Embellished with a diverse eclecticism surrounding her musical aesthetics, Gabbi Nixx, the North Carolina songstress of Fuck-Rock and R&B, takes the spotlight on the music industries center stage.
The last time fans got a dose of her dopamine-infused offerings was in September with her hot-tempered single, "Lunar Surfer." That was a motley of auto-tune and a prismatic display of the type of mystifying soundscapes she could create with booming drums, salubrious bass-lines, and her martian-reminiscent vocals.
Her latest musical endeavor comes garnished with the same criteria, this time, presenting more immersive, potent, and intuitive than ever. Through the addition of horns, a plethora of mystifying synths, and an excess of resounding shrieks, Gabbi doubles down on her creative intuitions and lets them soar. With a playtime of just over twenty-minutes, her debut EP, 'Kamikaze Groove,' stands as a testament to the innovation she represents, the auteur she has become, and the bond she has with her multifarious roots in Funk, Soul, and R&B; with an exceptional dose of Rock added to the mix for some added punch.
Inaugurating the adventure with a scintillating bass-line and her trademark reverberated howl, "Drink It Up" takes measure with a gyrating groove. As Gabbi's vocals choreograph between two or three variations of itself, it almost sounds like the North Carolina intoner is singing amongst a manifold of intertwining harmonies, each one resounding and crescendoing in their own limelight.
There's a smooth gliding keyboard that decorates the edges of the salubrious funk mix, and when you get to the chorus, it's easy to get lost in the bewildering embodiment of her eclectic sound designs; especially when she sings, "and it comes back to the water (drink it up, drink it up), what the hell is in that water! (take it down, take it down)." She's either drank the most potent brew of her life, or someone has dosed the water she's sipping with a serious shot of lysergic psychedelia.
The next adventure, "Nihilistic Disco," is christened with the same introduction as the predecessor track—a penetrating howl—with an arpeggiated melody from bright pads, the smooth swipes of an electric guitar, and fervently saturated bass-line. The cadence here is inlaid over a four-to-the-floor rhythm, and when Gabbi grips onto the mic with her bewitching tonality, it's like stepping onto the dancefloor of the most clandestine club you've never heard of. Here, the mesmerizing songstress gathers her Disco and Funk ancestors' touchstone and skyrockets them straight to the moon.
"I'm a sup-a-sonic, funk-atomic, disco queen, who spends all night dancin' way her dreams," she sings, weaving up and down in pitch like someone is playing with the settings on her vocal-chain processor. Her adlibs fester and swell in the background and seldom come short of being kaleidoscopic, meshing, and then dispersing back into the blurring voids from which they came.
On "Dead Man Slide," Gabbi Nixx sounds like the ghostly rendering of a late James Brown, but with a sassy dose of rebelliousness as she croons with a more distinctive rasp on this Funk-Rock memoranda. Over a combination of gyrating drums, pristine percussion, the honourary triangle, and a multifarious display of grooving sonics erupting from the bass, guitar, and low-toned harmonies, Gabbi takes no breaks in howling. She shrieks and playfully scants like the funktastic queen she is, never losing touch with the bumping groove.
It's probably the most rambunctious track on the record, with the drums, bass, triangle, and Gabbi's vocals taking all the credit for their infusion of danceability, hand-pumping gesturing, and the hip-swinging involved. As she scintillates from jam session vibe to scant vocal solo, it's easy to see why this North Carolina up-comer is spinning heads from east to west coast, screaming: "suga feel the vibe, it's the deadman slide!"
Much of the tracks on 'Kamikaze Groove' feel like the beginning of a funky jam session; it's the search for a particular feel before developing into a sinuous display of Funk-reminiscent foregrounds where R&B, Soul, and Rock aesthetics occasionally make their appearances. But one song, in particular, stands out as being an outlier to the rest, with a saucy dispensing of soca-gyrating rhythms that almost sounds like a Carlos Santana track from the future. Like a conga-line, Gabbi's distinguished voice, her close-second bass, and the island-kissed drums set in stone beneath them take flight on "Soiree of Flamez." This track makes you want to bust out some mimosas, crack open the closest to find your best dance shoes, and call an Uber to take you to the nearest dance party.
When you get the last single on Gabbi Nixx's debut EP, you've already experienced the diversity of an upcoming artist who isn't afraid to show her genuine self, however eclectic and bewildering it may initially seem. It's a venture through the mind of an innovative free-thinker, and one that only comes along once in a few decades. "Spotlight," the culminating single on 'Kamikaze Groove,' feels like this intoner's version of a lighter-waving anthem, and it comes from the deepest portions of her human-experiences. "Walkin' through a cloudy room, I've gotten so used to the fumes, a spotlight, gold light, shining through, I hope that I can reach it soon," she sings, with altruistic sentiments oozing from her decrying incantation about how her mother had a profound effect on her.
Whether it be deficient or completely toxic is beyond measure and somehow feels irrelevant next to the immersive sound design. What's most intoxicating about the track is how profoundly the emotions land. It's a testament to the absence of Gabbi's father and the toxicity that it left her mother with, which in turn, flooded the young singer with the feeling of resent. It's a punctuating way to end a debut EP, but the perfect way to get intimate with her fanbase as she chaperones you through the closing doors of her sonic spectacles.
If there's one thing that is certain about Gabbi Nixx and her debut record, it's that fans of Funk, Rock, Soul, and R&B will find something personifying within the super-charged, all-embracing sonic menagerie she calls 'Kamikaze Groove.'
Can you walk us through the process of how a new song comes to fruition, especially in the context of 'Kamikaze Groove'? How does this process compare to when you're just working on an individual single?
I actually didn’t mean to have Kamikaze Groove as a collective project in the beginning. This was a chaotic summer full of violence, sickness, and conspiracy, and the emotions that came with it all really manifested in my music. All I could write and sing about was our generation coping with the madness in my own satirical way. After about three singles that consisted of dance sounds and juxtaposing lyrics, I decided that I should probably group them under a name and release them together.
What steps did you take in the curation of each track on 'Kamikaze Groove' to make sure your anecdotal intent and the sentiments you were trying to highlight never got lost in translation?
Every song that I create starts with a bassline. My God of a producer knows the drill and adds so much to the creative process. I was in the dreariest of moods this summer and I knew that the majority of my work was going to be sad. The only issue with that was that I just couldn’t stop groovin’. It really forced me to take on a new approach to conveying my message and I took to mimicking my generation’s way of coping, but through sound. I mean the whole world was going through a pandemic and what was gen z doing? Making tik tok dances. I think the best line to describe it all comes from Dead Man Slide, where I repeat “Get down, with the Let Down” about a million times. Everything sucks, but we just dance through it because that’s really all we can do to keep from going crazy and that was a recurring theme throughout the entire tracklist. I know for a fact that lots of people are going to listen to this and not catch my metaphors or messages at all. They’re gonna hear a kickass disco beat and they’re gonna get down with it. However, I like to think that their subconscious minds will resonate with the lyrics despite the outward groove and I think that’s what I intended.
Out of all the songs you've recorded for 'Kamikaze Groove,' which one stands as a lesson-provider, whether it be production-wise, emotionally, or artistically?
Oh lord! I think they all do the same thing in a sense, but in my opinion, the one that stands out the most as a lesson provider in all aspects from production to artistic expression would have to be Drink It Up. The bassline walks underneath the song is sort of a march, pushing the idea of a bunch of brainless civilians walking in conformity. The most repeated line, “It comes back to the water, what the hell is in that water?” is me trying to pin an explanation for as to why we just “drink up” whatever the television people say without ever questioning or discovering anything on our own. I think I actually cried after recording this because I just vented out all my frustrations with society and it was the most that I could do about the matter. People are dying and all I felt like I could do was to address the issue of “our mindless following leading to our demise”, in a funk song. Drink It Up really brought forth my feelings of helplessness in these times.
When you think back to the emotions you needed to channel for the performances you've captured on 'Kamikaze Groove,' which ones stand out as the most impactful and useful for you to establish the distinguishing aesthetic you've become known for?
Woah I have a musical aesthetic? That’s so cool! Thank you for that, I’m gonna start saying it all the time. I think that one thing that I’ve learned about music and life, in general, is that you have to be bold about everything if you want to express it in the fullest way possible. When writing a song, you could say “I’m sad” or you could say “I’m dying”. To me, they kinda mean the same thing, one is just exaggerated to the point where it’s worth paying attention to. So in music, I often find myself mocking the dramatic aspects of myself or “channeling” them for the impact. I do this alot in Nihilistic Disco, especially around the pre-chorus where I go through the whole “I’m Misses Good Time” chant in an almost whiny high pitched tone that just transitions into a little soul belt towards the end. I think that’s just an exaggerated version of how I normally talk which is already pretty animated to begin with. In conclusion, I just mocked myself to get my true self into the audio and I think that puts all of my other intense emotions under an umbrella.
If you could give us a few words that would act as the prologue to the experience you set out for fans on 'Kamikaze Groove,' what would you feel the need to say, and why?
That’s so funny because I actually did write out a little prologue! I speak it at the end of the video for Drink It Up which serves as the intro single to the EP. It went along the lines of: “Life is but a dream, everyone was born brainwashed, death is a semicolon, everything’s a placebo, and outer space is not real. Welcome to my thoughts, I hope you hear them well. kAmiKaZe grOove-Ah!”. I think I said all that because I thought it was funny, but also it sums up alot of the topics that I deal with throughout the EP in the same comical, abstract way.