Gabrahm Vitek, aka yabé, has a knack not only for crafting seamless, hypnotic deep house sets, but he also has an eye for the visual aesthetics. Each artwork that accompanies each release is a testament to that fact. Riding high off of his sensational EP ‘Shūru’, he’s back with an full hour long video of him performing live amongst Michigan’s beautiful dunes at Silver Lake.
We’re thrilled to premiere this to you exclusively! You can’t help but feel whisked away the minute you press play, as the music surrounds you and your eyes immerse into the fantastical landscape accompanying the set.
We had the privilege to talk with yabé along with cousin & videographer James to learn a little bit more about how this all came about. Enjoy!
Why did you decide to do the video? What was the vision behind it?
James: I lived in West Michigan for the last 4 years, and I do a lot of hiking, photography, and video work in the area. It’s absolutely stunning terrain, and I feel like a lot of people have no idea. I was hiking in the West Michigan dunes, listening to house music, per usual, and just kept thinking, “we NEED to film a set here with yabé.” I really felt people needed to see how stunning this area was accompanied by yabe’s music and selections . Over the next few months it just kind of consumed me. I assembled the team, Gabe and I discussed set lists and logistics, and it took off from there. I see these filmed all over the world, and I thought, shit, I can do this in my own backyard.
Gabrahm: I wanted to put together a “set from home” during quarantine. What seemed realistic at first was setting up in the backyard and spinning from my patio. With the encouragement from James we went all out with the location and went remote. Deep house creates such a nice soundscape to expansive nature views. Michigan has so many unspoken natural treasures and the dunes at Silver Lake to fit the vision.
What aesthetics did you both want to capture?
James: We wanted to capture the sense of scale of the area. The sand dunes are huge, and it’s tough to show that when you are close to the subject. The drone shots helped illustrate this. We wanted to show the entire dune area, which is why we incorporated b-roll into the set. From a color perspective, we were going for high contrast. There are stark differences between the sand, trees, water, and sky. We wanted to bring those contrasts out and put Gabe and the set in the middle of all of it. The conditions were interesting as we were shooting with a high amount of haze from due to western wildfires. I was dubious, but it all came together beautifully.
Gabrahm: Sand dunes are common ground where all life is equal. Watching the wind blow and shape the dunes seems to encapsulate the circle of life as we know it. From dust to dust kind of thing… It was so incredible having a vast forest to our north and east, dunes surrounding us, and being at the elevation to see Lake Michigan to the west disappear into the horizon. Absolute spiritual experience.
Tell us a little bit about the song selection.
Gabrahm: I worked on the track list for about 6 weeks prior to the shoot and rehearsed and tweaked the performance almost daily. I was manifesting the visual of water and sand. I wanted to take the viewer/listener on a sound journey that summoned a deeper meditative state and as the set blossoms tracks are introduced to aid in the opening of endorphins and chakras.
What is something you hope viewers will take from this?
James: Filming this set was an incredible opportunity. We wanted to project the set live through monitors, so we all we able to film to the music. When we got done, we just kind of stared at each other for a minute, like, WOW, what just happened? The whole thing was a spiritual experience. I hope viewers are able to sense that. The song selection, the footage of the dunes, water, and woods, it all comes together. Being there in that moment in time is something I will never forget, and I feel fortunate that everything just jelled the way it did. Even if no one ever saw this, I would still be happy with the experience.
Gabrahm: We shot this in the middle of covid and on the heels of my release “Makes You Feel”. For me the goal was healing. Both the intention of that record and this live performance. Strengthening immunity and vitality through deep emotive music and nature’s purity and beauty.
Is this something you plan to do more of?
James: Absolutely. We plan to keep growing this and going bigger and bolder. Grander locations, better equipment, possibly a live stream. We want to take this to the next level. Gabe is doing his part, and taking his music to the next level, and we will meet him there.
Gabrahm: We will definitely do more. James did an exceptional job piecing together the perfect production crew and there’s no doubt we will all be meeting again in the near future for another production.
Anything else you’d like to add?
James: I’d like to give a shout out to JK Wilson and Tyler Paquet, the other two videographers that worked on this project. We could not have done this without them and their talents. I’m so proud to have pulled this off. It was a lot of hard work and time. We learned a lot, and plan for the next project to reflect that.
It almost didn’t happen. We gave ourselves a three day window for shooting and we shot this on the last day we were there. You have to factor weather conditions into the equation. The first two days were too windy to put the drone up, but the sunsets were insane. We made the best of it and got the b-roll we needed. The shoot happened on the last day. We hauled all the gear up a massive sand dune, and got the set. It all happened this way for a reason. I was humbled by the time spent together and the result we produced.
Gabrahm: Outside of the shoot the week together with the crew was incredible. Since we were amidst the pandemic this was one of the only social interactions we had in 2020. I was fortunate to have my wife and 2 children on location and the crew was phenomenal. Huge thanks and respect to Tyler Paquet and JK Wilson. Tyler is an exceptional photographer and JK is a magician with the drone and also a fantastic DJ. The biggest highlight of the trip for me, and I’m pretty sure everyone else, was the LED bocce ball game that lasted from about 10pm to 4am under the stars post shoot. Also honorable mention to Hornitos for keeping us warm.