Interview: Larry Gus

by Katherine

Up-and-coming electronica musician Larry Gus has just released an excellent new album ‘Stitches’ on hip-hop label Cast-a-Blast – combining stark, hip-hop beats with woozy, lush, experimental textures, Larry Gus is definitely an artist to keep an eye on for 2010!
Check out his myspace here: Larry Gus

-Your album ‘Stitches’ is avaible now on hip-hop label Cast-a-Blast. How would you describe it’s sound?

Donuts meets Odessey and Oracle meets Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories, in a retarded library-music record fashion!

-You have a fairly DIY approach to music. How did you go about making ‘Stitches’?

Spending happy summers in my small greek hometown Veria, playing some drums in the garage (what a cliché!), rummaging through my parents records and stumbling upon cool accidents while i was working out how my sampler operates. Lucio Battisti was a huge influence throughout, not only sampling-wise but also regarding the whole approach to my material and the aesthetic decisions that emerged.

-You were a member of hardcore duo Ginger, but your solo style is slightly mellower. How has being in Ginger affected your music?

Back then we were seriously obsessed with japanese hardcore bands like the ruins and early boredoms and at the same time, we both adored Prince and really old school hiphop. Our shows were pretty fucked up, 13 songs in 20 minutes and such. I guess this very hardcore punkish ethic chanelled itself to my following work, along with Moondog’s early work.

-You also write jingles for TV adverts. How has this affected your music?

The coolest thing about working for tv ads is that you have to be creative on demand, and usually in a really stressed enviroment, while you try to translate the abstract meanings of the brief into 10 seconds of music. It really gets you going, and helps you to get past the blank paper syndrome (and i am not talking about constipation, hehe) Apart from that, you get the chance to work with talented directors ( which is always a good thing.

-What artists have influenced your music?

This very picture is to blame for my whole approach towards music production. All it takes is a sampler and a turntable.

I am also heavily influenced by music journalism in general, and i really like reading long detailed reviews of albums. Most of the times i find these reviews much better than the actual albums! It is really amazing how someone, somewhere listened to some elements in someone’s songs that you couldn’t even think of in any other case. Music is just a matter of perception, and I feel quite blessed that i live in times where i can get a glimpse of how other people perceive music and are affected by the whole procedure. Well, that’s beautiful, in a quite peculiar way.

Apart from that, i have a huge (like really huge) obsession with Brian Eno’s music and writings. In fact, I learned from him the way to stop worrying about my lack of skills, and that creativity itself is way more vague, than something you can boast about.

-What’s the local music scene like in Barcelona?

Cristian Subire, member of Coconot and currently Summer Recreation Camp (imagine Tears for Fears, Enya, Kluster and Fugazi) performs lots, either solo or as Narwhal (paired with hugely influential beatmaker Jahbitat, of Dublab fame), or with another great outfit, Espanya. Here in Barcelona there are lots of “underground” venues, great weather, bad drinks and unfortunately lots of smoke. Another band to check out: LES AUS. Guitar and drums duo, a cross between The Doors, Durutti Column, Arthur Russel, Alice Coltrane and Detroit Techno. They blew my mind, not even once but twice.

some links :

– According to your record label website, you’ve played alongside !!! – what was that like?

Yes, they were also part of Synch Festival, which is something like the Greek Sonar (well sort of, hehe) (! It was the tour right after Myth Takes. Well, I can fondly remember the sadly missed drummer, Jerry Fuchs being so amazing and energetic. Really, i couldn’t take my eyes off him during the concert. I was shocked when I read about his death.

-And finally, what’s your favourite album of the decade?

It has to be Madvillainy. I dont think i have played an album more than that in the last 10 years. Its like a whole world in there, full of references, clever beats and the most beautiful absurd lyrics (amazing one line: she drinks drain-o but she winks rainbows.). It can even stand next to Since I Left You by The Avalanches when it comes to creative sampling. It is a primitive and complex album. You can dance to it, you can sleep to it. I don’t think I have enough words to express my admiration for this album.

So, if I could pick 3 albums for the decade, the other two would be Since I Left You and Sufjan Steven’s Illinois, which is a contemporary songwriting masterpiece, and I think that Sufjan is the most talented man alive. And the most beautiful too.

– Thanks for the interview, and I wholeheartedly agree about Sufjan!