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The DJ of the DMV



George Washington University


The DJ of the DMV

Why you should know who Gabe Oaks is

Marquis Woods


This article was submitted by student Raman Mama to the Culture section.

In the last couple of years, the DMV has set itself apart as an incubator for up and coming musicians.

Within the last year alone, we’ve seen artists such as Goldlink and Jay IDK receive critical acclaim for their albums, which have landed on various charts. Even lesser known acts like Lean Quatifah, The Colonies, and Jon Rodriguez, all of whom hail from The George Washington University, have made an impact on the music scene in the district.

One act that has begun to carve out his space in Washington’s music scene is Gabriel Robles, who performs under the name of Gabe Oaks. Hailing from Florida, the DJ and producer has become a staple in some of the biggest venues in DC.

Oaks has always been a musician. From a young age, he was exposed to a variety of instruments. “I started playing saxophone in middle school and highschool, played guitar here and there as well as some piano” Oaks stated.

His foray into the scene of DJing and producing began fairly recently. It wasn’t until he got to university that he discovered what has become his passion.“When I came to GW, a friend of mine took me to a concert at echo stage, and I was like ‘wow, this is something that I can see myself doing.'"

Following the concert, he downloaded music production software, and began to hone his craft. Before long, he began to invest more time and money into his new found craft, and purchased interfaces, more software, and production kits.

Within a couple of months, he’d booked his first gig. He remembers it fondly.

“A friend hooked me up with my first gig at Ultra Bar. It was from 10 to 11:30 on a Thursday night, but there were barely any people there”

However, from that first gig, he built valuable connections in the district that have sent his music career to new heights.

Since then, he’s done shows at Ultra, Decades, SoundCheck, and other private events. Not only has he found himself on the biggest stages in the city, but he’s also been there with some of the biggest names. Last year, he had a chance to open for Elephante, a California DJ known for his work with big names such as Clean Bandit and Lorde. Oaks has also performed on the same bill as DJ 4B, an industry heavyweight who has garnered support from names such as Shrillex, Diplo, Tiesto, and DJ Snake.

However, one of the most rewarding moments for Oaks was when he played on the rooftop of Decades, a popular retro night club in the heart of Washington DC. The room was packed and many of his friends were among those in the crowd. The hours he spent in his room honing his craft were finally beginning to pay off.

The exciting part about Oaks is that his work pushes the boundaries of EDM music. Listen to FVD (A Valentine’s Tribute) on his Soundcloud, and you’ll hear an expert mix, crafted using the harmonic minor scale, with an entrancing melody. That track has down well, amassing nearly 6,500 streams on the platform. Though it’s one of his most popular tracks, Oaks didn’t expect it to be a hit. He wrote it in one day and posted it to Soundcloud as a throwaway. It was even the first track he used his own vocals on. Within the next couple of days, it had a couple thousand streams. Oaks is currently working on an album called “Futuristic Space Drugs”, which will release next month.

“I’ve come to a point where I’m certain I’m going to pursuit music when I’m done at GW”, said Oaks. “I’m not really sure what the plan is, but I’ve talked about moving to New York later… My goal is just to reach as many people as possible”

Oaks name is one that you can expect to hear floating around the district for sometime. Currently, he’s negotiating an opening spot at Echostage, which will be another great achievement to add to his already decorated resume.

If you find yourself in your favorite DC club one evening, enthralled by the music blasting from the speakers, be sure to listen closey – you might just be listening to Gabe Oaks.