French bass music producer Gerwin on what he’s been up to in the studio lately, his link up with Chord Marauders’ Geode, the French music scene and studying Japanese…
Tell us a bit about how you got into producing… I understand you’re from Bordeaux, what’s the music scene like out there?
Well, I started playing the guitar when I was like 13 but I was regularly moving houses at this time so it was quite impossible to play in a band seriously or get involved with other people music wise.
At 18 I discovered a little program which I can’t remember the name where I was able to make my own drums, bass, etc and so discovered I didn’t need to be in a band to make my own music. It was also around this time I began to listen to drum & bass and got really into music. So, after a short time with FL Studio, I started producing more seriously with Ableton Live.
Yes, I’m from Bordeaux, and I’m afraid I can’t say anything positive about the music scene here, at least concerning electronic music. It’s mainly about EDM, techno and maybe brostep. A few people like myself, or my French music mates, talk about and make music most of the people have never heard about. Quite a shame…
You started off making drum & bass, who have been your influences within the dnb scene?
When I started to listen to drum & bass in 2007/2008 the scene was about liquid funk and I guess it was a period of transition where producers slowly moved to a darker and more techy spectrum of the genre.
So my main influences were people like Calibre, Spectrasoul, Alix Perez, Redeyes, Random Movement, Eveson, Naibu, Break, etc within liquid but also a lot of people from Russia who were doing some more minimalistic stuff like Abstract Elements, Oak, Despot, etc.
What have you been up to over the last couple of years since making the transition into a different style of music we’re seeing today?
Music wise I’ve been experimenting a lot in the studio. But I’d say it has always been the same, I’ve been trying to improve my skills in the studio and get the best sound possible which I see as a quality but also as a flaw.
As you say, it’s been also a period of transition for me. I’ve finally decided to not care about where I could sign my work or getting more notoriety and started making some music that really looks like me and creating something more coherent with the stuff I usually listen to, avoiding vanity as much as possible while I was producing.
This led me to link up with people, mostly over the internet, that are like minded. That said, I think that the quest of an authentic sound is a story without end and I think my music will keep evolving in the future.
Apart from the music, I’ve been studying Japanese at university.
You’ve made a few tracks for Deep Heads now and also linked up with Geode from Chord Marauders. How did that all come about?
Well, as I said just before, it all started with my growing interest for that 140 bpm jazzy and melodic music. After listening a lot to Chord Marauders and what was coming out on Deep Heads I made a track called Small Talks that I sent to both Deep Heads and Geode.
I wasn’t expecting much because I was really new to this scene but both of them liked the track and Geode asked me if I was ok to sign it on CM. I was really happy and proud because of the admiration I have for Geode’s music. Since then I totally got involved into this genre which really corresponds to what I love without any compromises and have made a few tracks for Deep Heads too.
Some of your newer more garagey, 2-step sounding tracks like Trust Your Feelings, a personal favourite of mine, are a real game changer, what have been your influences in the change of musical direction?
I’m glad you like this one. My biggest influences are the music I listen to, from a really wide range of jazz, soul and hip-hop even though there are no frontiers in the music I listen to and the producers I really feel within that 130/140bpm music.
Although I’m making music that could be labelled as dubstep because of the bpm, I like to think that it’s something else, taking influences from bass, garage, house, hip-hop and dubstep or even drum & bass within the electronic music.
Are you still on a drum & bass vibe or what kind of place are you in at the moment production wise?
I try to stay updated with new dnb releases but, to be quite honest, it’s now rare I’m into the tunes that are released lately. I’m only impressed when the production quality is remarkable.
I know I won’t make friends by telling this and it’s possible it’s only a sensation, but I feel drum & bass is going in circles these days. Most new releases give me the feeling that I’ve already heard this so many times before, production and vibe wise.
That said, I’ll always consider drum & bass with respect and as one of my main roots in music production. I unfortunately don’t have much time to produce so when I do it’s 130/140 music most of the time or hip-hop for my own pleasure.
Hopefully we are going to see some UK bookings for you, are you looking to perform any DJ sets?
I’d be looking to perform DJ sets if I was a better DJ, haha! I’ve been trying and trained myself for a while but I kind of gave up and sold my CDJs a long time ago.
Unfortunately I didn’t get the DJ culture when I was a teenager and I come from a more “instrumental” background with my family. It was only after I was offered some gigs that I started to get involved in DJing.
It’s been quite frustrating to give up this part of the job and I know I probably miss something cool, but now I have no problem saying I’m more a studio person who likes working in the shadows. Maybe in the future, time will tell…
What kind of stuff can we expect to see from Gerwin in the near future?
You can expect more music of the same taste that I did recently with a few collaborations I’m really happy about.
I have two tunes coming on the next Deep Heads compilation and a vinyl release on November including a 170 bpm track I did with female singer LaMeduza with a remix from Break on Dust Audio.
The university is a real time eater but, if I can, I’d like to work on my first album and find a proper home for it.