Grown from the green, buggy, grass in the Philadelphia suburbs and raised by the buzzing New Jersey and Philadelphia DIY scenes, Daffo — aka Gabi Gamberg (19, they/them) — has been gigging from the moment they picked up a guitar. Stifled by a traditional high-school experience, they ventured west to receive a formal education in songwriting from performing arts school Idyllwild Arts Academy. Shortly after, they relocated to New York and cut their teeth at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music while simultaneously becoming a fixture in the local DIY scene. Equal parts artistry, introspection, and bombastic expression of sheer creative will, Daffo’s 2023 EP Pest is a striking portrait of a young artist who revels in the messy and delights in the delicate. Anchored by prior singles “Poor Madeline” and “Good God,” the EP explores the emotional dissonance between loneliness, self-doubt, and self-discovery as one comes of age in an isolating, calculating world constantly asking them to define themselves. In keeping with their DIY roots, Gamberg recorded Pest in the span of three weeks in a series of studio apartments, childhood bedrooms, and home studios with collaborators Hudson Pollock and Jake Weinberg (Quinnie, Zach Bryan). Toggling between bedroom folk, grungy guitar rock, and fiddle-laden Americana jaunts, the EP is a testament to the many layers that make Gamberg so compelling as an artist: Whether they are playing a kinetic grunge set or confessing a tender folk song to their walls, Daffo’s distinct sound is a product of their aim to make discomfort digestible.