"There is no longer a need to hide from something which is intrinsically part of of you."
Gabriel Vargas is ready to show off. And when you hear his music, you'll understand why and why it's perfectly valid.
Back with Like Wolves, Vargas is here to make people listen and prove why music is one of the most important tools we having in spreading a message. A message that everyone should sit and listen to. Started from a Native American proverb and intertwined with the pain of a childhood trauma, Vargas has woven a tale all too common and made it into a song that will make me people stop and think.
Accompanied by a film clip featuring the artist's own sister, Vargas has created masterpieces beyond song with Like Wolves, and, with his promise to donate all proceeds from song sales to The White Ribbon Foundation, he's well on his way to doing something even more important than singing a song.
Firstly, thank you for sharing such a beautiful song with us all! How long has the song been in the works?
Thank you for your interest in the song! The song was written four years ago but I didn’t make the decision to hone in and make this my debut release until about two years ago. I think I actually started with the concept for the music video and then we went into recording the actual song itself – almost the reverse way of operating really. So it did take a while for the song to see light of day but there was never any rush or deadline…it would happen as it was meant to happen.
It’s obviously a deeply personal narrative, what do you hope people will take from it?
Yes, it is a personal narrative with topics that deal with childhood trauma but it is also authentic – that is, there is no longer a need to hide from something which is intrinsically part of of you, or hold onto a shame that is not yours to carry. When we come to terms, or find peace with these parts of us we have previously tried to avoid or suppress, we move towards a place of freedom. We shift from victim-hood to empowerment. We connect with our true selves and in doing so, our connections with others also become deeper and more authentic. I think this what the song and music video aims to capture …and I would hope it inspires people to be open enough to share their own experiences…because the more we offer our authenticity to these discussions, the more we can support one another through the journey. How else are we to heal our hearts and elevate our self-concepts if we cannot be truthful with ourselves?
Can you explain a little more about the Cherokee Proverb that helped build a base for the track?
I was familiar with the Cherokee Proverb “Two Wolves” for quite some time and when the phrase “Wolves in the Fire” became the main lyric or essence for the song it was a natural connection for me to make. As it turned out, the Cherokee proverb of the “Two Wolves” was probably the most influential intertextual source, in that it really helped shape the conceptualization and direction of the song and music video.
Using your sister in the music video also helps build on how personal this track is, why did you choose her to help bring the song to life visually?
I chose her because she is beautiful, she is amazing and she is one tough and powerful woman. She has overcome a great deal yet she still carries such grace…and that really is a testament to the strength in her vulnerability. It also helped that my sister is an amazing dancer too and I think she embodied the theme of the music video so well because she is “that theme”….and she is that story. She is the universal feminine spirit who has been suppressed far too long by a system built on the foundations of unhealthy and toxic masculinity, and she has had enough. She is making a stand and unapologetically pushing back…and she is bringing her wolf pack with her…
How has the Native American background helped to shape the song?
Well it was the Cherokee Proverb that started the ball rolling towards including Native American elements in the song and music video. I reached out to Red Horse Rivera ,who is of the Apache tribe but now living and based in Melbourne, to appear in the music video and add a Native American flute to the song. Both he and his lovely wife Natalia jumped on the project with whole-hearted love and enthusiasm. Having Native American elements was really about grounding the song in spirit and giving it an earthy “feel.” I have deep respect and love for all indigenous cultures of the planet and believe there is so much knowledge and wisdom to be gained from their understanding and harmonious connection to the earth. Unfortunately white colonialism has absolutely obliterated these cultures and with it, a lot of the ancient knowledge… I feel it is important for all of humanity to embrace the indigenous cultures and begin making that connection back to the earth, because if we keep going the way we are going there will be no earth left!
You recently had the launch show for Like Wolves, how was it received?
Oh it was great! A full house of around 200 people….it was really a great opportunity to bring people together and thank those who have supported me so far on this journey.
How do you feel playing and sharing something so personal to an audience?
I think music is the perfect vessel in sharing something personal because it allows you to say things in ways that words alone can’t. ...and even though the details of the story may be personal, the over-arching theme is usually always collective. The beauty of this is when the music aligns to the intention behind the song, then a space is created for it to permeate through all those present and open to receive it….including myself. It goes from being “my story” to “our story” and the song is no longer performed “by” me but rather “through” me.
And finally what prompted your decision to donate all the online sales profits to The White Ribbon Foundation?
I think music has the power to influence positive social change and raise awareness about matters of cultural, political and social importance, and due to the nature of my background and the story of the song/music video, I wanted to use the opportunity to align music to a cause. White Ribbon work to raise awareness around Domestic Violence and the “toxic masculinity “ that is the root cause of it through educational programs. It seemed a good fit.