Interview: 5 minutes with Gary Beck

Glasgow born producer and DJ, Gary Beck; an integral part of the electronic/techno community, has been releasing music since 2005, and making his unique mark wherever the wind may whistle. Being apart of outputs such as Drumcode, Cocoon as well as his own imprint BEK Audio, Beck has gained considerable exposure through BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, Boiler Room session, as well as numerous collaborations with artists such as Green Velvet, Mark Broom and Speedy J. After putting out countless EPs, collaborations and remixes, Beck’s groundbreaking debut full length album Bring a Friend was released in 2012 via Soma Records and garnered much attention from the electronic scene.

We spoke with Gary Beck on sampling and some of his gear favourites:

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Being creative is what I enjoy the most. So working in the Arts sector enables me to do this and live out my passion.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

It’s 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!

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I’ve collaborated with many excellent artist from all genres. One track in particular is ‘Get Together’ which features the amazing vocals of Debra Debs. I’ve also collaborated with great Techno artists such as Green Velvet, Mr G and Speedy J to name a few.

What’s on your current playlist?

Mount Kimbie – Love what Survives

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

It’s always important to engage with the audience. Sometimes I take it too far with my silly dancing but I don’t really care, as long as they enjoy it.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I feel lots of the music is far too clean nowadays, so I enjoy sampling little bits from really old records from the 50’s/60’s. The music has a lovely texture about it which is hard to recreate nowadays. It helps give the track that extra little bit of Soul.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

After about a million cups of tea, I sit down and just start playing with sounds. I usually stay in the studio from 9-5. I like to keep away from social media in the studio as it can be too much of an annoying distraction.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Yes. Aged 17 in the Arches, Glasgow. It was my first time clubbing and I fell in love with it. The following week I heard Richie Hawtin and my mind was made up.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

A Beer!

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Alias from Glasgow are making some really cool stuff right now.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

It can happen any time! Sometimes I’m standing brushing my teeth and I get some great ideas. Other times can be listening to some other music. It all depends really.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I like to use hardware in my studio. Some of my favourite instruments are my Roland RS-50, MicroKorg, my old Korg ER-1 and my Roland FA-06. I still use and old Behringer mixing desk which I keep meaning to change.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Yes, I can’t say much else unfortunately!

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I tried to learn as much as I could from other producers. I was given some great advice along the way which really helped define my sound. I learned a lot from DJ-ing week in week out. I would come home from every gig and write down what I could have done better. I’m still learning every day.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

Lots more releases to come on my label BEK Audio. We are on number 30 now so it’s going to be a big one!

Catch Gary Beck performing live on September 30th, at The Playground’s 10 Years / 10 Acts / 10 Hours Event, at The Steelyard, 13-16 Allhallows Lane, London.

For more information follow Gary Beck on Facebook