Kn Radiodifusion // Rundfunk

Kana Interview with Gary Beck

November 16th, 2011  |  Published in Interviews & Articles

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The lives of some of today’s more prominent techno figures have had their own paths destroyed, realigned and furthered and it’s these challenges and successes they harbour that illuminates their work – none more so than our interview guest.  He certainly isn’t the only notable artist that drew his inspiration from the industrial spaces of Glasgow, however his unique and raw approach to production can mislead any listener into thinking they’re partaking in an unintentional assailment on their own world.

His releases sprawl from Minus, Soma Records and his own imprint BEK Audio, the latter of which will play host to a myriad of quality releases over the course of the next year so it should be blatantly clear, if it already wasn’t, that we’ve all only observed the introduction to a definitive career.  In turn, it unequivocally justifies the time we’ve allocated with Gary Beck this week.

Kn:  There’s a number of fantastic techno artists who call Glasgow home.  How did you find your place in the thick of it all and how did you adapt along the way to ensure your own perspective moved forwards with a distinctive sound?

GB:  It was very tough to break through in the Glasgow scene.  I remember going to listen to guys like Silicone Soul and Slam and thinking the quality was so good.  I had an idea of what kind of sound I was after and I just stuck with it.  I sent many demos away to the Glasgow labels but nothing really happened.  I guess the ‘never give up’ phrase comes to mind and eventually I was recognized.

Kn:  Moving the time line forwards from those earlier days to 2008 , being picked up by Richie Hawtin on Minus certainly had an impact on your direction.  How did you adjust from a point of obscurity to the spotlight?

GB:  It was a massive surprise for me when this happened, as I was only really releasing on small digital labels at the time.  It gave me extra confidence in the musical direction I had chosen.  I was only inspired even more to produce and I wanted to prove that there was much more in me than just one record on Minus.

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Kn:  From that point onwards you’ve been featured on respected labels such as Soma Records, Perc Trax and of course Drumcode.  Some producers work with a strategy of consultation which eventuates in the final product, how do you approach your relationships with varied labels as they no doubt have their own superintendence?

GB:  There were a group of labels in which I have always admired, however I never set out to make a record for a particular label.  I like to change my styles quite a lot so once the track is finished, only then will I decide where it might fit.  I set up my label BEK Audio in 2009 as a platform to release my music.  It’s really starting to grow and we have some amazing artists on board such as Mark Broom, Speedy J and Mr. G.

Kn:  You’ve had a busy schedule this summer in Europe.  A lot of artists manage their time differently, but for you, what tactics do you incorporate to ensure that not only your own studio work has sufficient allocation, but also the performances out?

GB:  Yes it’s been very busy!  On my return from travelling (usually on a Sunday night), I will take time to chill and organize my studio ready for Monday.  I will always work from 9-5 in the studio, as this is the same hours my girlfriend works.  So when I finish at 5, I can switch off, and do things completely unrelated to music.  I love this approach and it’s working for me very well.BEK 008

Kn:  …we just touched on production, and with so many standardised digital tools and tutorials (I.e. YouTube) available to the producers of tomorrow.  Do you feel it breeds a sense of mediocrity or is it something that should be encouraged more often?

GB:  I like to use lots of hardware in the studio!  I feel that technology is becoming too advanced which is ripping a chunk out of the soul in music, not just in the techno scene, but everywhere.

Of course there are producers who are making great music with the new technology, however I’m a lover of rawness & unclean music.  I still use programs and keyboards which are at least 10 years old!

Kn:  There have been a lot of techno artists of late that have done, and also hinted at a foray into other artistic mediums that intertwine with their music.  Have you contemplated the idea?  How would you subsume the concept so it reflected your own work appropriately?

GB:  Absolutely.  I played in an orchestra in my youth and this kind of music means a lot to me. I’m currently working on an album for Soma Records which will showcase some of the other styles of music I like.  In each track I have tried to get my sound to come across to the listener, except in a completely different genre!

Kn:  There’s a lot of deep thinking that’s associated with electronic music for some and for someone like yourself the music has led to a successful path that’s shaped who you are.  Do feel there’s too much or even not enough analysis, not just from those who fill the dance floor, but also in your own discourse?

GB:  Never think too much about things, it will only get you into a pickle.

Kn:  Life plays tricks on all of us so I guess it’d be presumptuous to some extent to get a clear picture on where it’s all going, but are there any goals and aspirations you’d like to share with us regardless of the time frame?
GB:  I would love to continue what I’m doing for as long as possible.  I love to travel and meet different people and that is one of the most special things to me in this career.  I’m also really looking to move my label BEK Audio forward over the forthcoming years.  It’s an exciting project with many amazing releases to come.
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Links:  Gary Beck  /  BEK Audio  /  What People Play