Q&A with enigmatic producer and DJ Gab Jr.

We spoke to electronic music producer and DJ Gab Jr about his latest release Body Connection EP released on 28 June 2024 via Automatic Writing. The French artist divulges about some of his early musical influences, his artistic process as well as the inspiration behind the EP.

Hi Gab Jr., thanks for taking to talk with us here at Echo Room. For those who may be unfamiliar with your music, who are you, what kind of music do you make and where do you make it from?

Hi Echo Room, thanks for having me on your platform. My name is Yoan, Gab jr, I was born in Paris and raised in the South of France near Nice. I’m a DJ and I produce electronic music. My connection with music started when I was 12 years old, I had to stop doing sport because I got sick, and music was a way to express myself. I got my first guitar, learned how to play and started to write my first melodies on Guitar Pro as soon as I got my first laptop.

Electronic music came a bit later, when I had my first nightclub experience. Then a friend showed me Ableton Live, and it just blew my mind. I have been using it non-stop for 17 years now. 90% of the music I make is “music to dance to”, mostly House and Tech-House, but I also like to play around with different styles and rhythms. I have a little home studio in Paris where I make most of my productions, but I also love composing music sitting on a sofa with only my laptop.

Your new EP Body Connection is out via the Automatic Writing label, we’ve been very much enjoying it here at the Echo Room HQ. Could you tell us a little more about this EP specifically. The opening track is called ‘This Is House’ which I think hints towards the aesthetic direction of the music, but can you expand more on its creation?

Thank you, glad you like it 🙂

This EP is my fourth solo release on Automatic Writing. I usually send tracks to the guys and they select their favorite ones. Darween played ‘This is House’ many times in his sets and at different venues, and it received a great reaction from the crowd. For me, this track is kind of a House anthem. I made it for a live act at a festival. I found that vocal sample “This is house” and thought about making something out of it.

I made a 909 beat with the MPC, created the main bassline with Access Virus Ti2 and the Organ bass with a Korg M1 plug-in. Then I started looking for other vocals that could fit, added Fx and layered drums, pitched reverse sample for the break part layered with a korg polysix FX, and I finished the track by adding this cherry on top, funky lead sample.

The press release also mentions that this EP is somewhat of a divergence from your usual musical style and a new direction for you in contrast to your previously more minimal sounding productions. Could you share with us a little about your roots in electronic music, your earlier productions and how you reached the point you’re at now?

My roots in electronic music started with French Touch (Daft Punk for sure, Vitalic, The Hacker). This music style was, in a way, similar to Rock music, which I was listening to when I was younger. But it’s when I started going to nightclubs, that I really started discovering a lot more diversity of genres and artists. I can say that labels such as Perlon or Playhouse really inspired my earlier productions. I loved their minimal aesthetics of sound and this is probably why people know me for my Minimal/ House side. Since I moved to Paris, my knowledge of music increased through going to record shops and parties etc… I bought new synths and drum machines which gave me other tools to play with, and this is why my music naturally evolved to what it is now.

The second track on the EP, Body Connection, features a psychedelic vocal collaboration with somebody called Lourene. Could you share with us the concept behind this production and the vocals that are used?

Lourene is a Brazilian artist that I like a lot. She writes poems and records herself reciting them. Her vocals are always good material to work with and get inspiration from! We have been working together for a while now, and I’m happy we officially released this track. 

While listening to one of her poems called Body, the idea came to me that I could pick up and isolate those words : “body connection, expression” in order to make a track with a flow that would express the connection of bodies through expression. I imagine people dancing or making love. The artwork of the release made by Stephane (aka Darween) perfectly represents this idea too.

It appears you have a long standing relationship with Automatic Writing, releasing your debut EP with the label back in 2016. Could you tell us how you come came to meet this Parisian crew and grow this on-going relationship. Maybe you could also share with us what you feel makes this label so appealing for you to release your music with?

I met Nicolas (co-founder of Automatic Writing with Darween and Jacan) back in 2013 while he was studying in Nice. At that time, I was in a crew called Les Diamantaires, we were hosting parties in a small warehouse and I invited him to join. We had a great time and few months later, he booked me in Paris for one of their events. That’s where I met all three of them and we became great friends.

Darween and Jacan wanted to launch Automatic Writing, and we started releasing my music on the label. Since then, we have played many gigs together, created parties and did a South America Tour in 2019 which was a great experience. I feel it’s a perfect label to release my music on because we understand each other. They are really passionate about music and they’ve been supporting me since the very beginning. 

What were some of your earliest influences in electronic music, could you share with us one track from YouTube or another music source that you would cite as life changing record or a turning point for your infatuation with electronic music.

Before listening to dance music I’ve been a fan of labels such as Ninja Tune or Warp Records and artists like Cinematic Orchestra, Massive Attack, Bonobo, Aphex Twin…but I think my early influences in electronic music go back to 2007/2008 when I moved to London for work. I experienced lots of clubs, like Fabric, and that’s where I really discovered club culture.

At this time I was listening to many labels such as Minus, Desolat, Defected Records, PlayHouse, Perlon and was really inspired by artists like Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Martin Buttrich and Zip.

There are so many records which come to mind right now, but let me pick up this TRACK from Martin Buttrich which is my Madeleine de Proust.

Also to bring us into the present and the future, could you maybe share with us one track from one particular producer you’re currently finding to be particularly special for you personally?

Again, too many come to mind, but if I had to pick one, you can check Paul Tellimerg aka DJ Immortal. I really love his music. It’s fresh, original, and he has great music culture and a strong love for music production. HERE is one of his live sets, check him out 🙂

Top three tips for visitors to Paris? What should we see, eat, drink or anything else that’s if your must do list for a short layover in the French capital?

  • Go for a walk, and have a great digging afternoon at Yoyaku, 14 Boulevard de la Chapelle, 75018 Paris or at Syncrophone, 4 rue des Taillandiers, 75011 Paris.
  • End up at any Automatic Writing party 😉

Lastly, what does the future hold for Gab Jr.? Any special releases or gigs you can share with us? Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.

I have other releases coming out this year. There will be another track with Lourene called ‘Vibration’ on the first VA record on the Suave Collectif Soundsystem imprint. They’re great guys to follow. They’re manufacturing audio speakers used in some of the best events in the South of France.

I’m currently mixing and mastering my first LP to be released on Positive Future around September or October. I’m really looking forward to this one because it’s also different from what I used to release. Thanks again Echo Room for this chat, see you guys. 

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