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Gap Dream Playing Folk Yeah Show At Stritch

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Rip This Joint: Gabe Fulvimar, the brains behind Fullerton psych-pop project Gap Dream, doesn’t regret leaving an early version of The Black Keys to live in a storage unit. “Hell no!”

Rip This Joint: Gabe Fulvimar, the brains behind Fullerton psych-pop project Gap Dream, doesn’t regret leaving an early version of The Black Keys to live in a storage unit. “Hell no!”

If the Rust Belt city of Akron, Ohio, ever comes up in conversation among indie music fans, chances are it’s for one of two reasons: in reference to the freak-folk group Akron/Family, or in reference to a little garage revival duo by the name of The Black Keys, who rocketed from blog darlings to bona fide, top-of-the-charts rock stars in 2010. It is perhaps fitting, then, that the band comes up in conversation with Gabe Fulvimar, the sole singer and songwriter behind Fullerton-based, garage-surf-psych-electro act Gap Dream.

Fulvimar grew up in Akron—in the same neighborhood as Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, the Black Keys’ two permanent members. In fact, Fulvimar “was in the original, primitive version” of the band, is credited in the liner notes of the band’s debut LP, and might have been the third Black Key, if only he hadn’t decided to do his own thing.

“I wasn’t really feeling the vibes of the music,” Fulvimar says, shrugging off what many might justifiably call a missed opportunity—especially considering where the musician’s choice landed him.

The 35-year-old Burger Records artist has spent the past four years living in his label’s warehouse—a storage unit in the middle of a sprawling Orange County industrial park, without a kitchen or a shower, where he “rots (his) stomach by eating fast food every goddamn day.”

But Fulvimar doesn’t see it that way. When asked whether he regrets not sticking things out with Auerbach and Carney, he is unequivocal.

“Hell no!” he exclaims. “Why would I regret something I don’t know? I can’t even imagine what my life would be like. I got it pretty good. I stayed true to who I was. I did it my way,” he concludes—half-singing the last bit in what sounds a lot like Jeff Spicoli impersonating Frank Sinatra.

Sure, Fulvimar might have made millions, but he would have been playing someone else’s music. Instead he is playing his own brand of garage-y, psychedelic beach-pop with analog electronic flourishes and spaced-out, reverb-drenched guitar.

Speaking in his SoCal surfer drawl, it seems that Fulvimar is truly content with his current arrangement. Living in his record label’s warehouse affords him all the time in the world to do what he does best: make music. “It’s cool,” he says. “I can make stuff I’ve always wanted to make.”

Case in point: Fulvimar’s latest album, which he recorded under the moniker Pleiades, is a droning, downtempo electronic affair, which he wrote primarily on a Moog Phatty, over the course of a few days after returning from an extended tour through Europe.

He was exhausted, he says, so he just broke out the Phatty, put on some sci-fi movies and emerged three days later with an album. He didn’t expect anything to happen with it, but then he ended up showing it to his patron, Lee Rickard, co-owner of Burger Records.

They listened to the ethereal tunes on the patio of a vacation home overlooking Joshua Tree National Park. “I was terrified to put this on,” Fulvimar recalls, thinking Rickard would hate it (“Lee is really hard to sell on synthesizer stuff”).

It turned out Rickard was stoked, and before Fulvimar knew it, Burger Records was releasing the weirdo collection as a special Record Store Day cassette.

Hearing Fulvimar talk about Burger Records and Rickard’s faith in him as an artist, one begins to make sense why he wouldn’t mind living in warehouse, without a even so much as a hot plate—even if that means taking showers at his friend’s homes and “bird baths” in the sink of the record label’s bathroom.

“They really believe in me,” he says. “It’s real weird. I’m a real weird person.”

For a guy like Fulvimar, this arrangement truly seems to be a dream come true. Every day he wakes up with the same goal: “make pop tunes.” And no matter how weird he gets in the process, he has the support to pursue his passion—his way.

Who could ask for anything more?

Gap Dream plays June 11 at 9pm at Cafe Stritch.

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