|Guy Gerber: Late Bloomer
RA calls in on Guy Gerber at his Tel Aviv studio to discuss Israeli music, the Internet and fighting off the chicks.
Israel, then. Camels, deserts, and general horrendous images of a war-zone come to mind. After seven wars (the most recent one occurred last summer – not the typical Ibiza-esque summer one could hope for), and scarcely 59 years of existence – Israel has finally spawned, er, a non-trance producer who does the business worldwide.
With his Giorgio Moroder wallpaper, at 33 years of age Guy Gerber has bloomed into one of the world's hottest producers right now. Every once in a very long time, there comes a man of vision who accurately captures something as delicate as the time's spirit, collective mood, BPM, and that elusive X-factor that gives dance records their celestial significance. Gerber is managing to do so, with 'Late Bloomers' – his debut solo LP – out this month on Sven Vath's techno-stronghold Cocoon.
For this interview, I hooked up with Gerber at his home studio, situated in the spacious, southern part of Tel Aviv. The hyperactive ("I haven't been calm since the age of 6"), gentle and talkative Gerber agreed to answer a few serious and not-so-serious questions in between checking his e-mails, playing me stuff off of his new album and, truth be told, spending a lot of time browsing his own MySpace page.
Nice site. So you're into MySpace then?
Yeah, I love it. It's amazing. And addictive.
So how are you, Guy?
I'm fine, things are starting to come together for me now. I've apologized my entire life, I always felt guilty for being better than others. Now, it's my time to stop apologizing and start having fun.
With all your success at the moment, aren’t you afraid of losing it?
Those moments you think you're good are the moments you stop getting better.
How do you address the babes that approach you?
I love that. I'm in good touch with my fans. I think that eventually, everything about this world, everything people do, can be reduced to a chick-based situation.
Your music too?
The music is for myself. I want people to lose their minds to it. I keep thinking I might lose it. For about ten years straight. I keep checking it, verifying it's still there.
Do you see a relation between being as nice as you are to everyone - your endless desire to be loved – and wanting to satisfy everyone with your music?
Yes. But first and foremost it's my music. Until today, I have satisfied others – now it's my turn to do what I want. I am sorry for those three tracks that I did. Regarding satisfying others – you know, there's something in me, as a person, an ambition to grow and grow well. At first, you don't try to satisfy yourself – you don't want to lose your fan base. This album doesn't sound like Cocoon's usual sound. People would need to be a bit open-minded.
What's your take on remixes?
I don't like to do them. I prefer doing my own tracks. You have to instill your own private entity into other people's work, and it's not really my style.
Who would you still like to remix, if given the chance?
Carl Craig, although I don't really think I can contribute anything to him because we're on the same road. Duran Duran, for instance. Hot Chip, mainly for all the parts in music they take. Their sound is warm. My Bloody Valentine, too. There's no shoegazing house, haha.
Who rocks your boat these days?
Audion is really amazing. It always comes back to Carl Craig though. Buttrich and David K are on the list as well.
Which DJ do you love watching dance behind the decks?
The one who seems to most enjoy it is Villalobos. He's cute.
"Eventually everything about this world, everything people do, can be reduced to a chick-based situation."
Which pop song from last year do you remember fondly?
Justin's song 'My Love'. I love the half rhythm, the trancey chords. A great moment of pure pop.
Name some major influences – songs or albums.
Beatles ‘Revolver’. Depeche Mode ‘Violator’. And, hmm, DJ Rolando ‘Jaguar’. Underworld ‘Rez’ too. It keeps changing though."
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In five years – starting a family, and alongside the DJ gigs, trying to do some formidable pop music. And releasing albums. Being able to fully release them, that is. Not necessarily dancefloor-oriented.
There's been some talk about the Tel-Aviv sound, which you, Chaim, Shlomi Aber, Guy J, and perhaps more unknown producers are apparently a part of. Is this a media thing or not?
I didn’t think there was, but maybe there is. I've been asked once and changed my mind since. It's something created by the world's echo, not locally. Nobody here thinks of Tel-Aviv. Basically, we define ourselves by the outside rather than the inside.
What do you think of The Klaxons and the entire bullshit-rave fad?
I haven't had time to listen to their album. I have it here though. I like Simian Mobile Disco a lot, but the others have something a bit childish about them.
What was it like making a dance album?
One of the hardest things about making the album was finding a strict guideline. I didn't want it to sound incoherent – and eventually I've found two defining words – hypnotic and romantic. It's somehow a solid link between things. I hope I succeeded, but it's just the beginning. I plan to start working as of October on some new material. The important thing that the listeners should know is that it’s not a first-listening kind of thing.
You used to be a professional soccer player. Do you see any similarities between playing soccer and making music?
What I see as similar, the parallel lines are: Doing both things you don't think about anything else. Both have the victory element – you gotta save the night. Score the goal.
Any Israeli music on your menu?
Some of the stuff made in the '60s, because I think it was a quintessential time in Israeli pop. We were in sync with the world back then, but have totally lost track since then. So basically, there's not much Israeli music for me.
What's your favorite place to play?
Japan. You can play whatever you want. They don't specifically know all the tracks, but they love the atmosphere. I love Germany too. Happy people. The parties mean great fun for them.
"I am sorry for those three tracks that I did."
Berlin is known to be the absolute capital of minimal. While the music is stigmatized to be cold, do you view the people as anything similar?
The Germans are much nicer than the image they have around the world. The music does have a lot of coldness – I prefer American techno.
Why don't you move to Berlin, join the scene's center?
I really wanted to do so last year, but right now I feel good here.
So what’s Sven Vath like up close and personal?
I owe so much to this guy. He inspired me a lot, gave me energy. He is so charismatic – I think he does a lot to keep everything in place. He's a very important character. One of the warmer, nicer people I know.
With the rise of Beatport, MySpace, file sharing and other globally-uniting technologies, how has the Internet contributed to your success?
Financially, the Internet has harmed it because of the downloads. Realistically, MySpace is a spectacular thing. It accelerates the exposure. Creates more personal relations with the crowd. Shortens procedures. A very good influence.
Beatport is an excellent thing, but I am still a big vinyl fan. It's cooler. The availability is important, but the message means more than the medium. It's all about the music. Although I use Ableton Live to play, I still buy records. As long as there are places with great record shops, people will keep buying records. Obviously it will slowly disappear, but it still sells a lot.
Recently your close friend, Offir Star – which you dedicated the album to – died due to an unfortunate drug incident. Is there anything you'd like to say about that?
It's a huge tragedy. He was very special to me. Helped me a lot, saved my album. I love him and miss him. He was a late bloomer. I'm not against drugs. You've gotta know your limits. It's gotta be measured. Around him it wasn't like that.
Alright Guy, thanks a lot for this interview. Any final words?
It's better to be sorry for something you have done than something you haven't done.