Science, spirituality, carbohydrates: Stabber and Gaia talk about ‘Fé’ | Rolling Stone Italy

On the one hand science, on the other spirituality. This is perhaps the simplest way to describe two personalities as close but distant as Stabber, one of the most esteemed Italian producers, and Gaia, Italian-Brazilian pop star with international ambition. Together the two found themselves, having lunch and animatedly discussing the great themes of life, in Fea single that anticipates Stabber’s first solo album which to date, however, does not yet have a release date.

We reached them via Zoom, between Italy and Brazil, to talk about this first meeting. On paper there was the risk of not having much to say, if not to speak in reference to this single piece (and the related beautiful clip directed by the video-artists Francesco D’Abbraccio and Karol Sudolski), but the conversation exploded between hands leading us to actively discuss very delicate issues related to the music industry. In the end, the task of beautiful songs, those that have a personality, a direction and an ambition, is this: to provoke a conversation, a thought, a reflection. Fein its scarce three minutes, between a captivating production (which intercepts a series of contemporaries such as Rosalía, Arca, Sophie), and a great vocal personality at the microphone, succeeds precisely in this intent.

How did this collaboration come about? How did you find yourself?
Stabber: I’m always attentive to what comes out in Italy and it’s not embarrassing.
Gaia: Stabberone immediately goes down lightly.
Stabber: You have to be honest at some point. When Gaia’s album came out it was a breath of fresh air. So I wrote her on Instagram.
Gaia: This is the approach nowadays!

And how did you go from Instagram to the studio?
Gaia: Before entering the studio we went to lunch. I had just returned from Brazil where I had spent two weeks in the Amazon making ayahuasca. I am an extremely spiritual person, my environment is metaphysics, while Stabber comes from a totally scientific background. We thus found ourselves talking about existentialist issues, a sort of science vs. spirituality. Different codes, but similar points of view. So we arrived in the studio with a genuine charge, a real exchange that I still hold dear.
Stabber: I always hope to be able to insert content into what I do and that lunch was already an important content. Initially we were supposed to do something else, but then what we said led us elsewhere, to say something true. It just came out and things that come out have a different humanity.
Gaia: The piece was written during lunch, basically.

Reading the text I would say a nice intense lunch.
Gaia: An overdose of carbohydrates! And in the meantime we asked ourselves: what does it mean to exist, to have faith, to think positively for one’s life? We are surrounded by so much crap, media food that has a very low vibration. So the piece begins with some strong sentences: “Judging hearts inside the churches / patriarchy that still sits at the head of the table / filters that distance from real beauty / children born in the boredom of quarantine / I didn’t grow up to be so distant from me / I didn’t die to be resurrected the same as before / where is your faith now? Has this veil of Maya already fallen or is it you who does not want to see?”. We were listening and the song took its flow.

In Italy it is often difficult to find a text with a certain weight within pop music. There’s a certain reluctance in the industry to think that you can also make beautiful committed pop music: don’t you think?
Stabber: Every time I have an artist in the studio I tell them «if you have something to say that you wouldn’t say in your records, now is the time». There’s too much stereotyped stuff out there, even motivational songs. This thing that everyone has to say that everything is wonderful seems rhetorical to me: life isn’t like that, it’s hard enough, it’s not all-all beautiful. We also need to be able to say things in a more realistic, straightforward, honest way. As Gaia did here with those sentences that are unappealable facts. For me, the best music always has a bit of a bad grip.
Gaia: Stabber reacts this way to the song while I see a lot of positivity in it. Making certain things real gives you the ability to deal with them. I’m in a moment of life where I feel the need to throw certain things out. In the past I’ve made some life choices in which I’ve slipped into contexts I had nothing to do with shit but because I’ve always been a little curious about what is antithetical to me. I found myself in contexts where I wasn’t really understood. Now I feel I can be a moment more explicit even when dealing with emotions that are complex for me to bring to music, such as sadness.

That this dense piece was born after a lunch, a real human encounter, makes me think of this: there is a sort of bulimia, within Italian music, of sessions between authors, musicians, producers who meet only in the studio, without human relationships, with the attempt to write a hit. What is your thought on the matter?
Stabber: There’s a habit of working on an assembly line, which can be there eh, but it depends on the end. There are two blocks and two goals: money and music. I chose the musical part. Living making music is a privilege. So I learned to relate only to people who have the same vibration as me, as Gaia would say. I don’t like going to a session with a person I’ve never talked to or eaten with and maybe find out mid-work that they have completely different ideologies or who knows what else. I want to share this wonderful thing about music with people I respect. You have to get to know each other, I know it’s not the general habit, but I prefer it that way.
Gaia: I’m a little different, I also work with people I don’t know, without problems: sometimes it’s fine, sometimes it’s not. You have to know how to take things in the right direction, listen, not be prejudiced.
Stabber: There are people who maybe haven’t achieved anything yet and who maybe show up in the studio in six, with two authors, a topliner, two producers. So it becomes too complex a mechanism. Having a direct relationship with people undermines this structure.
Gaia: I agree, but the problem is not with these, the problem is with the system. Music today, like everything, is too fast and sped up, bulimic. Sometimes if you work with a hundred people it turns out cool, sometimes not. What matters is the intention, always.
Stabber: The obvious risk of having too many people working on a single track is depersonalization, a big problem in the music industry.
Gaia: It’s true, there must be an idea or a personality that guides. Not that you dominate, that you lead. Sometimes there isn’t all this care in music because that’s not the point.

After this exchange of yours, it’s easy for me to imagine you at that lunch. Returning to Fe: the piece has its own decisive sound and aesthetic personality, but also the choice of using Portuguese goes against the tide for the Italian market.
Stabber: I proposed it to him because I knew it could be a way of staying between the two of us without all that world of various authors around: so no one could have his say on the text. And then the other reason is because it sounds too good, Gaia in Portuguese rocks. Finally there is the hope that this thing starts from here and goes outwards as it happens all over the world. I don’t understand why Italians have to be confined and look to their own market. In Italy there is this diffidence towards everything that is not in Italian and is not understood.

And you, Gaia, do you find this freedom when you use Portuguese?
Gaia: I’m actually reapproaching Italian and it’s gassing me because it’s more difficult to find the same cheek I have with Portuguese. I like to write in a language different from that of the producer; so there is less judgment and those dynamics where everyone gives their own opinion are not created. So I write in Italian with foreigners and in Portuguese with Italians.

It’s very nice to use other languages, especially those less present in our imagination, but I guess doing it in Italy isn’t exactly simple. Especially now that the rankings are dominated by an extreme Italian spirit.
Gaia: In Italy we find it difficult to accept an artist. But when he is accepted, everything about him, good or bad, is heard. This is an old school approach, we are an old school people, we can see it even just from the political change. We must have extraordinary patience here. In the States it’s easy to leave, difficult to resist, here the opposite. We are looking for a third way, in the middle. Being present when you have something to say but also having the courage and steadfastness to know how to take breaks in order to come back fresher. Here, if you stop for a year, like I did, people write to you «did you stop?».
Stabber: That’s the way industry is built. You always have to bring out new things, as if all the past didn’t exist. Psalm once he said to me: “People don’t know how to get bored anymore”. That’s the point. Less things should be done, but done better; only then could they last.

It is making a lot of effort to explain to the listener the need for time for the artist: time for thought, preparation, realization.
Stabber: We must remember that music is made by human beings who need human time to make it.

Stabber, Fe anticipate your record, right? What role do you have in relation to what will come?
Stabber: This song will be part of a record born under the pressure of all the people I know, in music as in life (probably even my dog ​​pressured me), who pushed me to take this step. I’ve been working on it for a little over a year. I want to do something interesting, first for me, songs that I would like to hear. This piece is a kind of manifesto.

Populous, from his personal profile, has published a post on Facebook that I totally subscribe to. After praising the song for its contemporaneity and internationality, she concludes: “She should go crazy in her bosses’ offices, turn over all their desks, lie on the floor screaming like crazy, tear up all the contracts and ONLY do things like that”. In a certain sense, the summation of what we have said to each other.
Gaia: I agree (laughs). This environment is actually very complex and creative freedom is an eternal struggle (not vicious, but aware) in which you have to make your inspirations coexist with the fact that you are in a market anyway and you have to make ends meet. In any case, the intention is to return only with sincere things, in line, that excite me. It’s the only thing I look up to.
Stabber: Gaia has all the numbers to be able to do this. The Italian market is extremely hypocritical. A record like Rosalía’s, free pop with a desire to experiment and do whatever the fuck you want, could not have existed in Italy, no record company would have released it. But having arrived from abroad, with all this acclamation, they took it upon themselves. Here there is a bovine work methodology where for certain records one doesn’t know what to do with them.

Science, spirituality, carbohydrates: Stabber and Gaia talk about ‘Fé’ | Rolling Stone Italy