Closing the year for us is Gift of The Gab, a Drum and Bass and Jungle DJ from London, England. She is also the founder of Phase Records, a new drum and bass record label that gives opportunities to up and coming DJs and producers. Gab loves all kinds of DnB, and having been to loads of raves & festivals, she also loves the scene and the community that comes with it. Talking about her label, she mentions her aspirations for Phase are to keep growing it as a respected & established label. And for her - to tour the world and play music to as many people as possible and to become a solid producer.
We had a chat with her - about what she has been upto, her music journey so far, future plans and a few other things. And we also have an exclusive mix which is a real feel-good one, a jungle and rollers mix full of old and new tunes, dubs, and most importantly - positivity and light. Gab says, this is the vibe she has been feeling lately, and after a hard 2020 for everyone, she wanted to produce a mix that can make us skank at the same time - hit play right away!
1. When & how did the DnB journey begin for you, and what’s it been like so far?
A - My Dnb journey started as a Jungle journey. My dad is a vinyl collector with all sorts in his collection, so I grew up around all sorts of music genres but I would always be dancing to the jungle beats he would play. As I grew older, I discovered Chase & Status, Aphrodite, the Playaz label and jump up. I played drums since the age of 10 years old and my drum teacher always got me to play over Drum and Bass tunes because I liked things loud and fast haha! However, it wasn’t until University that I really got to explore all different avenues of drum and bass and I have my friends to thank for this! I don’t think my appreciation would have grown into the obsession my love for drum and bass is now without them! The first time I ever touched a pair of decks was all thanks to one of my mates who bought his own controller and begged me to try giving them a spin. All it took was one go on them for me to fall in love! The rest… as they say… is history.
2. How did the artist name ‘Gift Of The Gab’ come around? A - I wanted something unique and original that was also a play on words with my real name – Gabrielle. ‘Gift of The Gab’ is a saying which means you speak well and persuasively, and I’ve always been told I have this particular gift. I also worked in recruitment for a year and having the ‘Gift of The Gab’ in any sales role is an essential! It just sort of fitted together well. It get’s shortened sometimes to ‘Gift’ or ‘Gifta’ and most people call me Gab anyway.
3. We absolutely love the effortless vibe & energy that you sets/performances carry, tell us a little more about the approach when it comes to your mixing style? A - Thank you! I like to pick a vibe or a feeling/emotion and go with that when I approach a new set or mix. Sometimes, all it takes is listening to one new track and then I’ll get crazy amounts of inspiration. My one rule is: if I don’t love it, I won’t play it! Sometimes I freestyle, sometimes I am a bit more organised. It really does depend. The energy I bring, the dancing, the gun fingers, the bass face… I can’t help that at all! That’s just what DnB does to me and I hope people like watching me love what I’m mixing. If you’re having fun, you’re 50% of the way there already.
4. You’re the co-founder at ‘Phase Records’, what’s the idea behind it?
A - When I lost my job at the start of the pandemic, I took it as a sign that it was time to focus on what I love the most and what makes me truly happy – DnB. Just before UK lockdown, I started to speak almost everyday to my Premonition boys. Their work ethic and their drive inspired me massively to keep finding other talented people that needed opportunities and a break through. My best friend and Co-Founder @dolapofilm was also a huge inspiration to me- she pushed me to recognise my people skills as well as creative mind. We work on the label together and she is our official photographer. She also helps me handle things whenever they become overwhelming. Originally, I launched my brand as “Elevation” back in August with the plan to just be an online streaming platform for up and coming DJ’s and producers to have a chance to display their talents to the world. We rebranded as ‘Phase Records’ once we started to grow and gain more residents. The vision now is to be an inclusive Drum and Bass label where we celebrate all sub genres of DnB, look out for us in 2021! Expect free EP’s, plenty of resident/guest mixes, merchandise, official releases and live shows once events are allowed back on. I’ve got a great team of people all with their own strengths, tastes and dreams.
Phase Residents: Premonition, Ghosthardware, Inspektah, Rej3k, Shelli B, Lucidik, SWID, Jamurai, Frizz, R3idy, Tofa, T, Hedone & Tusk.
5. Please shed some light on ‘Limitless’, the all-female entertainment label that you’re involved with. Any thoughts on the gender gap in the DnB scene?
A - Limitless is run by Hedone and T. I am a resident DJ for this label. Two great girls with a lot of talent, determination and energy. Originally, they offered me a residency but it grew into a friendship and very strong working partnership. They are both also resident DJ’s for Phase Records! They have an all-female resident family but are inclusive when it comes to their events and collaborations. We recently brought both our brands together for a collab stream event called “A Limited Phase” and it was easily the most exciting thing Phase has done so far. Hedone, T and myself have loads of plans for the future. Not just to go b2b but to also keep our brands working very closely together. We actually have a new event project we are working on and this which will start in January, so definitely keep a look out for what’s to come there. I have zero doubt in my mind that Limitless will continue to grow and do great things. Personally, cannot wait for everything that they will achieve and I feel blessed to be part of their journey!
In regards to the gender gap… I mean… that exists everywhere right? Not just in DnB. DJ Rap and Kyrist are two women I’ve looked up to for a long time in the scene and for me – they are two of the best to ever do it. We have been massively underrepresented but I see that changing. Look at the rise of Kaz, Kara, Harriet Jaxxon, Flava D, Bad Habbitz.. I could go on and on really because now the list is huge! The girls are here to stay that’s for sure and I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more girls on line ups! I think the gender gap closing in DnB is a great thing for the scene, more music to enjoy right?! And it gives more girls someone to look up to whom they can relate to.
6. You mentioned that you want to get into production in the near future, is something in the pipeline? Have you been working on something?
A - I’ve pretty much just started learning really… I definitely want to be putting out my own tunes but also understand that perfection takes time! When it comes to the production, I refuse to put anything out that isn’t the best it can be. I know it’s a long road and I will have to be patient. But yes! It’s coming! It’s quite funny actually, I have loads of voice notes on my phone of myself beatboxing different drum pattern ideas and I already have loads of ideas… I guess it’s about seeing how these ideas will come into being. At the moment I’m just working on getting to know the software, learning about arrangement and taking on all advice offered to me by people who know what they’re doing. Could take years, but I’m here for it!
7. 5 tune you are digging at moment?
A - 1. Screen Mesh – T>I
2. Gobsmacker – Warhead
3. Bongo Lover – Disrupta
4. Break the Ice – Duskee and T95
5. Steppa Dub – L-Side and MC Fats.