What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
Rock n’ roll soul-pop with a punk spirit
Give us a little bio about you.
I was born in North London, spent most of my childhood in Gloucester, then moved back to London. I started off performing at poetry clubs then fronted a couple of bands, the main one being The Sticklers. We had some great adventures and did some really good stuff; played lots great gigs and a couple of small festivals, released music and made some pretty wild music videos, but then disbanded at the beginning of 2016.
I then started writing songs for this new solo project, and sent them to Sean Read, great guy who’s played with and produced acts such as the Dexys, Chrissie Hynde, and Beth Orton, who I met on a trip to see the Dexys in Treorchy, Wales, and got to know when he recorded my previous band. He really liked the songs and was up for collaborating with me so we’ve spent the last year working on arrangements and recording this material at his studio, with Sean producing it as well as playing piano, synth, sax and trumpet on the recordings, and other friends coming in and playing other instruments. We put the band together in June this year, ‘Gabi Garbutt & The Illuminations,’ which is a six piece with Sean Read on sax, keys & BVs, Alec Sala on trumpet, keys & BVs, Jimi Scandal on guitar and BVs, Calum McQuattie on bass, and Stephen Gilchirst on drums. We played our first gig in August and since then we’ve supported Frank Turner at a fundraiser I put together for Age UK Camden and Opening Doors London (Londonwide older person’s LGBT charity), and we support The Libertines in Lowestoft as part of their seaside tour. We’ve started recording the newest set of songs, one of which is a collaboration with John Hassall of the Libertines.
Tell us more about your music.
It’s got a Northern Soul, punk rock energy to it, especially live. It’s got a lot of heart and a lot of brass, and I write lyrics mainly about the highs and lows of the human experience in all it’s wild glory.
Your single ‘ Armed With Love’ is set to release on 1st December, tell us the meaning behind the track.
It’s about someone very close to me who had some terrible stuff happen to her, and how amazed I was by how she dealt with it. It’s about the power of the human spirit, and how you should never lose hope no matter how bad things look.
What was the writing process like?
I wanted to write a song about this for a while, and I came up with a lot of the lyrics while cycling around London. I find cycling a really good space for working on lyrics in your head. I came up with the bones of the song on the acoustic guitar. Then had a lot of fun coming up with arrangements using our home recording set up and the sublime wizardry of the Juno keyboard.
What was the recording process like?
It’s always a great experience recording with Sean, and his studio ‘Famous Times’ in Homerton is fantastic. On this track we used some of the arrangement ideas from the original home demo, but with Sean adding a lot of new ideas in terms of instrumentation, arrangements and production. I play bass and sing on the recording, Sean plays keys and brass, Stephen Gilchrist plays drums and Jimi Scandal and Dan Fatel play guitar.
What was your reaction when your first heard it?
I thought this is fucking brilliant.
Who did you show first?
Anyone who would listen.
Will we see an EP or Album this year?
If so what can we expect from it?
Lively, brassy, soulful, lyrical music made with a lot of love.
Do you have any gigs or a tour coming up?
Our next gig is at The Water Rats on Friday 12th January at 9pm, and there’ll be other gigs coming up.
What else can we expect from you?
Lots of explosive live shows, an album, music videos for a couple of songs from the album, a handmade illustrated lyric book made in collaboration with artist Lianne Milward.
Are you a signed?
Will we see any collaborations coming out?
Yes, I’ll soon be releasing the song I wrote in collaboration with John Hassall from The Libertines, ‘Lady From Seville,’ which is about an 85 year old Spanish lady I met through my work in Dementia wellbeing. John asked me to send him some lyrics, and he wrote the music. We then took it to my band and they came up with some fantastic arrangements involving trumpet, viola, harmonium, and we’re recording it currently at Sean’s Famous Times studio.
Who are your influences?
Patti Smith, Dexys Midnight Runners, The Clash, Ezra Furman, The Flaming Lips, Nina Simone, Northern Soul, William Blake.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully playing loads of shows all over the world, have a few albums under my belt and be working on my country album.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I also work as a dementia wellbeing worker at Age UK Camden. Other than that, enjoying life and all the magic it has to offer.
Where would your dream venue to play in your hometown?
The Guildhall in Gloucester is a great venue, with a springy floor, as all Gloucester folk will proudly tell you. As a kid I saw loads of brilliant bands there, local bands but also Love with Arthur Lee and The Damned amongst others.
Would you be up for collaborating with an unsigned artist or band? If so how can they contact you?
Yes, if I’m into what they’re doing definitely. Send me a message on the F
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
That’s a really difficult question. I’d maybe say Bob Dylan’s I Want You, as to me that’s a perfect song and when I heard it as a young teenager I just thought I want be able to make songs like that: earnest and raw, there’s great lyrical intensity in the verses, a catchy chorus, and a strong hook throughout.
Where is your dream festival to perform?
Glastonbury, of course. I really loved Hop Farm festival, saw so many of my favourite bands there: Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Magazine, Bob Dylan, Ray Davies.. but it’s not going any more. It was a great festival though.
What made you go in to music?
I’ve just always loved songs and wanted to make some myself. There’s nothing more powerful than words mixed with melody and a strong musical energy behind it.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Stick to your guns.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not just about the industry also just as an artist/band?
Work with people you trust.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
The only quote I can remember off the top of my head is ‘’They used to call him Elvis the Pelvis, so I put a P in front of my name, called myself Dolly the Pdolly.’
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Sean Read, Jimi Scandal, Alec Sala, Calum McQuattie and Stephen Gilchrist.
You come off Tour
1/ Where is the first place you go?
Portobello House for a discount Picante De La Casa.
2/Who is the first person you see?
My boyfriend Dan.
3/What is the first thing you eat.