If the last 18 months have brought anything into the foreground, it’s the need for levity. Something to look at and remember that the world is full of wonder. Surrounded by a chic aesthetic and rakish charm, Gab, the Sandbox is a luminary spectacle of Gen-Z. A multi-dimensional being and creative, the fun and work blend together like strawberry and banana in a smoothie. His moniker is the perfect emblem of the ethos that guides his paintbrush, with vibrant colors, glitchy, videogame pop-rap reminiscent of Jpegmafia and Zack Villere. His smile is as wide as the day is long. He’s got some low-key pretty boy elements crossed with nonchalance that has in its own way, a deep purity.
Born and raised in Germany, but Hailing from all-over New York, Gab's artistry is genetic; his mother is a Jamaican visual artist, his father a German House-producer. His manner is bright and child-like, hyper focused on the pure act of creating. We sat down to talk some weeks back to discuss the finer things and take a look at his upcoming EP.
What would you describe that you do? In 5 words.
Oh dang. I guess, I would say “Multi-faceted, open-minded creative”. Yeah, I like that.
Do you think it’s a natural inclination to pursue this many creative avenues? Or is it intentional?
I think that even as a little kid, y’know, drawing in my notebooks and shit, my parents both being artists instilled in me this sense and me making art my whole life, it comes all very naturally. Whatever I see, whatever I get inspired by, I just want to see what I can do, what I can impress myself with. Because I think the main thing is that I impress myself to be able to go, “yeah, that’s sick”.
I’m a huge fan of that track “Let It Out”, it’s a hard banger for me. It tracks with a lot of what else you do: fun and bright with some crazy twists. Where did you come up with “the Sandbox”?
So, it’s crazy, I love this question, because every time someone asks about it, I always can’t explain it right.
It seems very Tyler, the Creator in Origin, right? Inspired?
It was actually totally unintentional. I made the name up way before I got into Tyler, but I can see the resemblance. It comes from what I see myself as pretty much an all around creator. Since I’ve been doing all this, basically I just always loved playing in a sandbox. You can make whatever you want. One of the things you can always make in a sand box is a sand castle. That’s what I’m trying to make. I want to create an empire for me, inspire other people with what I do. But I think Sandbox is a big fuckin’ thing we can all get into.
Gab is pensive, excited to share his thoughts, but taking his time to reveal his big secrets. This interview was split between a cross-country zoom call and walk around Brentwood in LA. As we wander aimlessly through Brentwood, it's clear how energized Gab is through his work and the eclectic number of works he's had, from texts with Zack Villere, to modeling for Beats by Dre.
So is the Sandbox a independent creation or is it a collaborative space?
Hold on, lemme get a drink of water, I’m feeling a little parched. Now, say that one more time?
Is the creative enterprise for collaboration for you?
Honestly, I think I’m very much, even though I party and I have friends, I’m very much a lone wolf. And I think I find myself in my most comfortable space when I am making art, alone. And that’s not to say that every once in awhile I won’t want to work with some one, but for the most part, I like making art when it’s at its most genuine. Which for me is when I’m by myself.
Which makes sense. If it’s not genuine, then it won’t hold up, right?
I would say “Multi-faceted, open-minded creative”. Yeah, I like that.
Who’s inspiring you?
Oh, man. So much. I’m inspired by my fellow creators who are out here killing it, but also people like Flying Lotus, Toro y Moi, Tyler the Creator. The list goes on. I like to see things that make you think differently, wait hold on, there’s a spider on my pillow. (He swats the spider).
How was growing into New York?
Bro, New York is the fucking best. It’s the best and the worst. There’s so much energy there, you can do whatever you want. But also it’s crazy sometimes, there’s a lot of people. My kids are for sure growing up here. There’s so much diversity, you can’t help but feel that you’re in the right place all the time. Growing up in Germany for example, I was the only Black or even mixed kid in my class forever. So moving to New York in the 4th grade, it was mind-blowing because I’d never seen so many people who looked like me, and who also didn’t. I think New York can show you the ugliest and the most beautiful parts of life.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m working on my sophomore album that I want to put out the end of this year, maybe early next year. I’m also working on this clothing line called the Star-girl Collection, and my website will be launching extremely soon, which I’ve been working on for so long, so I’m super excited for that. The clothing line has a lot of cut and sew pieces, a lot of hoodies. I’ve got this two-tone pair of green pants I really like.
All self-taught? You didn’t got to any school did you?
Yeah, all self-taught. Everything on Youtube tutorials. I’m super grateful for that avenue, and that I was making clips when I was like, eleven, so I had that background. I knew how to do a lot of stuff from basically the start, photoshop, thumbnails, all that stuff.
Is there somewhere that you’re aiming for, like an end goal?
I really am always blown-away when people reach out to me and say that something I made had them feel a certain way, like “Yo, the song you dropped made me cry”. That’s the best feeling for me, so in a way, I’m already achieving what I want to do. So what I’m doing right now, I want to be able to do that on a bigger scale. A whole stadium.
Gab, the Sandbox lives up to his name, with a deeply child-like color palette across all of his self-designed album artwork and bright electronic beats that he jumps from singing to rapping throughout. His clothing collection "StarGirl" is set to drop this year, and we're prepping for a website drop soon. There's no end to the bounty of content Gab's brought to the table, and with some collabs with big hitters in NYC on the way, the bar keeps rising.
Links to Social and Music:
Gab is lined up to perform in LA at Snapfest, sponsored by Noap Co. on August 14th along with Evander Griiim, Billy Nasser, Rakeem Miles, Tennisboy Will, Zelly Ocho, Nino Andretti, Dj Phatt Sip, Tahj Keeton, Gene Shinozaki, Orbz, Gab the Sandbox, Drew Siko, Marcus Rodriguez, Big Pavo, After Death, Lil Puka, Levy G, Mack Hubbard, Bhanzell, Bumps, Gun Zalo, and Mr. Heh .