A Sit Down With DJ Gary Beck
Gary Beck is regarded as one of the most prolific and inventive producers in the current electronic music scene. Renowned for his own unique sound, Gary is currently in high demand all over the world , playing at some of the most respected clubs and Festivals. After spending previous years releasing on labels such as Drumcode, Saved and Cocoon, he now concentrates fully on his own label BEK Audio. With a back catalogue of artists such as Mr. G, Dj Rush, Mark Broom & Speedy J, BEK has developed into one of the strongest Techno labels around.
"I really love what I'm doing right now, so maintaining a high standard of production is the most important thing for me."
Could you tell us something about where you're from and in what way that still has influence on your music today?
I come from Glasgow and I've lived here for most of my life. It's a very industrial city.
The weather is often miserable however I love being in this environment. It's a soulful city and I feel this has inspired me in my path to being a producer.
What does your father think of your career? Its quite unorthodox.
I mean I was a footballer most my life, played at a high level, and my dads obsessed with football. He wanted me to follow that path, and when that wasnt working out I got a job in oil and gas, and he was like good, this is good for you. I know its not really what you want to do, but its good. Then I started talking about music and stuff, and he was like no, what are you playing at! But once he started to see things going well seeing videos of me playing in front of big crowds he definitely started to realise this was quite serious and has been so supportive since. Hes actually getting into the music; Ive caught him listening to some techno albums, which is brilliant!
Do you find that it is vital for a DJ to produce in order to gain recognition or can they rely solely on their DJ skills? What have you seen change from when you started and today?
I actually think it is much easier to gain recognition and to secure gigs from DJing alone today, especially with the help of social media. I think it was much harder back then and I felt like I needed to produce records in order to get recognised. I was actually in the opticians when Richie Hawtin called me, and I was like yeah right! But it was and he wanted to sign my track to Minus. Richie was great for this as he consistently tried to push good music even if it meant the artist was unknown. I feel that with technology today it has become much more easier to make a name for yourself just by having a strong online presence. There are so many great producers who get gigs but are awful DJs and vice versa.
You've gained massive support from some of the biggest names in the scene, already early on in your career. Which upcoming talents get your support now?
There are a lot of fantastic talents however there are a couple of guys in particular that stand out for me. The name is 'Clouds' and they come from Perth in Scotland. They rose to fame on Tiga's 'Turbo' imprint. Their tracks are fresh, energetic and really fucking interesting. This is exactly what I'm after in my sets and their tracks work all the time. I can't wait to hear more from them.
One of the characteristics of your music is it does seem to fit nicely within house sets as well as darker techno ones is there an intent there?
Theres definitely an intent there. I love house music and have done for a long time. Guys like DJ Sneak that really nice deep funky stuff I used to love it when I was younger, yet at the same time I was listening to Jeff Mills and stuff like that. So I wanted to set out to make music thats functional in both areas. Where you could draw something a bit more tech house, but it would blend really easy with a dark techno track. It opens up a few doors as well, giving you that variety to play to different crowds.
Whats been some of the standout sets or parties youve played so far this summer?
I played Old River Park in Naples a few weeks ago. The energy and passion was unreal! I also had a great time playing Rockness festival in Scotland on the banks of Loch Ness.
Which comes first when youre producing the sound or the idea?
Its always a mixture. Sometimes I have a rough idea what I want to create, other times it just comes together organically with no plan. Sounds merge nicely into other sounds and voila!
Have you been inspired as a producer and DJ by any particular New York artists - or particular records - over the years?
Danny Tenaglia is someone who has inspired me. His DJ sets have always been fantastic and I was lucky enough to meet him last time I played New York. Also Harry Choo Choo Romero. I reckon I bought every single record he made! New York has really generated some great talent over the years!
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Ive collaborated with many excellent artist from all genres. One track in particular is Get Together which features the amazing vocals of Debra Debs. Ive also collaborated with great Techno artists such as Green Velvet, Mr G and Speedy J to name a few.
How do you see techno - and more underground styles - carving its own path here in the US?
Every part of US seems to have its own techno scene going on which is great, but places like Detroit and Chicago have been at the forefront of the scene from the beginning. Some parts are obviously smaller than others however It really seems to be growing. I was overwhelmed on my first visit to the US. There was terrific energy with great vibes. I can see the underground scene becoming a lot more prominent in the future.
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