Interview: Gabriel Rios Talks 'This Marauder's Midnight'
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:47:33
Gabriel Ríos Videos
Premieres "Gold" Live Clip
Singer and songwriter Gabriel Rios takes a literal world of experience and pours it into his music. That's evident in his latest album (his fourth full-length), This Marauder's Midnight. A combination of stark cello, bass, and vocals, its stripped elegance allows his words to really shine and take hold. Born in Puerto Rico, he moved to Belgium as a teen and now spends a significant time in New York, that global vision permeates the music, expanding his understanding and scope and connecting him to the audience on a deeper level. It's as powerful as it is poetic.
Gabriel told us all about This Marauder's Midnight in this exclusive interview. He also teamed up with us to debut an exclusive performance clip of "Gold." It shows that stripped elegance and really evinces the energy and charisma fueling his voice and presence. Make sure to watch it and read the interview.
Watch This Exclusive Acoustic Performance of "Gold"
What was your vision for This Marauder's Midnight?
I moved to New York in order to write songs. I had been living in Belgium for 16 or 17 years. As a songwriter, it felt really isolating to not live in an English-speaking country. I felt that I had to step up my game and came over here. It became clear that I needed to make a record that was naked. We wanted to make the whole album with just three instruments—cello, bass and myself. I think that the unity the record is the sound. We thought we should just go for it and not anything else. I come from a whole different background as I played punk rock, then moved to this pop, electro, and urban vibe.
All of a sudden, I realized that I was attracted to people who were writing songs that were naked, empty—almost nothing but themselves on it. It's like the song almost didn't exist. I got attracted to that and decided to become a solo performer. I realized that New York was the place to try all of this out. It was just enough to get a hint of an arrangement without being a band. We had a gig, and some of the musicians couldn't make it. It ended up just being us three coincidentally. We then realized it would work well. We were as excited as the audience was, and it all came together. It was an overnight realization that we felt cemented our originality.
So the live show opened up the doorway for the album?
My ambition had to do with getting to a certain type of song. It wasn't about a record deal at all. I didn't mind taking the time to get it all done. It was a slow process of getting it done, but it was great. We did the album at Dreamland Recordings in Woodstock, NY. We then went back to Europe and started releasing the songs before the second half of the record was recorded. Everything started to gather momentum this way. It literally sounds like three people playing these songs—that's it. There is really nothing to hide behind.
Watch the music video for "Gold" from Gabriel Rios: