by Movement Correspondent Reisa Shanaman
It has been a year of monumental success for Gabi, the most recent addition to our Resident DJ roster, since she made her Movement Festival debut last May. She has been billed alongside the likes of Matthew Dear, Derrick Carter, Lee Foss, Carl Craig, tINI and Cassy, and was recently spotlighted in Red Bull Music Academy’s feature, “Young Detroit.” Having dreamt of playing Movement since she was 12, it took 15 years of desire and determination before it became a reality.
With a background as a singer, pianist and saxophonist, Gabi purchased her first turntables as a teenager. Of the cheap, belt-driven Numarks she says, “They were so shitty, but I didn’t care. I just kept going and kept doing it because I loved it and I loved music so much.” She remembers going to The Works at 18, where she was especially inspired by a set Magda played, and describes it as mind-blowing to now fill that role for others: “It freaks me out, in a way, that I have fans. A girl came up to me at The Works after the last time I played [there]. She was this young girl, and she said ‘Oh my god, you’re Gabi! You’re so inspiring.’ I was in shock and close to tears, because I remember being that [girl].”
Feeling the added pressure that often accompanies attention, Gabi always tries to keep her public image positive. In her eyes, “Negativity, no matter how funny you are, no matter how right you are, [it] always looks bad. You’re always going to be upsetting someone. And if you upset even one person, you’ve already failed.”
Innately intuitive, she tells us about her uncanny ability to sense what others are thinking or feeling purely by picking up on their energy. Channeling this power in her work, Gabi uses it to her advantage at gigs, where reading the crowd is paramount. “You have to take the energy from the people into yourself, magnify it, and then send it back out through the music. It’s amazing to do that,” she explains.
Describing herself as “a completely different person” than a year ago, and feeling as if she’s grown wings since, Gabi now lives downtown for the first time, an exciting experience for the 26-year-old artist. She recognizes that calling Detroit home is good to have on your side as an electronic musician: “You get automatic respect. You’re here carrying on this tradition that has been set down for you by these masters of vibrations, these masters of this type of music.”
So what was it like to finally reach her goal of playing Movement? “It was everything I ever wanted…and it happened in the most amazing way. It went off without a hitch. It was so much fucking fun. The sun was out; I got to play the Made In Detroit Stage, and [I was] the first thing that anyone heard that day. It was the best time of my life. And now I get to do it again!”