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Gabi Gamberg: Bringing the Heat to the NYC Music Scene

Up-and-coming singer/songwriter, Gabi Gamberg’s EP Crisis Kit embraces the beauty of heavy melancholy and vulnerability. Crisis Kit shows off their struggles of reflection and survival. Gabi expresses, in the EP, processing their emotions on how their teenage self felt and how that reflects now. The best songwriters create songs that can be interpreted in different ways, which Gabi does easily and makes incredible poetry.

What really got me listening was the simplicity of Gabi's writing. The EP is relatable by describing self-doubt and expectations one can place on themselves, especially during one’s adolescence. Gamberg’s writing is more than just teen angst, Crisis Kit gives them the ability to examine feelings of being wanted. “Where do you think you’re going baby all in a hurry,” they sing in an upbeat tempo that makes it seem like a joyful tune, when not paying attention to the tearful lyrics. Gabi makes listeners comfortable in finding magic in one’s chaos.

Read below to know more about Gamberg's inspirations and possibly plans to direct soon!

This EP may be interpreted as someone who is hurt but it's important to let that emotion show instead of feeling trapped and not be your authentic self. So, I wanted to know, how you use music to express your authentic self while being in this state of depression?

I think the songs I write when I am experiencing a period like that are really the only evidence of my true feelings at the time. A lot of the time, when I am going through something, I don't really realize it until I’m on the other side. I am just so focused on my “survival” it's hard to take a step back and really know the depth of it all. My songwriting can sometimes reflect that process. I think especially when I was writing this EP, I didn't know what a song was about until I finished writing it. And then I’d go, “Oh! That's how I actually feel.” And looking at these songs years later, they kind of solidify the emotions of my 15/16-year-old self. I will say, one of the things I do remember about writing these songs was that they played a big part in my “survival,” they helped me make sense of everything I was feeling. Even if half the lyrics make no sense. So I’m not sure if I ever used music to “express my authentic self” intentionally, so much as I used it to find out what that even was.

I thought it was so creative to make the decision for the song Wednesday to be at #4 in this EP since it's the fourth day of the week. Was that intentional?

No, but it is very interesting that you noticed that. I’m not even sure why I chose Wednesday as the lyric, to be honest… rather than Tuesday or Thursday or something. I don’t think I was that intentional with my lyrics at 15. No discredit to my younger self though, I still love that song.

Do you have any plans to direct a music video? If so, what would that look like?

Yes! Right now I’m deep in recording mode for my next project, but I have big ideas about the music video for a song called “Seed.” I just need access to one of those drivable lawnmowers and some sort of alien plant costume. I want to pop out of the dirt somehow. I haven’t really thought this through, nor do I have any sort of budget. But whatever we end up doing I hope it’s weird.

It's brave that you say the name "Holly" in the last song. Do you think more artists should call out people using their names or not?

Well, I don’t actually know anyone named Holly. I grew up with a giant holly tree right outside of my bedroom window and got the name that way. “Holly” is a real person though. I think if you are going to write a song about someone it is better to change their name unless they gave you permission or they really deserve it. Speaking from experience, having a song written about yourself can be very emotional. Especially if people you know are hearing it, or if the emotions surrounding the song are still fresh. It’s better to create a character, I think, for the sake of everyone involved. “Holly,” was also one of those songs that revealed to me how I was feeling after the fact. And I think using a different name allowed me to be more honest with myself. I’m not sure if I even knew who “Holly” was until I finished the song. I guess it’s up to the writer, and how brutal they are willing to be (or loving, there are pleasant songs you can write about people too).

Out of all the five songs, what was the one that challenged you the most to create?

I think it was actually “Holly.” It was the first one I wrote off the EP. The longer I hold on to a song the harder it gets for me to produce and release it. A similar thing is happening to me right now with my song “Poor Madeline.” I think I had such specific, unmeetable expectations for how I wanted “Holly” to feel. We made a couple of versions of it and kept on changing, adding, and cutting things. Ultimately I got to a point where I had to let it be what it was going to be. Reading the question back I think it’s kind of funny that when I thought of my biggest challenge it was an emotional one. But I think that is fitting for Crisis Kit.

Who's an artist that has written the soundtrack of your life?

This is a hard question. Recently, probably Adrianne Lenker. I like the lens through which she views the world. It makes lots of sense to me and the way I think, maybe more so than any other artist. That could also just be her phenomenal writing. I know a lot of people that would answer the same. But, If you asked me around the time I wrote “Crisis Kit,” I would have said, without a doubt, Frankie Cosmos. Greta Kline does such an amazing job of capturing big emotions with simple words. To me, everything she wanted to convey was so clear. It was tender and earnest. Anyway, I’m not sure if I have lived enough of my life to give a solid answer to this question. My life seems to change a lot.

The last statement Gabi gives is “My life seems to change a lot.” That should be in a song because the relatability of that sentence goes crazy. It’s so true, a lot can change and who knows what direction Gabi might go in next. They stated they are to be in “deep in recording mode” which is exciting to hear. I'm looking forwards to hearing what Gabi writes next!

Written and Interviewed by Daniel Rojas

Photography by Shrithik Karthik

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