|Shrink Rap: A Guy Called Gerald|
11th January 1997
Talk about Gerry: The Pacemaker! British house guru and ace drum'n'bassist A GUY CALLED GERALD reveals the Secret of his Black Technology...
"MANCHESTER was crucial to my music. It's a real industrial city, and i used to walk around Trafford listening to my Walkman in front of deserted factories and mills. Cos there was nothing else to do, so you make your own entertainment and you either go one-way or another. From the age of five to eight, I was a serious arsonist. I burnt down churches, cars ... I even burned down my next-door neighbour's house! Thinking back, I was searching for something. Luckily, when I was eight, we moved, but I'd go back as a teenager and see people who were totally bugged out. I left Manchester two years ago cos it was so intense and also cos I wanted to start producing other people. But I felt trapped, like I was slipping into something ... too many incidents like getting robbed, and I wanted to start a drum'n'bass night but they said it would attract 'trouble.'"
"A FREEFORM expression of urban youth, for urban youth, especially in the UK. In 1989, with 'Voodoo Ray', I made a conscious effort to do a House tune, because nobody was doing it here apart from maybe T-Coy in Manchester, Mike Pickering. From there, I was interested in taking music forward, because hip hop had got very samey for me after I'd followed it from Electro and heard people on TV saying, 'People talking over a record, that'll never work'! But all that history is there in your head; meanwhile, you're actually trying to create something for yourself. 'Voodoo Ray' was my take on American imports. Because I didn't quite understand them, I came up with something unique, which is what's happened with drum'n'bass. Just like The Beatles were influenced by Detroit R&B, four geezers harmonising, the components of drum'n'bass have originated from European and American techno, but it has been developed in the UK. Basically, we started doing our own thing."
"PEOPLE are still frightened of them. I don't know why. Kids are more in tune with what machines are about. Our generation has no heroes because we've spent all our time watching the heroes of a previous generation on TV! Future heroes will be operators of machines, that's what 'Star Wars' was trying to tell us. 'Star Wars' was basically my key influence in making music with machines."
"THESE feature in my song titles a lot, along with cyberspace. Every so often, I remember dreams really vividly. I had a weird one about a stealth bomber. I was on a housing estate and I saw a shadow, and it disappeared but I saw it drop something. I ran to the next street and it was a canister. I went over and it was humming and vibrating, and then I woke up. Someone told me stealth bombers utilise alien technology, from a spacecraft they found in the States. They can fly totally silently, almost invisible. It's the closest thing we have to an alien craft."
"I SUPPOSE running a record label [Juicebox], I should be more into sellin', but I leave it to my partner, Craig. I've had brushes with major labels and it's oil and water. If I go in the studio, I don't know what I'm gonna come out with, and they don't need that. They need to know that I'm gonna have an element of the track that's Number One at the moment, or, ‘You’ve got to use this vocalist cos she's really popular at the moment.' l would say to anybody starting in music now to try getting a loan from the bank rather than a record label, then release your music on the 'Net. You've got instant worldwide distribution, and the more people do it the less people will have to suck up to record companies. Artists are treated like crap. When I was signed to Sony, I was forced to wait in reception."
"HE put a tune out on the 'Net, 'Telling Lies'. I got a call saying David Bowie was really interested in my material, so I did a mix. I thought that around his voice he needed something more sinister. I've come from the House scene into the drum'n'bass scene, but he's changed styles numerous times and he's showed that 'weird' music can be popular. I love his concepts - Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust. He's one of the space babies. Hopefully, this year we're gonna hook up and do a track together."
BLACK SECRET TECHNOLOGY
"THE title of my current album, but also everything I've been talking about. My first memory is of being on a wet pavement, smelling petrol, underneath a motor vehicle. 'Black Secret Technology' is about things like that, dreams, trying to get to grips with reality and using different methods to find the answers. It's also about the possibilities of raw technology. I'm sure MI5 use the same sampling technology that's used for music. You could take an old conversation, cut it into bits and change the way that they said it. That would be Black Secret Technology."
'Black Secret Technology' and a single, 'So Many Dreams', are out now on Juicebox
[Author: Melody Maker]