We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabriel Saltman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabriel, how do you think about risk?
Embracing risk artistically and creatively is the best catalyst for breaking through limitations and standing out. When I expose myself to the dangers of vulnerability and failure, something magical happens; I get comfortable with fear. Daring yourself to attempt what you believe impossible, is a wonderful way to grow. A few years ago, I took a big risk financially and creatively when designing a full multimedia installation inside a remote cave in LA. The fantasy of that idea stood for so long, held back by my irrational fears, but when I finally let go and embraced the process, it was extraordinarily rewarding. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today without learning to overcome personal barriers. Often too, confronting internal or external adversity illuminates just how much fear can blow objectivity out the window. What do we truly have to lose by fulfilling potential?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The music and media I create is all about exploring mental health, intimacy and vulnerability in the modern age. Emotional distress is so deeply ingrained into our culture, I want us to think critically about it. Art sometimes provides catharsis and escape, but I also crave depth. I’ve worked so many positions in the LA music scene, from instrumentalist to arranger, producer, and engineer, so it feels really amazing to finally come to a place creatively where I’m using every single one of those skills to explore this desire.
Being genre-fluid as a composer and producer, there are an infinite amount of sonic permutations that I can explore to really express what I experience. Working with organic musical elements like self generated choir, string quartets, keys, and analogue synths, I don’t particularly feel bound to stay within a neat lane or style, which in a way is the very brand I’m trying to create. It feels super rewarding to hop between modes of expression with music, improvised sound baths, choreography and media installations because I want to evoke experiences that trigger a cascade of personal reflection and connection. What I do to stand out as an artist is try to challenge myself to think beyond the worn avenues of success or viability and create something really genuine to who I am. That’s the most important. It’s been a big risk professionally to really shift paths, break away from complacency and explore things I would otherwise never do, but that’s what creates innovation.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As much as we are all starved of social gathering in this strange and apocalyptic time, I’m still very much someone who enjoys the peace and inspiration found in nature.
LA really is home to some fantastic nature so I’d definitely venture into Angeles National Forest, Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Creek, and The Huntington Library.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’ve been really blessed to have friends made within the LA music community that have pushed me to greater musical heights and believe in what I’m doing. Will Marriott, Jess Coble, Nigel Wilson, Jaden Larue, Trent Bower, Nick Rosen, my folks (of course), just to name a few, have all been wonderful. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing with the confidence I have without all the opportunities, love and support from them.
Sammi Nguyen (Collage Artwork) Katie McGehee (portraits)