Irish born Gavin Herlihy has been contributing to the underground electronic music scene both as DJ and producer, playing at top clubs/events for the likes of Berlin’s Panorama Bar and Watergate, Detroit’s Circoloco, Warung in Brazil and releasing on esteemed labels including Cocoon, Crosstown Rebels, Get Physical, Leftroom and more. We caught up with him to discuss influences, future plans and production tips:
Hi Gavin, how’s it going? What are you up to today?
I’m in the studio working on new music. It’s going well, the machines are behaving themselves and I’m feeling inspired and on a bit of a creative run at the minute so thankful.
You’re now well-established in the UK underground house and techno scene, but for those not familiar with you, tell us about your musical journey: what events or artists inspired you to start making music and how did it all developed?
I’ve always been obsessed by music. As a kid I played in lots of bands. I found dance music when some friends and I at a silly early age did some people from our hometown a favour by giving them our tent for the night at a festival. As a thank you, they took us raving for the first time which blew my mind. Carl Cox and Laurent Garnier were big early influences. After university I worked as a music journalist for years and started DJing. My career got in the way of music making for too long until 2007 when I ditched the day job and moved to Berlin to go full time. Now I live in Leeds with my girlfriend who I share a studio with.
How would you describe your sound now?
It’s always been somewhere between house and techno. Within those two polar points is a lot of ground of course and although some people are famous for making the same track over and over again but I like to push myself in the studio to always try something new.
If you weren’t a DJ/producer who would you be?
Probably still a journalist more than likely editing a magazine by this point and mentally being grounded down into a pulp by stress and deadlines. I’m not a deadline guy so that equation was never going to come to a fun conclusion.
What are your thoughts on the following genres: Classical, Hip-Hop, Folk, Blues, Trap, Disco.
If I was to advise the CIA on what genre of music would be best to torture me with, Trap would definitely be the one to go with.
What other artists you really like at the moment? Is there any particular artist you would love to collaborate with?
I’m liking the return of some older people like Point G or Jovonn. Loving the tried and trusted people like Mr G, Delano Smith or Basic Soul Unit as ever. Liking the exploits of newer people like ItaloJohnson, Paranoid London, Tristan and Brawther’s new Dungeon Meat moniker or Acid Mondays. I’d love to go in the studio with someone like Maurice Fulton. His mastery of different BPMs, his love of the weird and wonderful as well as the melodic and beautiful and his unceasing barrage of ideas is a big inspiration.
For the next generation, what’s the right place to be if you’re a DJ/producer?
I’m continually asking myself that question. If you’re starting out you need somewhere that’s cheap to live, inspiring and with a constant source of great DJs and parties to learn from. London has all of the latter but the weather is awful and it’s too expensive for a struggling new artist. Berlin isn’t as cheap as it was and there’s too much competition for gigs. Barcelona is making waves but not quite at the level the former two are at. LA sounds great in principle. Brooklyn sounds promising with all it’s new clubs but again too expensive for the struggling artist. All these places are great but there isn’t really a perfect solution.
How would you perfect audience be like?
Open minded and up for it.
You started 2013 with a brilliant remix of Romanthony’s classic ‘Let me show your love’ in collaboration with Laura Jones and just released your reinterpretation of ‘Searching’ by Secret Society, getting support by top DJs/producers such as Damian Lazarus, Kerri Chandler, Brett Johnson, Groove Armada and many more. How do you approach the remix procedure? Do you usually have a clear idea and a certain process you adhere to or do you like to experiment and see how the track develops as it goes?
I try not listen to the track or think too much about it until I get in the studio. You have to manage your creativity and once the cat is out of the bag. If you’re not in the studio working on your remix you can often expend your ideas before you’ve even got to the studio. I start by putting together a playlist of tunes that are inspiring me at the minute and use this as a moodboard. I then put together a palette of drum sounds and samples on the maschine and then go to work experimenting with the parts.
Anything else to expect from you in the rest of 2013?
I have an EP on the new Lokee Musik label. I’ve played for Lokee since the beginning so sending them music was a no brainer. Remixes come courtesy of Laura Jones and Death on the Balcony. Laura and I have also remixed Matt Tolfrey’s album highlight ‘Turn You Out’ which you can hear a clip of on my YouTube channel and we’re working on another of Todd Terry’s ‘Bounce To the Beat’. As a thank you to my followers I’m giving away a bootleg edit of mine on my Soundcloud soon which I’ve been using as a secret weapon for the best part of a year. It’s been in the hands of some DJ friends in Ibiza for the closings and it’s time for it to see the light of day.