A Guy Called Gerald Interview January 2018 with Christophe Loubes for sudouest.fr
// In Bordeaux you are about to play in a tribute to Madchester night. Which memories of this late 80's-early 90's period do you have yourself ?
It was a stressful time. I was starving to death. I stopped working at McDonalds and I was trying my hardest to get my music going which I was taking very, very seriously. For other people it seemed it wasn’t so serious. The record I had released was in the charts and I wasn’t seeing any money from it. I had big time ideas and I was dealing with small time people. That was my memories of this period. Madchester was slightly confusing for me because I couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to fit with it. Madchester was more an Indie Rock thing but I was coming from dance music.
// As a DJ are you still playing material from this time ? If yes, which records ?
I only play music from Manchester from this time. (I am being sarcastic). If you ever visit Manchester, just so you know, it is very Mancunian to be very sarcastic. We like to have a laugh up North.)
I’m not your average DJ. I will have a dynamic set list from that time and before that time - I don’t play just the mainstream stuff but also the underground music - so you get the full picture of what it was like - the zeitgeist of the late 80s/early 90s.
// The Madchester period was also very marked/infused by pop bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays or New Order. Did they have any influence on your own work ?
Not really. My influences were originally from jazz funk dancing, from funk, electro funk and then Chicago house music and Detroit techno in the mid 80s. It was nothing to do with 90’s or the Madchester era. I just happened to be there.
// Acid has come back to the dancefloors these last years. Do you play acid tracks again yourself ?
I always plays Acid tracks just to remind you that the tracks I play are from the Chicago in the 80s. None of the acid tracks that I usually play were made in the 90’s. They were all 80’s based from Chicago from people who are starting to get the props they deserve like DJ Pierre, Mike Dunn. I’d like see more of the story of Chicago and Detroit to be known - where rave music actually comes from. I feel a little bit guilty because I feel I was kind of a bridge way for their music. Somehow they weren’t given as much credit for what they invented. I’d like to see people like Adonis, Fast Eddie, Chip E, Tyree Cooper, Ron Trent and others getting booked for acid house nights.
// Do you still play "Voodoo Ray” ?
If someone asks for it, I play it. If they don’t ask for it, I don’t play it.
// How do you explain that Manchester was such a big place for acid ?
Manchester was a place that was ‘up front’ when it came to dance music from the early 70s jazz funk and soul to the 80s electro funk which was the pre-cursor to hip hop. Manchester was always at the forefront because we had music directly imported from America through Liverpool ports into Manchester. Manchester had a heavy black population and dance music scene - a very strong community and events every night of the week.
// How did you get to leave up house and go to jungle and drum'n bass in the 90's ?
Well, by 1990 I had had enough of house music. It was starting to get very commercial to someone with an underground ear. By then I had built my first fully fledged recording studio. I needed to experiment. I had all the sampling memory I could use - technology had improved - I had a history of reggae and dub music that went back to early 70s and also a history of jazz and funk and soul. At the same time I was digging deeper and deeper and getting excited about the sampling technology which was evolving quickly at the time. So my style of jungle was basically a mulch of all that. Plus I decided to free myself from my Sony Records contract and start my own label, Juice Box Records.
// Are you still playing drum'n bass today ? Maybe including dubstep tracks in your sets ?
I play jungle. Drum n Bass was designed for car commercials. I don’t play dubstep tracks.
// Your family roots are Jamaican. Has it something to do with the music you play ? If yes, what ?
The culture of my background is heavily music based. Jamaica is a musical place. My mother encouraged me to do music because I’m a pretty big guy and it would have been very easy for me to get into serious trouble as a child because the police picked out the big ones. So I believe my music is very Jamaican. In fact the spirit of Jamaica is “Jah can’t fake it, Jah can only make it”. This means I can’t fake it.
// In Bordeaux will you play with only two decks or do you plan to include samples or drum boxes in your set ?
I have been booked to DJ in Bordeaux and I will be playing with Traktor and will rock the shit out of the club with an iPad.
// As long as I could see you didn't release any record since 2013. Why is it so ?
I have released music since then but it is just that nobody knows about it because it is underground. Have you noticed that this underground dance scene has become more commercial? And the more commercial it gets the more invisible the underground becomes. If you look for it, you’ll find it. I choose to keep it underground.
The mainstream use our genres and our kudos to sell their products so it is harder to find us even in our own scene. Many people who have been in the scene as long as me usually end up selling their music to someone else. I am fiercely independent and people sometimes are confused by this. I refuse to play that game. I support and encourage all underground artists who choose to self-release their music even if it means they appear hidden because of the circumstances.
// As a Mancunian are you supporting Man United or Man City ? Or maybe you don't like football :) ?
I don’t like football. It is a distraction for the masses.