Latest after the release of his track ‘Child’ the name George FitzGerald should ring bells in everybody’s mind and bring up associations with soulful and melodic house. Having played the Boiler Room and the notorious Berghain already, this Englishman is sure here to continue to deliver.
In collaboration with The Rainbow and Face, one of the most exclusive club nights in Birmingham and where FitzGerald himself will be playing this Saturday, we organized this interview. Have a read yourself now about what he is up to next and his opinion on UK house.
You are a bit of a late starter, didn’t enjoy a musical education, how does that influence you, differ to other producers, different way of producing?
“I actually did have some classical training when I was younger, so I have an understanding of harmony and chord progression, but I’ve deliberately avoided building on that knowledge though as I feel too much of it can, conversely, strain your creativity. This is a generalization of course, but highly-skilled classical musicians have a tendency to over-elaborate when they turn to electronic music. Dance music, especially, is melodically very simple.”
The UK is home to numerous talented and in particular innovative and refreshing artists the last couple of years. What do you think about this development and what are the reasons that the UK is the breathing place for all those talented youngsters?
“I think it has a lot to do with the nature of the musical landscape in the UK and, more specifically, London. The UK has often been a breeding ground for new forms of underground music because there is such an emphasis on being new and different. Trends come and go very quickly. In other places, such as Amsterdam or Berlin, I feel there is more of a fixation with taking established forms and perfecting them, so the developments in music there are more incremental and happen over longer periods of time. Neither is a better way of doing things. For me, it’s nice to dip in and out of both of those musical cultures.”
The UK house sound is quite popular at the moment, what specific elements should a proper track contain and how do you distinguish yourself within this genre?
“I suppose the UK sound, if such a thing exists, has been refreshing for some listeners because it has a more irreverent approach to the music. So many house tracks still get made which are 1:1 remakes of what people were doing in the US twenty-odd years ago. That purist approach to the music is nice up to a certain point but also quite stifling creatively. I suppose what marks the good UK producers in this new wave out from the rest is their ability to sound new without sounding like a novelty act. Not everyone manages it to be honest.”
You played on several Boiler room gigs. Might sound a bit random, but how does it differ to play boiler room to a normal gig?
“Completely. You’re playing to the listeners behind the camera, not the 50 people in the room. That’s very liberating.”
How’s your label Man Make Music developing? Any interesting stuff coming up?
“The label is in a really cool place now. It’s amazing to be planning second and third releases with some artists like U, Trikk and Laszlo Dancehall, whilst also bringing in new guys like Shenoda and Erosion Flow. Each release does better than the last, which is very exciting.”
Can you tell us more about your latest signing; Erosion Flow and why you’ve selected this Danish producer to release on your imprint?
“Well firstly he’s a very young guy, which is surprising given how mature his sound is. I get sent a lot of retro-sounding material by kids who’ve listened to the entire history of house and techno on YouTube, but there’s always something missing. I think it’s usually just not having experienced enough of the music in a club context. Erosion Flow’s music is so on-point though, its way beyond his years. I think people will really love his first release.”
How is the album writing going for you?
“It’s a new experience for me, but I’m trying to prevent the album just being a collection of 10-12 dance tracks which I could release on 12″s. There’s no point in that. As a result, I’m being very selective about what goes on and what doesn’t. It’s great to have a label like Domino behind me, who understand not to rush the process. I hope people will be able to hear how much effort has gone into it when it’s finally out.”
Somebody who always gives great advice and people should listen to more often?
What is the best treatment you ever got on a gig?
“Would have to be Lux in Lisbon or Trouw in Amsterdam. Both places look after you from beginning to end in a really relaxed yet conscientious way. Everything, from the food to the sound system, is amazing. I’ve never felt more comfortable performing than at those two clubs.”
Any new kids on the block originating for the UK we definitely should watch out for?
“Well obviously I’m biased here, but I think both Fold and Love & Mercy from Man Make Music are ones to watch. They’re good friends of mine, and it’s exciting to see them now making such good music. Look out for new stuff from them next year.”
Since FACE’s conception in 2009, the revered event has been The Rainbow venues flagship night, welcoming the créme de la créme of electronic music through its doors every Saturday. Starting off as a relatively modest party in the now legendary courtyard, FACE’s popularity has seen it take over the cellar and warehouse of The Rainbow for some of the most prolific events in the Midlands. However keeping their feet firmly on the ground, FACE is committed to keeping their parties small and intimate with more-often-than-not just a 300 capacity crowd making the atmosphere extra special. DJ dons such as Derrick Carter, Jamie Jones, Kerri Chandler and Claude Von Stroke, have all graced the decks to play out some of the finest house music sets in the UK. With very few events offering world-renowned DJ’s in such a personal and friendly setting, FACE is not just the go-to underground night in Birmingham but the UK.