Gorgon City: ‘It takes years to get happy and where you want to be’

Thursday 16 August 2018

The English electronic music duo, Gorgon City, has been making the world dance to their infectious house beats since early 2013 when they burst onto the scene with their hit track Real. Soon after in 2014, their track Ready for Your Love made its way to number four on the UK Singles chart.

For the last four years, the duo have been touring around the globe, making crowds groove to their music, but now they’re getting ready to embark on a brand-new adventure with their ‘Escape’ tour, named after their latest album. 

In their long awaited album, the duo have featured tracks from over the past few years along with some newbies. The album is essential for anyone who needs a pick me up – with some smooth tracks and a collection of diverse and talented voices to go with their production.

We had a chance to chat with Matt and Kye to discuss their new album and tour, their music inspirations, and some of their favourite tunes.

What sets apart electronic music from other genres?

Matt: It’s a modern kind of thing obviously. Electronic music was created in the past 20-30 years, so it involves technology.

Kye: It’s also about the drums, really. You had technology involved in music for decades like synthesizers and drum machines. It’s when the drum started becoming electronic, that’s where electronic music came from. From there all the instruments became electronic, and electronic music was born.

M: The advancement of technology happens so fast now, and the music portrays that in a lot of ways. Because of technology, new things are being made all the time. The sounds change and new genres are created. It’s all based in technology.

Which genre of electronic music do you like the most?

M: We make house music, so house and techno are obviously what we’re based in. But, I love all of it really.

M+K: If we had to pick one, house music.

What is a song that you’ve been listening to on repeat?

M: I’ve been listening to this guy Octavian quite a lot. There’s this tune called Hands.

I haven’t really had a chance to check out music other than what we’ve been playing on our DJ sets.

What is your favourite festival to play?

K: Red Rocks Colorado is up there. The venue just took my breath away. I think it’s my favourite venue in the world.

M: Coachella is good to play. Two years ago, it was a big seminal point in our career, and it did massive things for us over in America.

What have you been looking forward to the most with your Escape tour?

M: I’m looking forward to the shows in LA and NYC. That’s where we sell the most tickets and have the biggest following. So, it’s always exciting to play in those cities.

K: I’m looking forward to coming back to London as well, and playing Printworks. We DJ’d Printworks and that was one of my favourite shows that I’ve played just because of the venue. There are very few venues in the world that literally take my breath away, and Printworks was one of them.

‘Too many people see a sub-genre or trend come up and they feel like they have to gravitate toward that to get a break.’

Speaking of escaping, if you were driving a getaway car, what would be the song you wanna be playing?

M: Something really upbeat. Probably like a Drum and bass tune. Some like Ed Rush & Optical. Something fast, scary, upbeat. Drum and bass is the best music to drive to. When we used to drive ourselves to gigs all the time, we used to listen to it to maybe get there quicker.

K: Maybe a Dillinja track. I grew up listening to Drum n bass, and when I first learned to drive, I was always listening to drum and bass. So whenever I drive fast, my mind goes to that. I used to listen to Grime, but once I crashed my car listening to a Grime tape, so I’ve never listened to Grime driving ever again.

Tell me a little bit about your label REALM and what kind of artists you’re hoping to sign.

K: It’s more for our underground and purely club-focused music. So far, we’ve released just music from ourselves. We’ve always made music just for the clubs, but before we had always done it for other labels or as remixes for other artists. So it has been really cool to have our own outlet for just doing that and it’s good to sort of set it aside from what we do for our albums because it’s quite different in style, and we sort of approach making music for it in a completely different way. When it comes to releasing with other artists, we’ve got a new artist called Kyle Kinch from Florida. We met him a few ago, and just loved his music, so we’re going to release an EP soon. We’ve also got some friends we’ve known for a quite a while like Mak and Pasteman, Huxley and just people that we know from the music industry.

M: We’ve been getting sent quite a lot of demos just from people all over. We haven’t had that much time to really get our teeth into it but I think once the album comes out, we’ll get some proper time to really develop the label. It’s exciting because it’s a new element of Gorgon City that we haven’t done before.

Do you have a song by an artist that you think would be great for REALM?

M and K: Hex by OC and Verde.

They’re smashing it.

Are there any artists that you draw inspiration from?

M: Everything that we listen to inspires us. The stuff we play in our DJ sets, music that we listened to growing up, UK dance music like grime and garage, and basically anything with a bassline.

Could you think of a song that inspired you?

M: There’s an old drum n bass tune that really made me fall in love with the genre and made me wanna make dance music. Valley of the Shadows by Andy C.

What DJ/producer would you want to collaborate with?

K: We’ve always said we want to collaborate with James Blake because production wise he is kind of mind blowing. And I’m a big fan of John Hopkins as well because his production style and technique is so well crafted. It blows my mind and I’d wanna work with him just to see how he puts it all together.

M: James Blake is someone I’ve always been a massive fan of. You know when you hear music and there is no way of understanding how they’ve done it, as a producer that’s the kind of music you get obsessed with, and that’s what really inspires you to try new things.

What’s your favorite song by him?

M: Noise above our heads. Whenever I see him live, it changes my life.

K: I really like the track Overgrown and Wilhelm Scream.

Your new song with D Double E is making quite a splash. It has a dark but fun vibe to it. Would you say the rest of your album is similar?

M: The new album does have darker elements to it, but it’s still fun. There are more tracks that are deeper and darker on this album than Sirens. But it’s also positive, upbeat, and bright. I guess it’s for other people to describe it haha. We make it, you guys can talk about it.

K: Doing the track with D Double E was really cool because we’ve both been grime music fans since we were 14 or maybe even before that. D double E is like a legend, you know. One of the founders of the genre. The track with him was pretty crazy for us, and he was really great to work with.

M: We’re quite happy with the way the video came out as well. It’s simple and great just because he’s in it. He’s got such a character so anything with him in, people are going to like.

Let’s say you’re playing a sunrise set at a festival. What song would you want to open with?

M: There are so many different ways you could do it. You could play something really epic and euphoric, so people just like, watch the sun come up and really feel the power of the moment.

K: One of the tracks that I’d pick is Scuba’s Adrenaline. It’s something that we always go back to every now and again. It’s very uplifting and has those simple chords.

M: You could also play something like Candy Staton’s You Got the Love. That kind of house classic can really work at that point.

Do you guys have any pre-gig rituals?

K: A shot of tequila.

M: When we’re with the live band, we just all get a bit hyped up and just shout at each other and have a little group hug. Then, probably a shot of tequila.

Do you have a song that you listen to?

M: We used to! We need to start doing that more. I think we will on the next tour. We used to listen to drum and bass.

K: Sometimes Kidnap Kid. He’s a good friend of ours and we toured around with him. He played before us, so when he’s not there, we just play his stuff like Moments and Animaux.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists in the electronic music world?

K: One is patience. It takes years to get happy and where you want to be. And the other one is to stay true to yourself. Too many people see a sub-genre or trend come up and they feel like they have to gravitate toward that to get a break. But by the time they’ve gotten into making that kind of music, you’re following everyone else and you sound like everyone else. You should just stick to what influences you, what you want to make, and what feels right and true to you.  I think you’ll end up getting noticed that way because it’ll be more original rather than you just trying to follow trends.

M: Yeah, same. If you can do your own thing, stick to your guns, and not follow trends, you’ll stand the test of time.

Do you have a song that makes you feel inspired?

K: For me anything by John Hopkins, just because his production is so crazy and unique. It makes you wonder, “How did he do that.” It sort of makes you experiment more yourself when you listen to music that really inspires you in that kind of way. I like Form by firelightbut anything from Immunity really.

M: Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always gone back to early Prodigy– Experience and Dual Generation— those two albums have always been in my life. Just because it has always been there and I still love it. It gets me in this mood to get in the studio and make something banging.

Who was the DJ that made you want to start making electronic music?

M: I think someone like Andy C. He’s always been one of the biggest.

K: There’s a guy called Mampi Swift who was an amazing drum and bass DJ when I was growing up. He had a lot of really cool techniques and skills. Like when two tracks dropped at the same time, it would sound like the two tracks were made for each other.

M: It would create this explosion in the club. Then they’d reload it and do it again! That school of drum and bass was really big when we were young.

K: And then obviously Carl Cox. His attitude to the whole DJ-ing thing is just really cool.

M: He would do really interesting things with techno and house. He makes that kind of music really fun and brings it alive as a genre. He’s really inspiring as a DJ.

Tell us something about your upcoming song with JP Cooper…

M: We originally wrote the song with Donaeo.

K: That was really cool because he is a guy from the garage and grime scene that we listened to growing up. We ended up writing something completely different than what we expected and then decided to get someone else singing it. I think it was Donaeo’s idea to get someone else on it and JP cooper’s voice really suited it.

M: We then got Yungan to do a 16 bar verse on that. So, it just gives it another element to make it more exciting. It turned out to be quite a collaborative track.

K: The song is different than what we normally do. It’s slightly slower in BPM than all of our other singles.  It’s got a dark vibe to it, and we experimented with some different instruments on it too. Like, we used a flute riff at the start.

What should fans be expecting from the ‘Escape’ tour?

M: They’ll get a brand-new show basically. We’ve been touring for the last four years constantly doing a similar live show using the same kind of tracks in different orders. But this show is going to be a completely brand new show. 

K: We wanted to take the opportunity to completely wipe the show clean and rebuild it from scratch. Even the way we play the tracks is different, not just the order. We’re kind of getting more hands on. We’ve gotten comfortable with how we play together as a band, so now it’s time to step up to the next level. We’re really excited about it.

Are you doing anything new production wise at all?

M: We’ll have a new light show and new elements when it comes to the technology we’re using. There will be a brand-new section using some new kit which is exciting. We’re just starting to develop it now, so we’ll see what happens.

Listen to Gorgon City’s playlist in full here: