Saturday 2nd July marked the arrival of recent techno giant Gary Beck to Cake. Supported by a whole host of Invernessian talent and an intense sense of anticipation, Beck took to the decks and forced out hard, penetrating techno and didn’t let up with a little melodious house at any point. This was indeed a set for those with a passion for this style and eardrums of Kevlar. Before the night took off on a raj, I met Gary for an official and unexpectedly in-depth chat about his music, influences and the strange ponderings of life in general.
(MD)To start with, how would you, personally, describe your style of music?
(GB) It’s quite energetic, raw house and techno. It’s all my own productions so I like a bit old-school…
(MD) Yeah, you don’t seem to follow any trends like so many DJs do…
(GB) Definitely – a lot of the music nowadays is very clean, with lots of RnB influences and use of software. I’m much more into hardware, leaving it as it is.
(MD) Who would you say are your influences?
(GB) I guess, back in the day, Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox. Seeing guys like that perform was amazing. I just thought to myself, that’s what I want to do y’know!
(MD) So that was a while back? As in you actively searched for that sound you liked?
(GB) Yeah, I suppose. I played in an orchestra for years, the trumpet, so I was brought up on slightly different stuff there! It was only after a few visits to the Arches in Glasgow that I thought “WOW.” about dance music.
(MD) I can imagine, The Arches in an incredible space. Is that where you started out then?
(GB) I started DJing actually as a hobby about maybe 9 years ago. It was only a hobby and then I was being told “Y’know, you’re quite good at this, why don’t you do production cos it’s the only way you can really make it”. About 2 years after that I began producing.
(MD) So what exactly is the difference between producing and DJing, there’s so much cross-over it can be confusing.?
(GB) Well, producing is starting from scratch with nothing and I knit my own stuff into a set without playing other people’s music. I suppose that’s the difference between a DJ and a genuine producer.
(MD) Who is your favourite producer then?
(GB) A guy called Mark Broom. For me, in the techno scene, there’s no-one better. He’s being doing it for so many years and he’s just been consistent with everything he’s done. So that’s what I was aspiring to be like.
(MD) You say you’re firmly in the techno scene then – how about any outside influences, other types of music, anything really!
(GB) Because of my orchestral background, guys like Craig Armstrong are unbelievable, I love the Cinematic Orchestra, Zero 7…That’s what I listen to, I don’t listen to techno in my spare time!
(MD) Sure, as great as it is for clubs, it’s not the most relaxing of genres…
(GB) Naw, naw! I agree!
(MD) What do you have to say about the current club scene in Scotland then? I think it’s agreed that recently hip-hop/RnB has kinda taken over…Do you think techno and house has become marginalised for its lack of Beyonce samples?!
(GB)I think it could be better for techno. Playing around Europe, you see the way they are with techno and then you come to Scotland and it’s not…I suppose there could be a few more specific nights going on. Sub Club and The Arches really are the main supporters of it, definitely.
(MD) So what do you know of dance music in Inverness?
(GB) Well, I played Rockness 2 years in a row and I know Inverness quite well because of Slam talking about it. I’m aware of Cake and Ironworks but that’s about it.
(MD) On a different tangent, what is the one thing that keeps you going in life?
(GB) (Notably long pause)…I should say my girlfriend and stuff like that, eh?!
(MD) Just say whatever you want!
(GB) Ok, I honestly think it’s my music that keeps me alive. It’s everything. I do it every single day, every weekend I’m away because of it, definitely my music.
(MD) What about any further releases?
(GB) Iv’e got an EP coming out in 3 weeks on a label called Drumcode which is going to be quite big, I think. There’s also a single coming out on Soma called ‘Diva’ (tentative giggle at the name) and it’s really quite a cheesy, commercial sound – there’s a chance it could actually go over-ground! It’s got a woman singin’ in it and stuff.
Taken aback by his genuine and open nature, Gary Beck charmed the metaphorical pants off me and the crowd afterwards with his blistering set. Slick dress, slick chat and even slicker beats, I’m sure no-one was let down by this gent of the techno world.
By Megan Donald