When you think of electronic music images of Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, or David Guetta may come to mind, but newcomer Gavin Turek is setting out to change all that. As a classically trained dancer and actress Gavin found her passion in performing arts. After discovering her love of electronic music she began to explore song writing. A MySpace meeting with the international electronic DJ TOKiMONSTA in 2010 would launch her indie career as the sweet sounding techno killer.
Get to know Gavin Turek, the dancer, singer, and songwriter; as she talks being an indie artist, her love and passion for electronic music, working with TOKiMONSTA and Com Truise, and her forthcoming EP “The Break-Up Tape.“
You started off as a dancer right? Tell me a little more about your performance background?
I started off as a dancer. Being L.A. kid with a mom in the entertainment business, dance and acting classes were kind of part of the experience. I always loved to sing but dance was my first love. I started training 4 hours a day when I was 10-years-old, which led to my admission into LA Co. High School of the Arts for dance where I did ballet, jazz, and modern. After high school I was kind of burnt out on classical training and I decided to take a break and only study West African dance. I went to Ghana to train in the northern region, which was incredible and changed my dance vocabulary and life to say the least. Once I got back I hit the ground running, pursuing a career in music. I finally felt I had a way to express both passions simultaneously in my performance.
Wow. You are extremely talented, what is your passion; or do you love singing, dancing, and acting equally?
First of all, thank you! To answer your question I definitely love all performance art forms but right now I’m partial to songwriting and live shows. Songwriting is my primary emotional outlet. Anything I’m going through ultimately goes into a song at some point. It helps me process the crap, the disappointments and the successes and everything in between. On the other hand, live shows, which combine my singing and dancing are extremely satisfying and therapeutic. I want the audience to feel comfortable with me and more comfortable in their own skin by the end of the show. Thus, I try to be completely transparent on stage, giving all my energy and all my emotion.
How did your collaborations with TOKiMONSTA come about?
TOKiMONSTA is incredible. We actually meant through Myspace about 5 years ago. I had a few demos up and she messaged me and said she would love to work with me. So we met up and did started a few songs but did not release anything together until the Creature Dreams EP in 2011. Pretty crazy.
In a previous interview you said the TOKiMONSTA collaboration was “different from your work…out of your comfort zone,” how so?
I love being challenged as a songwriter. Toki’s work really challenges me in that it requires me to write in an untypical song structure. Also, I feel her music has this inherent element of nostalgia and longing, forcing me to be extremely vulnerable in my vocal expression and lyrics. Every song I write for her is like revealing another secret or private moment. My solo work captures my sassy and confident side much more.
TOKiMONSTA feat. Gavin Turek – Clean Slate
You and TOKiMONSTA have great chemistry; I love the song “Clean Slate” tell me about the writing process? Did you write to the music or vice versa?
Thanks! Because she travels a ton, she usually sends me the music then I write the lyrics and melody on my own. We send drafts back and forth till we get it right. I wrote “Clean Slate” when I was living in a hotel actually. I was in a very strange transitional time and those lyrics literally poured out of me once she sent me the track.
So you are an Indie artist, tell more about the amount of work and dedication it takes to be promoting your music on your own?
Well the short answer to that question is that it takes an incredibly dedicated and insane person to pursue a career in the music industry. You must be willing to sacrifice everything (except your morals and values of course), deal with constant rejection and uncertainty, and hustle your butt off. As an independent artist, you are at the helm of your own ship. Even if you have an amazing crew, as I do, at the end of the day, you have to be the one that works harder than everyone else, that puts in the most hours, that communicates and casts vision consistently. I naively started off thinking things would happen much quicker and easier for me. I finally realized that I would never get anywhere depending on other people to do everything for me and since I changed my perspective the momentum has been incredible. Lots of prayer, tears, and conversations with people I trust are essential….and learning to trust my intuition.
Do you think that your creative freedom would be compromised if you were not an indie artist?
Mainstream artists definitely experience a different kind of pressure compared to indie artists. Once you have major label backing and major label money, artistic decisions are subject to a plethora of opinions, factors, and statistics. But, you’re audience might quadruple as a result of those decisions. There are perks and downsides to all paths but I really hope and plan to maintain creative control of my music.
You are really close to your photographer sister Hana. She really supports your career. You both have a strong passion for the arts, are your parents artists? Do you come from a creative family?
Yes! I love my family. They are extremely talented. My mother is an actress, film producer and director, my father is a classical trained pianist, and my oldest sister is a beautiful singer and visual artist. My sister Hana is half of the LA based photography/film duo TIGER TIGER (tigertigerstudio.com), and has been my collaborator since we were kids. We literally started writing songs and making music videos together when we were 6 and 10 yrs old. I was always in front of the camera, Hana was always behind the camera as the director/mastermind. My entire family is extremely supportive of my music. I am ridiculously blessed.
I listened to your Gavin vs. Com Truise A (Re)mix Tape its dope. What was the aesthetic for that EP? How did the concept for a multilingual mixtape come about?
Com Truise’s music was love at first listen. I knew I wanted to work with him as soon as I heard the Cyanide Sisters EP. Once I started gathering the material and ideas for the mixtape, I realized one of his songs would mash-up so well with a Brazilian Girls song and Pablo Neruda poem “Me Gustas Cuado Callas”. I’ve always wanted to cover that song and was amazed it worked perfectly with “BASF Ace”. I wanted the entire mixtape to capture a feeling of reflection and consequences because that’s what his music invokes for me. I just wanted my lyrics to work in a similar way.
The Portuguese touch was awesome. Would you consider another multilingual album?
I would love to do more songs in Spanish. I don’t know if a entire album is visible, because my Spanish is not the best, but I would love to try!
You already collaborated with some pf the biggest names in techno/electronic music, who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
To name a few…Pharell, Blood Orange, Nile Rogers, Giorgio Moroder, Greg Kurstin, Gigamesh, Classix, Flight Facilities, Daft Punk, DJ Shadow, Onra….and many more 🙂
Watch Gavin Turek’s video for “Let Me Go,” which was shot and chopped on eight iPhones:
Your next single is “Suffah” featuring Rye Rye? How did that come about?
Rye Rye is actually a friend of my manager. I had been following her since she released her first single “Shake It To The Ground” and thought she was so dope. Was very happy when I said yes to being a part of the record. My sister Hana directed and produced the music video for my song “Suffah.”
What’s next for Gavin?
I’m releasing The Break-Up Tape EP in August along with the music video for “Suffah,” then in October I’ll do a west coast mini-tour followed by a few dates in New York and another remix tape release in November. Album hopefully will be done by the spring of 2014. Of course I’ll continue to play shows in LA!
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