A little over five years ago, peep and i met online through mutual underground musicians. him and i were both featured on a song together, and it was the first time i had heard his vocals. he ended up telling me he was already a big fan of my music and wanted to work together, then i went and did my research (late 2015) on his already released music, and stumbled upon “live forever.” i was fucking blown away. “live forever” was something familiar to things i had already been working on in my circle of friends (gbc, etc), but it was also extremely fresh and different. his vocal cadence was like a mixture of artists like Gucci Mane & Brand New somehow. i was in. i was so excited to have found a new artist i could really build with, because at this point in my career i was absolutely lost. i had just dropped out of college and was bouncing around from floor to floor in LA. Shortly after Peep and I met, he moved back to LA with Brennan. They offered me a couch to crash on to help me get outta my super unstable living situation.
By this point we had already made about 5/6 songs from California Girls via email. We finished the tape at their crib, with the final song being “California World” with Craig Xen (who I also met around that same week we recorded it).
the funny thing about this EP, is that we actually never completed it — like, it has 6 songs, but we were originally going to just drop single after single after single onto the “California Girls EP (Coming Soon)” playlist on his soundcloud until it had 100 tracks (is what we said haha). After California World, we ended up wrapping it up and moving onto Crybaby.
The first song from the EP we did (and the first song we ever made) was Lil Kennedy. I will forever love that song.
My personal favorite from this EP is Let Me Bleed. It’s one of Peeps darkest and saddest songs. Absolute raw emotion.
These 6 songs are some of the most important pieces of music I have ever been apart of. They marked a new era of Peep. It was Peep’s most honest and heartfelt lyrics that I personally had heard yet. It opened new doors in terms of production style and experimenting with new vocal melodies, range, cadences & new song topics. I knew Peep was special and that these songs were good but we had no idea how big these songs would end up getting.
“Beamerboy” was a single from this EP. When we made it, we were just like “Sick, this is hard. Onto the next one.” That’s hilarious to me!
I’m so proud of this project and am so fucking ready for the world to have it easily accessible on all streaming platforms. California Girls has always deserved a proper release, so this means a lot to me. I know Peep is stoked as hell right now.
Thank you to all the supporters. I love you all.
Gus made California Girls when he was living in Long Beach, during the winter of 2015-2016. It was right around the time Gus released the last of the California Girls songs that he took a JetBlue flight to Arizona to meet JGrxxn and Ghostmane--performing for the first time in Tucson, Arizona. Gus made every one of the six tracks on California Girls with a friend he had never met in person-- Nedarb Nagrom (“It’s his real name backwards, Mama, Braden Morgan,” he told me.) By this time, Gus was very productive at home during the day and at night. He sang (made his songs) at night, and made videos during the day, while I was at work. His brother, Oskar, was away at college, so Gus had the house to himself. Emma spent most of the time at our house, too, which was really nice. They hung out watching American Horror Story, and made videos to go with Gus’s songs. Sometimes, though, he told her he needed to be alone at night so he could work.
Gus made Live Forever, Drugz, and the two videos with Legacy during this time period, as well as Beamer Boy, which was shot by Emma in our living room one day while I was at work. Gus, Emma’s and Oskar’s friend Skylar Kahan is in the video, sitting next to Gus—and briefly out in our little back “yard.” Here is what Skylar remembers about that afternoon:
Someone had brought these funny ski goggles over and left them at our house—or maybe Gus traded for them, I don’t know. But he really liked those ski goggles. Gus often borrowed clothing from either Oskar or me. That afternoon, he must have decided he liked my hand warmers because he is wearing them in the video. I have both the goggles and the hand warmers still. (He wore those goggles in his video called “Switch up,” which he shot in with Yung Goth and Quiet Cam, in Denver, also. I guess he had brought them with him on his travels. He must have really liked those goggles because they even made it back home.)
Gus was having fun making music and making videos. He was very prolific and was collaborating with both Nedarb and others—like John Mello, Lil Skil, Yung Goth. Gus was also enjoying the process of designing his own album art. He made the album cover design himself—using a photo he had taken himself of a rose from a bouquet I had been given, and a random photo he had found on some strange Russian website. He and Nedarb discussed the artwork and agreed on the final version. You can read their text conversation about it here:
It is clear to see from Gus's correspondence with Ned how proud and pleased he was with the songs they were making together on California Girls.
Gus was already starting to conceptualize how he wanted this album to turn out when he wrote to Ned on January 15, 2016.
At the same time, Gus continued to express his emotions, almost to crave the beats in order to get his feelings out. He asked for more beats.
During this time, Gus had developed a close and intense on-line friendship with Craig Xen. Craig had introduced Gus to so many of his collaborators, including JGrxxn. Craig and Gus supported and inspired each other.
After Tucson, for a brief couple of weeks, Gus and Craig were able to meet and work together in person. It is really wonderful that Gus and Craig were able to collaborate together to make California World. They made the song together while staying with Brennan Savage at 1700 University Drive in Pasadena (where Gus had lived in 2014, the first time he had lived in California—to go to Glendale Community College). It was during those two weeks in February that Gus and Craig made California World. Craig told me about how they made the song--and it sounded both simple and wonderful. He said they made it in the kitchen. Nick Blanco came to University Drive and ended up shooting the video. (Months later, Nick would shoot the video for Cobain, in Gus's Echo Park apartment.) Gus was very proud of the video for California World, and he told Nedarb so.
by Nick Blanco
I say yesterday’s tomorrow because the experience I had with Peep felt like it was yesterday. I’ll close my eyes and remember the night when we first met. Feels like yesterday like he is right with me making me laugh when he was walking back and forth wearing shredded black jeans with various patches on them--one was a Thraxx house patch. Short pink hair, tats, enthusiasm through the roof, excited to film with me--he was walking back and forth being excited. He was getting ready to film. I was watching his videos with Nedarb thinking "What the hell? This kid Peep is going to take over." I knew I had to make something special for lil bro. I wanted to show his life now in LA, but he was so good in camera I didn’t have to say anything. He always on point. He knew what to do, how to act--the eye and face movements always crazy when I looked at the video. Even tho we just shot around the house it was still magical because the whole video is just what was going on around the time when he first landed in LA. It was real. It showed struggle and they were--before they really figured out what was going on. It was pure fun to always shoot with Peep. He was always on point. I’ll do anything to relive that moment in time. I love you peep
Below is a photo of Gus that Craig sent to him in their texts just before Gus left Pasadena for Denver.
Gus told Craig he was sad to be leaving. He would miss that intense, collaborative environment as he moved on the next phase of his musical journey...Denver.