Gap Dream (Gabe Fulvimar) recently released his latest project, This is Gap Dream, on Burger Records. It has been noted as his most personal project to date, as he struggled with his own identity as an artist – and as a 35 year old man approaching middle age – within the confines of the Burger Records vinyl warehouse in Fullerton.
Gap Dream has been in existence since 2010, and the Fulvimar (and the project) moved to Fullerton from Ohio in 2012. A ridiculous amount of 50’s, 60’s and 70’s rock inspiration in the sound, there is also the masterful placement of synthesizers and unique sound effects in his work. You definitely can’t capture the art in mere words, so we decided to interview the masterful mind behind the work. But what should have been an interview flowed more like a conversation with an old friend, and we realized – quite quickly – that Gap Dream is an old friend. His music has captivated our attention for quite some time now, so it’s no wonder that we felt so at ease with him. In fact, he started the conversation, and you can read what happened next below.
Did you know that while you’re talking on the phone with earbuds on, you can listen to iTunes on your phone?
So I’m going to listen to the new Aphex Twin while we do our interview. I don’t know if you like electronic music at all, but it’s amazing. He’s been around since like the 80’s He’s like an English Daft Punk. He’s been around forever and he’s still letting those mother fuckers know that he can work a synthesizer. It’s called Cheetah. It’s an EP and it’s called that because it’s the synthesizer he uses. It’s really hard to operate, horrible synthesizer from England. It’s real cheap, so you can get one for a couple hundred bucks. He made the album on that piece of equipment, and it’s known for being really hard to use. So I guess he may be bragging that he made it on a Cheetah.
Anyway, I’m Gap Dream. I started making music when I was 15, at least recording myself. I’ve gone through a whole generation of life being able to make music. I’m a 35 year old man that is somehow able to keep making music.
What has kept you so keen on music over the years?
I really don’t know. It’s what I really care about and it’s what I really like to do. It’s a process. Music is there, it’s always there. I can’t do anything else really. I can go bus tables, I would probably be a pretty good homeless person if I tried. It doesn’t matter where I am, I’m going to be making music somehow.
“The artist is at once both generous and inquisitive, pondering evolution and the merits of herbal medicines on the body.”
How did you choose Burger Records?
It chose me. It was actually a crazy coincidence. I was living in Cleveland – I’m from Akron, Ohio – and I was with The Black Keys for a little bit, like five seconds, and I started getting turned on to Burger. I started ordering packages and one night I was using PayPal and it put my Akron address in on accident. I had already met Lee – who is sitting with me right now – and he wrote a letter on my package saying, “Say ‘hi’ to The Black Keys” because he was a tour manager for someone who opened for The Keys. I saw his note on the package and I wrote him an email, and he looked me up. He asked if I had any tunes, so I sent him stuff. Burger responded super well and all of the sudden I had a record label that would literally do anything for me and I had two of the best friends I could ever ask for. They told me to move out here and I always kind of wanted to move to California, so I went for it.
In order for me to really feel comfortable with anything I’m doing, I have to literally take all my clothes off and jump into the pool or into the volcano. When you’re creative, you can’t hide it.
What’s living across from the back of Burger like?
It’s fun. It’s so much fun. At first, we were trying not to publicize it because it can look bad. Our neighbors are really cool. California is really cool because there are a lot of industrial parts to it and a lot of people trying to make their own way. This is one of the few places on earth where you feel like if you’re really creative and you want to make any type of art, it’s encouraged. I leave my door open and I’m in here making beats and loud music and I get all kinds of people coming over because they think I’m partying. But I’m working. And it’s like 100 degrees in here in the summertime, so I leave the door open. And these people have no idea that I go on tour or anything.
It’s not really dangerous in Fullerton, despite the gang activity. Lee lives right up the street in a nice house, and I’m still over here with this place to myself. It’s really like a fun little community. I remember when I was young and I’d go to New York and I couldn’t believe that seven people could live in such a small space. I’m from Akron. Back in the day, people could have their own place for $200 a pop.
Every moment of my life has been anchored toward making music. I just need a place to make music, I don’t need a place to live. I’m at an extreme right now with that, but I try not to have too much stuff. I’m down to owning like, a bag full of clothes and minimal gear and I sleep on a cot. It’s really extreme, but it’s kind of cool because I grew up in a really nice home with a good family. I was always provided for and that comfort can’t be exceeded because it would never be the same. Now I get to experience something different. I’m one of a few human beings who can stay here and be productive. I’ve made four records in here and if you saw this place, you’d probably shit yourself. It’s awesome. I keep myself lean, I guess.
How do you imagine people listening to the new album?
Most likely, they’re meth heads. I’m sure there will be a lot of people who will be like, “Oh, the new Gap Dream album is out. I’ve got an eighth of mushrooms, let’s do this.” I know this. But that’s why I think this record is going to surprise people, it’s not like the last one at all. People had a lot of fun with the last one. I got a lot emails and messages through Bandcamp about what people did when they listened to it.
Basically, I don’t want to know what people do to my music. But I imagine and hope that they have a wonderful time listening to it and forgetting about everything else for a while.
You have a tour coming up, right?
We have a US tour coming in September. I haven’t hit the US in a while, and I’m really excited about it.
What’s your rider like?
My rider says, “Will eat whatever you feel like giving us, will drink whatever you feel like giving us, etc.” and at the bottom, it says, “smoke weed.” Just as an afterthought there. It’s easier internationally. I’ve gotten smoked out in some crazy places in the world.
I love taking crazy pictures on the road too. That’s why I love Instagram. I have two Instagram accounts, @Gap_Dream and another one which is way worse than my Gap Dream one. My dad doesn’t like what I post sometimes and I just have to tell him to get off the internet. It’s a form of creative expression, and I go nuts.
But you’re good with computers too, right?
Oh yeah. I used to be a computer whiz. Like, I do a lot of work on a computer now with music and all that but I was on MySpace, I had one hundred different AOL accounts. In high school I liked to hang out at home and do stuff on the computer with a few friends, I wasn’t a big party person. I’m still not. I get burned out on the party scene anyway, especially in LA. The bar scene in Fullerton is pretty intense, with people getting hurt in the clubs all the time. It’s a college town, so you’ve got those kids and then you have some insane people coming over form the west side and it just gets rowdy. Sometimes I like to go to the bar and people watch. You just need to be less conspicuous about it. Most of the time I just hang out here. It’s cheaper to drink beer here.
But I also really like reading like, rock n’ roll books or memoirs. Even if I hate the band, I am still going to read. I’ve been reading a bunch because we have a section at Burger. It’s so fun, because even if you don’t like the band, you’ll like something about them and you’re able to relate to them. If you go to the used book store, you can find so many rock n’ roll books and they’re so bad but they’re so good.
I just read the Peter Criss autobiography, and I learned a lot about each band member from KISS. He was the cat man and he was a wild card in the band. Just so many drugs. The partying, the level of indulgence, I’m not sure if it would be achievable at this point anymore. But it’s so fucking hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing.
Speaking of other artists, if you could play any song off the new album with any music legend, which song would you choose and who would you play with?
I would play “Greater Find” with Snoop Dogg rapping over it. But at The Grammys! Make it come true! Make it come true! If Snoop wanted to do anything, I would be so stoked. Even if he just wanted to smoke a blunt, I would be so stoked. Do you follow his Instagram? He’s so funny. I was trying to make mine like his but no one got it. His is great because he’s just laughing and having fun.
How has your music-making process evolved over the years?
Certain things I’ve noticed have become more streamlined. It doesn’t take me nearly as long to finish a song as it used to, and I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or a good thing. I know what I’m doing more. I use Ableton for computer stuff and if I ever want to tape stuff, I have a tape machine here too. So I can achieve analog and digital here. It’s handy because as more and more people move toward digital, they’re going to lose that little crunch. Most crispy, extra hot songs of mine were done entirely on a little tape machine. I hadn’t mixed stuff like that since probably the mid 90’s, so it was really fun to go back and find a more finite process and different ways to achieve the definition of sound.
I mix all my own shit, I record all my own shit, to me it’s one big experiment. Most of the time I’m trying to find something that excites me enough to make me want to finish it. That’s why I don’t pump out as much stuff as Gap Dream, and I don’t write or create for Gap Dream as much as I would like to. I always have multiple other projects. If one’s doing well, then I need to go mess with the other ones too.
What have you been working on lately in addition to This is Gap Dream?
I worked on a couple remixes for Burger Records artists. Some random stuff. When Sean [Bohrman] gives me a project, it’s one of the best things. He will be like, “Hey, go do this!” Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. We have this cat who goes in the bathroom all the time. When he goes in there, he starts singing. So Sean recorded it on his phone, and he gave it to me and said, “Can you take this and make a song out of it?” And I did. It’s on Bandcamp. And it’s a cat.
Any opportunity I have to make music, I’m going to jump at it. What might sound like a total waste of time, I’ll do it. I get offers all the time and I have to turn some down because of an aversion to formal studios, but I like using my own equipment and I am working on a lot of stuff. That’s one thing. I’ve got to work on things that speak to me and would work in my creative space, instead of bringing me into another person’s. At the end of the day, it’s great for me to stick with my own way.
What are you most excited about with this album?
I just hope people like it. It was fun for me, so I want it to be fun for everyone else. Either way, I’m going to keep working. I want to get a proper studio going so that I can let Burger have their warehouse back, and I’d like to do that next. It’s a process of getting set up. I’m always thinking about the next thing.
“I’ve got my mind on my money, and my money on my mind.”
This is Gap Dream is available now. The album release show will be at Mercury Lounge on September 6th.