The Multifaceted Music of Papi Gaba

Updated: May 5

A few years ago, I remember running in to Bart at a Wicked Jazz Sounds night. Being slightly surprised to see him there and probably not trying to hide my feelings, Bart responded: "I do also love jazz." Before that moment I mostly knew Bart as a producer of several kinds of electronic music, but never realised how broad his music taste actually was. That broad knowledge of music is what has driven Bart to become someone who keeps on reinventing himself. Papi Gaba is the latest musical incarnation of Amsterdam based DJ and producer Bart van Eijden. With his first EP coming out this week, preceded by several singles over the past few months, it seems to be the perfect time to dive deeper into who Papi Gaba is and where he's going.


Tijmen de Nooy Photography


Bart's introduction to music production came rather early, at the age of 12. This was back when Skrillex started to become increasingly popular, bringing the dubstep sound to a broader audience and being one of the most prominent faces of laptop musicians during that era. Inspired by what Skrillex brought, young Bart started experimenting with production- and looping software. He recalls the names Pepsi Music Maker and Dubstep Maker. Given the names and how little information I could find on those, I think it's safe to say that those apps weren't the most fleshed-out DAWs (digital audio workstations) one could use, but those limitations could also result in the perfect playground where one can learn the basics of music production without being overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless possibilities. When Bart graduated from high-school his interest had shifted more towards drum and bass, and with his productions leaning towards that style he started his journey at the conservatory in Haarlem.


Tijmen de Nooy Photography


After studying music production for a while at the conservatory Bart's sound shifted again, this time into a rich sound that still had that type of raw drive some dubstep or drum and bass have too, but accompanied by warm chords, jazzy vocals, drums ranging from laid back to energizing and a lot of sounds recorded from his field recorder or analog synthesizers, resulting in the 2019 EP "Space Garden" released under his previous alias Eyden.



One of the teachers Bart had was none other than Niels Broos, one of the best piano and synthesizer players from the Netherlands when it comes to jazz and other forms of free music. Via him, Bart managed to do an internship at the Den Bosch-based Willem Twee studios. Willem Twee houses one of the biggest vintage synthesizer collections in the world, with one room dedicated to 70s and 80s synths and one room focused on more obscure sound generators and testing equipment from the 50s and 60s. Some of the most interesting figures in modern alternative electronic music can be considered a regular at the studios, such as Daedelus and Den Bosch's own Jameszoo, which both have previously collaborated with Niels Broos.



One of the main things Bart learned during his internship was to work more freely, following the sound of what the gear is doing instead of having a specific sound in mind and trying to recreate that within a DAW. Those of us that have experience with analog gear will know that it is nigh impossible to tell the machines what to do. Which can result in the most interesting sounds and compositions, if you choose to follow the synths from an experimental approach. Chances are we are gonna hear these sounds in the near future but first, Papi Gaba has got something else coming for us these days.


Tijmen de Nooy Photography


Post Lofi is how he described the music he is releasing nowadays. A mixture of Lofi House like Ross From Friends and influences from other contemporary artists like Flume and Photay. This newly crafted sound can sound nostalgic, dramatic, electronic and organic at the same time while still being danceable. So far he released four singles in the build-up to his EP, which will be out this Friday. Most of the material of this EP has been recorded at his own studio at Cinetol, which he shares with Windows, the alias of Willem Jansen, who recently released his own take on It Don't Matter, as the fourth single of the EP.



In Bart's studio his workflow is centered around Ableton, and he uses three of his pieces of physical gear regularly. The Yamaha RM1X, a groovebox that can be used for a plethora of different uses, the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer and another synth, the D10 by Roland. Besides the creation of his music, I also asked Bart if he was working on how he wants to present his music. Currently he's working on a live set, but it ain't where he wants it to be just yet. For his live appearances in the near future we can expect highly energetic DJ sets.


Tijmen de Nooy Photography


Move On, the first EP released by Bart under his alias Papi Gaba will be released May 6th via Q1E2 Recordings.


 

Steppin' Into Tomorrow stands with artists & labels and encourages listeners to support by buying their music directly from Bandcamp. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop.