Catching up with Shelf Nunny [Interview]
Photo Credit: Sketch at left done by Shelf Nunny, rest of collage by Bochi Crew
We had the chance to catch up this week with Christian Gunning, otherwise known as Shelf Nunny about his newest release, Dream Album. To start we asked some simple either or questions that can illuminate a lot about a man. They are as follows:
Beyonce or Rihanna?
Shelf Nunny: "Obviously Beyonce. It's not only girls that love beyonce MMMk? and plus, Rihanna's just got way to big of a forehead for me to take her seriously"
Norcal or SoCal?
SN: "Norcal's a lot less stressful then Socal."
Gandalf or Dumbledore?
SN: "I use to think they were the same actor for so long. and honestly… they're both the same to me."
Ronald McDonald or the Hamburglar?
SN: "No comment"
Fixed gear, single speed, or ten speed bike?
SN: "Single Speed. I'm a simple man."
Skateboard or BMX?
SN:" Skateboarding cooler cause people rap about it and stuff…"
Make of these responses what you will. I wish I was a personality test expert and I could spell out clear as day what it meant to choose Ronald over the Hamburglar or neither. Alas, it is for you to decide as is the meaning of Shelf Nunny's moniker. Gunning was initially cajoled into adopting it by his bud Oliver Nickell, or Tree.
"The origin of the name is really still a mystery. I use to have Myspace accounts as Shelf the music, shelf this, and shelf that. Shelf Nunny was one of many but somehow it stuck around. Tree had been calling me Nunny every time I saw him regardless of my name at the time, and same with other kids I'd known for a while. But as for its meaning. It's up for interpretation."Some noticeable EPs have dropped over the past couple of weeks and many more will be in the coming weeks. Among these has been the Dream Album from our favorite Santa Cruz beatsmith, Shelf Nunny. Christian Gunning has found himself among good company at Sleepy Beach Records where he has proven to be a serial collaborator. Gunning embraces these moments of collaboration as "working with someone you get to try and capture both of your ideas and therefore learn new approaches every time." Foremost among these collaborations have been those with Tree and fellow Sleepy Beacher, Holm. Gunning described the natural rhythm that him and Tree fall into when working together, experiencing a natural give and take.
"The first song we made was "Tully" and basically I had this beat I made and I sent it over to him asking if he'd rap on it. I'd seen his stuff and knew of him and honestly didn't think he'd like it. But sure enough the next morning I get a message that he'd been up all night working on it, and he got his girlfriend at the time to sing the hook on it. We pretty much hit it off after that and made a bunch of songs about the same girl cause he broke up with her right after that pretty much and she was on his mind a lot at the time so it was good raw material to write about."With a host of releases and collaborations under his belt, Shelf Nunny moved forward, focusing his attention on Dream Album. The EP boasts Nunny's hallmark crunchiness that makes him a standout in a world inundated with producers. Often times the story of how an artist has crafted their sound is equally as fascinating and bizarre as the sound itself. The Nunny crunch derives from sources as diverse as his "girlfriends family's Gamala collection (indonesian bells)" and then "this beautiful recording of shaking this pill bottle next to my microphone, which I used as hi hats." Showing a sense of humor, Gunning contemplated copyrighting this.
"Well Dream Album was essentially like a dream. I had no idea where it was going and didn't rush any of the songs. I was just in this creative zone and made the whole album in less than 2 months . Most the songs just came to me.It's probably the most sentimental album I've ever made, cause each song was a beautiful experience I can remember clear as day. So I thought it was only fit to call it Dream Album."The album art done by animator Dan Meth fittingly captures the fantasy of the album. Gunning discovered Smith through his work with Pitchfork animated re-telling of Big Boi's misadventures on the road (the stories are good for a laugh and can be found here). As the album art is pleasant on the eyes, Dream Album is easy on the ears. A mellow listen for sure, it plays through seamlessly. The standout tracks are "I feel So Good About Myself" and "Renee Graziano" ft. Holm.
The album closes out with a track titled, "I Finally Made It." Yes you did Shelf Nunny, you finally made it. Beginning as a rapper known as Superman Fast and transitioning to one of the most genuine and especial producers in the game, in our humble opinion. When asked what the future holds, he responded, "The future holds, An Emmy Every year, Multiple Grammys, No shortage of confidence, Me hitting up everyone in the music industry to collab, and I dunno, maybe soulja boy will remix me, and riff raft will get a tattoo of me. I dunno. I like to dream big."
Stream the album from the Sleepy Beach Soundcloud and download it while you are at it!