Fabric, the world-renowned London nightclub, features three distinct rooms, all with independent sound systems (one even offers a “body sonic” vibrating dance floor) and has been releasing a monthly DJ compilation since November 2001. The discography rotates monthly between its fabric series and FabricLive series, with each DJ given the artistic freedom to arrange the compilation to his/her own fancy.
Guy Gerber, an Israeli techno DJ and producer, is the most recent addition to the fabric series with his fabric 64 mix. Gerber has made a career of differentiating himself through his evolving sound, once a dark and haunting take on progressive house, and now emanating a house feel that Gerber has referred to as “nostalgic techno.”
I recently caught up with Gerber in the midst of his European tour to discuss the making of fabric 64, which features sixteen entirely new and unreleased tracks – only the fifth mix in the fabric series where the artist’s entire compilation is made up of his own tracks.
What attracted you to making a fabric compilation?
Guy Gerber: Well I have played Fabric many times, I think it is one of the best clubs in the world. I have been an admirer of the Fabric CDs for some time, and so I was really excited to put my stamp on the series and contribute to the Fabric legacy.
What is your favourite fabric series mix?
GG: I love the Tyrant one [fabric 15], with Lee Burridge and Craig Richards. It was era-defining at the time.
fabric 64 feels like one long composition, rising and falling in a linear narrative progression; the song titles seem to mark the shifts in the mood like milestones. What inspired you to write music this way?
GG: There is a story to this mix, and I tried to tell that story with my own songs, so in many ways this is more of an album than mix CD. The composition was made in four parts, as at one point I had so much music and organizing it became impossible. Making four parts, and then piecing them together made it easier to manage.
How do you go about the process of naming your songs?
GG: It was difficult, as I had made so many for this project. I tried to think of what each meant and capture a little bit of that in the title, rather than call it something random. Some were quotes or names that had I have seen over the years that stuck with me, so it was nice to get a chance to use them.
If you were to give the album a title other than fabric 64, what would it be?
GG: The Golden Sun and the Silver Moon. That’s a meditation method that my neighbor taught me just when I moved to L.A. It’s also, to me, an illustration of the journey that i was trying to describe with the music.
Do you feel that’s it’s important to listen to fabric 64 linearly, start to finish?
GG: The album is a continuous mix and it rises and falls, just like a set would. Of course I think that you can listen to the songs individually, but there is an idea behind the whole arrangement that is lost in that case. But I’m sure some DJs will use the songs in their own sets, which is fine, as they work alone.
Do you think that listeners lose the essence of the composition by listening to the album on shuffle?
GG: Yes, of course. This was made to be listened to as one piece and each element that ends a tune also participate in the next one. And these elements are telling a story that ends with “Just Wanna See You Happy.”
Your mix is only the fifth mix in the fabric series where the artist only uses his own material. I did notice that you worked with four different artists on the album, but how did you come to the decision that your fabric mix would be entirely your own production?
GG: I’m not really a traditional DJ at all. When you see me play, I am always playing live. To make a mix CD just felt like I would be trying to be something I’m not. Maybe trying to make all my own songs was a little stressful and difficult, but hopefully I was able to make a unique contribution to the series, and give listeners a little piece of me.
What were your biggest influences and inspirations while you were writing your Fabric mix?
GG: My emotions, I was having a bit of a weird time at that point. At first I thought I maybe was giving too much, but I thought about it more and decided to lay myself on the line, knowing that when it came out, I would be in a different point in my life.
You are known as a producer whose music crosses between many electronic genres: How does your heavy global touring affect your changing sound palette?
GG: I collect sounds wherever I go. It can be noises in the airport, or in the food market. Different places have different harmonies and musical scales, so want it or not, subconciously they subside into me. In Paris, it will be these French accordion notes; and in Hungary I saw this guy by the hotel playing Beethoven with glasses of water. In Argentina, I heard the tango songs, and in Israel you hear Arabic songs on the radio. So it’s all sounds and harmonies that merge into me whether I want it or not.
I’ve read great things about your live set, how do you prepare/organize your set?
GG: I try not to over-prepare, I want to give the crowd something new every time. Also, you never know who plays before you and what mood the club will be in. I think I try to be melodic, and make people think a little about what they are hearing. Some may not like it, but that’s okay, I’m not here to please everyone.
Where/what is your favourite venue to play?
GG: I love Warung [Beach Club] in Brazil, it’s a temple in the middle of the jungle filled with music lovers and the prettiest girls in the world.
Guy Gerber’s ethereal fabric 64 is now available for purchase. And on June 30 you can catch Gerber’s live set in Toronto, where he will be playing the Echo Beach stage at the Digital Dreams Music Festival – the largest electronic dance music festival in Canada.
Safa Jinje lives and writes in Toronto (except when she goes on vacation). Follow her on Twitter at @safajinje.