For many of us, June 16 was just another Friday. But for Port Alberni’s Phoenix Gates, it was the first step of a brand new career that many dream of.
Gates, who grew up in Port Alberni and is a member of the Ditidaht First Nation, released his debut album across all major music streaming platforms. Titled “INFINITE,” its release has been a goal many years in the making.
“I started playing guitar when I was about 13. Sports didn't interest me. Nothing else really interested me, music always got a hold of me. So that was my, my number one hobby,” explained Gates.
Formerly focusing on rock and roll, “INFINITE” marks a shift in genre for Gates, as he switched to hip-hop for its release, following a new appreciation for more modern artists of the genre.
“I've always liked some of the old school hip hop stuff. But I never really jelled with modern hip hop until about 2019, late 2019. I don't know, I think I just kind of started actually hearing and appreciating some of the modern hip hop of today and it really, really struck a chord with me,” says Gates. “I think at that time I was also looking for something new to listen to in music. And I think that just came by at the perfect time. And I've loved modern hip hop since then.”
Going along with that, Gates cites two major influences as Juice WRLD and Post Malone. But he has not entirely left the world of rock in his past.
“Kurt Cobain is the one who really got me into music and Nirvana was like the biggest, the first biggest band that I was obsessed with growing up. So I would say that those are my top three influences.”
For inspiration, Gates aspires to capture the same energy of the songs he loves, always building on his existing love of music.
“Some of my best writing sessions come from listening to such a good song that I love,” said Gates. “And my songs never really reflect the song that I listen to, to get that spark, but I think the passion shines through because in that feeling, in that moment, I'm like, ‘Man, I gotta make something because I, wanna make something as good as this song that I'm listening to that moves me so much’.”
One such song is track five, “WAITING ON YOU,” which Gates says was inspired by and written after listening to “Die For Me” by Post Malone, featuring Future and Halsey.
In the week since its release, Gates says the feedback he’s been getting has been largely positive. He says that two songs in particular have been standing out to listeners. One of which is extra special for Gates.
“The biggest ones so far are the opening track and the closing track. The opening track because, you know, you can't really listen to a big body of work without listening to the intro. And the closing track features my best friend Madi Duncan,” he said. “To be able to do that was just a whole special thing. And I think we kind of really captured that feeling, that moment, that camaraderie and that track really well. I think that that's the reason why it's been resonating with some people so much.”
Gates says that while this may be just his first real step into the music business, it will not be the last, and he plans to release much more in the future.
“INFINITE” can be listened to on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you listen to your music.