|VOODOO CHILD - A Guy Called Gerald with the hot pop scoop!|
5 January 1989
"My mum's taking me seriously now because she saw me on TV the other day..."
A Guy Called Gerald is at the forefront of a new UK music explosion that was born out of the acid scene. We caught up with the elusive artist at the Hacienda in Manchester. He plays electronic music (he loves playing with electronics) but you couldn't call what he makes acid, or house.
"Mine is music of the future. It doesn't need a tag on it, so I call it un-uniform."
His best known track so far is Voodoo Ray. If you've been to a club recently, you're almost guaranteed to have heard it, even if you don't recognise the name. It's a subtle, almost smoochy electro-dance with a distinctive discordant metal clang for a bassline. But Gerald has already proved himself to be more than a one-dance-hit-wonder. His LP, Hot Lemonade, is a joy to listen to. There's squeaks and bleeps and hidden tunes, and a true sense of the musically bizarre, which probably comes from his listening habits and sampling sources. He's a big fan of US art-weirdo-cut-up masters NegativIand (featured in Offbeat 4) and samples them on his track Is There Any Escape?.
"I'm the only one who can listen to their LPs all the way through. The way they use samples is really clever, manipulating technology to the way they want it. In Chicago, the people recording samples just turn on the machine and let it do what it wants. You've got to make it do what you want."
Gerald spends a lot of time in his room, manipulating the machines. "You can bring out everything in your mind, and I think that's what I've done. The record is nearly alive."
The best track on the LP is, undoubtedly, the aforementioned Hot Lemonade, which has a pop hook to rival the best.
"I like pop drinks, and it's a pop record. It's a pisstake of the whole Stock, Aitken And Waterman thing."
And Gerald's healthy disrespect for the London-based music and fashion machine doesn't stop there. "I was in a London club the other week and it was full of people pretending to be into love and peace, when you know that next week they won't be into it and the record companies are too greedy, they're more money than music and I think that's wrong. I'm trying to get a job in McDonald's so I can carry on with my music."
Those self same record companies are now showing an interest in Gerald's work. But don't believe everything he says, like the worst thing about London.
"You can't get a soap sud in the water."
There's no knowing what Gerald will come up with next. When I met him he'd just finished a hip-hop remix of a track by Edward Barton, the man who used to play the guitar very badly and scream 'chicken' on The Tube, bringing a whole new meaning to the word 'musician'. As Gerald himself admits, he's still at an early experimental stage. Just trying ideas and mucking about with sound, which is what making music is really all about.
[Author: Chris Mellor]