Interview with RVBY MY DEAR: "I Just Wanted to Make Something That I Could Stand to Listen to for a Long Time"
It’s only June, but RVBY MY DEAR has already had an incredibly busy year. After kicking off 2019 with the release of her three-song EP, Remains, RVBY MY DEAR mastermind, Gabbi Coenen wasted no time in releasing her new album, Waiting in May, and with another six months left in the year, only time can tell what else she has up her sleeve.
RVBY MY DEAR is the art-pop project of Gabbi Coenen, a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist originally from Perth, Western Australia, now based in Brooklyn NY. A formally trained pianist from the age of 4, Coenen formed RVBY MY DEAR as an outlet for her songwriting in late 2012, after moving to New York to attend The New School’s jazz voice program. Learn a little bit more about Gabbi and listen to her track, “Draw” now below!
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for anyone who might not be familiar?
I’m a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter originally from Australia, now based in Brooklyn NY. I’ve performed under the name RVBY MY DEAR since 2016 and have released a few singles and EP’s over the years.
You got involved in music for the first time at a very young age. What first made you excited and inspired to start playing and writing?
I loved music videos as a child, I would sit in front of the TV every Saturday morning and devour all the latest songs, so I think that’s the first time I remember being really excited by music and the idea of performing. I didn’t start properly writing songs until I was at university – it was a requirement for our graduation recital that we had to perform two original tunes, which I was terrified of doing initially. But I remember getting some fairly positive feedback on my songs, so that kind of inspired me to keep going with it.
Although you’ve been involved in music in one way or another for a long time, RVBY MY DEAR is a relatively new project. How do you feel you’ve grown since you first started writing and releasing music as RVBY MY DEAR?
I perform with a live band and the set up and lineup has changed a lot over the last two or three years – I decided to play bass while singing, which I think has helped me feel more connected to the music and feel more in control of the sound. We also started incorporating more electronic elements into the set, which means I feel like I can get away with experimenting more in the recording process and just bring those sounds over into the sampler, rather than having to restrict what we’re doing sonically because it can’t be played by a live instrument.
Back in February, you kicked off the new year with the release of your new three song EP, Remains. Now that it has been out for a bit and you’ve had some time to reflect on it, what are some of your favorite things about the EP?
I still love listening to those songs, I think the production on them is beautiful. It captures that immersive, cinematic feeling that I always aim for when I’m writing songs for this project.
Did you have any major goals in mind when you first started working on Remains?
I just wanted to make something that I could stand to listen to for a long time… so far, so good!
Earlier this year, you also released a video for “Draw” from the EP. Can you tell us a little bit about this song in particular? What inspired it?
This was the final song written for the album, about 3 weeks before we were set to go into the studio to track the rest of the songs. This was around the end of the summer of 2016, which was obviously a very tumultuous time both politically and socially around the world. That, coupled with a bit of stress-induced sleep paralysis, probably influenced the lyrics of the song most directly. Musically it was written for piano and voice, as all my songs are. I sent a very bare-bones demo to Andrew my producer, and he came back with this intense, ‘trap-adjacent’ drum track that began to lift the song out of its balladic tendencies. Once he added the guitars (by this stage my old guitarist had quit the band, probably adding to the stressful nature of the whole experience), it turned into this film noir/Western/James Bond fusion, very much inspired by the band Portishead, which turned my anxiety into complete joy and excitement. We added tons of synth and vocal layers to the final version, building up to this big crescendo underneath the final line of the lyrics, followed by a sudden, menacing ending which I particularly enjoy. There’s also a very difficult Casio arpeggio part during that final section that I actually had to play live because the keyboard we wanted to use didn’t have a midi in or out. I was definitely holding my breath the entire time during that take.
Do you have any other big plans for 2019?
I’ve started writing some new songs, so hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have enough to start working on a new record. We’ve also been pitching the songs on the album for film and TV, so I’m excited to see what comes of that.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
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