Guy Gerber speaks about the hard work that went into his ‘heartbreak album’
Less than a year ago, I interviewed Israeli DJ Guy Gerber, one of my first points of call when I really started immersing myself in contemporary house and techno. In the time since that first chat, we’ve met a couple of times and, more importantly, he’s produced one of his biggest achievements to date, a full length album that has been created as one 70-minute long composition as Fabric 64 (released 25 June). I caught up with Gerber during a recent trip to London to speak about his ‘heartbreak album’.
So Guy, how have you been?
I’ve been good, pretty stressed with this CD because it took me ages to finish it and I only had a very limited amount of time and I was travelling and there were so many moments where I wasn’t sure I would finish it. But in the end I finished, so I feel very good, but I’ve been very stressed.
So did you or Fabric set the deadline?
Usually with a label they have a deadline but it can be moved, but with Fabric they have so many compilations per year so it’s all scheduled and you can’t move them at all, so the deadline is a real deadline. I decided I’m gonna do this album and put all these challenges on myself, then I couldn’t go back on it – doing a compilation would have been easier; I could have done it in a week or two.
How long did it take you in total?
In total two months, but the amount of time I had to work was something like four weeks because I was travelling, sorting out my house … all my stuff was sent to LA and not all my equipment turned up. I thought in two months I could finish it, that’s what I thought. But in the end I only had one month and in between there was Miami where I had like nine shows, and I was pretty destroyed after that. Also, I composed so many melodies at the time and not all of them fit, so I’m not sure if I was the best music but it was the best music that fits the story. I wanted to work out the story and what fitted it, because that’s how I work all the time. I wanted this 70-minute composition, which was a great idea but then I had this big file with so many channels going into it, so I had to divide it, but once I divided it I lost the flow a little and that’s the most important thing for me, the flow. In the end, the best part of the music was made in the last three days because all the time I was experimenting, working out what sounded good, should it be hard or soft, deeper or indie … I would say 40 minutes of the music was made in the last three days.
That must have been a pretty intense session.
Whoa, yes. I was in LA in my basement, usually I work somewhere more professional but because of the time limit I was in there and the sound wasn’t the best, but the vibe I really enjoyed. I will remember this as one of the biggest moments of my life, more the achievement of finishing than the music with all the distractions that I had!
I’ve been listening to the album a lot, what’s the story behind it?
The story, I would say … I just broke up with my ex in a very traumatic way, and it was like me putting everything out and enjoying it, enjoying this moment when you’re just in this emotional situation, you’re open and you feel everything. I always wanted to do a break up album, there are many that I like; Spiritualized – Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space and I think Bon Iver, the first one. So I said, “I will also have one that is mine”. It was a really intense, I make music all the time and I always had a theme or a concept, because of the time limit it was very hard physically, but in a way I knew I had to know this was the best I could do in this time. It was like a release for me because I didn’t have to focus on the details I could just focus on the main emotion. If I had a year to do it, there would be much more details, there was a lot more music I wanted to include but I’m really happy with it. It’s different to the usual fabric compilation, like dark / late-night, this is more … afternoon, or 9am.
Yeah, you can sense the softness and vulnerability on some tracks whereas some are more troubled…
Yeah, because usually an album takes more than a year, or at least six months and, in that time, many different moments occur. Here, because it was made in a month, it was exactly me – it was how I am. Sometimes I’m soft and vulnerable, other times I’m hard. Even within an hour I can feel all these emotions, I was quite brave to do it because I was quite exposed. I felt very exposed, but in the end I just put it out.
Sometimes, as an artist, it’s important to expose yourself rather than hide behind stuff. Sometimes you have to bare your soul.
That’s what I always do but when you put it in the context of a track … sometimes you have an emotional melody and you put it in a track and it can sound uplifting. Like Sea Of Sand, when I wrote it I was feeling a lot of emotional stress and I just wrote this thing and people were smiling when they listened to it. But when you put everything into one long thing, it was like laying everything on the table. It was important for me, especially today when so much music is the same … to do something that is not easy to digest, I mean it’s not weird or experimental, but it’s not like the obvious dance album that you listen to. It’s more subtle, I didn’t go for the easy shot.
So, how’s life in LA?
Yeah great … palm tress, pretty girls, very sunny but at the same time the city is very inspiring for making music because it’s very open. There are no narrow streets, there’s a lot of space, you get in a car and there’s a cruising atmosphere. I’ve made music in New York, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Rome and Berlin – all these cities are very influential, but when you go in the studio, you’re between walls. When you hear music like The Doors, or Tupac, or Snoop, it sounds like LA. Like David Lynch movies, the music is very ‘LA’. I found this link with music I was making before I was making electronic music (before I got into making tracks) and the melodies are more like My Bloody Valentine and Stereolab and still electronic beats. Somehow in LA I get it very easily, it’s very cinematic, everything looks like a movie. But now I’m moving to Berlin.
After the Fabric album, have you been working on other stuff?
Yes, I’ve just been in Berlin. I just did something with DJ Tennis from Life & Death, he’s a good friend of mine and we did one of the best pieces of music I was ever involved with. It’s a 17-minute track called ‘Why The Trees Go Backwards’ and it starts very melodic and dark, it changes many times, the groove was so good so we kept carrying it on and on. It’s also released a single on Supplement Facts called ‘Steady’, with a remix from Midland, and 11:11 is FINALLY, finally, finally coming out in the summer. We were thinking about giving out the tracks for free and then we thought about how we could do it in a way that was respectful to the project, so we found some partners – there’s going to be Beats 11:11 headphones, an 11:11 watch, I think Google Chrome will also support it so it’s going to be an interesting output. It’s happening during the summer unless something really bad happens.
Guy Gerber Fabric 64 is out June 25th, pre-order the album HERE. Guy will also be touring the album extensively in the coming months, with the album’s launch party at fabric on July 21, for more info on his tour dates, click HERE.Tagged in: album, compilation, fabric 64, Guy Gerber, heartbreak, Steve Reich, techno
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