Q&A: Guy Gerber On Ibiza, Diddy, And Restoring The Mix CD's Glory
Guy Gerber has the kind of summer job that would make anyone jealous. The Israeli producer and DJ is nearing the end of the season in Ibiza, having spent idyllic days working on music by the ocean and neon nights playing his blend of progressive house and melodic techno for the insatiable tourists that now swarm the island. Earlier this year, Gerber released Fabric 64, his contribution to the famed mix series, with a special twist: the 16-track album contained only brand-new material, flowing in such a way that Gerber prefers to call it a "composition" rather than a mix. Coming off the heels of a breakup, the Fabric composition reeks of romantic malaise but is conspicuously airy and loose (Gerber finalized the first 45 minutes in just three days), shimmering tracks linked together to form an occasionally discordant whole.
Gerber, who heads his own label Supplement Facts, is already an in-demand performer and remixer, but his profile should rise markedly upon the release of his next album: a collaboration with Diddy. The pairing produced what Gerber has described as "experimental pop," but the project has been kept under wraps, spoken about so vaguely for so long that no one is sure whether it'll be a trashy cash-grab by Diddy again courting the dance crowd or some propulsive sex-funk masterpiece. On Friday, Gerber will headline the Verboten yacht party, playing live alongside Lee Curtiss and Guti. While leeching Wi-Fi from outside a restaurant in Ibiza, Gerber spoke with Sound of the City about shifting global audiences for dance music, being influenced by Steve Reich, his reputation as a hard partier, and why he's the Larry David of DJs.
What's the typical day like for a headlining DJ in Ibiza?
It depends. I woke up today and went to the port, which is walking distance from my house, and went to get coffee. I saw my friend Seth Troxler, he came down, we listened to some music, he played some tracks, I gave him some tracks, and then we just started working on a track together. Later we went to the beach with some girls, ate some stuff, met a few people, and now I'm doing an interview, standing near a restaurantI'm not in the restaurant, but I know the password. Maybe we should put their name in the interview as a commercial or something. People are looking at me like a weirdo because I'm just standing, but I'm standing close enough to have a connection from the place...My routine is centered around making music in the end, wherever I am. If I'm not, I'm trying to get inspired by something.
You mentioned before the interview you're the "depressed one" in your group of DJs. What do have to be depressed about when you're playing in Ibiza?
Chemically, I'm always over-thinking things. Not depressed, but I'm the Larry David of the DJs. I'm a little concerned about things. With a sense of humor, but still concerned.
Not having been to Ibiza myself, have you noticed the crowds changing significantly over the years you've been playing?
Changing abruptly. It's a lot of Americans. This week, these particular two weeks, are full of American people that are very, very enthusiastic about the music, but it's still a whole different vibe from what it used to be. Not because of them, but let's say Ibiza used to be mainly about the music. It used to be people would be listening to a "track of the summer," and then the track could maybe change the career of people, because they'd be talking about that particular track. Now it's mainly about the parties and the scenes. "This party was good, this party was too crowded, this party had a lot of girls, this afterparty sucked." But people don't speak so much about the music like they used to.
Do you find it more difficult to play in that environment? Do you think there's less risk-taking because of that?
Before you had to be really good in order to get some reaction. Now, in a way, it's kind of easier, but maybe people are not really focusing on the music. To play, I always try... if I'm dancing, then I'm happy. So of course I'm looking at the people, but I'm trying to make myself move. In Ibiza, it's always different from any other place when you play here, because it is a whole environment and a vibe.
When you go to a club, you have to think about the people's whole night. After that they're going to go to this place or this place, so the music has to fit. It can't be too dark, it can't be... I don't know. It has to fit. I like this challenge, because it's more interesting for me. You can't just play a normal set, it's a different vibe here. I think it's a bit sad the way it is right now for the music. But I love this place, mainly because of the island itself. The island itself is a beautiful place, a spiritual place. It has so many different spots and different vibes. You have the beach, but also the mountains and the forests, and this will never change. I think it's still an amazing atmosphere here.