LessThan3: What were your biggest musical influences growing up in Israel?
I would say the first show I saw was this band named Mashina
in the 8th grade. I listened to the cassette of that show, which was like three hours long, for four months in a row. Their lyrics were pretty good, but they were copying a few bands like Madness
, The Doors
, and The Pixies
. I hate when people copy, but they were still doing it well. There were two other bands I really liked, but music in Israel is generally horrible.
LessThan3: They’ve got a lot of psytrance, right? Like Infected Mushroom?
Guy: Actually, the first time I met them was when I played at Creamfields and I was with this girl. It was freezing over there and I tried to make this dress for her out of something to warm her up, but I couldn’t. Then all of a sudden, I met Infected Mushroom, and one of them gave her a shirt and I got the credit for it.
LessThan3: So you were into rock music growing up. What made you get into electronic music?
I was working in this studio with this group, Astral Projection
. This studio had a ton of analog synths and I started to experiment, but what I really loved was that you weren’t really dependent on other musicians. You don’t have to f*ck with the drummer, you don’t have to f*ck with the bass player. This band would come back to the studio after going on tour and it would be like thirty minutes of horrible music, and then I would go back to them like “hey do you wanna hear something?” And I would put something on that was basically a kick drum, and they would go “oh f*ck dude you’re so talented!” So now these guys are begging me to collaborate with them. Those guys were cool.
LessThan3: What do you listen to when you’re not playing out or producing?
LessThan3: How do you feel about the dance music explosion in America?
I would say that originally, dance music started out of a social revolution in the UK. People were replaced by computers in the ’80s, people lost their jobs, they started to take ecstasy, and they would go to raves. Rather than seeing bands play and looking up at them, the people in the crowd became the rock stars. Then came Sasha
, and he was the first one that got people to look back at the DJ.
But the whole thing really came about as a social revolution. What’s going on here in the States is booming, but it’s just another music genre. People love the genre, they love to party, but I don’t feel like there is a lot behind it. You’ve got guys like David Guetta making a few hits, but people are listening and trying to emulate Ibiza. Everyone’s trying to get this hedonistic feel. People do love it, but it’s different from how it started. For example, the term “dubstep.” It’s like dub, reggae, really underground, evolved from broken beat. It’s something very deep in the UK, whereas dubstep here is in your face–it’s very strong.
At the same time, I go to these big parties in the states, and the people are having so much fun. So even though I don’t like where it’s coming from, and I don’t like the music, the reaction in the crowd is f*cking amazing. I’ve seen David Guetta, and I don’t like the music, but I love being there. I don’t know a rock band that can make people go crazy like David Guetta. Even when Metallica plays the strongest chord, some people in the front may go wild, but when Guetta plays a hit, every single person in the crowd goes wild. I’m not against that. So many people love to talk sh*t about commercial DJs, but that’s easy to say. You think somebody in the crowd cares if they mix the track the right way? It’s just a show, it’s an experience, and I think it’s great. And these guys aren’t taking work away from me, so why should I really care?
A lot of DJs think they have something that’s really underground, but it’s actually quite commercial. This is what I think is more problematic than the true commercial DJs. DJs in certain genres have the same commercial mindset, but because they are supposedly cool and cutting edge, they inspire kids to think less and listen to music that isn’t actually good. Nobody digs anymore, and people think this is all there is. There’s more out there.
LessThan3: So you don’t think this boom is really educating fans?
I think that 95% of people that like dubstep have no idea that techno started in Detroit. I’m sure Skrillex
knows about Derrick May
, but his crowd has no idea. Luckily, I was in the States a few years before this all got big, when most big DJs were not coming here. I would actually say that I’m bigger here than in Europe, because I get a lot of support for my music when I play here, and I think people really know it very well. That’s not to say there aren’t problems when I play commercial festivals. I played Electric Daisy
, and it was between the artists from AM Only and William Morris, and they put us William Morris guys in the sh*ttiest slots. So I’m about to play this 40 minute set as they’re opening the gates, and they put on this horrendous commercial stuff as the festival opens. So people come running in, have no idea who I am, they hear this background CD of terrible stuff, and they think it’s me playing. People just come in and they want to hear a beat, which is pretty ridiculous. At one point I just raised my arms and I’m like “wooooo!” and just laughed at the whole situation.
LessThan3: Funny that you mention opening the gates, because your Open The Gates track with Gregor Tresher was one of those significant stepping stones into digging deeper a few years back. Your sound since then has evolved, especially with the recent Fabric compilation. Has that been a natural evolution, or was it all a conscious decision?
Guy: Honestly, I think at one point I got bored of making hits. I was making dance music, I was rocking the crowd, but I really wanted to do something for myself. I was making all of these tracks functional, with intro and outro, 32 bars, beat, certain rules. I realized that I hated repeating myself, so I started making tracks that didn’t sound like anyone else, but also didn’t sound like myself. Now I have to keep my identity, so people know it’s me, but I also can’t sound just like myself. It’s a bit difficult.
LessThan3: Is that what you tried to accomplish with Fabric?
Guy: Fabric 64
has a particular sound. It’s dark, it’s deep, it’s sleazy. I knew that it would have to function like a mix CD, so I couldn’t bore the listener. But the story I told with it is something completely different from all the other CDs. The other Fabric compilations feel like they belong in the afterhours, but I wanted something that belonged in the afternoon, that told a story, but didn’t take away from the party.
It’s funny because the internet and the start of podcasts has made the mix CD not as important as before. Now you can download everything, you can skip whatever. I wanted to make something that people would talk about, rather than a collection of tracks of the moment. In recent years, there haven’t been any important mix CDs. Albums, sure, but very few mix CDs have stood out since they were done by guys like Sasha and Digweed. You’ve also got Villalobos’ Fabric, which was amazing. But really, not too many have stood out in recent years.
LessThan3: What was the inspiration behind A Blade Through My Piano and some of the other track names on the Fabric compilation?
Guy: Originally, the album was supposed to be based on my life. I was going to start with a simple melody, a chord, and just go track to track and it would be nice and airy and cool. Then, I happened to go through a really sh*tty personal situation. I started getting pressure from here and there, I had a lot of stress, and with one month left I was like “this is not what I’m feeling right now, I see something completely different.” So I had to go back and recreate everything from the beginning. I had 75% in my mind and on my computer, but then I just decided to start over. When I was remaking it, the track names were a big part of that process. I think when you don’t have lyrics, the track name is almost as important as the music. People usually say something stupid like “gazpacho” or “panna cotta” or “New York,” but there should be a story behind it.
LessThan3: I assume it’s the same for your new track with Jaw from dOP, Steady? That one just came out on your own label, Supplement Facts, which may be an even bigger project than Fabric. Why become a label head?
When I was just coming up, I was appreciated by people who I didn’t really appreciate. At that point, I wasn’t introduced to techno yet, but these were the DJs that would come to Israel and so I guess that’s the music I was related to. It wasn’t really my style. I remembered this one quote by Oscar Wilde, “to define is to limit.” So I wanted to do this new label that’s not really any genre, that doesn’t have too much history. I worked for almost a year on the first release, I had the first vinyl printed and ready to go, and then Sven Vath
heard some of the tracks, and was like “I want these on Cocoon
.” I did get to release a few with the Cocoon sticker already on them, so that’s how it started.
I don’t want to become just a DJ with a label now, though. I’m a producer first; that’s my thing. Supplement Facts has more to do with supporting people, and a way to do things with other artists. I can always put out tracks, but there are certain artists I would really love to do tracks with, and that’s what the label is for. The label has actually changed a lot, because before I would change my label manager every year. Now though, I’m with the guy who also works with Crosstown Rebels and Visionquest, who is extremely professional; I wish I had started working with him sooner.
LessThan3: You’ve got a Supplement Facts party coming up at BPM Festival, and you also had a label showcase here in New York with Verboten. What is it about NYC and Verboten that keeps you coming back?
Guy: Verboten, I think, is the only underground party where you get treatment that’s super professional. Jen has been extremely supportive of me from the beginning. I think I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career, and if there’s someone that supports you like that, you should stay with them. In Israel, you can’t stick with one person because only certain people will walk in the door of a certain party. Here, most people will go because they want to see me, so I can really stick with Verboten and know that it will be great.
LessThan3: Any recent gigs that stick out as favorites?
Guy: I had one not long ago in Brazil, the ten year anniversary of Warung. I think that’s the best club in the world. I also played a great show in Buenos Aires, a pre-party before Creamfields.
LessThan3: You do a lot of back-to-back sets. If you could do one b2b set with someone you’ve never done it with before, who would it be?
Guy: Larry David. I would love to do a back to back with Larry David.
LessThan3: What kind of music would you guys play?
Guy: The most annoying tracks you could possibly choose. Some country, maybe that Gangnam track. I actually haven’t heard that yet.
LessThan3: Any projects on the horizon?
I started working on a mix CD with Bill Patrick
, kind of like Fabric but with other people’s music. I think my Fabric was very good, but I don’t feel like it reached that amazing peak for me. I enjoyed working on something that was melodic and very deep, so we’ll do something very similar. Also working with Clarian of Footprintz
on a project–he’s a great young producer, reminds me a lot of me. I’ve let him stay in my studio and produce while I’m away–he’s like my brother.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Not sure if I’d even think about music; I’d just be like, “what the f*ck is going on?!” But I guess if I’m tied down and my iPod is on and someone’s injecting some morphine into me so I’m not freaking out, I’d listen to A Day In The Life by The Beatles
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Guy: Hypnotic, romantic, transmission.