INTERVIEW | 8 BIT, The Man Who Discovered Lady Gaga
If I said the name Rob Fusari, most people might not know who that was, but he has worked with some of the biggest names in the music world (Beyonce, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston) behind some of the biggest hits (Destiny’s Child’s No No No and Bootylicious, Whitney Houston’s Love That Man, Will Smith’s Wild Wild West and Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi) and is the man credited with discovering shy and retiring pop star Lady Gaga.
Now going by the name 8Bit we had a little chat over the phone about the current music scene, the past music scene, Macy Gray, what he is up-to and what it was like to discover, work and fall out with Lady Gaga.
Hey 8, Can you give us a little bio about yourself?
Been making music for 15 yrs now, started as producer, songwriter, my first cut was with a group called Destiny’s Child, my first song I ever had published and recorded was No No No and that got to No.1
That’s a pretty amazing thing to happen for your first ever attempt, that obviously laid out your path for the next 15 years, but what made you take the leap from behind the scenes to in front of the cameras?
I guess the whole transition happened after Gaga in 2006/07, I did a bunch of songs for her 1st album, it was a blessing and a curse, it was definitely a pinnacle for me as a producer & song writer and as someone who developed artists. I had a lot of people all over the world reaching out to me looking for development who wanted to be the “next big thing” and I looked at a lot of artists but nobody really came to me and said “superstar” I didn’t get that feeling that I got with Gaga after meeting her for the first time.
So I went a good solid 2 years maybe more in this kind of limbo stage of where I was supposed to be with this, I was losing sense of the music, I wasn’t inspired, and one day I woke up and just thought I gotta do music just for the sake of doing music, I just need one day to myself. So I wrote a song, I sang it and it just hit me and the clouds had lifted, I could feel the music again and that moment I just knew, I was the artist I was looking for, It head me over the head like a tonne of bricks and it just kinda grew from there. I wanted to incorporate my sense of fashion with my sense of 80’s music, Depeche Mode, Bowie kind of thing.
I started playing a lot of shows, people were digging it and it turned into a bit more of a dance, EDM, pop kind of thing and it just keeps building and morphing from there.
Well, I was gonna ask you what your influences where for your sound, because it’s quite kind of rock, dance, glam and theatrical isn’t it?
Theatrical yeah and yeah that’s the right way to describe, I guess part of it came from growing up with a mother who was very glamorous, who was very Hollywood, she would take me to these shows, her home was decorated in a very Liberace way and she lived this glamorous, glamorous life, so I guess it has trickled down to me, and that’s kinda spilled over into the shows.
You don’t really get that style of music in pop anymore, it’s more sexual, it’s kind of nice to see that come back a little bit!
Totally, and part of that is what inspired me to take this role on, I was doing a session in New York about 2 years back and someone came in and we were talking, he said this one line and it hit me so hard, he goes “back when New York had a pulse” I went “Oh Shit.”
So New York is dead! (laughs) Do you really think that’s true?
I think from certain standpoints, creatively, music speaking it’s pretty dry, it’s all the same, it’s all very hipster, a lot of it feels similar and that’s not what New York ever was. You had your Rock on the Lower East Side, you had Studio 54 and all these different musical cultures.
America seems to really have caught onto the EDM trend, you seem to have finally caught up with dance music, is that a good thing?
I mean yeah, we’re just following you guys now (laughs) we follow now (laughs) but there (UK) everything is the same not many chances are taken, it’s like the record labels out here, they run, crunch the numbers and that’s it now. How many shows, how much did you sell, it’s a business now.
Speaking of shows, I hear you’re touring with Macy Gray?
Yeah man, it’s going to great, it’s going to be an interesting experience. (laughs).
Your sounds are quite different, how do you think the audiences are going to react?
I know! (laughs) It reminds me of when Prince opened for The Stones and yeah the reaction wasn’t great (laughs). He got booed off the stage, people were throwing cans of fruit at him. So yeah quite an odd pairing (laughs).
To be fair, she is quite “out there” her self as a personality, so it kinda matches?
Well she checked the project out, she’s a fan, she personally asked for us, so that’s cool.
Have you met her?
Yeah, she’s awesome, she’s the real deal man.
Onto your name, where did you get 8Bit from?
It came from the audio resolution when I was creating songs, it distorts it, it makes it grainy, it creates an analogue element, I started doing this early on, and kept doing it so it’s just one of my little tricks you know. So I feel like 8Bit, a bit grainy (laughs) Most people just call me 8 now anyway, which I love.
It also sounds like a 90s sitcom name
(Laughter) yeah yeah totally…
Out of everything you produced what is the one thing that you’re most proud of?
It’s something I did with Gaga, called Brown Eyes I just feel like we really captured the moment, when I listen to it, it puts me back into that place, the energy, the creativity and the excitement with her. It feels so 1970’s Beatles, I feel like I nailed it, It doesn’t feel like it was produced, felt like it just came from Gaga herself, which I love.
On the subject of Gaga, what happened?
You know it’s strange, I don’t know when the “breakdown” happened, I’m not ever sure I know, it’s kinda like two people were set on this path to go so far together, and I think in life when we try to fight that, it’s when (you) come into probs and conflict… I guess for me I didn’t want to face that. I wanted to be on that ride for as long as possible.
When she went to Interscope (record label, part of the Universal family), it’s like setting a bird free, and you can’t expect it to fly back, it’s free and it soars. (Gaga) It just happened so big, so fast, it was mayhem, you try to hold on and it just wasn’t meant to be. I feel like we were put on this earth for that brief moment, it was like I’m supposed to find her, find her sound to develop her as much as I could.
So now on the flipside, She was me, she, 8Bit and I was happy with that, but now I’m telling myself to do this for me, I want you eating this, I want you singing this – you know…
It’s good that you seem settled with it now, and it’s good you’ve both made peace.
It’s true, I’m glad I got to meet her, share the project with her, and she is a massive influence on me as an artist, I learned a lot from her, in terms of her personality, stage presence, how she writes and the way she thinks. I would never have gotten here to 8Bit if none of that took place. I would thank her today, I wouldn’t change a thing! ￼
www.carynokey.com & www.facebook.com/CARYNOKEY
From issue 8 of TheGayUK subscribe now and get even more content