From lo-fi to intrapersonal cracks – Gabus in 10 questions and a live session
Scésar Gecé: When I heard your material the first time it was very difficult for me to name it, the first thing I thought was rap or hiphop, but I also knew that it was not such a thing. On this side I have a personal taste in terms of music that you cannot label, however, everything has labels, proper names or a.k.a. So the first question is how do you refer to these songs that you have made.
Gabus: It was quite complicated for me for a long time to feel comfortable with some definition or label regarding the music I was making. I am aware that the basis of what I do is essentially rap, because there is a constant vocal and lyrical style that is handled in most of my songs, but at the same time there are songs like “Habituándome” or “Solía pensar en ello” They move away completely and seek to experiment with other styles and genres. But for having made or published so far 80% of material that has rap as a base, I think that if I had to define the music I do at the moment, I would define it as fusion / experimental hip-hop.
[Now that you know what Ciudad Grieta is about, we leave you the complete album, for a better delight of these questions and answers made conversations or vice versa]:
SG: Under what conceptual pillars is Ciudad Grieta built?
G: Ciudad Grieta is an album in which I address along 10 songs themes ranging from visions or more intrapersonal problems such as sentimental conflicts, perceptions of loneliness, growth or personal decay; as well as issues that go more to the side of what I observe and experience in the context of my daily life, such as corruption, religion, crime, social hypocrisy, routine exhaustion, etc. So while the album as a whole does not have a concept that extends and intertwines throughout all the songs, it does pretend to be a window through which you can visualize what I feel and observe in the environment of my life personal and the city of Lima that is where I live. And after this is a window in which not very pleasant or positive situations are observed, it is precisely for this reason that I decided to reflect that vision in the title of the album, a city that sinks or that presents a great crack in its reality.
SG: This darkness that we notice in your music, especially in the whispered voice, has it always been? Is it a feature that you have given it over time? How did you come to this way of singing whispering?
G: When I started on this project of making my first album, I had never previously recorded a rap song with my voice, so the process of reaching that tone or vocal style that you mention as whispered was based practically experimenting and even playing with my tones, ranges, timbres and vocal textures until I find a style with which I feel happy to capture in the album.
En si lo que quería era lograr un tono vocal que sea distintivo y que incluso permita que esta voz se perciba como una especie de personaje que va narrando las diferentes temáticas que se abordan a lo largo del álbum. Por lo que fue un estilo vocal que en resumen nació de la experimentación, el afán de lograr algo que sea distintivo y la intensión de que el oyente lo perciba de forma estética o por lo menos interesante.
In itself what I wanted was to achieve a vocal tone that is distinctive and that even allows this voice to be perceived as a kind of character that narrates the different themes that are addressed throughout the album. So it was a vocal style that in short was born from experimentation, the desire to achieve something that is distinctive and the intention that the listener perceives it aesthetically or at least interestingly.
SG: You have made this album in your home and even if it is home-studio it does not sound like a hip-hop lo-fi, or at least it does not sound to me, was this a subject that you were interested, get a sound different from the current trends of DIY?
G: At no time when I started to compose and produce the album, or even that way, I had the intention of doing it under some specific sound / aesthetic pattern or tendency. It was just me with my guitar, my midi controller and my computer trying to make music of the best possible quality. Because if something was clear is that I did not want to be heard or felt like a demo, a model or any initiation work by calling it somehow. I wanted it to be an album with all the lyrics in which I could apply all my knowledge and skills both in terms of composition and production, in order to achieve a job that is heard as professional as possible. Which led me to remix and remaster the album completely a month after its first release, for example, since I really wanted the album to be heard and appreciated by a wider audience that is not only accustomed to lo-fi Hip-hop or freelance jobs with those characteristics.
And I certainly wanted it that way because it is also the type of music that I am most accustomed to hearing and the one I enjoy the most in the same way, that would become music with a good production quality and even if it becomes lo-fi, I am looking for this lo-fi to be something well worked out, that it has an intention or concept behind it and that it is not simply something done in low fidelity just because it does.
SG: In the lyrics I have noticed that you often go from the general to the particular: the first is the Ciudad Grieta that would become Lima or any Latin American city or simply a context of a reality very similar to ours, and what second is Gabus who speaks to himself. Both sides have these pessimistic messages, however, no matter how dark and negative it keeps a harmony for its constant complementation, as if it were a lead singer and his choirs. Tell me a little more about the lyrics and how you put yourself, intimately, as a character in your songs.
G: The lyrics of the album walk between themes and intrapersonal conflicts as well as situations or realities that I can find in my environment and everyday life, from what I can observe in the news one morning having breakfast until what I can think about myself during an early morning of any insomnia.
It is within that range of letters that I also tried to address certain dynamics and narrative techniques that would make all these topics come up in a much more interesting way. As they can be dialogues between two characters in the same situation, first or third person stories, the change of vocal timings in order to reinforce this duality of characters, completely linear narratives as well, and various resources that were also given in a way quite natural during the songwriting process.
In the end, the only thing he intended with it is that the album and the songs gain a greater value at the lyrical level and that the listener can count on the opportunity to put together his own interpretations and stories in his head based on it.
SG: How far did I go in the reflection of the previous question?
G: As far as any artist or performer would like a person to get after hearing their music hahaha
SG: How do you see a live with Gabus, with a poster of rappers ?, pop?
G: I would feel completely satisfied with the fact of making live presentations either for an audience that is there to hear rap, as well as for an audience that is also waiting to hear another kind of proposal more focused on experimentation, alternative or even pop. I feel that although my music may be more attractive for one type of listener than for others, I still consider that it has characteristics that allow it to be well appreciated in scenarios with very different posters.
LIVE SESSION POR PANORAMITY
SG: You told me you were making new material, can you tell us something about that?
G: I can anticipate that it will be an album that seeks to explore new styles and resources both at the lyrical level and at the production level, since I am interested in not being stuck in a formula that remains rigid project after project.
SG: No name?
G: No, none yet.
SG: And finally, the truth is that I don’t have a question to finish, but this tenth can be done by listeners and readers and followers and curious and everyone in general. So, friend, leave your question or comment to Gabus down here or on Facebook or on Instagram or wherever you feel most comfortable, we are grateful that you participate.
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— Panoramity (@Panoramityblog) October 18, 2018