chili Peppers for me. Maybe the biggest. Because growing up I didn’t listen to anything more than the Chili Peppers.
Tripp: Last one I’m going to mention is the Gorillaz. Even though it’s just one dude. But when it comes to beat making, that dude is always two years ahead of everyone else. Always. One hundred percent. I love that. Anyway. We could talk about music all day.
Tara: If you could perform anywhere in the world, what are one or two or three places you guys would book?
Jeff: Madison Square Garden.
Tripp: Yea. MSG. Madison Square Gardens. That is a given for me.
Jeff: Here’s the one thing. I would love to do, like a broken down thing at Radio City.
Tripp: Music Hall? There we go. That’s a big hall, though. We could do something cool there. The Greek Theatre in LA would be huge, I think. Just a lot of history. And then maybe Red Rock in Denver, that amphitheater. I mean, that’s a dream of mine. There’s a U2 DVD, actually, I think Joshua Tree the DVD, is at Red Rock, and it’s, I don’t know how many seats, but way less than what U2 could’ve played for.
Jeff: Maybe even the Ryman.
Tripp: You know what, the Ryman is a dream of mine. It is way small, but so much history. Anybody that’s made it in the music business has played there, and I want to be in that category. Also 12th and Porter.
Tara: Well, that’s happening, so that’s great.
Tripp: Yea, we love this place so much. It’s our home away from home right now.
Tara: That’s cool. What hobbies do you guys have outside of music?
Tripp: Well… no, not me.
Jeff: (whispering) He knits.
Tripp: I’m actually somewhat of a jock, especially when I’m alone. I love sports. Watching them. Like, I don’t miss a Miami Heat game. I don’t miss a Titans game. Watching any and all sports. I guess that’s something that could be picked up just from knowing me, but that’s something other than music that I really, really like. I also really like fashion. I legit love fashion.
Tripp: Not knitting, fashion. I think I’m going to pursue that once I have an establishment to do that.
Jeff: Well, for me, I love producing. I love frickin’ going in and recording people, making the tracks, making the beats, all that stuff. I love that. I, too, enjoy sports. I’m not very vocal about it because my team is the Lions.
(Here Tripp begins pointing out all the “terrible” things about Michigan sports, while Jeff points out some good things.)
Tripp: We also enjoy just kickin’ it. Just video games and guys having a good time.
Jeff: We are nerds behind the scenes. More than anything.
Tara: Do you guys have any weird or crazy fan stories?
Tripp: The answer is yes. We’re not going to elaborate to protect identities of people. However, we did get one piece of fan mail that might’ve changed our lives.
Jeff: That was amazing.
Tripp: A guy Facebook messaged us about – we used to give out sunglasses free at every show that said “Gimm and Icky, the 3D Experience.” Just making fun of how 3D is the biggest thing in film. We would tell people our glasses were 3D. This dude had a pair, he lives in California I think. San Diego. He was in town, he had a pair, and they broke. And he couldn’t get ’em ’cause our online store wasn’t set up or something. Anyway, he wrote this, basically like a prelude to a fantasy novel. We need to publish it. It’s really long and it’s like-
Jeff: I felt like I was reading the Chronicles of Narnia.
Tripp: Seriously! It was a prelude to a fantasy trilogy, about how the glasses broke and it affected him and he went on this, like, spiritual journey trying to replace them and he can’t. So, anyway, long story short, we found every color we could left of the glasses, which I think we found three colors, like, purple, pink, and teal, or something, just at the office. And we mailed it to him, we both hand wrote a letter, being like, dude, you made our day. I mean, not enough people verbalize appreciation, and in a way that was creative and unique, that I’d never seen or heard of before. He clearly took time out of his day to write us. So, we took time out of our days to write him. That was awesome.
Jeff: It was one of the best-written things I’ve read in a while. To be fair, I never read.
Tara: That’s cool. This question has something to do with one of your songs. If you guys could take a serious face picture with one influential person, who would you guys pick and why?
Tripp: Oooh! So, do we have to agree on the one person?
Tara: No, you guys can have different people.
Jeff: No, we should agree.
Tripp: I think we should agree.
Tripp: Just think about serious faces, like mug shots. Oh, you know who? I think we both know, actually. Okay, on three? One, two, three.
Tripp AND Jeff: Morgan Freeman!
Tripp: Hands down, voice of God, nothing is more serious face than that.
Jeff: Next question.
Tripp: Next question. Anyone that needs explanation of that needs to dig deeper about Morgan Freeman. That’s the guy.
Tara: That is great. That was actually the last question on my list.
Tripp: That was a great question.
After sitting down with the guys, I got to stick around for the show. Their opening act was VanCo, who said it was their first performance, ever. If that’s true, then when they’re famous, I’ll be one of the people who can say, “I was at VanCo’s first performance ever! How cool is that?”
When Gimm and Icky came on stage, you could tell everyone had been waiting for this moment. Especially the girls grouped around me at the front of the stage. Looking around the room, I was surprised to find that they had fans of all ages out to see them – but I shouldn’t have been. Music and dancing always brings people together.
The second song they played was the one I had asked the final question about – “Serious Face.” That song can always bring a smile to my face, and I couldn’t help dancing as I was trying to snap pictures of the guys performing. And when they performed “Ringtone,” of which they have an awesome music video on YouTube, all the other girls dancing around me were singing along at the top of their lungs. By the time they played “Get It Done Right,” everyone was dancing.
After that, they said they were going to bring us a little “Christmas Cheer.” And then Jeff began singing “All I want for Christmas is You.” All the girls were totally swooning. I have to admit, I enjoyed that quite a bit – especially when they suddenly went into “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5, instead of finishing the popular Christmas tune.
The final song they sang was what is going to be their single, “Shake That.” It really is great. And the show was awesome, ending with DJ Ross Hill playing songs to really break loose to. I can’t wait to see Gimm and Icky perform live again someday, or to hold their album in my hands. I’d like Tripp and Jeff to know, I wish them to (figuratively) break a leg on their way to achieving their dreams and getting to perform on stage at the Ryman. I can tell they’ll be there, and I’ll be in the crowd, cheering as loud as possible.
UPDATE: Gimm and Icky have changed their name to Cassio Monroe as of September 2013.
To learn more about Cassio Monroe, go to their website, follow them on Twitter @CassioMonroe or “like” them on Facebook at facebook.com/CassioMonroeMusic Also, find their music video, “Ringtone,” and much more on YouTube at youtube.com/gimmandicky