|Who's Who In Jungle: A Guy Called Gerald|
Volume 2, Issue 8
Gerald Simpson, otherwise known as A Guy Called, has always been a trailblazer - it seems to come naturally to him. In 1989 he wrote 'Voodoo Ray', an acid house monster which was heralded as Britain's answer to Derrick May's 'Strings Of Life'. It was an underground (he was still living in a squat in Manchester and had to do interviews from a nearby callbox) overground (it smashed into the national charts) track that defined a whole musical phenomenon. And if that wasn't enough he also co-wrote another defining moment of British acid house, 808 State's 'Pacific State'. His subsequent major deal with Sony, however, was a minor disaster. So instead he buried himself in the studio and started "playing around with breakbeats on the quiet". In 1991, his "playing around" led to the the track '28 Gun Bad Boy'. It was fierce, aggressive and, together with Goldie's 'Terminator', it hinted at a very new era for UK breakbeat (Gerald's early jungle was collected together in 1993 on his album, '28 Gun Bad Boy'). Gerald Simpson is one of jungle's true originators. He has always been at the cutting edge, ahead of the pack, making up the rules as he goes along. "It feels like I'm going in my own direction and that I'm setting standards for the mainstream to follow," he says. When Gerald's album, 'Black Secret Technology', came out at the beginning of this year, the reaction in the mainstream was, 'I didn't know jungle sounded like that'. Its lush, jazzy chords, sparkling vocals, deep swirling ambient drop outs, and dark shattering breakbeats all pointed to the future of jungle, as seen by Gerald. However, there was plenty of material which had to be left off the album. "Stuff that's just too way out for people to get their heads around at the moment," he explains. "You've got to educate people slowly." This month his album track, 'Finley's Rainbow', is released as a single. In the studio he says he's been producing even more vocal oriented-work, and has done a few tracks with Lady Miss Keir. Meanwhile he's also been busy setting up an office for his label, Juice Box, in New York.
[Author: Oliver Swanton, Photos: Louise Rhodes]