Basic Instinct

Electronica may be Houston’s hottest new music scene, and Josiah Gabriel’s stripped-down sound is leading the vanguard.

Todd Spoth
Josia Gabriel
Josia Gabriel

WHEN JOSIAH GABRIEL — née Noah Clough — DJs at one of his many latenight gigs, he dances hyperactively, like he’s had one too many vodka-Red Bulls. But in gyroscopic fashion, the 29-year-old producer and DJ maintains his classic equipoise and, with his audience hanging in wait, hits every drop right on cue. That’s why Gabriel is one of the hottest DJs in Houston’s burgeoning electronica scene. It’s a position he affirmed with his stellar set at last year’s inaugural Day For Night festival and by his most recent EP, EP$, which just dropped.


Gabriel credits much of his sound — simple beats tinged with a hypnotic mélange of elements from various subgenres — to a singular event on New Year’s Eve in 2012: the theft of his backpack. Stolen moments before he was due to ring in the New Year with a musical set, his backpack contained much of his musical equipment and a hard drive that held all of his masters. Gabriel was forced to go back to basics and create strippeddown, vocally scarce (his microphone was also stolen) music from the scraps of what remained of his gear.

“I was like, ‘Sh*t, I have no body of work. I need to make stuff fast,’” he remembers. “So I made this EP called #nothingmatters because I was f***ing sad, and it was great material, and it popped harder than any of the sh*t I was doing before it.”

His material has evolved further still. And for his new record, Gabriel decided to go back to that moment of desperate focus and hash out tracks that combine elements of his simple, sparse music with the more vocally driven tracks he created before the theft.

“I’m messing with material that is very basic, and then the vocals are incredibly pop and R&B with a little bit of soul,” says Gabriel, who leaves in October for an extended visit to Germany, whose capital city of Berlin is the international mecca for the electronica scene.

He’ll be back in time to reprise his rep-setting performance at this year’s Day For Night, which begins Dec. 17. Fans may perceive a new Euro edge, or maybe not. What’s for sure is that the set will be uniquely Josiah. “I make weirdo sh*t and I’m not trying to do anything else,” he says. “I’m making what I want to make.”

Art+Culture

SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED Italian shoe line Concetto Limone will make its Texas debut at a cocktail reception at Valobra Master Jewelers (2150 Westheimer Rd.) on Thursday, April 29 from 5-7pm. The evening of "All Things Italian" will transport guests immediately to the coast of southern Italian as they sip on Italian wines, Aperol Spritzes, Negronis and Limoncellos while feasting on an assortment of Italian hors d'oeuvres from Houston's beloved Tony's. Invited guests will have the first glance in Texas on the Concetto Limone line and the opportunity to purchase unisex styles on Thursday evening and all day Friday at a trunk show at Valobra.

Keep Reading Show less
Style

"Captain America" Artist: Eliseo Hilario The Kingsmen Car Club, Houston, TX

LONGTIME HOUSTON PHOTOGRAPHER Emily Jaschke has shot over the years for nearly every publication in Houston, and for local non-profits like The Diana Foundation, Urban Harvest and Second Servings. But in her first solo exhibition of her photographic work, she's going full metal — Full Metal Jaschke, that is.

Keep Reading Show less
Art + Entertainment

Canadian mezzo-soprano, who trained at the HGO Studio, will star in the title of Carmen, the company's first live show since Covid. (photo from @tact_international_management on Instagram)

AFTER THE COVID-19 pandemic forced Houston Grand Opera to make its 2020-21 season an all-virtual affair through their new HGO Digital platform, the lauded company is making its triumphant return to live productions this fall with a 2021-22 season stacked with audience favorites like Carmen and The Magic Flute. And of the six highly anticipated mainstage productions on the company's repertoire for the season, four of them will be conducted by women — toi toi toi — with the other two operas boasting female directors.
Keep Reading Show less
Art + Entertainment