"Emotions really affect the sound that comes out," NYC artist GABI says of her voice in our FADER Mix interview. "The way your breath moves through your body, chest and mouth." To celebrate the recent release of her debut artist album Sympathy, out now on Oneohtrix Point Never's Software label, GABI has put together a FADER Mix that brings together remarkable voices—both human and instrument—from both sides of the Atlantic. It's a stirring collection designed to soundtrack weekend wandering. Listen below, and scroll down to find out how GABI looks after her voice and why she's obsessed with Virginia Woolf.
Where are you right now? Please describe your surroundings. I'm in my apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn—my living room, where lots of the music on the album was first written. There are lots of plants, portraits of unknown people my housemate found on the side of the road, and a painting of a giant clown head smiling and waving at me. I'm surrounded by my music equipment: a full size keyboard, an auto harp, an Irish harp, a gong, bells, my looping pedals and two kinds of tambourines.
Tell us a bit about your mix—what do you imagine people doing while listening to it? Traveling. The tracks move in and out of many different textures and headspaces. I like to put songs back to back that are so completely different from each other in form and yet have a certain commonality through feeling or gesture.
What's the best bit of advice you were given during your musical education? My piano teacher for the duration of my childhood was named Peg Lenard and she was amazing. She really inspired me to devote my life to music. There were Christmas decorations all-year-round in her house where we had the weekly lessons. She had curly blond hair, a bright round face and just really reminded me of Mrs. Claus. She told me over and over again, "whatever happens in your life you will always have your music." She passed away when I was just in middle school and I was devastated, but I've never forgotten those words because its true—things come and go but your music can be an anchor, it can hold you together.
Where did the seed for your debut album, Sympathy, spring from? I think the seed for this album came from me discovering my voice as an instrument and then creating a sound palate for it to live inside of. I've had a vision for this project since I was a child and over the years I've been getting closer and closer to what I really want to be saying with my music. This is the closest I've ever been!
How do you look after your voice? My voice is my baby! No, really. I admit to falling into the cliché of the neurotic singer sometimes. It's hard when your instrument is your body. It means that you have to take care of yourself, think of how environments affect your voice and what makes your voice happy. The most important thing though is to be chill and relaxed because a relaxed body means relaxed beautiful vocal chords. Emotions really affect the sound that comes out—the way your breath moves through your body, chest and mouth.
And finally, what's the last book you read that had a big impact on you and why? The Waves by Virginia Woolf. I've always been obsessed with her: her gloominess, her sentimentality. I love how her sentences are always so long—they just run on and on. Sometimes one sentence takes up a whole paragraph, but it never feels excessive it always feels necessary—her wandering ebbs and flows.
1. Zeena Parkins - Love Letter
2. Arvo Part - De Profundis
3. Cocteau Twins - Ivo
4. Phantom Orchard - Inquisitive Fingers
5. Arthur Russell - All-Boy All-Girl
6. Lykke Li - Sadness Is A Blessing
7. Oneohtrix Point Never - Boring Angel
8. Maja S.K. Ratkje - Wintergarden
9. Daniel Wohl and Transit - Corpus
10. Mutual Benefit - Advanced Falconry
11. Caribou - Silver