One of my favorite things about doing interviews is that I always learn more about the artist than I expected. This time I got to know one of my favorite female vocalists, the talented princess gari, Anabel Englund. It was a really casual conversation where we talked about Englund’s musical journey, the process behind her new music, as well as future tour dates with her friends of Gari Safari.
Before going into the more in-depth questions, I really wanted to know how she started. I wanted to go back to where it all began. I was curious about how she went from writing and singing songs for ABC family to collaborating with some of the top underground DJs, and releasing new music together with her closest friends.
“It’s been interesting, I feel like the ABC family thing happened by chance. I feel no matter where I go or what I do, music always seems to call my name,” Englund says. “Obviously ABC family and then to 2012 days when it was like Lee Foss, Jamie Jones, touring all over the world with all that underground scene it was very different, and something I wasn’t used to but was so infatuated with. I feel like I went from like one complete side to a whole opposite side of the spectrum. I feel like now where I am I’m kind of making my own way. Now I have Gari Safari which is something I do with my friends.”
Gari Safari has definitely been one of the funnest and most unique events I’ve been to. I mean who wouldn’t want to party in a safari, right? It’s exciting because it’s so different and new. It’s also helped Englund be more independent and free to share the music she wants to the world. “Now I have a lot of freedom to do whatever I want and I just know a lot more and I’m a lot more clear about what I want and who I want to work with. Now I’m like I only want to work with people who want to hustle as hard as I do, I don’t want to waste my time, let’s cut to the chase and let’s do it.”
So what is Gari? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wondering the meaning behind the name of these successful Gari Safari parties and how it came about. “Gari is like a term of endearment,” Englund says. “I feel like most best friends have an inside joke and something that only they understand. I feel like with Gari it’s just silly, I’m like Safari rhymes with Gari. I don’t know exactly how Gari Safari came about, probably my brother and his friends, but it was like oh Gari Safari and then they’re like ‘let’s throw a party!’ and then we did and then it actually was really successful and that’s kind of how it happened, and now it’s kind of been developing into its own and we just want to pursue it.”
Not only were the Gari Safari parties successful, they then became an even bigger thing: its own record label, Gari Recs. “We wanted to show that we all create together which is why our first release ‘Rising’ was a collaboration of all five of us. We wanted to show an eclectic way that we can all make music together too. And I think we wanted Gari Recs because we just wanted to make music where we don’t have to send in the demo and then change all of this stuff we don’t want to change,” Englund says. “Basically Gari Recs is just something where we can put music out and just have fun and play at our parties and we call it Gari Recs because all of the five of us who run Gari Safari also run the label.”
It’s clear that Gari Safari has helped Englund be who she wants to be and share the music she wants, including all of her singles. “I love writing about the challenges that we face day to day, whether it’s love, or heartbreak or just challenges or internal conflict,” Englund says. “Some people write with the words first and sometimes I do that too, but I like the music to guide me with where the lyrics are gonna go. A lot of times with anything else I try not to overthink, like if I’m going to go into a session I’m not like fuck what am I going to write today. I’m just going to let myself do what I do and when I go in there I’m gonna trust it’s going to be a great experience and I’m going to make something beautiful, whether it’s feasible or not, it’s just about creating and not thinking about it, so I just have to trust.”
Englund also recently released a new song with Amtrac. “I really like the song that just came out with Amtrac that I did, ‘Old Times’. I think Old Times right now is my favorite song, honestly every song speaks for a different time and period in my life, so it’s kind of hard for me to choose a favorite because they all represent a different part of me. Right now Old Times is my fave because I think it’s fucking awesome,” Englund says.
She then told the story of how the song was created over something her and Amtrac were working on, where he was producing and she was writing words. Turns out the results were okay, but a few months later Amtrac reached out to Anabel and showed her how he reworked the track into this new amazing song.
“That’s the cool thing about making music too is that you can create something and then months later you have a whole other product that is way better; there’s always room for improvement. I was like wow I really love this and I love the message too and I hope people like it too.”
As Englund continues to work on new music, she’s also realizing what she wants to do and what her goals are within her musical career. “So, you know as you’re growing up you think you know what you want and you’re not 100% sure and now what I do know is that I really want to keep making music. I love making music that makes people dance.” Englund says.
Englund has been working hard to continue to share the music she loves creating. “I’m actually going to be releasing a new track soon. I’m trying to go a different route… it’s more like, I want to say Indie Pop but it’s kind of like an aerie with a driving beat and beautiful layers and it’s the first single of my solo EP.,” Englund says. “I just want to keep shizzling away of who I am and not just as a person but with my music too. I want to find out more about what my magic powers are and how to use them.”
As this interview came to an end, we talked about some of her music idols and covering songs at her shows. “Madonna is definitely one, I fucking love her so much. Someone I really like recently is SZA, her voice is just insane and her album ‘Ctrl’ the way the music is with her voice is amazing, I’m obsessed, I love her! I also really like how Miley’s route has gone recently, I just love how she just like gone to be her natural self and I feel like everyone needs to do that, embrace who they are and stop trying to be what they think they need to be, or like what everyone else looks like, just be you. I like how she’s embodying that right now,” Englund says.
We finished the interview with one last question: if you had to cover a song at one of your shows, what song would it be and why? “I mean there’s one I can think of right now, but I’m performing it at my show at Coachella, so I want it to be a surprise. Something I really want to do is ‘Stop this Train’ by John Mayer. It’s so beautiful, it’s about getting older. The guitar is so good and the words are so on point. I want to cover it with my brother. We’re going to do it eventually but we haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
Anabel will be releasing a new track from her upcoming EP either in April or May, so be sure to be on the lookout for that!
Gari Safari Recap – More info here Gari Safari
Photos Cred: Jar.Photo