Indianapolis-based DJ Gabby Love (also known as Gabrielle Love) performed at the 1st annual WheelHouse Festival, a two-day electronic dance music event held outdoors at Opti Park with after-parties indoors at The Vogue in Broad Ripple on Friday, September 13th and Saturday, September 14th, 2013. From the first hint of sound from her deck, Love held court inside the entire building...on the dance floor during her 40 minute set at the WheelHouse Festival after-party in the Vogue on Saturday night. Patrons who could not reach the dance floor had their eyes glued to Love while trying to peel themselves off of the Vogue's walls; literally. She had everyone in the room bumpin', sweatin', gyratin', yellin', singin' and jumpin' up and down to her mixes which were truly exciting, memorable, forward-moving and seamless. She understood how to work and play the room; and, as a young DJ, she is still learning. You could just imagine closing your eyes and feeling as if you were at a happening Hollywood awards night after-party. Love is definitely a talent to look out for. Her passion was evident throughout and one could tell she was completely dedicated to what she was doing...being a DJ in the moment.
I had the honor and privilege of meeting DJ Gabby Love for the first time a few days before WheelHouse Festival. We scheduled an interview in Broad Ripple. We met at Yats, a quaint little cajun creole restaurant, owned by Joe Vuskovich and located on College Avenue. Love was as mesmerizing in person as she was performing. And, after the end of the interview, she graciously took the time to elaborate on the local Indianapolis EDM scene, and recommended clubs to visit, and whom to contact regarding its past, present and future.
William Kelly Milionis: Thank you for this interview opportunity. DJ Gabby Love is that your true name?
DJ Gabby Love: Yes, that is my true name. It's Gabrielle Love, but Gabby is obviously my nickname and a little bit easier to say [laughing]. Either/or, whatever the person's preference is.
Kelly: How long have you been a professional DJ?
Gabby: I began to learn in the spring of 2009 and did my first real solo gig that summer. I think it was in July 2009 here in Indianapolis.
Kelly: Do you come from a musical family?
Gabby: Yeah, not entirely like the entire family is musical, but my grandmother was a musical prodigy and her grandfather [Kemper Harreld] was actually very instrumental in Morehouse College [founded Morehouse College Glee Club] and Spelman College [founded Spelman College Glee Club] and then the music side of that. Both of my parents are huge music lovers. My mom, I think played a little violin or cello when she was younger but they have always loved music.
Kelly: Did you grow up playing any musical instruments? Do you sing?
Gabby: I played a little piano, not very well [laughing]. I played clarinet in elementary school and I was in Choir for a short while but I do not sing. I have always thought about getting back into it [singing]. But, I sing in the shower though [laughing]. I am a shower and car singer [more laughing]. I would like to think I do but my boyfriend says no [laughing]. I feel, maybe, if I take some lessons.
Kelly: You spent time on the West Coast?
Gabby: Yes, I went to Santa Barbara City College. My goal and my focus for my degree was Film Production. They actually had a really, really top notch film production school for a junior college. The good thing about doing the junior college, at least at that time, if you did two years there you could transfer anywhere into the UC system as a junior and a resident. So, it was kind of like the secret loophole [laughing]. So, that was my goal to do that. UCLA Film School was always my goal. But I soon got out of that, did some modeling, and worked for a hair company modeling as a spokesmodel and did marketing as well. I had always wanted to learn how to DJ. In fact, I had asked my Mom, for my 16th birthday, for turntables and a mixer and whatever else I needed to DJ. I had not known any DJ's. I had never even seen a DJ live at that point. I listened to the radio and have always loved music; all different types of music and I thought that was something that I really wanted to try. So, even as I was out on the West Coast pursuing those things, that was always in the back of my mind. From Santa Barbara I moved to San Diego and actually it is funny. As I am moving out of my storage locker in San Diego, there is another guy moving out of a storage locker as well. We are talking, one thing leads to another, bantering. He left and came back, and he asked what kind of music I liked. Do you like hip hop? Oh, I love hip hop, all kinds and he hands me this promotional flyer and it's for the Scratch Academy in San Diego and Los Angeles. Oh wow, that's kind of odd, that's a coincidence. This is something I have been thinking about doing. I found out when I moved to LA that I was literally a mile away from the Scratch Academy.
Kelly: Did you attend the Scratch DJ Academy?
Gabby: No I didn't. I looked into it and I thought about it. It just didn't seem like the right thing for me to do; like the right way to learn.
Kelly: How long were you on the West Coast?
Gabby: I was out there for about 6 years total, almost 6 and a half out in California; from Santa Barbara, to San Diego to LA and then I moved back home [to Indianapolis, IN] in 2008.
Kelly: Is that when you started DJing?
Kelly: What was your first system?
Gabby: Um, I used Technics 1200's and a Rane 57.
Kelly: Is that your current set-up?
Gabby: Yes, I stick to the Rane mixers. I'm gonna make the switch to the Pioneer. I DJ on a PC so my one hindrance with the Pioneer is that it is not Serato compatible. They are coming out with a Pioneer that is Serato compatible in October. So I am going to definitely try new things but the Rane 57 will always have a special place in my heart just because it was what I first learned to play on and its simplicity.
Kelly: Maybe you receive a Rane sponsorship?
Gabby: Maybe; I don't know, that would be awesome!
Kelly: Do you have original material for sale?
Gabby: Nothing for sale, I usually just post my mixes for free on Soundcloud or Mixcloud. I definitely have aspirations to be one of the top DJ's in the world at some point. I want to absolutely produce and do all that but my main focus, at this point, has been DJing. I do a lot of live edits where I do a lot of acapella's over instrumentals. I usually like to mix hip hop and acapella's over electro beats. But, that is something that I definitely aspire to do and in this day and age you definitely have to be putting originals out there because the mixes just are not enough. You see everyone now producing tracks, doing remixes, bootlegs or edits. I can definitely blend and have an ear for it. I feel this is what I was really meant to do; all aspects of it. I just want to do it. Even turntabalism, I don't think I'll be the best scratcher but that is all stuff that I aspire to do. It's a lot easier for a person to listen to one track than it is a full mix. That is why, if I do a premeditated mix just on my own and not in the club or not for a special gig, I usually keep it to forty minutes or so. It's a good workout, you could go on a run, you could drive, it's a good time and anything longer than that you kind of loose them.
Kelly: Are you familiar with the MID in Chicago?
Gabby: Yes, I am good friends with Phenom, also from Indianapolis. He is an example; once he really started editing and producing and he moved to Chicago, that's when his career started to skyrocket. I have actually beat him in a battle before [stated with the widest grin and a few chuckles] it wasn't a big battle [more chuckles] all in good friendly fun!
Kelly: Was there anyone that truly inspired you?
Gabby: I don't know if it was so much of one person. I think it was just music itself. I have a very eclectic taste in music. I'd have to say, if I have to name an absolute favorite genre, it would probably be '90s rock or classic rock. I am a rocker at heart, growing up with Nirvana. Queens of the Stone Age are my absolute favorite of all time. I love Tool and Led Zeppelin. Beverly Bond and all the female DJ's, Colette and Heather, those are definitely inspirations to me as well. I am really excited to perform at WheelHouse Festival; especially with the lineup at the festival and the party at the Vogue. Talking about influences, Bad Boy Bill was one of the first DJ's I saw live in San Diego. I was like, woah, I have to do this. Paul Oakenfold and the Crystal Method, these are all acts, that before I was doing this I looked up to, so this is WOW! More to the point, just being able to be artistic and mix different genres of music and tell a story and evoke people's emotions; that's really more inspiring to me than just the music. Being able to do that and manipulate music in that sense, when you are not obviously producing it on the fly, but you're creating this thing in the moment that is all your own. It becomes your own and it can never be duplicated exactly the same way. Having that kind of freedom to do that with music and interact with people in that way is what I would have to say is my biggest inspiration.
Kelly: Pinnacle of EDM performance venue's would be a residency in Ibitha or in Las Vegas.
Gabby: I have played in Miami, in Chicago at Tonic Room, just recently in London [England] at the LoveBox Festival in between acts on the main stage. I go to New York and Washington DC. I'll be in Vegas in November, but that's mostly for vacation. But, I'll probably try to do some DJing out there [laughing]. At this point, I'm kind of like [uhhh] it has been a pretty busy year and I'm going from a Monday to a Wednesday in the off season; but it's still Vegas.
Kelly: You are definitely in it for all the right reasons! And I am certain your fans view it that way as well.
Gabby: I am not doing this because it is the cool thing to do or I saw an easy in being a female. And that's one of the female DJ things that I was thinking about the other day. There are some people that will tell me that I am the best female DJ in the city or you are best female DJ in the Midwest and it's always 'female'. Ok yes, at the end of the day, can't I just be a DJ?!
Kelly: Gabby, thank you so very much for chatting with me today. Wishing you much success with your performance on Saturday.
Gabby: Thanks. Saturday night's lineup is really solid and the Vogue is my favorite venue in the city for concerts. I'm really looking forward to it.