A couple of weeks ago we had the honour to have a little talk with Guy Gerber, worldwide famous DJ and producer, about his career, projects, and collaborations. He's been one of the major names on the huge line up of the Winter Social Festival, that took place in Kent the last 6th of February. Guy shared the stage with Âme, Joris Voorn, Nina Kraviz, Russ Yallop and many more. This colossal line-up, insane visuals and solid organisation from top to bottom, allowed Winter Social Festival to become one of the most waited winter events. Enjoy.
- As a teenager, you were really into rock and you played guitar in a rock band. What made you switch to electronic music?
GG: Well, I felt like rock back then was kind of stuck. Then I listened to Daft Punk, and it felt more punk than anything else at the time. I also liked the fact that you can be the whole band by yourself and not have ego fights with other members. I felt that with electronic music, I could do things that have never been done before and find my own voice, as it's all based in technology. I felt like most other things had already been done.
- So where did you start DJing?
GG: Well I'm from Tel Aviv, and between 2000 and 2005 the scene was huge in Israel. I started playing small clubs over there as a live performer, but later I started DJing as well.
Credits: Ryan Dinham
- How was the club scene in Tel Aviv?
GG: Well it used to be amazing, back in the day, with big parties and lots of DJs from all over the world. But then, for various reasons, unfortunately it went downhill, to the point that it just was not too cool to listen to that kind of music anymore. But as a city, there are places to party every day - in the past 3 or 4 years, people have been starting to get into underground music again. Right now, clubs like Breakfast and The Block are some of my favourite places to play in the world.
- You've moved to Madrid, Berlin and LA. What are the main differences between these cities and their clubs?
GG: Well there's a big difference between the cities and their crowds. In Tel Aviv, the nicer girls go to the shitty music places, and where there's cool music, there's no sex. It's just for the heads. That's not great, so it's better when it's mixed. I wasn't a fan of Madrid, and I'm not a big fan of Berlin. Some people love it, but it's not my thing. I liked it when I lived in Rome, it has a small scene but electronic music is affiliated with art and fashion there, so I love to go to parties in that city. In Paris, the scene has definitely been better, but it's still one of the most educated crowds in the world as it has roots in house and techno. Berlin has some great clubs, I've had some of my best shows ever in Panorama Bar, but these days I feel it's got a bit too touristey in some places. I think New York is booming right now, there's some amazing parties over there and in Miami, and I've lived in both those cities too. My favourite place to make music is definitely LA, it's so open there and every place that has parties always feels like a happy place. But New York is my favourite place to play out of all the places I've lived in.
- So why do you think Ibiza is so different from every other place?
GG: Ibiza is called the Scorpio island, and there's definitely something boiling under the lid, like there is some magic. There's some parties that have got very commercialised lately, and I don't think its going to go away. But it also has a history of hippies and hedonism mixing together; in the past it used to be a place where everyone used to go to totally lose their minds, and you were surrounded by other people who wanted to lose their minds, so everyone was enabling each other to lose their minds. There's a lot of freedom on that island.
- You started with drum machines and synths, what made you change to computers?
GG: It's just lighter and easier. I also like the fact that, in a way, it doesn't look cool, but people are still putting their hands in the air!
- In the last few years you changed your shows a lot from pure live sets, they became more like DJ sets including work from other artists. What was the reason behind that?
GG: As an artist you always have to move forwards, and I felt that the live show was just something that became too easy for me. I had all these melodies and it was very easy for me to get the crowd, and it only fitted particular situations. But as a DJ I can play for 6 to 10 hours and in all different kinds of rooms, and I really don't plan anything. It's spontaneous from beginning to end. I got addicted to that feeling of having no idea what is going to happen.
- Do you prefer smaller, more intimate parties, or big festival stages?
GG: I definitely prefer small parties. The way I play is very atmospheric, so I usually need some time to create the right kind of atmosphere that I want. At festivals the set times are usually very short so you're just expected to play bangers, which is not really my thing.
Credits: Ryan Dinham
- So you've done lots of collaborations, how have you found working with other artists? Is there someone that sticks out in your memory?
GG: One of the reasons I like collaborating with people is because I'm good at creating, but I hate editing! When you're doing your own stuff and making a solo album you have to define yourself, but when you're working with somebody else it's liberating - you have less internal questions to go through. The collaboration that sticks out in my memory would have to be the album I did with P. Diddy, 11:11 - it was a very long, very interesting and rewarding journey, and we both got to learn a lot from each other.
- How has your style evolved over the years, musically speaking?
GG: With DJing I still have my sense of melodies, and I like doing things that are kind of emotional, but without being over the top. But my production skills evolved, so I have a better way of translating my aesthetics today, more than I had before. I like my sound and my aesthetics more now.
- Obviously you always try to experiment and research music, so you founded and were a part of labels like Cocoon, Supplement Facts and now Rumors. How is the new label going?
GG: It's going great! I have to admit that being the boss of a label is not totally my thing, but it's a nice platform for me to be creative with the visuals and the graphic design, as well as supporting other artists. It's been going very well and we have a few albums signed for this coming year, and I've also got more of my own productions coming out. We've got some surprises in store, perhaps some unreleased stuff from David Bowie... but that could just be Rumors ;)