2 weeks after his recent Portuguese tour and 2 weeks before his next run in Germany, Italian singer-songwriter, folk punk rockers and DIY promoter Gab De La Vega checks in on IDIOTEQ to talk about touring, small venues and his solo project. Be sure to check out his amazing record “Never Look Back” and read the full interview below.
Gab’s latest masterpiece “Never Look Back” is available thorugh Annoying Records (Italy), Backbite Records(Germany), Goodwill Records (Germany), I For Us Records (Belgium), Rise Clan (Portugal), Saitan DIY Shows (Austria), Ugly&Proud Records (Bulgaria), Vegan Records (Argentina), Entes Anomicos (Germany) and SP Discos (Germany).
Hey Gab! So good to have you back on IDIOTEQ. How are you, how have you been since we last talked? How has the “Never Look Back” LP grown and what have you been up to?
My pleasure to be your guest again! I’m fine, very busy but they are all good things so it’s ok.
I toured a lot with my solo project and put much effort in my hardcore punk label Epidemic Records since last time we spoke.
My album “Never Look Back” is going incredibly good and I couldn’t be happier. People really seem to like it, I didn’t expect so much attention and appreciation. I am personally very satisfied, which rarely happens. I guess hard work pays hard.
You’ve just wrapped up your Portuguese mini tour. How was it? What’s been the most memorable aspect of this little adventure?
It was incredible. The only bad thing is that I got a bit sick a couple of days before leaving. But I am happy I got to play all the five shows with no cancellation and they were all great.
The most memorable aspect? Probably the fact that I felt so welcome in Portugal, everyone was so nice to me, everyone worked so hard to make me feel good and have a good time. That’s what made these Portuguese shows so nice. Most credits go to my friend Miguel from Rise Clan, who took care of everything and did a great job.
How do you book these treks? I bet you’ve thrown yourself in some shows at smaller venues with an intimate vibe, right? Tell us a bit about the spots you visited this time.
Miguel and I have been friends for a long time. He helped me since day one and he also contributed to release “Never Look Back”. I told him I wanted to go back to Portugal and he was enthusiast.
Most shows were in smaller venues, which work great for the kind of music I play. I also happened to play a show in a big music/book store called FNAC in Faro, the same day I played in a vegan/vegetarian restaurant called Mel & Limão.
The first day I played Entroncamento, at Atelier Sabor Fazer, a small but very nice room. Lisbon was the only place I had already played (two years ago), but this time I played a show in this great DIY venue called Disgraça. It was a very nice show. Last but not least, Santa Cruz, by the ocean. A very sunny day and an open air show at this beach bar called Santa Alegria. So beatiful.
How do you travel?
This time I took a plane and then I traveled by train, except for Santa Cruz, which I got to by car with Miguel. I usually drive my van (I don’t own a regular car) on tours. It is bigger then a car, but it is also very safe on the road and for equipment and bags. Sometimes Serena, my girlfriend, shares her car, especially on short journeys and weekenders. I rented a car for my UK tour last June. My first right hand driving experience.
What gear do you typically take on a show?
Well, it’s only me and my guitar! I use a harmonica on one or two songs too. I can plug into a DI Box or an amp, but the good part of playing solo is that I don’t need a full backline.
What does being on the road mean to you these days?
I love touring, it’s a great way to see the World, meet people, communicate and of course share my music. It is not always easy, but usually people are very nice to me and try to make me feel at home. I hope I’ll be able to tour for many more years.
Are you writing new tracks and penning new lyrics on tour between gigs?
Not really, but when I’m driving or traveling my head processes a lot of thoughts and some of them are inevitably about music, new songs and new lyrics. I also listen to a lot of music when I on the road, so I absorb a lot of influences while listening to it.
Aren’t you tempted to develop your solo project and make it a full band? :)
I won’t exclude the idea, it is actually quite tempting. But it would mean a bigger effort (find musicians, practice, schedule, etc) and I can’t/don’t want to face it now. One of the upsides of being solo is… being solo! You set your own pace, you do what you can, when you can. But again, why not? I’m currently drafting some new songs that would sound great with a full band. We’ll see…
Ok Gab, so your next step when it comes to touring is the upcoming German tour. What spots did you book this time and what do you expect from this trip?
I am very excited to go back to Germany. It’s one of my favorite places to tour. This time I’m playing Nürnberg, Wuppertal, Kamen, Frankfurt and Mannheim.
I’m playing the same venue I played on my very first show outside of Italy, Kunstverein, with my band THE SMASHROOMS, back in 2005 in Nürnberg . We also played there in 2009. It’s nice to go back. Wuppertal and Frankfurt are cities I’ve already visited (AZ Wuppertal and Edelkiosk), while Kamen is a new place for me. Mannheim was on my first European tour back in 2012, I’m looking forward to returning there.
I expect a lot of fun, some old friends and new friends, good shows and hopefully a good response to my music. Two labels involved in the release of Never Look Back on vinyl are based in Germany (Backbite Records, Karlruhe and Goodwill Records, Berlin); also the two labels behind the tape edition are based in Germany (SP Discos and Entes Anomicos).
Cool. Will there be more live treks later this year?
I hope so! I haven’t planned anything else yet but I hope I can work on a new European tour for after the summer. I’d love to hit the Balkans and Eastern Europe this time too. I played many shows in Italy during the winter and I think I’ll play some more too this year.
Apart from touring, what’s next for Gab De La Vega?
That’s pretty much it now. Never Look Back is still going at full speed and I want to take it to places I’ve never been. I’m drafting some new songs but no releases planned right now.
Lastly, what tip do you have for anyone starting solo touring project?
It is a very intimate thing to do. Don’t be shy, put yourself in it, don’t worry about what people might think, might like or not like. Just put yourself into music, be sincere and do what you like. I’m sure you’ll connect to someone this way.
Thanks mate! Many thanks for your time! Take care!
Thank you so much for this interview and your interest in what I do!
Those who want to learn more can visit facebook.com/gabdelavegamusic and gabdelavega.bandcamp.com