NIGHTED Life Presents: Juan Gabe
John Jr. just wrapped up an interview with Juan Gabe, both of whom have some bangers in the NIGHTED Life show this Saturday. Read up!
so let’s get some bullshit outta the way right quick, who are you and what the hell do you do with your time?
I’m Juan Gabe, raised in Redwood City, California, but have been living in San Francisco for a couple years now. I played in Comadre for a good 10 years of my life. Co-founder of the Dark Arts crew who has released zines, clothing (Youthanized), videos and music for the past 3 years. I spend most of my time thinking about my future wife and my future projects, all day long.
how’d you get started with art and design?
Playing in punk bands and making flyers / screen printing shirts / patches / posters
and how about photography, how’d you get started with that?
During high school, I took my father’s camera he bought from a thrift store, he didn’t like that. I used it to photograph everything and would get film developed at Costco or Longs drugs store (before it changed to CVS), until the lady who processed film at Longs called me up one day and told me I was taking too many “inappropriate” photos and that “this is a family place”. So I stopped going that location and Longs went out of business soon after that.
what was your first camera and how’d you get your hands on it?
The first camera that was actually mine was given to me by my grandmother. It was a simple point and shoot, I still have it, but I got the most use out of my father’s thrift store SLR, I liked being able to focus and blur.
how would you describe your art aesthetic to someone who has never seen your work?
I like to shoot photos of people enjoying themselves too much or not at all,
there is no middle, just intense to calm. When I design, I like to stick to black and white illustrations, although I have been playing more with colors, certain people react more to colors.
what’s normally going on in the background while you’re drawing or doing design work?
Music or a film, both inspire and distract constantly
what are some of your favorite things to shoot photos of?
People having too much of a good time. Mostly photos of friends
who are some artists, dead or alive, that you’d love to collaborate with?
Harmony Korine, Nicolas Winding Refn, Patrick Griffin and Dash Snow
who are some of your favorite artists you’ve already collaborated with?
John McCarthy Jr., Ben Sears, Tanner McCardle, Brian Kanagaki and Bosko Jackson.
how good is it to be rolling with the d/a doom crew? and how’d that whole crew come about?
It’s always great, whether it during a chill blackout at night or bouncing ideas for projects, it feels good to be apart. The crew was created after being around other creative individuals who share similar tastes and “goals”. The actual name was created on a European Comadre / Punch tour in 2010. We were in England and noticed a warning sign that read “No Foreign Animals”, with a drawing of monkey on it, who had his hands up looking like he was about to cast a spell, the dark arts.
what’s it mean to be youthanized?
To be killed off by the youth.
how’s that new fall youthanized collection coming and without giving too much away, how is this new youthie collection gonna be different from the last?
It is coming together as we speak, there are really only 3 people involved as far as creative directing goes, with somewhat darker themes/ideas. The only thing different from this collection than the one from last year are stronger designs/concepts and different pieces. Look forward to being youthanized.
for the last half of your life you’ve been playing in a few super rad bands, most notably comadre. after touring the world over, what are some countries & cities you’ve visited that inspire you?
Kuala Lumpur, Berlin, Tokyo, Melbourne, New York
any crazy stories you have from tour you could share?
Getting arrested in Copenhagen for being too Punk and Attemping to make Graf Orlock crash their van / commit vehicular manslaughter during every US summer tour.
what’s the lyric writing process like for you?
Recently it has been watching movies and rewriting the plot lyrically without having to quote from the movie.
what are your lyrics typically about?
Death, depression, malice, isolation and the moon.
who are some of your favorite authors/poets?
Tom Robbins and Miranda July.
since comadre’s last show in june of this year, you got any musical projects on the rise?
Currently working on a project with a friend and Deader, who is an amazing producer / creative being. Deader has a great ear for samples and can create a beat from almost anything he gets his hands on.
what’s the last illegal thing you did?
what are your weekends typically like?
Real busy or completely hungover
favorite zines you’ve checked out recently and/or zines that are releasing soon that you’re excited about?
Anything that Blood of the Young publishes is great, same goes for A Love Token homies. The zines I am always excited for are done by Bosko Jackson, John McCarthy, Ben Sears, Brian Kanagaki and Tanner McCardle. They are always putting out great work and always put in all their efforts to make their collections look flawless. John McCarthy has also been handling and creating the Doom Life collection of zines, which always has the best contributors and the slickest layout / design.
if you were the head illustrator for a cartoon show, what would it be called and what would be the pilot episode?
“Dark Bartman” and it would pretty much be a Simpsons spin off / rip off, with really crude versions of simpson characters, Bartman committing crimes and barely getting away with it in every episode. The pilot episode would be Bartman figuring out that it’s easier to commit crimes than to solve them.
what’s your favorite t-shirt to wear?
I usually wear shirts printed / designed by friends. Anything John McCarthy and Brian Kanagaki (Human Dust) design. But, I am very partial to an old Smiths shirt I have which is pretty much falling apart by now. It has been on a million tours with Comadre. It originally was given to me by Steven Shirley of Comadre because he said it was a bit too mid driffy for him
if you weren’t living in san francisco, where would you like to be living?.
New York or Los Angeles
have you ever come close to dying?
Yes, sort of. On tour, I rode a dirt bike for the first time ever. Got a 2 min crash course on how to operate it, didn’t put on a helmet and smashed into a tree. Just got a couple bruises though.
who would you pick to rule the world?
Anthony Bourdain or Dash Snow
what are some of your favorite pieces of art you’ve collected?
I’ve got some really old pieces from Tanner McCardle I really love and Old zines John McCarthy put out years ago
if you could go to a house party with three people, dead or alive, who would it be?
John McCarthy, Kenny Gabe and Ashlee Smith
any upcoming art shows, zines, design projects you got in the future?
Photo show this weekend , 7/27 with the Nighted crew in San Francisco. The D.A. crew will be apart of a group show later this year in SF. A collection of my current work complied in a zine entitled “Team Zine”, the D.A. 5 zine, a new Youthanized collection of clothing and have been working for a couple bands, designing and branding.
what would you like written on your tombstone?
Juan Gabe, Burried Alive
any shout outs?
All of the Dark Arts Doom Crew, Jr, Bosko, Kenny, B. Sears, K. Udekwu, Tanner and Zoe, all the homies that are on tour, Big Easy, J. Shirley, JJ, and Mathias. All the kids getting up hard, mostly KELSO. All the homies in Blood of the Young / No Fun / Spring Snakes (Dimitri and TRH) and Chunkymane. Everyone one involved with A Love Token crew, Saves, Feral, Pablo and Rue