Garbers is a solo acoustic live-looping artist from Botswana that uses a guitar and a shaker to live-record beats and rhythms, building creative songs that are full sounding, and entertaining. In 2003, David Garbers began pursuing his musical journey writing songs as a way to journal his life and make something that would outlast him. He found that playing music with friends was a bond that felt a bit deeper. Starting the childhood band USED2Bsyris, the 3 piece rock unit took Garbers north to England where he had a chance encounter with Paul McCartney in 2007, and in retreat for a more stable way of life he studied Audio Engineering in 2008. He has since toured internationally as a professional sound engineer, played in 7 different bands (most notably 4 piece alternative rock act South of Nine) gaining radio play in South Africa with songs 'Circles' and 'Jozi'. He has performed on stages alongside musical icons in multiple countries and over the years Garbers has not only performed his own music in front of thousands of people, but he won a lottery, relocating him from Johannesburg to Denver, CO in late 2019. Now residing in Seattle, WA and armed with his fourth and latest single, ‘Existence’, Garbers hopes to share his story and inspire others to follow their dreams too.
Garbers is an acoustic live-looping artist that uses a guitar and a shaker to live-record beats and rhythms, building creative songs that are full sounding, and entertaining.
Coming from the small town of Gaborone, Botswana, with little to no music scene to speak of, it is not surprising that one would strive to seek more. David Garbers began his musical journey as an early teen, playing guitar and experimentally songwriting in an attempt to fight the boredom that had his peers drinking alcohol and constantly getting into trouble. Instead he found that writing songs was the most powerful way to express his feelings and emotions, and most importantly he could create something that would outlast him.
"My maths teacher called me a drug addict because I fell asleep in class once, I would play my guitar 8 hours a day and get to bed at 3am."
Understanding the importance of being original, Garbers refused to learn cover songs because he felt it would hinder the growth of his own creative style. "Some people can shred an instrument, but they are playing what someone else made, try get them to write a song, they are clueless."
Driven by his desire to write music, he formed his teenage grunge rock band USED2Bsyris (2003), which featured Mark Rose on drums and Chris Baillie on bass. Early on, notably the band performed alongside South African legend Johnny Clegg at the Kalahari Summer Fest in 2003. The next 2 years were spent working on the debut album 'The Virus', as well as gigging around Botswana and South Africa. In 2006 the 3 piece relocated to London, England where they cut their teeth on the underground scene, they were hell bent on trying to upstage others and make a name for themselves, in the their absolute heights, performing alongside one of their favorite bands 'Nine Black Alps' at Watershed in Wimbledon. USED2bsyris subsequently recording their final EP titled 'All Talk No Play' in 2009.
During this time, while studied Audio Engineering, and working at the Hammersmith Apollo, Garbers had a life changing interaction with Paul McCartney.
In mid 2010, after a tour on the east coast of South Africa USED2bsyris' cracks began to show and the group were inevitably forced to part ways as immigration laws had halted the band, drummer Rose returning to England. Gutted Baillie and Garbers returned to Botswana where they reset their sights on a new rock project.
June 2011 saw the rise of 'South of Nine', a four piece alternative rock band based in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was Garbers' second attempt to make waves on a new scene, a short demo followed in 2012. The band went on to play throughout South Africa and open up for more reputable artists, for filling a childhood goal of performing at renowned rock festival Oppikoppi in 2013. This paved the way to the long awaited debut 17 track album 'Palindrome' being released on March 3 2015. Leading single 'Circles' made its way onto radio stations countrywide, followed by 'Jozi', which by some is regarded his most well known number.
"It's ironic that I write a song about the fact that radio stations and labels never respond to me, and thats the one that finally makes the cut".
Due to the Rock industry being a very niche market in Southern Africa, very few rock acts can achieve stability and in order to make a living. Artists often travel over seas to be exposed to wider audiences, otherwise they have day jobs. This sure was a testing time for Garbers in continuing his dream and while pursuing his goals he worked as a Sound Engineer. To his detriment, he helped serve other musicians careers instead of his own. However, his constant involvement in the music industry kept on inspiring Garbers, offering him reassurance as he met more of his musical idols.
"Working as a sound engineer, I quickly found out that the better the musician, the more humble and kind, and that the best songwriters are often their own biggest critics."
Garbers is still reaching for the heights he has set for himself, and he will certainly not stop trying! He believes that the people who give up will never make it. The biggest show he ever played was when he was 15 to a crowd of 5 thousand people, and it has been a downward roller coaster ever since.
"I never thought of myself as a solo artist because I wanted my music to be served correctly and be performed with a band, but I just ended up being booked more often by myself and that got me thinking."
In 2017, with the addition of a loop pedal, Garbers developed his solo act and has never looked back. The possibility of building a full sound on his own has taken his live act to a whole new level. With opportunities more plenty he formed a looping act named 'The Upsidowns' with Danny Helsing on bass and just as quickly as they realized its potential, in a possible act of fate, it all changed.
In 2018 Garbers won the Green card lottery, which allowed him the right to permanent residence in the USA. An opportunity to be in a place that celebrates his brand of music. This has been the dream he was waiting for all along, the chance to expose what he has been working towards since a young teen.
"I just won the lottery, I would be a fool to give up now."
In late 2019 Garbers packed up his life in Johannesburg and relocated to Denver, CO and since has been dipping his hand into the USA scene by working as a studio and live engineer. Garbers has worked with 100's of national touring acts, proving his value to the Denver music industry and keeping a keen finger on the pulse. To date, as a new solo act Garbers has released 4 singles, and 8 music videos. Now the time has finally come, where Garbers sheds his engineer hat and propells forward into his true skin. He hopes to share his story and inspire others to follow their dreams too.