Japanese Wallpaper (or Gab Strum, as his birth certificate reads) is about to embark on his most exciting live endeavour to date – supporting legendary French dance act M83 on their Australian tour.
We caught up with Gab to talk about the sound he is developing, how he structures his live sets, and any prospective nerves about supporting an act he describes as “the Godfather”!
You have a quintessentially Australian, homegrown, summer sound that’s distinctive and unique. How would you describe this sound and what inspired you for your new video/single, ‘Arrival’?
“I’m not too sure about that – ironically most of my inspiration, especially for that track, comes from overseas artists such as Four Tet, Sufjan Stevens, and The Bilinda Butchers.
“I guess my ‘sound’ is just kind of my take on all the music I love and the songs that inspire me to create.”
You’ll be supporting M83 in May this year. How amped are you for this tour and which tune of his would you most like to remix?
“I’m pretty excited about it – I’ve never really delved deep into his music but it’s certainly something I’ll be doing in the weeks leading up to the tour. I also feel like there’s a bit of pressure, as M83 is one of the godfathers of this strand of electronic music, I hope he likes our set!”
In terms of your May tour with M83, can you give us some insight into how you manage preparing the best set whilst still leaving room for those spontaneous moments to occur? Or do you play without a set structure in mind and simply take the spontaneous approach? Can you talk us through the approach to your sets?
“I’ve been playing live with a band for a little while now, which has created a lot more room for spontaneous moments to occur. I guess my overarching approach is to stay true to the original structure and sound set of the track, but flesh it out instrumentally and leave lots of room for looped sections on the computer side of things that allow us to jam out and have fun with it. It’s nice not to play the exact same set every night – it keeps it interesting on stage too.”
Tell us about your top five road-trip tunes?
“I’m not really a festival person, nor do I drive! So maybe I’m not the most qualified to talk about road trip soundtracks for the journey to a festival. But I’ve been really into these songs lately.”
Squidgenini – ‘Fire’
The Bilinda Butchers – ‘Ume’
Sufjan Stevens – ‘Exploding Whale’
The Goon Sax – ‘Boyfriend’
Mura Masa – ‘What If I Go?’
When you’re not playing, what do you do for fun with your friends?
“At the moment I’ve been spending lots of time in my studio writing the next album when I’m not on tour. It’s a slow and solitary process but I’m having heaps of fun with it nonetheless.”