Recap: MDA Presents Gari Safari

Gari Safari

Interview with Anabel Englund

EXPERIENCE BY: Rachel Hinshaw

On November 11, MDA had the pleasure of hosting Gari Safari at The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa, Calif. Gari Safari is an event series organized by Anabel Englund, Jackson Englund, Human Life, Mont Blvck, and Matt Ossentjuk.

From ferns and dangling vines to the glowing neon letters suspended behind the stage, every detail was perfectly placed; transforming The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa into a lush jungle. Blow-up zebras, snakes, and other safari animals adorned the stage. The Gari crew arrived early to the venue to set up the decorations, as well as the hardware for Anabel Englund and Mont Blvck’s live sets, and stayed late afterwards tearing everything down, as they do for every Gari Safari. In this way, their parties are a labor of love, and the positive and hardworking vibes made it a unforgettable experience.

I opened the night for the Gari team on Friday from nine to ten. Human Life and Matt Ossentjuk took over for the next hour and selected some groovy tracks, lifting the energy even higher. At this point, the crowd had filled up, and everyone was dancing along with excitement. Many were appropriately decked out in their best safari-inspired gear.

Next up, Mont Blvck (Jackson Englund and Diego Cuevas) took the stage to play their live set. With Jackson on guitar and Diego on bass, they created a funky sound coupled with a chill, indie dance vibe. We expect to see great things from this duo in the future.

Anabel took the stage singing around 12:30 pm, with her brother, Jackson DJing behind her. Her warm, beautiful voice complimented the clean, high-quality production of every track, and she sounds just as amazing if not better in person, as she does on her recordings. Songs for the evening ranged from classics like Reverse Skydiving  to newer hits such as London Headache. One thing was certain, she had the entire venue on their feet, dancing. And many fans were packed up at the front of the stage, singing along to her lyrics. 

After her killer performance, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anabel:

RH: So, how did you first get into music? Have you been involved with it your whole life?

AE: I grew up with my dad playing songs on the guitar for me and my brother to fall asleep to. He’s a really amazing singer/songwriter. And when our family would get together, we would always play instruments together and sing. So I’ve always grown up around music.

RH: How were you introduced to the whole Gari Safari crew?

AE: Well, Jackson’s my brother, he’s in the Gari crew. Matt Wasley I met when I first moved to Hollywood when I was about 18. I graduated high school with Matt Ossentjuk and I’ve known Diego basically since high school, as well. So, it’s a really tight-knit family vibe.

RH: What does “Gari” mean and how did you guys get the idea to throw this party?

AE: “Gari” is basically what we call each other. Like, a term of endearment. If you have a best friend, you probably have a name for that person that doesn’t really make sense to anyone else - an inside joke. So “Gari Safari” rhymed, and we were like, let’s throw a party! And then we kind of just went off from there. And like, there are so many versions of Gari… Gordir, DJ Gorms, Gord... it could be literally anything.

Gari crew member: (laughing) It’s just gibberish!

AE: So the point of Gari Safari is to let everyone into our family and our joke. It’s like letting everyone in on the inside joke.

In the end, Gari Safari at the Wayfarer was truly an unforgettable night and we can’t wait to have the Gari crew back to party with us again.

Check out more photos: HERE