Gavin Herlihy has made his career a continuous pilgrimage among the cult places of electronic music, leaving along the way releases for labels Cocoon, Cadenza, Apparel, Crosstown Rebels, Get Physical Music, Visionquest, Culprit and many more.
Everyday, he combines love and music in unique thing, listening to everything that comes into his hands with his girlfriend Laura Jones at their studio in Leeds.
Junk catch up with Gavin Herlihy in Leeds where he's taking a short break in the middle of a busy schedule of new track releases and gigs before his second venture to Junk on Saturday August 6th... For more info and tickets, click here.
We catch up with Gavin Herlihy in Leeds where he's taking a short break in the middle of a busy schedule of new track releases and gigs before his second venture to Junk on Saturday August 6th... For more info and tickets, click here.
What's your name?
Current location and why are you there?
Leeds and get your sick bag ready, I’m here because of love.
What's your favourite club and why?
The club of the future that everyone gets into (apart from that other lot). Where we can all agree on the same music to listen to (as long as it’s good) and that involves all of us meeting in the middle to dance without snobbiness or cliqueishness (and has a mint VIP room).
What is the worst gig you've ever played and why?
It’s gotta be one of my first gigs at the house room of a really bad hard house afterhours club when a CDJ fell off it’s badly mounted rack and took out the vinyl playing on the deck below. The worst thing is I don’t think anyone on the dancefloor even noticed what had happened.
What's the most embarrassing moment you've had while performing?
Hmmm. I’ve never had a humdinger of a moment where I’ve suddenly discovered myself to be naked at the decks or something but like every DJ I’ve mugged it plenty of times. Picking up the needle of the record playing? Check. Ejecting the CD playing? Check. Etc. Part of learning to DJ is mugging it and then learning to take it like a man (or woman), take the piss out of yourself and move on. There’s nothing worse than DJs who try to style it out and blame their equipment. I watched a certain DJ at Space do something similar a couple of years back and his manner of dealing with it was more cringeworthy than his mistake.
What have you been working on recently in the studio?
A really perfectly formed mess that unfortunately annoys my studio partner who prefers a perfectly formed tidy studio. We’ve been at loggerheads about it for a while now. It illuminates the very weird observation of how some people thrive on mess and some thrive on order to work. SO yeah that and also EPs for Culprit, Get Physical, a track for a Leftroom VA, remixes and lots of other new material.
Who would you most like to work with in the studio and where do you find your inspiration?
This question comes up a lot in interviews and it’s a bit of a Catch 22 question. Quite frankly if my day began with the likes of Prince, Herbie Hancock, George Clinton or Quincey Jones (sometime in the early – mid 80s) turning up at my studio to kick out some jams I’d probably have a panic attack on the spot. I’ve read interviews with producers who have pretty much done exactly the same thing for real. If it were to come down to contemporary mortals then Azari & III or Hercules & Love Affair. I love the energy that both bring to a live context as well as their vocals and they’d definitely teach me a thing on to how to dress onstage. I’m not sure my tees and trainers look would really cut it.
Where do I find inspiration? Life! Living it to it’s fullest extent provides all the writing material an artist will ever need. You just need to make sure you do enough of both in equal parts.
When you’re touring or playing a gig away what can’t you live without?
TV. I’ve always got a sneaky episode of something or other rolled up my sleeve for the way home. It’s got to be good TV though. I can’t stand just putting on the telly and watching whatever’s on. It’s got to be challenging in some way and it’s exciting because the TV series is currently going through this huge boom and becoming more relevant to our lives than novels or films. Currently I’m massively inspired by the first few episodes of The Shadow Line and there is obviously still a big hole in my life since the end of the Soprano’s and The Wire. In fact I think I’m going to have to stop talking about that now.
What's your vice?
I love good booze and drinking but I hate getting drunk. I’m an annoying drunk. I talk too much, I am of course always right and you literally won’t get a word in edgeways. These days I usually try and put the brakes on when I feel like I’m going overboard. And yes that may sound boring but I’m way more fun sober than drunk so let’s hope you don’t have to learn that one the hard way.
And your anti-vice?
Yoga. I used to tire easily of Yoga Bores. But I am now a MASSIVE Yoga Bore. And I love it. Yoga is amazing for your body obviously (and has helped me greatly recover from a back accident). But it’s greatest power is just helping your brain switch off from everything for a few minutes a day. I’ts such a simple concept but if you do it regularly this switching off helps you enjoy life so much more and ultimately be even better at whatever it is you’re stressing about normally. And the other thing is… no, come back, seriously…stretching ’n’ shit…??
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
“In some rave or summink … but like …a sick one in the future.”
I can’t take that question seriously ever again after watching this websode of a hilarious spoof mockumentary about a garage pirate radio station. Hilarious.
What job do you think you would be doing if you weren’t doing what you are now?
Definitely a writer somehow. I started life as a serious news journalist and interned at CNN in Atlanta so who knows where life may have taken me if I’d remained on that path. Probably somewhere overseas. Probably being very serious (with an alternate stress relieving lifestyle of having the back doors out of it in some rave or another every few weeks).
What's been your worst job?
I was a barman for O’Neills in Southampton. Any job where you have to continually tell middle aged women that you look nothing like Ronan Keiting from Boyzone (er, black hair not blonde?) is challenging to say the least.
And finally… What's your favourite song of all time and why?
Would you like me to answer this before solving peace in our times or after contemplating the 10th dimension? To say this is a hard question for anyone let alone a DJ is a massive understatement. I guess if I’m to niggle it down to two persistent tracks that have always struck the greatest chord with me for the longest time in my life so far they would have to be to Nina Simone – My Baby Just Cares For Me or The Beatles – A Day In the Life.
Thanks Gavin, and we look forward to hearing your solution to world peace over a coffee - we'd take you to O'Niells but it no longer exists. See you on the 6th August! :)
We waited for Gavin in a hotel lobby for about an hour, it was three of us and we were asking ourselves how it would be to interview someone who used to write page after page for Mixmag before becoming a DJ…
We waited for Gavin in a hotel lobby for about an hour, it was three of us and we were asking ourselves how it would be to interview someone who used to write page after page for mixmag before becoming a DJ… after interviewing people with more than twenty years of music behind them, you might be thinking what is in it to interview someone who’s been playing since a short time. Instead I can guarantee that between “colleagues” it’s never easy to take little interest. Anyways Gavin seemed like a very down to earth person, a guy like us, like all of us. He started telling us about how he would appreciate a dinner in a classic roman “Hosteria”, which he prefers much more to the cold and uncharacteristic chic restaurants that they bring him to often when he’s traveling around Europe. He’s made like that, he loves discovering the places he travels to, he loves discovering their culture and traditions. Gavin arrived at the hotel together with Andrea Lombardo, friend and resident of the Full Flava night, where the irishman was a guest. Gavin loves Italy, he told us about a recent trip of his to Venice and how he found himself playing an Ireland – Italy football match drunk, at 5am in the morning on Piazza San Marco, he told us about his passion for clubs and for parties, a passion he has always had and that he always shared with his friends since the times he used to party in Leeds. It impressed me when he remembered a set of Cirillo at DC10, where the Italian was playing the original version of The End by The Doors, he used the comparison to make us understand how he appreciates experimenting with different genres, without concentrating solely on what the public likes in that moment. Speaking of productions he told us how he isn’t that much of an analogic maniac, but he prefers to maximally optimise the settings of his digital software, something in which he succeeds, considering his good releases on Cadenza, Cocoon and Kindisch. Between this and that set, he also likes doing sport and keeping in shape by running… Going into the flow of the night, the crowd at Lanificio appreciated one of the first records played by Gavin as much as me, the A1 of “The Longest Night” on Olmeto by Layo and Bushwacka, Gavin proved he could take on the dancefloor very well. Who knows that after living in London and now in Berlin, sometime he may even move over here to us, according to his manager Rome stayed in his heart.