Chris Gabo Carves His Own Path and Refuses to Become “One of Those”

When you hear an artist has worked with a range of greats like Cakes Da Killa, DJ Trackstar of Run the Jewels, and Lazerbeak, you might assume they’re a producer or engineer who stays in the background. But that isn’t the case for Chris Gabo, a Latinx artist, playwright, TV producer, and more who steps into his own spotlight with his new single “One of Those,” a confident callout that shows off his lyrical prowess and thoughtful flow.

Gabo tells TREMG, “‘One Of Those’ to me is like… you know how a pufferfish is, like, gentle and pretty and clumsy… and lowkey kind of a bad swimmer, but then when a predator attacks it and tries to eat it, it blows up to ten times its normal size and secretes tetrodotoxin which is 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide? This song is like that.”

Warning: The video below contains flashing clips from around 2:20 to 3:23. Viewer discretion is advised for those with photosensitivity!

He worked on the video with a small team of director Saila Reyes and cinematographer Caroline Mariko Stucky due to COVID-19 restrictions, and the impressive clip gets an energetic boost thanks to overlays and colorful neon lights. 

“Those two women are monster artists in their own right,” Gabo says of Reyes and Stucky. “Y’all should put Google alerts for their names, like, for real. And they also do me the great honor of lending their skill and heart to making me look good time and time again. The ‘One Of Those’ video has a two-person crew – Saila and Caroline, that’s it – the three of us were vaccinated, tested negative, and we just did it. The more people on set the higher the risk, so we thought the only way we could do it safely was to keep the set to just the three of us.”

Though “One of Those” may be one of his most ambitious videos to date, Gabo is no stranger to the screen – he wrote six episodes for HBO’s recent In Treatment reboot and acts as a consulting producer for The Weeknd‘s The Idol on the same network. For the rest of 2021, however, he’ll be focusing on his music and releasing his sophomore mixtape Price of Anarchy on December 10th.

“I’m always just chasing a feeling, right?” Gabo says. “Whether it’s as a writer, as a musician, as a producer, I’m just trying to get the project to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. ‘Cause ultimately, I’m just a fan. I love art. I love music. I love narrative. And the creation of my own art is just an extension of that love, of that fandom, and of that obsession.”

We can’t wait to hear Price of Anarchy later this year, but in the meantime, “One of Those” will be our obsession. You can link up with Chris Gabo on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and his official website, and keep reading for more from our interview with the multi-talented creator!

(c) Nikki Arya

What does the song “One of Those” mean to you? 

“One Of Those” to me is like… you know how a pufferfish is, like, gentle and pretty and clumsy… and lowkey kind of a bad swimmer, but then when a predator attacks it and tries to eat it, it blows up to ten times its normal size and secretes tetrodotoxin which is 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide? This song is like that.

“One of Those” draws inspiration from your old acting teacher, who said “rage is just devastation with a strong action.” Were there any other big takeaways from your acting experience that you apply to your music?

In Meisner, we define acting as the art of behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances. In music, most people are writing from the autobiographical “I” but we’re still in a way, acting under imagined circumstances—whether that means putting ourselves back in a situation that we once lived through or creating a heightened circumstance through which we can express a true feeling. When you’re in the booth doing take after take, you have to be able to, like an actor, take it back to one, and root yourself in the situation again – and your vocal producer is like your director, they’re molding your performance with you. I think the two skill sets are actually pretty similar.

“One of Those” is also the first single of your upcoming sophomore mixtape. What made you want to release the song ahead of the project?

This was the joint that I thought was the most straightforward and visceral. It captured the essence of the record – it’s aggressive and simple, but also bar-focused and lyrically complex. It sits comfortably in the middle between the stranger sonic bookends of Price of Anarchy and when we were in mastering, Dave Kutch was nodding his head particularly hard to this one so I was like… “yeah, I think it’s a single.”

The music video for “One of Those” includes a cool double exposure effect and colorful neon lights. What was it like to film the clip, especially with COVID safety regulations in place?

Yo, so this is the moment where I really have to shout out the core visual team I work with – the unbelievably talented director Saila Reyes and the out of this world gifted cinematographer Caroline Mariko Stucky, those two women are monster artists in their own right (y’all should put Google alerts for their names, like, for real) and they also do me the great honor of lending their skill and heart to making me look good time and time again. The “One Of Those” video has a two-person crew – Saila and Caroline, that’s it – the three of us were vaccinated, tested negative, and we just did it. The more people on set the higher the risk, so we thought the only way we could do it safely was to keep the set to just the three of us.

How do you think you’ve grown as a person and an artist since you released Exit Interview earlier this year?

Honestly yo, I think I’ve gotten way better at writing choruses and internal hooks. I’ve been really honing my pop sensibility. I’ve been trying to become braver about genre and just being like, “If I like it, I’m putting it out. Period.” A lot of that was about shaking off fear but also about trusting the audience more. Like, I love System of a Down and Missy Elliot, and I have good taste so, like, if I can hold those dualities, I trust that other people can too. And as a person, I think I’ve just gotten more honest, not just with other people but with myself. I also frankly feel like I’ve gotten a lot happier since Exit Interview. Price of Anarchy is very dark lol so you probably wouldn’t glean that from the first listen, but I promise it’s true lol.

In addition to your own music, you’re also a consulting producer for The Weeknd’s new show, The Idol, as well as writing for HBO’s In Treatment reboot. Do you approach other creative projects in the same way you approach your music?

I mean, yeah – I’m always just chasing a feeling, right? Whether it’s as a writer, as a musician, as a producer, I’m just trying to get the project to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. ‘Cause ultimately, I’m just a fan. I love art. I love music. I love narrative. And the creation of my own art is just an extension of that love, of that fandom, and of that obsession. It’s like – you see something you or hear something and you can’t get it out of your head – and my reaction to that is to go make something that to hold up next to the art object that made me feel that way and go “yo, look, I can do it too.”

Is there anything else you’d like to mention that the questions didn’t touch on?

Nah, that’s pretty much it! I have the third single off Price of Anarchy coming out in November, it’s a totally different vibe, it’s a down-tempo bass-driven R&B joint about queer lust, and then the whole tape drops December 10th so be on the lookout for that! Thank you again so much for making the time and for blessing my weird little project with some love. It truly means the world.

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Madison Murray View All →

Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, and I’m the founder of Melodic Musings. In addition to writing, I’m a community editor on Genius, lyric curator on Musixmatch, and a playlist curator at VOLUP2. My favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Machine Gun Kelly, BLACKPINK, Elko, phem, and YUNGBLUD. She/her.

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