Join Gabe and I as we talk about the not-so-hidden scene in Gainesville
By: Josef Quiroz
Credit: Photo taken by Josef Quiroz
5404 NW 8th Ave. 5 PM. As I entered CYM Coffee, I was greeted with a friendly face at the counter and delicious coffee waiting for me. This cafe has been and will continue to be an escape for me and many other locals and students. Whether you need to study for finals, send out emails, or even just read a nice book with a nice cup of coffee, CYM never fails to disappoint.
Today, I came here to interview my good friend Gabe Wilson (IG: @Gabetorade). We met months ago by happenstance and I’m lucky enough to call him a friend. Gabe is a talented barista, musician, and event planner who helped plan, organize, and execute two amazing events over the summer: CYM’s Book and Music Night and CYM’s Pride Market. Two amazing events within such a short time frame is no easy feat and that is what interested me the most.
5:15 PM. Fifteen minutes past closing, Gabe took a seat in front of me and gave me the mandatory bro fist bump. We were ready to begin.
Credit: Photo taken by Josef Quiroz
II. Summer In Gainesville
Alright! Let’s get this started. I'm Josef Quiroz, writer for Rowdy!
Hello, I’m Gabriel Wilson. I'm a barista for CYM Coffee *laughs*!
Okay, quick rules for this interview. We have 10 minutes for this interview and we have 10 questions, so this should be quick.
It was not quick. What was supposed to be 10 minutes became 12 then 15 then 20 and ending at 30. The conversation was truly engaging and we did not look at the time once. I do, however, recommend you listen to the audio version as well in order to hear Gabe’s and I’s velvety tones.
Summer to me usually feels like a much slower time than fall and spring here in Gainesville. Tell me how you’ve been spending your summer here.
Just a lot of working essentially. There are fewer distractions because there are fewer events going on, or at least the ones I’m interested in. This gave me time to get to the next level of my job and I also had more time to work more on my extracurriculars that I didn’t have the time to do before.
I know some of the people in my life have a type of seasonal depression during the summer months. If you are able to share, would you say you’re one of those people?
I moved here when I was really young, probably when I was around five and I haven’t been to many places. To me at least, I don’t really feel summer sadness because this is just life to me and there isn’t an alternative, it's just the same old same old. I am the type to always stay busy and do everything all the time, but the problem with that is it's hard to gauge when you are at your limit or when you are starting to burn out until it’s already happened. You don’t have a lead-up to when it’s going to come and it can hit you anywhere.
That’s why I’m excited to have some quiet alone time in a place that’s familiar to me in order to think about things and breaking up the day-to-day life might be perfect for me.
Okay, context for the readers: Gabe and I are currently at CYM Coffee a little after closing for this interview. I know this space means a lot to you and a lot to many, do you want to talk about it a little?
So some of my earliest memories were actually here in the plaza with my brother and dad. We would sit and sell plants. Or at least try to sell plants.
Tough crowd out here in Gainesville.
When I was younger, the coffee shop was not really a place I visited since I was so young. I remember getting a hot chocolate here once when I was 10 and it was really good so there's that. I started working here about 9 years later which is pretty nice. I still have nice memories in this area. My dad worked in a restaurant in this area and I remember this food truck called the Grilled Cheese Wagon we used to go to all the time. And these are all memories I still remember despite being forgetful.
Okay something that’s really interested me about Gainesville is the creative community here. Could you talk to me about that a little bit?
I’m certainly new to it. I only recently discovered the tip of the iceberg around January last year and I really like how un-cliquey everything is. Everyone is willing to help out and there are some really great genuine people. Unfortunately, there are also those people who portray themselves in one way, yet their actions paint another picture. Nothing wrong with being proud of yourself no matter who you are or what you’ve experienced, but please just be yourself. Thankfully those are a very small minority and I only say this because being genuine is very important to me.
I certainly agree. It’s weird to see people strive to be something they’re not, especially when they do have privilege. But, I’m assuming 99.99 percent of the people here are those kind souls.
Yes exactly. There are so many great people in this community. But, all groups have those loud outliers that aren’t representative of us.
And I certainly understand where Gabe is coming from. Talking with other people in and out of the creative scene in Gainesville reveals mixed opinions about them. Being Creative is usually seen as a “rich person’s hobby” in the public eye but that isn’t all true. Yes, having a disposable income is a blessing to those who have it, however, the community here in Gainesville does not discriminate. Gabe’s passion here for trying to fight these damaging claims was made apparent in his change in tone here, and I for one certainly respect that.
444 (@444idontknow), or Dale has been an amazing help to me. He’s such a genuine guy who makes great art and helped me land my first runway and helped me so much when starting my music here. He puts 100 Percent into everything he does and that is very admirable.
I asked that prior question because Rowdy has a bunch of readers who are new to Gainesville, likely because they've just started college life here. Do you have any advice or tips for these new students?
I for one am fairly introverted, so it took me a little bit to get started. For me, it isn’t as easy as going to an event and talking to someone. But if you can, certainly do that!
Go to an event that interests you, and have a conversation with someone. If they have the right energy then it should be awesome and if it doesn’t, no worries.
Actually, how I met Dale because I talked to a seemingly random person at a merch table, and I was talking about how much I liked his work, not knowing I was speaking to him! I want to add that all your compliments should be genuine and real, don’t force yourself.
Credit: Photo Provided By Gabe Wilson
III. CYM's Music Night
Exactly! People are smart. Fake praise is so easy to see through and people can tell so I certainly agree. Let’s get to the meat of the interview here. Something about you that is really admirable to me is your passion for creating awesome events here. As you know, On May 25 your event here at CYM Coffee was made available to the public. Can you talk about the event a little bit and how you were able to set up the event itself from concept to execution?
I just knew for some reason, I wanted to have some sort of event here. I talked to my boss about it and he was really receptive to it. After that conversation though, I realized I had yet to learn what went into setting this up. But my friend Laila, who helps run the events at the How Bazaar someone who I helped out a small amount around the time of The Big Sho (another amazing event I’d like to cover one day) by putting up flyers around the city. She's great at everything she does and every event at the How Bazaar or related to it has been awesome. We went into Karma Cream and talked about logistics, and designs and ideas. We wanted to add events that weren’t necessarily music to this event because I felt like many different types of artists needed a space to showcase their skills. I respect all these people's talents and skills deeply and was more than happy to see them show off their talent in a public setting. I’m really happy to be a part of this community.
They’ve helped me in times I needed company and I am glad to see there are similar people to me in an area of the world that isn’t so far.
I was never exposed to this until recently so I would like to help pay it forward.
Credit: Photo Provided By Gabe Wilson
IV. The Pride Market
Many of my friends went to the event and they all told me they had an amazing time supporting their friends. So congratulations to you, you did an amazing job. Okay not only have you created a performance event but also hosted the Pride Market here earlier last month. Where did the idea come from?
So, this event was organized by me and Mel of Mel’s Kitchen (@Melskitchenpr). This event was made more to help counter the hate that’s been happening in Florida due to people like DeSantis. I trust myself to create a good event and while this started as just a market, we found a local charity that was great for us to donate to. “We Rock Gainesville'' is a nonprofit that helps foster a community for young girls and LGBTQ+ youth using music as a tool. The fact that it was music-based and local was the cherry on top and really resonated for me. The agreement with all the vendors was that there was no vending fee or table fee, you just had to donate a portion of your profits (whatever they were comfortable with) to this charity. We were able to raise $120 for them, and while it isn’t something as grand as a million dollars or even a thousand, I’m just so proud of everyone who showed up and supported us. The kids will see this money and everyone was more than happy to do something.
Yeah I always find it weird when people try to “gatekeep” donating just because it isn’t a grand number. I’m super happy for y'all and proud that y’all were able to do something good for your group.
There were around 10 vendors. And if each vendor donated 20 bucks, then together that makes a pretty substantial donation. I like to think that you don’t have to be rich or privileged to donate. I want to add that these vendors at first were all people I reached out to because I highly respected their work. They all agreed which was perfect and once the event was announced on Instagram (@CymCoffeeCo), we got a few more DM’s from other artists.
So it’s like once that ball got started, it went rolling and worked out great?
V. Gabe’s Music
We almost went through this whole interview without talking about your music. Let's talk about that. What have you been doing recently and what does playing mean to you?
I swear to you dear reader, the second that question was finished, I saw a fire in Gabe’s eye. He straightened his posture and started smiling. His passion for music is really something else and I’m lucky to know someone that passionate.
So I find it hard to talk about music people haven’t heard yet *laughs*. My dad taught me when I was around 10 and I had been on and off with it for a few years, but when I turned 17 or 18, I put it away due to life. I actually ended up giving my guitar to my brother because I didn’t want to see it gather dust in my room. But, in December last year, I went through a pretty tough breakup and that's when I decided to pick it up again as silly as that sounds because I hadn’t picked up any meaningful hobbies A part of me was always reluctant to play again because I didn’t want to relearn every skill I had learned through my years of playing. But, the knowledge really never left me. To me at least, it was a bunch of rememorizing that muscle memory and while it was rough at first it came back. Expressing myself with words is tough for me, so music has been a good outlet for me to represent what I feel and has been a good release for me.
So to the readers out there, every once in a while, Gabe sends me a recent riff he’s made of him playing the guitar. Let me tell you, Gabe is TALENTED. He has so many different playing styles that he can imitate and it’s crazy, but you can always tell it's him playing. He has his own flair and mannerisms that I feel like I notice and I just want to throw that at you Gabe you are awesome.
Thank you man I really appreciate that.
So let me ask again: Any sneak peeks coming up or anything you want to announce?
So I have a few songs already completed and they should be coming out soon. I don’t like doing the TikTok method of doing the same 10 seconds of the song until it releases. I’m a picky person, but I remember reading the book Meet Me in The Bathroom about the rise of rock bands in New York City during the 2000s. The Strokes and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are some examples. A really interesting quote from the book that struck me was something along the lines of “You have as long as you want to complete your first project, but only six months to finish your next.” No one is waiting on my project. I want to be happy with the sound and I really want to make sure that I am proud. I’ve made riffs that impressed me on my first playing but changed so much as I kept playing. I still am having trouble finding something equally fulfilling as just sitting in my room starting from nothing and creating.
Thanks again for the interview. I hella appreciate it. The final question of the day: Give us some recs! Could be books, shows, music, or whatever!
Silent Alarms by Black Party, Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol. Whatever People Say I Am That's What I’m Not by Arctic Monkeys. The Strokes debut album. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are some of the most underrated artists of all time they’re so extremely talented. Joy Division had a short run, but the music they made, actually all of these bands, came from their soul.
They made music that sounded great to them and didn’t care if people didn’t like their sound. I think that's amazing because imitations are never truly great.
It sounds surface-level. But at the end of the day, that’s what it is.
It is. You can’t make a Strokes song better than The Strokes and you can’t make a better Arctic Monkeys song than them. You are the only person who can make the song you wanna make. And if you don’t make it, it will never be made.
Credit: Photo Courtesy Of Gabe Wilson
Now that was a good line to close an interview on. Now there were a few more things said afterward but his recommendations were of a more NSFW variety (maybe an edition of Rowdy At Night will be coming soon). Aside from silly comments from my good friend. I hope you dear reader were strapped in for this ride of an interview. He’s an extremely talented individual and he puts his all into everything he does. I can vouch for that with all my soul. I hope you finished this article with a better appreciation of our city and the amazing people who make it this way. His first EP drops soon and I really hope you give his music a listen.
Gainesville has this reputation of being a place of nothingness aside from football and the University. It is anything but that. My interview with Gabe showed me a side of Gainesville, one that has artists supporting other artists, a place that cares for its youth, and a place with its own problems. I come from Destin, Florida and when talking with Gabe it reminded me of talking about my hometown. There is so much more to this city and since we are all here for whatever reason, we should make our time here count.
For those who read all the way to the end, from the bottom of my heart thank you for reading my first-ever article. I intend to keep writing about more amazing people in this city and I also hope you continue to read them! I’d also like to hear from you all! Feel free to contact me on Instagram (@josef.quiroz) if there are people in your life that you feel have a story to share. Support your local coffee shop!
Credit: Photo Taken By Josef Quiroz
Josef is a third-year student and enjoys living, laughing and loving. He loves to read, play the guitar, and be pretentious. Find him in Marston Basement doing anything besides work.