Student musician celebrates release of first album

By: 

Lifestyle Reporter
AJ Gatley, marketing sophomore, poses Feb. 11. Gatley performs vocals and instrumentation on his original music.

A Texas State student released his first extended play (EP) album this semester under the project name Native Prix.

AJ Gatley, Texas State marketing sophomore, 19, has been playing instruments and singing ever since he can remember. He recently began taking his music more seriously.

“When I was 14, I made my first demo, but this is like the first legit album I’ve made so far,” Gatley said.  

Gatley said the release date for his album, entitled Recreated Dreams, holds a special meaning.

“I decided to release my album on Jan. 31 in memory of my dad,” Gatley said. “He passed away on that day about 10 years ago, so it felt like a good day.”

Gatley wrote each song on the album in addition to playing drums, guitar, keyboard and bass.

“I played all of the instruments and sang the backup and lead vocals,” Gatley said. “I’d describe my music as just alternative. It ranges from punk rock to indie electronic.”

Gatley’s musical talent grew from participating in his church band and playing backup guitar for his grandfather.

“I was given my first guitar around five or six,” Gatley said. “My family is very musical. They grew up having their own musical projects as well.”

Gatley’s main goal when producing Recreated Dreams was to develop a connection with his audience by writing music people could relate to on a personal level.

“I like to think that the album has an introspective feel to it,” Gatley said. “I wrote a lot of the songs while going through the stuff everyone goes through at this age.”

Nico Thomas, marketing sophomore and Gatley’s friend, enjoyed the album.

“It’s just feel-good music,” Thomas said. “It’s like comfort food.”

Gatley said the inspiration for his music came from a variety of popular rock and electronic rock bands.

“I go through music phases, but lately I’ve been really inspired by Awolnation,” Gatley said. “Also the band Say Anything—the front man of Say Anything was a huge inspiration for me when I started listening to punk rock bands.”

Gatley collaborated with an artist through the website Fiverr to create the album cover for Recreated Dreams. The website is a marketplace for freelance artists, some of whom specialize in album art.

“After looking around a lot for the right person to do the cover art, I found someone from Malaysia that did this really cool pattern art,” Gatley said. “I had a doodle for the concept I came up with in class, sent it to him and he made it awesome.”

Gatley enjoys performing for open mic nights and other venues.

“As far as live shows go, I want to really transport this style of music that I’ve created into an awesome live show,” Gatley said.

Gatley has complied a four-piece band to play with in future shows.

“Fate fell into place when some of the musicians I’ve met around town moved right across the street from me,” Gatley said. “We jam really coherently, and I just got a good vibe from them.”

Gatley said bringing together emotion, melody and lyrics is one of the hardest things a musician has to do.

“There’s a certain sound that I really want to show to people and convey with my music,” Gatley said. “I’m working on that and getting better at it with every song I record.”

Randy Baccus, finance junior, has noticed improvements in Gatley’s sound over the past year.

“He’s always working really hard and is very dedicated,” Baccus said. “We are proud of him. He’s doing great things with Native Prix.”

Gatley hopes to reach more people with his music in the future.

“My whole life I’ve always had a personal connection with music,” Gatley said. “I hope I can get even one person to feel that way when they listen to my stuff.”