ENCORE FEATURE: Meet Gab Lazaro
August 27, 2018 UDOU TEAM
Meet Gab. A talented singer, song-writer who you might have caught in a gig or two. He plays with a couple of bands, so if you think he looks familiar, it’s most likely because you’ve seen Opus Weekend, his band.
He describes his music to be primarily in the genre of jazz, saying that, “It’s got a lot of fun grooves. Some rock, I really try to experiment and try to include things. Some of the new singles coming out are really jazzy-music based. Maybe a lot of Latin percussions, and all that stuff.”
In pursuing music, Gab is on his way to be part of the prestigious Berklee College of Music. And before he flies off to Boston, we caught up with him for a fun chat where he talks about his music, influences, and more.
Get to know more about Gab Lazaro only on U Do U!
What is your song-writing process?
Gab: Normally, when I write songs, to me it’s a very organic thing. I don’t sit around and say that hey, I’m gonna write a song. It’s more like, I’ll mess around on the guitar or the bass, those are my main two instruments I use when I’m writing. I mess around with them, for like hours, until I find some chords that go together well, melodies that work over certain chords. And then I’ll record it immediately and see what I can get out of that. And then, I keep recording over and over again until I get what I would say is a good demo. I take that to the studio, or wherever place I can get my hands on where I can get recording my music. Slowly, little by little, the song turns into a song.
What do you think fuels you to write something?
Gab: It can be anything as profound as a life-changing experience, or like a person that you meet for the first time and then never talk to again. Anything, really. Any kind of experience.
What are the themes you like to write about?
Gab: I think part of the, I wouldn’t say beauty, but the charm in my music, I think, is the fact that the lyrics aren’t really central to any kind of—there’s no thematic center for the songs. The songs can tackle, I think pining is a recurring topic in the music. Sometimes death, sometimes happiness, sometimes, you know, going out and having a good time. That’s what the most recent song is about, a kind of like a wistful reminiscent kind of vibe. But I don’t think I adhere to any kind of topic or theme. It’s just whatever the song sounds … some of the lyrics are absolute nonsense.
Who are your inspirations?
Gab: My main inspiration right now, I think ‘cause I’ve been listening to a lot of Jack Pastorius, he’s this bassist fro the late 70s, early to late 60s. And he was so original as a person that I wanted to, I think in a way, he’s the reason that I’m trying to experiment with different genres, and you know, writing different things. Like before, I had a demo album uploaded called “Mix … Doom?” which was really primarily—it was rock. It was rock, you know, basic raw. Maybe some influences of, maybe jazz, and I don’t know, some funk. But it was primarily rock. I didn’t want to be like the typecast rock guy or anything like that. I wanted to jump out of my comfort zone. Which is why some of the new songs sound really different. I think Jack Pastorius is one of my main influences.
Now onto the more FUN STUFF! Things you will only see here on U Do U.
How much of Filipino food do you eat?
Gab: I eat it on a regular basis.
What’s your favorite?
Gab: I like chicken tinola, it’s the best. Also, kinilaw. And, uh, there’s a lot. Contrary to popular opinion, I do like balut, but I don’t like it all the time. It’s okay. I ate it, like twice. It’s okay.
What’s your favorite place to visit in the Philippines?
Gab: To be honest with you, I’m more of a house cat. I’m really indoors a lot. I used to go to the beach a lot as a kid. I went to Boracay recently, so I’d probably go again, except it’s closed for like six months or so. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of the beach or any traveling, so I did like that experience. I’d probably go back.
How much of your dad’s movies do you watch?
Gab: About as much… I used to be more intrigued as a kid [about my dad, Ronnie Lazaro], because when you see your dad on a television screen, or in the cinema, it’s like crazy. But to me, he’s just my dad. And I think it’s fair to say that I watch as many movies of his as he listens to as much music as mine. It’s kind of like an equal balance, we do on and off. He has, you know, he’s always supported me. And my mother and I always supported him.
If you were a car, what car would you be?
Gab: I’m not a car guy, I couldn’t tell you. Probably a pick-up truck or something. I have that vibe. You know, like a rusty pick-up truck with 70s hits playing on the radio. Yeah.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Gab: I did have an answer to this before. My answer changes all the time. Okay, I’m a chameleon! ‘Cause my answer changes all the time.
If you had the opportunity to have a dinner date with four other people, alive or dead, who would you want to be with?
Gab: Probably, they’re all dead, in no particular order, Jaco Pastorius, Miles Davis. No, not Miles Davis ‘cause he’s really, you know, scary. Jaco Pastorius, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, and Jimmi Hendrix.
Five years from now, what do we expect from Gab?
Gab: If I could do it, I would like to graduate—Berkeley—and uhm, that’s four years. And uhm, fifth year, I’d like to be doing, still basically, what I’m doing now. But sort of at a more professional level where I can be monopolizing my own … I can really form my brand. I can really define my brand.
In one sentence, how can you define your own music?
Gab: I can define it in two words: fortune punk.
Are you single?
Gab: No, I’m not. I have a girlfriend.
How long have you been together?
Gab: We’ve been together for about a year. A year and three months.
How do you balance your relationship, your music, and all the stuff going on in your life?
Gab: I’m fortunate enough to have a girlfriend that’s really supportive of me; I’m equally very supportive of her. She’s an insanely talented singer as well. She sings a lot of jazz, so she knows where I’m coming from. And she’s also, uh, she’s into musical theater so she has that like performance side in her experience. And she can kind of relate to what I’m doing, as well as I, I’m able to relate to what she’s doing. So we have a very collaborative relationship, if I could say that. It’s not a struggle at all for me, they kind of go hand-in-hand, she doesn’t, in any way, interfere with what I’m doing. And I try not to interfere with what she’s doing. We both understand that we have different things happening. But at the same time we help each other … It’s a very constructive relationship.
You can also hear more from Gab Lazaro through his band, Opus Weekend, here.