At first glance, Gallant, Tablo and Eric Nam seem like an unlikely combination. After the trio announced that they would be releasing a track together back in November, fans had to wait nearly two full months until they released their teaser. Now fully out with a music video for their collaborative single “Cave Me In,” we caught up with the three musicians to discuss why the release took so long and what the song-making process was like. Listen above for their ’90s-inspired R&B track and read on to see what they had to say in our exclusive interview.
What is your connection to Korea?
Gallant: I’ve always been a K-Pop fan. To witness the birth of a self-guided, self-motivated singer-songwriter movement over the past few years in such a commercialized space was inspiring for me. Every time I’m in Korea it feels like home.
Gallant, Tablo, and Eric seem like an unlikely combination. How did your different musical styles help or get in the way of the music?
Tablo: I think it gives three uniquely voiced perspectives on the topic of “love.” I’ve been blessed in that I’ve already been a part of many unlikely combinations. I’ve worked with acts ranging from K-pop idols to Joey Badass, so it’s second nature to me now to make ‘differences’ work for the song and not against it. And differences are always good, despite what some people will have you believe.
Eric Nam: The fact that our backgrounds are so diverse, particularly in music, really added to the exciting nature of our project. We knew that there would be a challenge in putting together a song that is cohesive and allows each artist to showcase his style, but I think that also allowed us to think outside of the general conventions of — at least for me — how music is created.
“Cave Me In” took a while to actually release. What was the song making process like?
G: It was fragmented, but we were all in constant communication as it was coming together. Ultimately, I think the song ended up being worked on from four or five different cities around the world.
T: The process may have taken a while, with many back and forths, but the songwriting journey was all love. Gallant came to my Seoul studio once and had soju, Korean food and the amazing Korean soda Milkis… which explains it all.
E: It took a while because all three of us are incredibly busy and traveling and all over the place with our schedules. So going back and forth between different continents and cities was a little complicated, but our team really helped facilitate great communication. We got our track from Lophile, a producer based in the States, Gallant put a rough sketch of a melody on the track, and then we went back and forth piecing it together and Tablo spent a lot of time arranging the song.
Whose idea was the subject of the song?
T: Gallant did a melody sketch and on the hook he had the phrase “Cave Me In.” I vibed off that and put down my verse right away. Because that’s what love does. It caves you in, sometimes in a beautiful way and sometimes in a beautifully twisted way.
How did you feel when you heard Quincy Jones and Timbaland’s feedback of the song?
E: It was crazy. I played it for both of them in person, and they both really loved it and got really excited about the song. To have such great feedback from amazing and legendary musicians reaffirmed that we had something special. Then Quincy went out of his way to post about it on his socials and we were thankful and blown away by that.
How did your upbringing shape your views and approach to music, if at all?
G: I grew up in a really open-minded suburb with a diverse population. It felt very connected with the world, which definitely influenced my tastes in music over the years.
T: I was a student of literature my entire life, so I value the words of a song most of all. Music is the greatest tool of communication but sometimes so little is being communicated.
E: Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, music always seemed out of reach, particularly for an Asian or Asian American. We never had Asians on TV or in music and doing cool things in entertainment. For me, I never thought that I would really have a career in music. I think I’m still pretty new to the art of making music and I’m still in the very early stages of figuring this world and process out. Hopefully I can keep making good music that people dig.
What other artists do you like or catch your attention? Who else would you like to work with?
E: A few people I’d like to work with: Snakehips, Cashmere Cat, DJ Snake, Clean Bandit, to name a few.
T: Donald Glover. And I’d like to be in a Tarantino film. If that happens I’m done.
What is something you haven’t yet been able to accomplish?
T: Being in a Tarantino film.
E: I’m hoping to have an English EP out in the near future and promote in the States and follow up with an international tour. I’ve done a lot of one-offs and singles, but to have one solid piece of work that is all mine, that’s the goal for now.
What are your promotional plans for “Cave Me In”?
T: I truly believe that the song will promote itself.
E: Nothing really planned. We just hope listeners love it and spread it.
Lastly, what would you like to say to HYPEBEAST readers?
G: Thanks for showing so much support. Hope you like what Tablo, Eric, and I put together.
T: Bless you all. I pray that each and every single one of you become healthy and wealthy, and that you get those pair of shoes you’ve always been lusting for. Thank you!
E: Thanks HYPEBEAST always for covering the cool stuff. Hope you guys love “Cave Me In” and keep an ear out for more stuff coming from the three of us in the future.