Friday, December 3, 2010

Interview: Gavin Boyce

Like me, I'm sure you have a mental list of names that are always worthy of checking out when their name appears on a remix or release you chance upon. For me that's the likes of Atnarko, Rick Preston, Chris Minus, Aki Bergen and more. Gavin Boyce is in that catagory, both as a remixer and a producer of some great deeper sounds, including his new release on Nordic Trax.

Mr Boyce has been an avid lover of dance music since his early teens listening to mix tapes from the warehouse raves in the U.K. and going to the legendary club nights in Waterford (Metroland & Roxy) He picked up his first set of turntables 13yrs ago. In the past 5 years his DJ’ing career has escalated to the next level, seeing him become Resident for no less then 2 of Waterfords most popular club nights Re:Publik & Resistance, although these days he can be found at Shelter and Cosmic Disco nights. 

November Mix by Gavin_Boyce

Both of these residences give him a chance to play a more diverse range of house music and it shows on his production skills. Where most producers pigeonhole themselves Gavin has left the book wide open. And with that said his tracks have captured the ears of some of the big time players in the house music scene including djs Sneak, Kerri Chandler, Laurent Garnier, Mark Farina, Kaskade, Dj Harri and Mazi. 2008-09 saw the irish man release 2 eps on Vancouver's excellent Nordic Trax imprint with "Antitrust" from the Face Down ep getting hot release of the week on Fish Go Deep's wide reaching weekly podcast and radio show.

Gavin is also one of the many artists and producers that isn't easy to find out about using my trusty Google, so to celebrate his new release Rooftop Soul EP, I asked the man himself a few questions.

What was the tune that got you into music?

"I have fond memories as a kid sneaking into the front room where my fathers disco collection lived and playing them over and over on the 3 in 1. An old Stevie Wonder album got wore down as it had the coolest inlay ever. Also I was obsessed with Joe Jacksons “Stepping Out” when I was 5. Still love that synth bass on there. You might as well throw in some C64 games with music by Rob Hubbard and then some NY electro and breakdance music and that’s me. Weird kid!"

What's best, vinyl, CD's or digital?

"For me it will always be vinyl. Sound quality arguments aside I love the control and feel of vinyl. I picked up a copy of Henrik Schwarz’s remix of Jackson 5 a few months back of which only 1000 were pressed with no digi release and it felt like I really had ownership of it. You don’t get that with digi. I’ve been using Serato now since 06 and vinyl and CDs before that so I’m not too fussy. I’ve also just got NI’s Maschine and I’m toying with the bridge which could be fun for live sets. Digi is obviously here to stay but nobody’s hit the nail on the head yet with a dedicated controller. We need an industry standard for a controller I think. Like Pioneer have with the CDJ or Technics with the 1200s but NI have come close with that S4. Bigger platters please!"

How would you describe your sound?   

"People assume I’m deep and techy as I’ve done a lot of resident gigs over the last 5 to 7 years and I like to give the guests respect and not try and bring people on a “journey” haha. I always just say “house” as I’m sick to the teeth of sub genres and I can’t keep up anyway. Obviously it needs to go in some box for the download sites but it’s harder to stumble upon unusual shit just like I would down my local record store where it was just house and techno.  I’ll play anything from 100 to 130 bpm that catches my ear but it’s got to have soul. I grew up on a mishmash of acid house, Detroit techno and garage so I’m lost in between there. You can’t wear blinkers these days there’s too much good stuff around."

Latest tracks by Gavin_Boyce

How do you approach producing - lock yourself away till you crack it or, wait for inspiration to strike?

"Definitely a lock myself away type. I’m an accidental musician. It seems to strike at 4am when I’m in some sleep deprived daze. Although last week I started a slow house track and had it 80% complete in 4 hours. You've got to stay with it if it’s flowing like that which is rare for me. I’m always missing deadlines with remixes which is why you don’t see many from me. At least with original stuff I decide when it’s done, if ever."

Ireland's producing some great DJ/producers right now - what's your take on Irelands scene?

"You can’t mention Ireland these days without mentioning Fish Go Deep they've led from the front now for a long time (22 Years) and the Go Deep / Sweat nights are legendary. Hundreds of people going bat shit crazy to 120bpm house is special. Right now you've also got John Daly, Chymera, Sian, Manu Le Tough all doing great things internationally too. Lots of young producers on the way too, its great to see a younger crowd at house nights, I was beginning to think house was going to turn into jazz where I’d have to go to a quiet club with tables and watch some old dude play some dusty vinyl."

Where in the world is your favourite place to play?

"Anywhere with good vibes, sexy up for it crowd and plenty of beer! I’ve had amazing nights 5 minutes from my front door or as far away as places like the WMC. I’ve been lucky to play at some Irish festivals too and Dublin has some great micro nights too worth checking out before the IMF close the country! I’m happy just to play and share my love of this music to people."
You've released tunes on some of the finer labels around, is it a case of just finding a label or do you have a desire to fit the tunes with the right label?

At the start it was just a case of getting it out there. The first track I ever made was only in late 05 and Greg and Shane from Fish Go Deep got it signed to a Canadian label for me. Nowadays I almost start a track with a label in mind. I’m not saying I’m going to be on Defected or anything but it helps me to think of a labels sound to kick things off. The important thing for me at the moment is to get a good feel into the track and pray my mates like it. If they don’t play it out then you know its shit!

You sometimes work under Untaken City name - why the two faces to your work?

"The Untaken City thing started off when was doing a remix for a local band called Solartaxi and I was struggling with a deep house version. It was getting very close to deadline so I said screw it ill do a big room version under a pseudonym (Untaken City comes from the Latin name from my hometown Waterford). It freed me up without compromising my own stuff and the finished mix I really liked. It’s stuff I would play myself so I’m not gonna do a Wolfgang Gartner and take a big left turn. I have a lot of disco edits as well that I might do something with also."

Which do you prefer - DJ'ing or production?

"The production thing is a slow release drug with peaks like getting stuff signed and getting good feedback etc but nothing beats playing out to a packed crowd. That’s the only reason I’m producing my own stuff, to play it out and just involve myself with the music more. I could never be just a faceless producer until maybe I’m too old to be playing music to kids. I got asked to help pick music for a Heineken TV ad recently which I thought would be easy. Its not!"

What's in store for the future?

"Going to be pushing the production side a lot more. With the huge recession here a lot of the younglings have emigrated and it’s hard to run nights that often. I hope to be working with Martin Iveson of Atjazz fame soon and maybe getting a remix from him which I’m really excited about. He’s a gent and a fantastic producer his love of music is infectious. Also myself and a few mates from our Yachtrock disco night will be running a nice big tent at an Irish summer festival next year for the weekend so that will be god fun with lots of live elements (and shed loads of rum and whiskey) thrown in!"


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