Alec Gaston: “The world can be a sharp and dangerous place. I prefer to be among the flowers…”

What shall we say about Alec Gaston? I’m breathless having interviewed one of the most original, sublime, and true artists (arteeeests) currently working today. Alec Gaston has her hands in many pies. Whether it be making music, modeling, acting, or just being plain brilliant, Alec, somehow, is nailing all these things and I am truly in awe. I first discovered her via the regularly updated social posts and various recommendations of actor Michael Imperioli – you may remember him from The Sopranos or Goodfellas. Do pay attention to his recommendations as they’re on the money. Here, Alec and I discuss in depth her upbringing and development as an artist, her goals and dreams, creativity, what she’s trying to accomplish, as well as the matter of evolution, transitioning and the journey to become the woman she is today. Alec is one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing (corny as it sounds) and she deserves your attention.


Alec, a most banal of the most standard of standard questions for opening an interview, but it’s one I always like the answer to, and regular readers will spot me repeating myself – like Nietzsche said about eternal return. What drives you to create and be a creative, and what was it that got you started?


It all starts in a quiet place. When you find yourself in the corner of your bedroom in the dark asking questions that seemingly have no answers. Why am I here? What’s the purpose? It began in my body, I started taking ballet at 4 or 5 and I loved being able to express the energy that I had physically to themusic. I loved the music. As long as I can remember I’ve always loved music. My mind is often so congested with the thoughts and feelings of everyone and everything around me to such a hypersensitive degree, thanks Autism! When I hear music it’s like I feel the traffic begin to subside and I can see the patterns, and take on the thoughts one by one. My family was devoutly religious, so church every Sunday… I loved the music but I couldn’t quite get past the creation story and the dinosaurs from an intellectual perspective but that’s a whole other can of worms. I used to sneak out after communion and take extended bathroom breaks till the end of service. I was teaching myself how to play piano in the choir room.


You come from a very religious background (which I’ll get to) and also creative? What was your upbringing like?


I was born in Lakeview Hospital in Cleveland Ohio May 18th, 1993. I grew up primarily in Ohio through high school. In terms of creativity – I think so. I’m the youngest of 7 siblings, they’re all incredibly remarkable human beings and very creative in different ways. Then there’s my parents, a wealth of compassion, experience, and humility shared between the two that would rival just about any human pastor present. Both of my parents run marathons, presently and as long as I can remember. When I think of my childhood I think of running. My parents training for races, watching the cars whiz by, watching every passing tick on the clock run by in school, running in circles in my mind, running scales in intervals once music entered the picture. My father is a nuclear engineer and absolutely a music head. He has a crazy CD collection that could fill a room – every

thing from European jazz I’ve never heard to “The Disturbed” to Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. He loves everything and anything if it’s good and has an incredibly adept ear – I think that’s where I got my ears from. My mom is the greatest mom & grandmother on planet earth. She says I’m her heart walking around outside her body, the feeling is very mutual. She also loves music, theatre, the movies, Star Wars – I was named after Alec Guiness the original Obi-wan Kanobi. My name Alec actually originates from 13th-century Gaelic culture and was a name often embodied by spiritual teachers and those of a recognized 3rd gender but more on that later. I asked my mom how she felt about me using the family name when I came out to her as trans and she said she would be very proud, my dad is too.



I understand you’re based in New York. What keeps you in that city and what is the scene currently like for an artist? I’m still very new to your work, and I find it difficult to categorize – a good thing in my opinion. 


New York is home to me. I dreamed of living here as a kid and after having traveled a fair amount around the country and the world, it’s the place I always feel called to return to. New York is an organism for real. I think every city and town is but the way the creative ecosystem vibrates here is really something spectacular and undeniable once you experience it. I’m a multi-hyphenate creative and I feel it’s one of the best places in the world to be to pursue such things, that being said – I’ve got an itch to be quite the globe trotter.


I’ve read you describe yourself as a “ Songwriter | Producer | Film- Scoring | Audio Engineer | Actor | Director | DJ” – You must not have a lot of free time on your hands?!!


This is all true! Lol I do all of these things and quite actively. I don’t have a lot of free time. When me and my girlfriend have a full day off together, it’s like Christmas. We’re very abnormal admittedly but at the end of the day, we just wanna get our nails done and go to the movies just like anyone else.


Is there one particular focus you’re drawn to more than others in terms of your artistry and why if so? Does one thing come more naturally to you than others?


Music is my undeniable #1. It’s my first love and certainly the bedrock of my creative process. It’s what makes me want to dance, to tell stories, to make movies, to act – it’s the pulse for sure.


What projects do you dream of or are pursuing?


It’s a wide range. I don’t dream of anything. If it’s a dream I’m committed to in some sense or another, I believe it will see its time. There are completed albums of music I’ve made with projects that aren’t currently active that I’d love to see enter the playing field, and I know they will when it’s the right time. I just finished post-production on a movie with one of my best friends Lou, he wrote the film and I was the lead actor as well as doing the score for the entire movie. That’s kinda always been my dream, to act in a movie and do the music too. I’m doing it – I’m just hungry to do it more.


I understand you have a studio in NY where you’re in regular collaboration with other local artists. Going back to a previous question, I guess the ‘scene’ must be very much alive?


The scene is alive and well!All of my friends are making music that’s expanding my consciousness, and there are tons of artists popping up every day I’ve never heard of in every genre you can imagine. I love to see it and hear it. I think if people are putting their hearts and minds together to make art to reflect the culture and or stimulate it, that’s a beautiful thing. I’ve been working to get my music out to the world for as long as I can remember but only recently have I felt comfortable about advocating for myself or wanting to put myself out there if that’s possible to comprehend. The first year that I lived in New York, actually within the first couple of weeks I was featured on HBO’s The Deuce with James Franco. Nathan Ellman Bell an amazing drummer and composer and a dear friend who I had only met once previously recommended me for the gig to the music supervisor at HBO. Next thing you know I’ve got a trailer next to James Franco, Vince Gilligan was directing the episode (Breaking Bad) and was directing me!? And I was performing as Garland Jeffreys – an incredible songwriter and generational talent that I’m also grateful to call a dear friend and mentor. It all came together in that moment and I was able to get my band at the time “Chameleon Culture” on the show as well – that’s how we paid for our album but we had no budget to promote it and so the story goes. I’ve been in music videos with Dua Lipa, Chelsea Cutler & Quinn 92 , millions of people have seen my face but not the way I want them to see it. That’s changing and I’m changing too.


In terms of collaborations for your own music, how do you go about finding artists to g

et involved? It has worked well as it must be why your music has such range and different sounds, and influences.


My collaborators are a huge part of my journey with music, I feel that I choose to work with people that inspire me and inspire themselves first and foremost, I’m really grateful that I can say I also choose collaborators based on a deep bond or friendship. My long-time collaborator and co-producer & one of my closest friends in this life, Bryan DiMaio and I have been working together since we were both 18 years old. I think we both know each other as intimately as you possibly can without being intimate lol – he’s happily married, (hi Jenna) and I even sang theproposal song (Bon Iver) on top of a mountain in California, the wedding was beautiful too. We have a lot of overlapping musical influences and have very disparate ways in which we approach things but I think that’s what makes it such a beautiful collaboration. Yin Yang Baby. That’s what I search for.


Many of your titles for songs and music make me smile. In a good way. I think ‘What Doesn’t Kill You Gives You Cancer’ is a hilariously funny title for a song. ‘Evolve or Dissolve’, ‘Eat the Rich’ and ‘Butterfly in A Black Hole’ are also great. Where do you get or pick your words, your influences from? You appear to have a great way with words.


I love words, I love words lol – I was a total bookworm as a kid. One Fish Two Fish Dr. Seuss was my favorite (first book) I would walk around the house reading it to anyone lol – I soon graduated to Jane Goodall and Orsen Wells and Harry Potter (Rip don’t even wanna talk about it) James Joyce, Henry Miller, the Tropic of Cancer may be my favorite book but don’t hold me to that, maybe I haven’t read it yet. I love titles, I love using a title as a further way to express the dimensions of an idea or the one sharing it.


How are tastes changing in music, in your opinion as someone who’s part of it?


I think boundaries and borders and systems are collapsing and I think that’s a great thing. Genre is a total wild-west landscape these days – anything goes and I think that’s the way it should be. Why should I be defined to a genre when I make music in almost all of them? Why can’t I share a stage with James Blake, Bjork & King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard – that’s bill I would kill to be on.


I’m also interested in your work as an actor, director and model. Does songwriting come from the same creative place as say, acting, producing, modeling, scoring, directing, etc?


I think it depends – the juncture is if it’s a song I’m writing for myself or for someone else. I view songwriting in and of itself very much like a craft/art form – the same way I view acting, producing, modeling, directing – I can remove myself from it and try to lend my abilities towards the most supportive ideas, energy, and movement. When I’m writing songs for myself, it’s much more personal as I’m sure it is for anyone. I’m trying to express so much in a song. How I feel as a creator, a narrator, an observer, a lover, a friend, a human squeezed into the fabric of all living things – can I get that across with words and a series of very consciously considered vibrations?


I understand Evolve or Dissolve Pt1 was the latest release. Are you working on a part 2, if so who with and when will that be released?


Evolve or Dissolve was originally going to be one long very expansive album but Bryan suggested we break up the album into parts and I’m so glad we did. I’m growing and changing and writing new songs that then find their way into what we’re sharing presently, it makes the whole project feel alive with songs that have taken years to create beside songs from a few weeks ago. This album was born from heartbreak in the most shattering way I could ever conceive and was meant as a pillar for my former partner to know that it was, still is and will always love. Beyond the shame, beyond the pain, beyond the grief, beyond the molding each other into what we want them to be, it’s all love. In the process, I began to fall in love with myself for the first time in my life and I’m now happily in a relationship that feels like a fairy tale all the time, like actually. Isabella, I love you. Most of the songs were made in little units with only myself and maybe 1 or 2 other collaborators apart from Bryan on each song. There are a lot more songs I did primarily myself on album 2 interspersed with very collaborative songs which I think is nice. Antonio Solis, Chase Potter, Spaceman Patterson, Steven Gridley, Jharis Yokely & Justin Nash Fisher are featured on part 2. Hoping to have the record out thi

s spring! Finishing touches as we speak but I’ll send you a sneak peak.


When did you start to identify as ‘she/her’ – what process did you go through to gain your own true identity?


I came out publicly last April with the release of my music video/song “Butterfly in a Blackhole.” It felt like an appropriate time with the flowers beginning to bloom, I had been on hormones for a few months at that point and I had shared with my entire family that I was transitioning. That was very important to me. My family means everything to me and although I knew it was going to be difficult to adapt and understand, I realized that I had been adapting and understanding my entire life so I have the grace to ask others to do the same. I’m very proud to identify as a bi-racial, african-american transgender woman. I’ve been on hormones for about 14 months now and every day I feel myself expanding and growing into who I’ve always been. It’s a very beautiful process at its core – a caterpillar to a butterfly is the best reference nature has to offer. The world can be a sharp and dangerous place sometimes so I prefer to be among the flowers whenever I can.


I’m a white straight male from a conservative part of the world so forgive my ignorance – can you explain further?


What I’ll share is that gender is a spectrum, it’s not black and white. Every trans person has an idiosyncratic journey of their own so I can only speak for myself and from my experience which is very actively unfolding. I highly recommend a documentary on Netflix called “Disclosure” for an entry-level understanding of how a lack of representation of trans people in the media has contributed towards a very narrow view of what the trans experience is and can be.


And were your parents ok with this given like you say how religious they are?


My parents are still very religious. They are also progressive and highly intelligent both intellectually and emotionally. I can’t speak for them but they have been very supportive so far and I’m incredibly grateful for that.


I love you played piano in the choir room, in my opinion, that’s the best thing that can come from these experiences. What did that teach you and what were you playing? I guess that experience turned you on towards music? 


I think it taught me to follow my intuition and curiosity, especially towards activities that quieted my mind and brought me joy – music has always done that. I was definitely influenced by the music I heard in church, to this day I really enjoy hymns & I was also attempting to plunk out music that I had heard in movies. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings were seared in my brain & some of the first pieces that I learned.


Is art ever destructive and without it would you suffer? Sorry, it’s quite an existential question I stole.


That’s a great question. I think as long as it’s not intentionally harmful, then it is not destructive. I think it’s so much more harmonious for society if charged emotions are channeled into art as opposed to in our actions towards each other.


Final Q – Have you seen Poor Things and if so I’d like a brief review, please.


Yes! I watched it recently – I really enjoyed the music and the cinematography, found the story compelling, and enjoyed the arc of the film in general – felt a bit like a psychedelic, bizarre Siddhartha to me – 8.5 lol.


Alec Gaston, thank you.

Check out Alec Gaston’s work

Follow her  other updates on social 

About Author

Share the Post:

Related Posts