I never had the opportunity to meet Gavin Soens in person, but his influence is seen almost daily through many of my friends and idols. The Wisconsin native was part of Hives Inquiry Squad, and later moved to Portland with fellow rapper (and Hives bandmate) Lucas Dix. Though I didn’t know Gavin in his younger years, I have heard and read many stories to make it feel like I did. I wish I did.
In 2010, the 25-year old found out he had a cancerous tumor behind his left knee; one that spread so far he ended up amputating his leg. Within the next two years, the disease was found again and eventually took his life – a year ago today. Last Spring I bugged a good mutual friend to travel out west with me to say goodbye to his confidant, as we knew that his time was coming to an end. I had selfish reasons, too, as I wanted the trip and to meet this person who was so highly spoken of. It never happened. The news may not have hit me nearly as hard as it did for those closest to him, but just as it would be if your best friend’s brother died, you feel the rip tide reach your heart, too.
I’ve been debating all morning whether I should post something about his passing. It does seem odd that someone who never met the guy should be displaying some sort of throne to him. But this is not a eulogy. This site was made as my attempt to communicate with the outside world of things I have been listening to and people who have been inspiring me. I wanted it to be a positive source of discovery and encouraging meeting place for similar souls. And in those terms, it seems Gavin’s journey fits right in.
If you’d like to know more about him and what those closer to him have said, there’s a great article written a few days after his passing last year. Or this beautiful post written about him by possibly his closest friends, Lucas Dix. There is also this article about him after his amputation.
People often talk about what artist or band they would have liked to see ‘in their prime’ or ‘before they broke up’. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, maybe even Etta James. Gavin Theory will always be on my list, but I take some comfort in knowing that I still have the opportunity to listen to and watch many artists he has inspired. Two of those artists – IAME and Lucas Dix – have released a new song today featuring production from Gavin, which you can listen to below. You can also listen to more of Gavin’s music here.
This post was never meant to turn in to some sad life-discovery thing; I’m pretty sure Gavin would have just rolled his eyes at it. But I do like to spread the word of his existence and the thought that, even though our fate is sealed, we don’t let it stop us from being exactly who we want to be.