Gorgon City: With electronic music the possibilities are endless
Gorgon City seem like the new kids in the block, but the British electronic duo have been around longer than meets the eye.
Until a couple of years ago Kye Gibbon and Matt Robson-Scott were performing individually as Foamo and Rack N Ruin, respectively, and they weren’t doing too badly for themselves, DJing around the U.K. and Europe, and enjoying respectable careers in their own right. Both working around an upbeat, sometimes tough, yet accessible sound ethic, they were conquering dance floors from Manchester, to Ibiza and beyond.
In 2012, the pair joined forces and formed Gorgon City – a partnership that has launched them onto the global stage, picking up gigs in America and around the world, releasing their debut album and appearing on television shows both in the U.K. and the States.
Gorgon City’s debut, Sirens, captures the imaginations of dance music fans thanks not only to their ability to produce music with both underground and commercial appeal, but also partly due to the amazing roster of talent that they have worked with. Collaborations include U.S. star Jennifer Hudson, British singer MNEK (featured on stand-out track “Ready For Your Love”), and many others.
We sat down with Kye Gibbon for a long talk about the electronic tag-team’s rising success, and the global spread of electronic music as a whole.
You’ve got some big TV appearances coming up, how do prepare for that kind of thing? I would guess that could still be quite new and daunting.
We’ve been DJing and performing for years but things on that kind of scale are really new to us. It’s funny though because we don’t have the time to think too much about it because there’s so much going on. We just have to get on with it and not care.
That’s the thing, I guess the best kind of preparation is no preparation at all, in some cases.
Yeah, we just went to LA for one night to appear on the American version of Come Dancing, that was pretty ridiculous. It’s so ridiculous compared to what we were doing even two years ago, it’s something we could never have imagined doing – but you just have to take it as it comes and have a laugh.
What’s your general experience of the States?
It’s really good for us. It’s changed a bit, we’ve been going out there for a while and played at a few clubs and festivals but this summer it’s been nuts. We played one of the big stages at Hard Summer in L.A., normally it’s a very EDM-based festival but we were amazed at the amount of people that came to our tent and, since then, it’s been going really well for us over there; we’ve done TV stuff out there and the general interest has grown. In some ways it’s more exciting than the U.K. because you can see the huge potential out there.
Did you have much club experience in America before you went to perform there?
No I hadn’t actually. The first time I played there was around five or six years ago, but I’d never been there raving. I’ve definitely seen the changes since that first time though, electronic music has got so big over there and it’s mad how much it’s taking over in America.
I remember when it started to creep in with Rihanna working with Guetta and so on. All of a sudden it’s blown up. Have you got much booked in for America next year?
Yeah we’ve got some festival appearances already, so we’ll be out there quite a lot. We even got offered to go and do stuff in Vegas in a couple of years, which is pretty nuts. I’ve never actually played in Vegas, so that should be a bit of an experience, it’s like an adult theme park out there!
Besides the States, how’s the rest of the year been because you guys have been all over the place!
Coming to the end of the year, looking back to when we started Gorgon City, I never would have thought we’d have done the things we have so far – even some of the clubs we’ve played or appearing on a big stage at Glastonbury, through to getting the album out there. When we started two years ago we weren’t even thinking about doing an album, it just came together. We were getting tracks together pretty quickly and it all just seemed to flow – we realised we had enough tracks for an album, so it all kind of happened accidentally. It’s good that we didn’t overthink it too much and let it flow like that.
So, was there a point where you could really feel that things were kicking off for you?
We’d done a few remixes and originals and it was going well but I think the turning point was when we made the track ‘Real’ with Yasmin. We just made it as an underground house tune with a full vocal, we expected it to do its thing in the clubs but somehow it got picked up by daytime radio. We’d never had that kind of exposure before and that one track opened a lot of doors for us and changed everything from that point onwards.
The thing is though, once the door’s open, it’s up to you to maintain that level of popularity and musical quality isn’t it?
Yeah we try not to let that scare us too much or overwhelm us, or change the way we make tunes either. We never think about whether it’s going to be a hit or whatever, we both make tracks that we want to play out and stuff that we want to hear ourselves.
What’s coming up next music-wise then?
We’ve got the next single from the album, which is “Go All Night” featuring Jennifer Hudson, that’s doing pretty well over in the States already and should do well here. But we also want to get on with the music so, by spring time, we want to have some more new music out there and we’re also looking at doing a lot more club tunes, so we’re starting a label to get all that kind of stuff put out; more club-based, instrumental tunes because we haven’t done that in a while and that’s what we’re about. I just want to get an instrumental tune finished and put it out there on our own label, which will be a perfect way to do it.
Yeah it’s good to have that kind of freedom, time-wise and creatively. I wondered if there was anyone in particular who’s caught your ear lately?
We still play out a lot so we’re always picking up new music. There’s a Brazilian artist called DJ Anna who’s producing some really good, techy stuff which really stands out – it’s well produced and energetic so we play a lot of her stuff. Also Zombie Disco Squad, he’s been around for a while but he’s really cool, and consistent with his jackin’ house stuff.
How has your success affected your personal lives, with all the touring and so on?
It’s probably the one difficult aspect of it all – you don’t get to see your friends and family as much, so that is hard. You just have to try and see them during the week or in between tours. I’ve got a week or two off for Christmas, that’ll be good as I haven’t had any time off for ages. I’m just going to chill, I think Matt’s going on holiday with his girlfriend so lucky for him! Although I’m quite looking forward to not getting on a plane!
Some people don’t understand, but flying all the time can be such a chore even when you are living the dream!
Definitely, it has its plus side though – you’re getting out there, seeing places.
What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?
We’re playing in New York, at Webster Hall, so that should be sick. Straight after that we’re doing Holy Ship – we did that last year and it was probably one of my highlights of the year. Getting on a cruise ship through the Bahamas in the winter… while it’s freezing cold at home, you’re there chilling on a beach in the Bahamas.
Any resolutions for the new year?
Nah, I never make them because I can never stick to them! One thing we do want to do though is get a second album finished. We’ve got so many ideas, even just unfinished ones from the first album, so the plan is to have an album finished by the end of the year – maybe have one or two singles out before that and a second album for 2016.
Lastly, I just wanted to get your view on why you think electronic music has become so popular over the last few years?
Things go in cycles between electronic music and more band-based music, but with electronic music there’s so much more you can do. With a band you just have drums, guitars and a vocal – it’s not boring but it can be predictable. With electronic music the possibilities are endless, and I also think people are just enjoying having fun again. There was a period a few years ago when people were into angry music, like hard rock stuff or even gnarly dubstep. Now it seems people are enjoying going out and having more of a good time. I don’t know why that is but I definitely enjoy going out and raving to house and techno more than I do any of the more aggy stuff.
Gorgon City are currently riding the crest of a wave, leading the charge as the UK’s dance music scene continues to dominate the global charts, infiltrating America as well as Europe and the rest of the planet.
They’ve cultivated a very British sound, with influences permeating into their music from the worlds of underground techno and house and more commercial dance music. It’s a concoction that has sent their careers into overdrive and they’re not the only ones; Britain’s dance music industry seems to be a constant source of new talent and exciting artists who bring something fresh and new to the genre.
Here we present a playlist of some of Gorgon City’s peers, who are also responsible for keeping their nation one step ahead of the rest of the world.
Marcus Barnes is a U.K.-based music journalist, DJ, and promoter. With a focus on electronic music, he has written extensively for The Sun and The Daily Mail, as well as NME, Resident Advisor, Mixmag, DJ Mag and more. He hosts a weekly radio show on HOXTON FM every Saturday (8-10pm GMT).
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