Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?
The release of my single “Like Wolves” has been a couple of years in the making. The song is quite layered both in meaning and instrumentation. It is a story based on the Cherokee Proverb “Two Wolves” but it is also a personal story about moving from victimhood to empowerment and mending bridges with loved ones along the way. I’m very excited to be finally releasing it and using this platform to raise money for The White Ribbon Foundation which aims to assist those affected by Domestic Violence. I am donating all profits from the online sale of the single to this foundation.
What’s your favourite work at this point in time?
Well my new single “Like Wolves” is actually my debut release as a solo artist so it’s kinda special…special not only because it is my debut, but because it was a real collaborative effort to get to this point. Both the recording of the track and music video were done with the assistance of some amazing artists , friends and people willing to give their time to achieve something greater than the sum of its parts…and to use it to evoke positive social change.
Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.
In a previous band…. on a foggy early morning drive on the way to a show in Sydney, we pulled over on the Hume Hwy and I felt the urge to do a nudey run along the highway. It was a very liberating experience.
What, or who, inspires you?
People inspire me. I’m inspired by the stories of everyday people who have overcome adversity. I’m inspired by those who are courageously pursuing a passion and purpose. I’m inspired by individuals who go against the grain of what is considered “normal” and challenge old systems.
Which song do you wish you wrote?
I can’t go past Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” – a beautiful masterpiece incorporating so many elements…it really takes you on a journey. I love it when songs do that.
What’s next for you?
Once the single is launched on March 17, I will have a few weeks off then head to Byron Bay to record a single with Jeff Martin (The Tea Party). I’m really looking forward to working with him!
What’s your scene?
My scene is an ever-changing landscape of infinite possibilities.
Gabriel Vargas’ Like Wolves is available now
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. “One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. “This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”
That Cherokee proverb means a lot to Gabriel Vargas. This introspective Native American influence weaves itself throughout his daily life and within his important new release, Like Wolves – a song that traverses the tenacity of old wounds and turning victimhood into empowerment. He has also released an accompanying video that captures the true, undeniable beauty in the way that humans are able to grow and move past traumatic events. Gabriel Vargas launched his stunning new offering at Melbourne’s Croxton Front Bar on March 17.
Like Wolves is all-encompassing, and it’s not often that a song that carries such weight is put out into the world. The music itself is superb – alternative indie at its finest – yet it is so much more than the sum of its musical parts, as Vargas explains, “Like Wolves is not only a single release in the physical sense but also a cathartic release spiritually and emotionally…it feels like slowly removing the bandage of an old wound – the marks of the past are still there, but there is a newfound strength and hope for the future.” Vargas also opens up about the deeply personal influence behind the song, saying, “Initially, it was written about a disagreement I had with my mother, which really was a by-product of a much larger energetic shift and recalibration happening within my family. In 2009 my step-father committed suicide and that had thrown the family dynamic into a bit of a tailspin whereby other revelations came to surface…including that of sexual abuse, of which I and my sister were directly affected by (I prefer not to use the word “victim” as it implies helplessness and it is something which has now been integrated and transformed into “empowerment”). So, this whole period really required the stripping away of a facade which had been outwardly projected as a “picture perfect family” …and with that came the inevitable arguments and disagreements, as we all went through a metamorphosis both collectively and individually. For me, this whole process conjured up the spiritual image of fire and the burning of the old to welcome the new…and understanding the “wolves” that we each hide behind..which was based on an old Cherokee Proverb Two Wolves.”
The distinctive Cherokee influence is evident not only on the track, through the inclusion of exquisite Native American flute melodies, but also within the breathtaking clip that accompanies Like Wolves. Conceptualised by Ian Ritter, directed and edited by brothers Matt and Trevor Holcomb, whose short film Flat Daddy was nominated for AACTA’s Best Short Film of 2014, and starring Vargas’ younger sister Raquel and her partner Marlon Castilho, and longtime friend and collaborator Red Horse, the clip follows the story of a young woman who leaves an abusive relationship and, throughout her journey to freedom, is guided by the spirit of Red Horse. Red Horse, through dance and ceremony, evokes the courageous spirit of the wolf which signals the beginning of the woman’s newfound empowerment.
Like Wolves is available now.