Gabe Burdulis
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Gabe Burdulis

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Rock Pop




"Gabe Burdulis"

Some recent messages via both Facebook and email with Gabe Burdulis are still making me laugh. There’s one in particular, where Burdulis says, “Ahhh. Just answering this now, at 5 am. It’s been a busy, but great weekend,” and is a pretty good indication of the life this young Madison musician is living.

Burdulis plays alone, or with any number of groups, because he just wants to make music. He describes his sound as “kinda indie, acoustic-y, poppy, rocky, alt. with a lot of mixed elements. And some blues thrown in for good measure.” His on-stage presence has been called amazing, commanding; a true show-man.

And did I mention, he is still a high school student? I grabbed this opportunity to ask Burdulis some questions about his music, the recognition, and his goals. It’s a chance to get to know him, before the rest of the world catches on to this break-out talent.

Maximum Ink: Where are you getting your influence, especially at such a young age?
Gabe Burdulis: The people I get to play with are a constant influence on me. Also relationships, nature, and of course people like John Mayer and Jack White.

MI: And you’ve been playing successfully for quite a few years?
GB: Yeah, I took a couple guitar lessons around the age of 12, and kinda took off on my own from there. Once I had what I needed, I was able to let my creativity take off.

MI: So, what kind of goals or dreams do you have right now?
GB: I have a lot of dreams! But my short term goal? Keep doing what I’m doing, just 10x’s everything. I’m putting all I’ve got into making this work. And the “this” I speak of, doesn’t necessarily mean fame or money, but I want to call it success for myself. It means speaking to people through my music, making people smile, or feeling something from it. I want people to relate.

MI: Relating means putting your creativity out there..
GB: I think its such a cool thing how people can connect through music. And I love-love-love to collaborate with people for it, too. Having another ear or two on what you’re doing. The CD I just finished, “The Little Things,” is a mixture of 5 pretty different tunes I brought to record with Shawn Tallard, and we were able to work together to make it the best of both of us. I am always open to creative input! My girlfriend Sydney Prall and I also just finished a small EP called “Building Bridges EP” under the name Gabriel & Syd. It’s just 2 songs, the only 2 we’ve written, but we both had a strong connection to what we’d done together.

MI: And what about shows, how often and who do you usually play with, live?
GB: I play out solo or with Sydney, sometimes multiple times in one day, and sometimes multiple cities in one day. It gets to be a bit crazy, but it’s truly all worth it to me!
I’m also playing in a few different configurations now, including “The Gabe Burdulis Band.” We won the Launchpad Competition this year, so we try to get together every now and then to do a show, but it can be pretty darn hard to get 9 people from between the ages of 13 to 18 together! I’m also part of a group with Julia McConahay and Anthony Lamarr backing me, so it’s a fiddle and beat-box, which is a little different from the horn section, but its pretty sweet. And I do play out of the Madison area a lot. In just this past year, I’ve been in Tennessee, New York, Chicago, and California for gigs! This past month, Sydney and I went on a mini-tour that I arranged, and we had a lot of fun going around to different cities and states, playing and meeting people.

MI: You mentioned Launchpad. How did it feel to be the top high school band? And then you also won a Madison Area Music Association Award?
GB: Ha! I really wasn’t expecting that award for new artist! It was a humbling thing for me to accept, and a huge honor! And it was the first time I got something that wasn’t in one of the youth categories.
We played Summerfest as part of winning Launchpad, and it was a blast! Cowboy Mouth and Cheap Trick headlined the same stage so that was pretty cool. The recognition also gave us the chance to play Freakfest, Bratfest, at the Orpheum, and the Overture; and the Grateful Garcia-fest is coming up.

MI: It would be hard to believe someone hasn’t seen one of your shows! But if not, what could they expect?
GB: Energy and lots of fun. If it’s a solo show, you might hear some spurts of an Eminem-like rap, a little harmonica, some looping. If it’s with Sydney, some solid harmonies with her amazing voice. And with the band, our horns are just too much fun, and a big band feel. Then with beatbox and fiddle, something you’re totally not gonna to be used to hearing. My sound has been described in a lot of different ways, I get John Mayer a lot! I also get Justin Bieber here and there, but I try to disregard that!

MI: You’ve already done so much, where will the future take you?
GB: Ideally, I would like to be able to support myself off of music, as a performer. Thankfully, I’ve already had so much support from people who are helping me make this possible. I’m trying not to hype things up too much, but do try to think big.

MI: Anything left that may be a bit of a surprise about you?
GB: Hmm. I haven’t really kept this a secret, but I’m a huge Alice Cooper fan!? - Maximum Inc

"The Land of Make Believe - Gabe Burdulis"

GABE BURDULIS – The Land of Make Believe
(2013, Self-Release)
This album will soon be available on iTunes.

Stream Music Here
Video Links for Gabe Burdulis

You’ve got to admire youthful enthusiasm. In the case of Gabe Burdulis there is special emphasis on “youthful.” At just 17 years old, he’s accomplished more than a lot of local musicians do in a career. He’s placed and won the statewide Launchpad competition, performed at Summerfest, played in many of the major clubs in town done radio and TV and has made recordings.

The Land of Make Believe isn’t just a home recording by a kid feeling his way around. This is a full-fledged effort with some of the city’s most accomplished musicians backing Burdulis up. Renowned keyboardist Anthony Cao and former Sexy Ester drummer Paul Kennedy head up a cast that includes Ida Jo, Anthony Lamarr, Nate Arnold, Buzz Deering, Dan Wenzel, Julia McConahay and vocalists Vanessa Tortolano and Kelly Underwood. Top that impressive list off with the talents of Scott Lamps who provides bass, vocals and percussion while also being credited with engineering, mixing and mastering. Once again, Lamps is on the cutting edge of bringing out the best new and developing talent; it’s uncanny. The recording was also mixed and mastered by rising production wizard Landon Arkens. Burdulis himself plays guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, trumpet and percussion. He is, of course, the lead vocalist and wrote and arranged all seven tracks.

Once you get through the credits there is the music and, granted, one must bear in mind that this is a 17 year old. Most of the songs deal with young love and its heartbreaks and elations. Lyrically the album rings of honesty, however, the delivery is earnest in near Michael Jackson fashion (he even looks a bit like Jackson in the cover shot). “Am I losing the game?” he sings while, at 17, he has a hell of a lot of game left.

The arrangements are completely astounding; this is not verse-chorus fare. Opener “Gotta get Away” bleeds Muse, the song progressing through and blending various styles with snarling guitars, screaming synth lines and razor-sharp rhythms. “From the Start” is more soulful, successfully and repeatedly building up tension then promptly releasing it. Throughout the album Burdulis’ vocal delivery sounds easy while being absolutely spot-on. “Never Enough” starts out as an acoustic blues-pop ditty but the horns drive it to another level and the backing vocals bring it home. “Blues Song” is a Stones-y track with Cao’s blazing organ passages in the driver’s seat. Burdulis delivers some sophisticated blues licks on guitar, again in defiance of his meager years. A sweet acoustic guitar and violin duet kicks off “Life Story” and here Burdulis’ ability to spin a melody is apparent. This is an expertly woven pop tune.

The best two tracks are saved for last, and it’s possible that these two were recorded, or at least sung, later, as Burdulis’s voice sounds just a tad more grown up and the writing is even more sophisticated. “Won’t Do It Alone” employs some social commentary to great effect and builds into a genuinely impressive and manic guitar solo. When he kicks into the guitar riff about two-thirds of the way through you understand the kid can rock. He carries that energy into the closer, “Breakdown”—an intense guitar-riff-and-horn workout with dense, metal-like power chords. Another screaming Prince-influenced guitar solo brings the album to a screeching end. It’s killer.

Why Burdulis chose to record a solo outing rather than with his band The Daze is probably a double-edged sword. While the band is uber-talented, funky and tight, with a look that oozes arena rock, choosing to highlight his abilities is a long-run view. We all know what happens to most of these high school bands. They move off to other places to go to college or start careers. Maybe Burdulis was reading into his crystal ball, a crystal ball that must also surely reveal that there is no stopping him achieving unlimited success—if he plays his cards right. - Local Sounds

"Gabe Burdulis Forever Young With a Touch of Old school"

Bob Dylan? John Mayer? John Lennon? Nope, today I’m interviewing Gabe Burdulis. I met Burdulis last year at the Madison Area Music Awards (MAMAs) right before he and his former band, The Daze, hit the stage to open for the show. He’s got energy and a Hollywood smile that will win over any critic after hearing him play just once. Admittedly, afterwards I had to find a way to collaborate with this kid or at the very least be his friend. This was a success because Burdulis is probably the nicest guy I know with an incredible energy to inspire anyone who he meets. At the time of this interview, Burdulis was 17 years old, having accomplished a handful of
awards including 2013 MAMAs Best Youth Guitarist, multiple collaborations, and the release of his EP. When you’re young, do it all.
Joey Broyles: When did you know you were meant to make music? Was there a moment when you were like, “Yes this is me!”
Gabe Burdulis: Possibly the first time that I performed in front of people. The response was unlike anything I had before. Just in the sense that being able to move people through music, a natural high.
JB: When was your first performance when you were like “that was the moment?”
GB: I think it was seventh grade for our school talent show.
JB: What did you play?
GB: One of my songs. It was super lovey-dovey, (big smile) so cheesy.
JB: How was playing at Hard Rock Café in Chicago?
GB: (laughs) It was really cool. Really cool. There were probably close to 200 people there. Beautiful space and it sounded good. Everyone performing was amazing. There was time to do lots of pictures and signing stuff and selling CDs.
JB: How many fans/likes do you have on Facebook? Do you keep
track of all that?
GB: Do you want me to check? (He pulls out his phone.) Currently... (laughs) 1,188.
JB: 1,188 fans. How long do you think it took you to acquire that many fans? Was there a moment when it was all of sudden BAM!, or was it more gradual?
GB: After big shows that’s usually when there’s a Facebook response, usually younger people (teenagers) and if I really press it at a show sometimes. But sometimes I feel weird about like...
JB: “Like” me. GB: Yeah... I don’t know... I’m
JB: Well it’s really about the music.
GB: Yeah.
JB: What goes through your head before a show? Are you a nervous person?
GB: It depends on what kind of show it is because I do so many different things.
JB: Let’s say it’s just a show for you.
GB: I just wanna be ready and make sure that everyone else is. Last night was crazy because I had to do a 15-minute set at the Overture with a different group I hadn’t played with. And we had
about 10 minutes to get from there to the other show. I try to clear my mind and whatever happens, happens, but safely of course. (smiles) In those kind of situations it’s a bit frantic. I just wanna make sure everyone is happy and comfortable because if I’m playing with other people I am my last concern.
JB: What about a place you’ve never played before? What’s going through your head when you are about to approach?
GB: Usually I’m pretty excited. I don’t really get nervous much anymore. I’ve played for sold out theatres that I’ve opened
for people and that is more excitement than nerves. And I’ve played for a room of ten people and that’s fine too.
JB: Who are you listening to right now on your iPhone? What’s your jam right now?
GB: (laughs and cracks a smile) Did you write “on your iPhone?”
iPod anymore... Well they’re interchangeable: iPhone, iPod.
GB: I’ve been listening to so much weird stuff. I’ve been into John Mayer lately. Pop stuff on the radio, some more Indie stuff, Acoustic/Folk, Blues, Metal...
JB: Is there anything that is like you feel you need to listen to that just one more time?
GB: Songs are like candy to me: if I eat too much of something you get sick of it. So I try to balance it out.
JB: Do you have a large ongoing playlist?
GB: Yes, in my case 10 large ongoing playlists: Spotify. But it really changes every day. You’d be totally weirded out by some of the stuff... (pulls out his iPhone starts playing music)
JB: That’s a good song. GB: You know this song?
JB: Yeah. That’s N.E.R.D. “Rock Star,” right?
GB: Yeah. JB: Damn good song.
Something to know about Burdulis is that he is very much attached to his smart phone. It’s his full source of communication and networking and the thing is constantly beeping or blinking at him. Insanity! The guy is on it just as much as you see a businessman
“Songs are like candy to me: if I eat too much of something you get sick of it. So It try to balance it out.”
just weird about it.
JB: C’mon no one uses their PROJECTFAMOUS.COM | APRIL 2014 32
on his laptop at your local coffee shop. Burdulis isn’t just a person anymore, he’s a small business, and if all goes well, he’ll be able to keep that going for years to come. This fall he may relocate to Nashville.
JB: What inspired the name of your EP, “The Land of Make Believe?”
GB: Good question. We’ve always had this poster as long as I can remember. A giant painting... a picture. It’s in the basement of our music room. It’s called “The Land of Make Believe,” and it used to belong to my grandparents and they gave it to us. It’s just the coolest thing. It’s a big painting with different things of make-believe, like different fairytales, and it’s all interwoven. I’ve always really liked it and there was one point where I said, “If I make a CD the first one should be called, ‘The Land of Make Believe.’” So that’s where it came from.
JB: What was your favorite fairytale growing up?
GB: Oh my gosh... (smiles) I have no idea... (pauses) “The Muffin Man,” yeah maybe “The Muffin Man.” I like muffins.
JB: (laughs) There’s a whole YouTube video about that.
GB: (laughs) I’m not sure about that.
JB: Tell me the story behind your song “Gotta Get Away.”
GB: That song went through a couple of years before I finished it. A lot of my songs I don’t know where they come from. I think I’m writing them out of nothing and then when I listen to them later they make more sense. I
think it could’ve just been me going through different phases of anger. Going through different things. It’s not about anything or anyone in particular. Some people assume...
JB: Was it like a ball of your anger and you just kept putting that energy into the song?
GB: It’s possible, yeah. That would make sense.
JB: So you weren’t planning on running away? Like, “Sorry Mom and Dad; I’m gone.”
GB: I gotta get away. (laughs) JB: How old are you again? GB: (jokingly) 12. JB: No that’s such a lie. How old
are you?
GB: (laughs) 17.
JB: Does it make you feel weird that you’ve accomplished so much at a young age?
GB: No. I don’t think I’ve accomplished that much.
JB: Well... you’ve done a lot.
GB: I’ve got a lot of work to do. This is what I’m driven to do and a lot of other high schoolers have jobs...
JB: And this is your job. GB: Yeah, also not that I see it as
JB: It’s your passion. What’s the plan for music this year?
GB: To keep taking every opportunity I can get. Meeting people and collaborating with people, like Joey Broyles.
JB: We’ve sort of collaborated... but I have plans for more collaboration.
GB: We will be collaborating, yes.
JB: The Joey Broyles and Gabe Burdulis B-Side album.
GB: Yeah. What would it be if we combined our last names? ... BroylDulis?
(Laughing occurs)
“It’s like once a song is finished, I’m a spirit
now, and you
know they’re everywhere...”
a job.
GB: So what was I saying?
JB: You were talking about collaborating and writing more songs and taking every opportunity.
GB: Yes, every opportunity I can get to play for people. The best thing I can do is to try to touch people through music and try to connect with people on a personal level too. And finish this new CD I have plans for...
JB:See(pointstonotes)thatwas my next question. When’s the next EP or album coming out?
GB: Good question. Well I’ve gotta talk to Shawn [Tallard aka Sun Voyage] and figure out how I’m going to do all of it. I haven’t really said this to anyone it’s just been in my head but I’m hoping by early June, if that’s possible...
JB: Do you have a lot of it already written?
GB: It’s done as far as being written and I know the parts for everything; I just have to walk in the studio and lay it down. The last time on “The Land of Make Believe,” I played almost all the parts and I knew how I wanted everything, I just hadn’t heard it yet. This album I want to be able to open my mind up to it more. I want to make it a little more Pop-y too and a little more radio- friendly. The songs are built that way – just overall more mature.
JB: Are there any songs, on this upcoming EP, that we’ve heard
you play live or are they all new songs?
GB: It’s all new material but I’ve started playing some of those songs out. There’s one that has not been heard. It’s very Pop-y; you’d like it.
JB: Cool I’m excited. What’s it called or can I not ask?
GB: I don’t know. I was thinking, “Go,” but I don’t know yet.
JB: Are you excited for the MAMAs this year?
GB: Yes. JB: Last year you performed.
GB: It was amazing. It was very fun. Confetti.
JB: It was when we met.
GB: That was when we met.
JB: I don’t know how but somehow you were friends with me on Facebook.
GB: We were Facebook friends and I saw all your posts...
JB: How did that happen?
GB: I don’t know but I saw all your stuff and I had to introduce myself to you.
JB: Is there any award at the MAMAs you would like to win?
GB: Last year..I should mention that at this point, Burdulis trailed off for a third time during our interview. He had been watching a Beta fish in a nearby fishbowl closely all night. The fish enjoys sleeping near the top of the bowl, which has completely freaked Burdulis out, thinking it was dead. This is one of the sweeter moments you share with such a great guy like Burdulis. Eventually we call Addie, our friend, in. She checks on the fish and all is well. But seriously, he was very worried for the fish; always puttingothersbeforehimself,this one’s good to take home to mom if you can manage to catch him in his whirlwind life.
GB: Last year I was up against PHOX and Sam Lyons for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Performer. I’m not sure; I’d be happy with anything.
JB: What’s one thing that we don’t know about Gabe Burdulis?
GB: I’m a huge Alice Cooper fan.
JB: A lot of people I talk to about you say “his voice is a lot older than his age.” How does that make you feel?
GB: It makes me feel good that if someone can hear me and not necessarily think that I’m my age. I think I take that as a compliment.
JB: It’s almost like you are timeless then..How was that?
GB: Yeah put that in: “timeless.” PROJECTFAMOUS.COM | APRIL 2014 36 - Project Famous


Still working on that hot first release.