FAULT Magazine OTW Photoshoot and Interview with Dan Crossley

Dan Crossley X FAULT Magazine

Words & Photography: Miles Holder

Grooming: Shamirah Sairally

Despite his young age, Dan Crossley ripples within the music industry have turned to waves thanks to the release of his debut EP in 2017 and singles ‘Feel’ and ‘Nothing But Love’. Latest single ‘Talk’ caught our attention so we sat down for an interview and photoshoot with the young star on his way to stardom.

 

How would you describe your sounds to people who haven’t heard your music before?

My sound has been influenced by a number of past and present artists. I’m currently on a soulful future pop kinda vibe but we’re throwing a range of different elements in there from an urban perspective. Did I just make up a new genre? Haha.

Biggest musical inspiration?

As a songwriter, Amy Winehouse was a huge inspiration to me growing up but I could never settle on just one person. There are so many great writers and artists that I aspire to.

How easy is it for you to write openly about your life experiences – some people find it hard but for others, it can be quite therapeutic?

Writing my own material has always come naturally for me. When I was younger this was the only way I could let my thoughts and emotions out. Whatever I was going through at that particular time in my life would always come out of me through music. I struggle to sing and relate to other peoples songs unless I can feel they are written from a genuine place and feeling.

What’s a song that always makes you cry?

‘Breath Me’ – Sia – Such a powerful song.

When should we expect to hear your next release?

We haven’t set a really firm date yet. This EP is really important to me so I’m not rushing the process. The way things are shaping up I’d expect the first single to be released in the summer. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

What are your plans for the rest of 2018?

I want to be doing A LOT of live stuff once the EP drops. Whenever I’m not in the studio I’m rehearsing and working on ideas for my live show. I really can’t wait to connect with as many people as possible and give them some epic music to relate to.

What is your FAULT?

Regretful unnecessary hangovers. Haha. No, I would say I’m impatient. I want to do it all now and have to remind myself to slow down and relax from time to time.

 

 

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Island

With a couple of EP’s already under their belt, London four-piece ISLAND have been tweaking away at their debut album Feels Like Air which is due out on April 6th.

Forming as teenagers, frontman Rollo Doherty’s former acoustic project has transformed into a fierce blend of coastal grooves mixed with languid rock that explodes effortlessly with such rugged precision thanks to the aid of guitarist Jack Raeder, bassist James Wolfe and drummer Toby Richards. Their DIY ethic and close-knit approach to the album has paid off and holds testament to a band approaching stardom at breakneck speed. We caught up with drummer Toby Richards to discuss life on the road and inspiration behind their stellar debut.

Let’s talk about your debut album Feels Like Air. Where was it recorded and what was the process like?
Yeah so when we first started writing, we knew we were working towards an album but we didn’t really have a purpose, so when we were touring out and about on the road we’d been listening to a lot of driving inspired records. Bands like War on Drugs, Future Islands, Leif Erikson that sort of stuff and it just got us thinking about kind of putting together a soundtrack to a journey. As soon as that came into place, all the tracks fell together pretty quickly in the space of a couple of months really. We’d always planned to go into the studio with an old friend of ours, a guy called Mike Hill, he’s got a studio just outside Oxford.
It was a comfortable set up there with him, we were all together in one room playing all four of us together and we’d record it to see what works and what doesn’t and keep it very much a live feel really. It took shape really quickly, I think we actually recorded it all in about eleven days so it was pretty quick.

How important is it the album represent a collective body of work as opposed to individual songs?
Yeah, we definitely did look at it as a full body of work and just with the theme of driving and the journey, it definitely brought the songs together as one. Lyrically, Rollo who writes the lyrics definitely drew on the idea of the songs being written from the point of view of a passenger on a journey so that’s what ties it all together. Sonically we didn’t set too many boundaries, we’d just go with whatever felt right.

So it sounds like you enjoy being on the road?
Yeah big time, playing live is a huge part of the sound for us and something we wanted to take into the studio. We wanted to sound like it’s us on stage performing a show. We keep things very DIY, we drive ourselves a lot of the time and Mike who we did the album with does the sound for us, it’s a very small little family that we take on the road with us. As soon as we finish playing a show we’re at the merch stand selling all our merch and chatting to fans. We try and cover as much as possible just between the four of us really.
It’s always awesome being out on the road, we’re heading out again this month in Europe and then UK in May and then we’re excited to be going to America because it’s going to be our first time going over there so yeah lots of touring to be done for this album.

Did you have more creative freedom on this album as opposed to previous EP’s?
In terms of the writing we’ve always tried not to have too much structure to how things evolve, the songs can come from anywhere, a drum beat, guitar riff, vocal line so many different avenues. I think with this album we wanted to keep it as live and rough and ready as possible, production wise we didn’t add too much in the studio, we really wanted to keep it just the four of us playing together. Creatively, I suppose we did try and few new routes but nothing too crazy from what we’ve done before, we always like to experiment with lots of different effects, guitar wise lots of delay, reverb and things like that but yeah nothing too out the box, definitely still within the realms of the ISLAND sound.

Is keeping your signature sound something you’ll consider on your next album?
Interestingly since we got back from Christmas we’ve actually been writing quite a lot. We don’t know whether it’s going to be an EP or an album we haven’t talked about that yet but just in terms of what’s coming out it is a progression from the album already it’s got a bit of a darker vibe without giving too much away.

What’s your FAULT?
I would say I have quite bad OCD, especially on tour. I get a bit funny about cleanliness on the road in the van, small little things like socks being on the seats or something. I’m also obsessed with driving whilst the others are resting up for the show. I like to take the wheel and love driving through the mountains in Europe but probably a bit too much that I end up knackered just before a show.

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FAULT Weekly Playlist: KODA

The grandson of a famous Haitian singer and a self-proclaimed vagabond, Koda channels his free-spirited personality in his music. Initially crafted as a side-project, Koda’s penchant for hook-laden ambient dream pop caught the attention of over 20 million streams and with it, calls from music supervisors all over the world.

That success led to the a one-way ticket from Colombia to Los Angeles, where Koda would spend the next few years buried in the studio, writing 100s of songs as he developed what would eventually become his? ?debut LP,? ?i? ?hope? ?this? ?makes? ?us? ?better?.? ?The project marks a return to his rock roots, a blend of vocals-driven neue-gaze, post-rock, and alternative electronica.

We asked Koda to put together a playlist of tracks that inspire him, including some music he picked up on while living on Colombia to b-sides from hip hop stalwarts OutKast. Tune in below.

Soft Hair – Lying Has to Stop

I am OBSESSED with this song. It’s pure bouncy, bubbly fun. It has this absurdist youthful Spongebob aesthetic to it- it’s actually insane, and the lyrics are so pointed and goofy. Connan Mockasin is a genius; I saw him once at UCLA, and halfway through his set he brought out Sergio Flores (the sexy sax man) and he was shooting roses into the crowd from his saxophone, it made so much sense. Everyone is sleeping on this song – it’s the only thing that makes sense in this fucked up reality.

Dámaso Pérez Prado – Caballo Negro

I was stoned out of my mind when I first heard this – It plays at the beginning of Santa Sangre; there’s a brilliant, literal bird’s eye view shot over the circus and this song choice is perfect. I don’t have much to say about this one beyond its perfection when married to those particular images. I spend a lot of my time writing music to picture and i don’t think i’ll ever get it this right.

Outkast – Prototype

Has there ever been a sadder, sexier song? I think not. It’s so many things at once and it’s one of those things you have to repeat 3-4 times every time it comes on. I’ve listened 3 times trying to find the words to describe it – it’s just so simple and succinct and the groove is incredible. Did André 3000 play bass on it?

Cibo Matto – Birthday Cake

This perfectly encapsulates the 1990’s. I’m very terrified of having children one day, and I think it has something to do with the way she’s pleading with her son in this. It’s so raw, and the kooky organ really hammers it in. It’s featured in this Japanese video game Jet Set Radio Future and that soundtrack was very formative; serving as precursor for the whole Bristol sound trip hop thing (for me).

The Mars Volta – Televators

I first heard this on a college music mag compilation CD courtesy of my dad, and I think it was the first time I really cried because of music. It was so beyond (in scope, in sound, in musical maturity) pretty much everything I was listening to at the time, and Cedric’s crooning absolutely destroyed my soul. Confession: I used to get picked on hard for my curly hair and used to either straighten it or cut it until I got into this band. It was always either too frizzy or too dirty or any number of things, and none of the bands I listened to looked anything like me. Then I saw The Mars Volta, and Cedric had this huge curly mess going, and he was SUCH A BADASS. It all clicked for me then. I don’t think I’d be singing today without them as role-models.

Radiohead – Daydreaming

This is an obvious pick. Thom Yorke is this huge role model for me and the depth of emotion on this track is shattering. It feels like my hero’s heart is breaking into a million pieces – it’s one of those things you hear and think “what’s even left for him?” It gave me this lingering fear of love and loss that’s hard to cope with. I can’t relate with it yet, and I’m terrified now of the day I can.

Nine Inch Nails – 20 Ghosts III

This has to be my favorite mood piece – the way it washes in and out – the techy nightmare world it paints a picture of. It’s night personified. Weaving in and out of traffic. Heavy Rain. I always picture some Lynchian horrorshow. I want to direct a music video for this some day – I don’t really know how, I just want to. This is such an ungroovy playlist now.

Krzysztof Penderecki – Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima

There’s a shame to this song. Even if you didn’t know the title you’d know what it was about, you can feel it in your core – this great evil we unleashed. My connection with music is mostly emotional and rarely intellectual – so i’m not the one to reflect on this piece in writing beyond saying “oh my god”. Haunting in the worst way.

Koda Socials:
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FAULT Weekly Playlist: NoMBe

The Pharrell endorsed rising electro-soul phenomenon NoMBe has been releasing a steady stream of tracks over the last couple years, recently culminating in his first full-length “They Might’ve Even Love Me.”

On the buzzy, vibrant 18-track concept album, NoMBe explores and interrogates his relationships with all the women who’ve shaped his life, from ex’s to high school crushes, to true loves, to his mother, to his god-mother, soul legend Chaka Khan. With each love song taking on a different relationship, the album is a diaristic, brutally honest collection that sees NoMBe seductive, tender, elated, heartbroken and inspired all at once.

Following a successful run of shows at this year’s SXSW, NoMBe will support alt-J for a pair of shows, as well as a co-headline run of dates with Mikky Ekko and Mansionair. Before we get to that, NoMBe has shared with us some of his go-to tracks to listen to while on the road. Dive in.

Electric Guest – Dear To Me

These guys have been one of my favorites of recent years and on heavy rotation at my house. If you aren’t familiar, that needs to change!

THEY. – Dante’s Creek

I fell in love with this tune immediately. I’m a big fan of what these guys are doing. It’s very dark and emotional in a unique way with a lot of attitude…collaborations are in the works, too.

Boots – Mercy

Every now and then you find a record as an artist that makes you wonder what the hell you’re doing with your time. Mercy was that for me. My buddy Mikey Mike showed this to me and I was floored. It just sounded superior in quality and had a great song. Check out more from boots, he actually produced a lot of Beyonce’s records, too.

Sonder – Too Fast

This is my favorite record when I’m driving. Great production and Brent Faiyaz voice is jus butter..

Beshkin – Faceless

I remember meeting these cats on set shooting the video to “Faceless” and thought this might be cool. Once I heard the song weeks later I realized there’s some serious talent about to come up. Gus solo work has also been very inspiring. Make sure to give him a listen as well.

DCKWRTH – Michull

DUCKWRTH has been another great artist I’ve been really into. His whole swag and esthetic are really inspiring. Check out our song together called 2 Bucks!

NoMBe Socials:
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R&B artist Jhyve breathes new life to Toronto’s burgeoning music scene in his “Conversations” EP

Hailing from the creative hub of Toronto that was minted by Drake, R&B singer-songwriter-producer Jhyve gives us another reason to pay attention to the Canadian metropolitan powerhouse.
With guitar in hand, Jhyve is the latest star emerging from Toronto’s musical firmament thanks to his singular soul-focused sound.

Born Jamaal Desmond Bowry, Jhyve comes by his genre blend honestly. His mother sings in a gospel choir and his father is a former DJ who bumped soca and calypso at community parties with his own “big ass” soundsystem. Jhyve took those influences from his parents, immigrants from the Caribbean island of St. Kits, mixed them with the late-90s R&B he grew up on and added alt-rock picked up from his university dorm-mates who played guitar and got high all day. Everything filtered in.

“I wouldn’t have the sound I have today if i didn’t have all these honest prolonged exposures to different types of music coming up,” he says. But while his music is influenced by the the past, it stil sounds cutting-edge. “People confuse paying homage to duplication. There has to be reinvention. Don’t be brothers, be cousins.”

The jack of all trades performer falls in line with other boundary-pushing artists like Miguel and SZA, and his latest EP is Conversations, a five-song cycle about relationships that displays an introspection and vulnerability rarely seen in modern R&B, at least from the guys.

“Men hardly get out of a position of strength and nobility in love songs,” Jhyve says. “We always come at it from receiving the best love ever or being hurt by an ex. It’s very rare that you get more range of emotion. Conversations covers that range.”

The title track is about how men aren’t just about one thing, but actually enjoy conversation, too, while “Feel Something” is about romantic disconnection and “Convince Me” is about insecurity. The dark and moody “Human,” with a cinematic video to match, stems from a messy breakup in Jhyve’s past that inspired lines like: “you got problems like the rest of us / fighting demons like the best of us.” While “Keep Doing You” is about catharsis and closure, set after a relationship and offering redemption and emotional release as it ties in with his own experience chasing his dreams.

Jhyve Socials:
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Gundelach Exclusive FAULT Magazine Interview

 

Interview: Kee Chang
Photography: Simen Skari 

 

Norway’s Gundelach, a.k.a. Kai Gundelach, released his self-titled debut EP in 2017, which secured him a Pop Album nomination at Spellemannprisen (the Norwegian equivalent to the Grammys). Last week, the DJ-turned-solo artist unveiled his debut LP, Baltus, a thoughtful and inspired collection of tracks that continues to showcase his Nordic-noir sensibilities and haunting, falsetto vocals. It’s infused with undeniable feeling that’s sincere and melodies that are unshakably catchy. And while deeply introspective lyrics set to gloom-tinged, dreamy synth-pop is nothing new, most other artists use blunt chisels on big slabs—Gundelach is working in scrimshaw. Among the LP’s stable of uncommonly spectacular tracks, “Duck Hunting” and “Past the Building” are sonic checkpoints that seem to do this still-infant artist on the rise most justice. Just don’t expect confetti canons. Baltus is a porcelain sorrow.

 

FAULT: Is Gundelach a common surname in Norway? How often do you get asked about your moniker?

Gundelach: It’s not common at all, actually. Even Norwegian journalists ask me that same question. It’s a German/Danish name. I don’t come from a German family, but I guess there were some ancestors.

 

FAULT: Maybe we can start with your most recent single off Baltus: “Past the Building” featuring ARY.

Gundelach: That track means a lot to me. It came together quite quickly. ARY and I had just gotten to know each other in the studio. I helped her with some of her tracks and she helped me with some of mine. I feel like we make a pretty good team writing the lyrics and the melodies. The track is about relationships that are a bit toxic. I think it’s the only track that I listen to pretty regularly after finishing the album.

FAULT: So “Past the Building” came together pretty fast. Is that usually the case?

Gundelach: It’s really different for every track. When you write with another person like that, you don’t sit for a long time and wonder whether what you wrote is good or not because you get confirmation right away, you know? If you sit with someone that you respect musically and that person says, “That’s a really good melody,” you don’t have to listen to it over and over again for days, which can happen if I write alone.

 

FAULT: Going way back now, your first-ever single in Scandinavia was “Alone in the Night.” It’s another “melancholic daydream” as you’ve describe your sound in your own words. What inspired that cut?

Gundelach: I was pretty heartbroken at the time. The premise of that song is about the feeling you have when you’re in love with someone, but you don’t know if the feeling is mutual anymore. It’s that place where you kind of know it isn’t, but you’re too afraid to ask so you go around thinking all these dark thoughts. I had this studio just outside of Oslo at the time. I was just sitting in the studio by myself and I had just figured out how I wanted to make music, which I had been trying to figure out for three to four years.

 

FAULT: In every relationship, there’s one person who loves the other person more. It’s devastating, isn’t it?

Gundelach: I’ve thought about this a bunch of times. It’s not always a bad thing, though, because it can turn from one side to the other. But it is always one person that loves the other person at least a little bit more.

 

FAULT: On the second-ever track you released called “Spiders,” I know you started with long chords, improvised vocal melody, and then wrote the lyrics. Is that a natural progression for you with songs?

Gundelach: Yeah, that’s kind of my go-to method for writing because I tend to improvise in gibberish. I almost always start with the arrangement of instruments to have two bars or something and then improvise over that in gibberish English. I think that’s pretty cool because, when you sing in gibberish like that, subconsciously, you always say some words that are really good. If you let yourself improvise, you don’t have time to overthink stuff. Then I build the lyrics around those words. I really like working like that.

 

FAULT: When something big unexpectedly happens—when Pharrell plays “Spiders” on Beats 1–does that feel like a seismic event? Does it ripple out into other opportunities in a way that’s very cause and effect?

Gundelach: Of course it’s always cool when stuff like that happens and I remember that particular instance really well. I was in Berlin. I had been clubbing the night before. My phone rang and it was my manager saying that I had to turn on the radio because Pharrell is playing my song. Of course that’s huge. But I don’t know how much it did for me. I got exposed to new listeners, I guess. For me, and for many other artists also, when stuff like that happens—when you get confirmed for a really cool festival—it’s always cool, but you’re also thinking about the next thing. I wish it wasn’t always like that. I wish you could just appreciate the cool things that happen in your life, instead of thinking about what your next goal is. It’s like buying a Porsche and then sitting in that Porsche thinking about wanting a Ferrari or something.

 


FAULT: What do you remember from your earliest days performing live and transitioning out of DJing?

Gundelach: That was pretty intense because, even though I had been making music for quite a few years, I shared it with almost no one. I was in the Oslo club community and culture through DJing and knew a lot of music people that knew I made music, but they hadn’t heard it. I was just so nervous. You couldn’t talk to me at all for two hours before I would play. I just remember being super uncomfortable. Now it’s something I can control. And I guess I say that but yesterday I performed on live radio and chocked up on the first line of a song. It’s weird when you have to sit down to do an interview and talk in a low voice like I am now and then have only ten seconds before you have to perform. Your voice isn’t warmed up at all. It went fine, though. I didn’t stop the song or anything. I just came in wrong, I guess.

 

FAULT: If anything, I think that makes you more relatable to people listening in. It’s disarming and human.

Gundelach: They told me that same thing after the show. It’s true. I guess if you choke up and you’re unable to perform at all, that’s not very good, but if you have a bad start and you get really into it by the end, you’re golden. As you say, it’s a human thing. People see that you’re just a dude trying to sing a song.

 

FAULT: I know there was a tragedy in your personal life when you flew to New York City to record the EP in 2015. [Editor’s Note: Kai learned upon arriving in the city that his friend back home committed suicide.) Did you find that colouring the material you had already been working on in a different way?

Gundelach: It’s crazy. I had worked out the songs before I got there. When that happened, the only thing that felt right was to be in that studio and just record. It was so weird and scary and everything. Suddenly, all those songs had a different meaning to them. It definitely coloured the whole thing. When you’re emotional, that affects your singing—you hear it in the voice. That was an intense experience.

FAULT: Music entered your life early it seems. You were making music for six years by the time you went public. You sang in children’s theatre at age nine. You learned guitar at ten. As you said, you were nervous to share your work, so what opened up that possibility? Did it become a necessity for you?

Gundelach: The thing is, it wasn’t necessarily that I was nervous. It was just that I wanted to be good enough before I put anything out there. I think a lot of artists I know maybe jumped into it a bit too quickly because they had some demos and a manager reached out to them or a record label reached out. I just wanted to be good enough at the craft before I released anything so I could have control in both the production and the way it’s presented to the public. I wanted to have creative control so I waited until I felt I was ready. But then I guess I wasn’t because you’re never ready. You have to jump into it at some point.

 

FAULT: Do you think a lot of DJs have the desire—sometimes the secret desire—to make original music?

Gundelach: I do think a lot of DJs have the desire. But most of them want to make club music because they’re in that scene. That’s what was different with me, I guess. I didn’t want to make club music necessarily. I wanted to make music that’s quieter than what I’m putting out now honestly. In the beginning, my songs were just acoustic guitar and maybe one synth. It was really mellow. Then I started adding drum machines. I got more interested in analog gear and hardware. It was a natural progression to introduce that into the music. I guess I had a really different dream for myself when I was DJing because I didn’t want to be playing clubs. I wanted to play stages and nice rooms, and to have a live thing with a band. It’s different.

 

FAULT: Can you tell me about this unique work experience from your past where you, from what I understand, sang to old people as a sort of therapy? It really underscores music’s capacity to heal.

Gundelach: I felt a bit underqualified for the job. But I felt like I got enough from it on a personal level because it was really important work. I had a great time with those people. They were mostly demented people. You would be sitting there having a normal conversation with one of them and they would start over and over again. They’re just living in a loop, you know? It’s a bit scary. Music has this function where it allows the brain to remember. They suddenly “wake up” when they hear music from their past. I couldn’t play everything on the piano. I had to learn all these old songs and it took up too much time for me to continue so I didn’t have the job for that long. But it was really meaningful to me at the time.

FAULT: Do you still have ambitions to act? I know that’s been a part of your narrative as well.

I do, yeah. My synth player’s girlfriend is actually a renowned director here in Norway and she asked me a couple of times to come and try out stuff with acting. I haven’t gotten any parts yet, but I’m not really working to get them either. If the right project is there for me in the future, I would love to. It’s also a bit scary to jump back on the horse after not having done it in such a long time, I guess.

 

FAULT: Where do you find yourself pulling a lot of inspiration from, apart from music?

Gundelach: I’m not reading so much right now, but I tend to read a lot. There’s this Norwegian author that you should check out named Kjell Askildsen. He’s the master of short stories in Norway, but he’s also pretty acclaimed worldwide. I have all of his stories. I sometimes read to get into the headspace that I want to be in—not the authors’ necessarily, but into the headspace of the literature. The same goes for Oscar Wilde and Hemingway. That’s a good way to get into the right mood to write music, for me at least.

FAULT: What new challenges did you face while working on Baltus? Did it feel very different in the studio?

Gundelach: It did because this was the first time where I was the main producer and it’s my first album. I had a technician who also co-produced some stuff, but mainly, I worked as the one producer and that was really different. We also had a kind of deadline that was long so it was really intense. It was every day, all day type of thing in a room with no windows in this huge building. We had to go up to the roof at least every third hour to get some light so you could feel that it was daytime. And since this is an album, I really wanted to make it a cool listening experience from beginning to end. I worked super hard on the tracklist. There’s one song called “Control” that we worked on for a week, but all the other songs were a lot quicker and I liked that. I hate it when you can’t figure out one section of a song and you end up changing it like 12 times. You get so sick of the song and end up hating it, you know? Sometimes it feels good to start on the right path and then you can just finish it pretty quickly. I’m happy with the result.

 

FAULT: Deadlines can be good, too, right? With anything creative, you could conceivably work on it forever.

Gundelach: That’s true. Deadlines are really important. It’s a really good thing.

 

FAULT: Are you excited to go back on tour soon?

Gundelach: I’m really excited, but I’m a bit terrified as well because we’re going to some European cities that I’ve never played before. I just hope that people come to the shows. I’m trying to have a bit of a different set-up to make stuff even more organic and depend less on backing tracks by bringing more hardware onstage. It’s an overwhelming project right now, but I think It’s going to be really nice in the end.

 

FAULT: I found a YouTube clip of you performing in the cabin of a plane. That had to be a weird experience.

Gundelach: I think that’s one of the weirdest things I’ve done in my life. If I got asked again, I would say no because it was super awkward. Those people hadn’t signed up for any concert. You’re just standing up there with really shitty speakers. But it was kind of cool as well, I guess. They paid pretty well so that was nice.

 

FAULT: And lastly, what is your FAULT?

Gundelach: Oh, shit—my fault… It’s my fault that I play too much computer games right now. I’m really into that stuff nowadays. It tends to eat a lot of my time, which should be spent on planning this tour.

 

FAULT: Which games are you playing?

Gundelach: I’m playing this game called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. I play Counter-Strike as well.

 

Baltus is out now. For more information on Gundalech, visit www.gundelachmusic.com

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