you can always rely on ramp’s younger upstart, fourth wave, to serve up the sounds of tomorrow. for the last year or so, young gerry read has been flying the flag for outsider house with his hugely idiosyncratic eps, mad one-sided 12s and, most recently, dope debut album. what’s more, heading into 2013, it seems he’s also on the ball when it comes to the best of the rest. says fourth wave boss tom kerridge on his latest new signing ∆ ∆ (pronounced delta delta; born dimitris dimas): “i’d heard his stuff a few months previous. gerry and i were both aware of him for a while, and were fans. one day gerry posted ‘let in morning light’ on facebook (which went on to be track 6). when i heard it i contacted him and signed him for the skyway ep”.
and with that we have one of the most refreshing house(ish) eps of recent months due to land on february 11th. made up of six tracks, you can hear ‘you’ below: it’s raw and unpolished in the way the different elements are layered together. built on a delicious and delicately swung bottom end, rave-y stabs are laid over the top and at unexpected intervals a euphoric female voice bursts through the mix to take you immediately higher.after the drop at the two and half minute mark, booming subs ground the percussive skip in some nice earthy dirt as the hiccuping claps and ticking hits stay firmly in the house sphere and that vocal tries increasingly to have you believe you’re listening to an old garage cut. but don’t worry, you ain’t.
woody and organic, it’s not the man’s first release following more psych-pop efforts in the past, but will likely be his bigest to date. before he gets all famous, then, i fired him some questions over email…
you hail from athens, right? how did you first get into listening to electronic music, is there a scene there or was it more an internet thing or?
if i recall correctly, my first official contact with electronic music was at the age of 12. it must have been the summer of ’98, i had just gotten my first drum kit as a birthday gift, the movie π was released, introducing my unsuspecting ears to aphex twin and autechre and also lara lee’s documentary “modulations” helped gain an overall perspective on things. i was lucky enough to have an older brother involved with music and i was always the youngest amongst my friends, so i owe a lot to them for introducing me to new things.
what sorts of music have you grown up around, been listening to and influenced by, what made you decide to start producing? how long have you been doing it?
growing up, my brother and i would listen to hip-hop and hardcore punk. i ended playing drums in quite a few bands and i started working on my own music when i had ideas that superseded my role as a drummer. it wasn’t until 4-5 years ago when the whole thing began to take shape and i gradually became more concentrated on what i wanted to do.
your new fourth wave sounds sample heavy, roughshod, is that fair? is that the aim or is it a result of the kit you use? the pr said you use an mpc, is that right?
i think that’s accurate, although i do not use an mpc, as much as i’d like to. most of my work is done on ableton live with a couple of controllers and pretty much anything that might sound interesting, samples from records, field recordings, anything can work. composing is all about decision making and choice, so there is definitely and underlining theme throughout the record, a certain mood i was going for and i think it was achieved using these ingredients.
nowadays there are so many options and so many different directions you can go to, it’s much more rewarding to set certain limits and try to come up with something new within them.
does your environment and surroundings affect the music you make or is it more an internal thing where it comes from?
i’d say both, it’s certainly the interaction between these two worlds that sparks the initial flame. i wouldn’t want to go into further details, as there are certain things i’d like to keep for myself.
i mean there are some quite poppy samples on your soundcloud tracks. do you listen to pop? is any of that grecian influence or?
quality pop music is one of the hardest things to do. when i was a kid i thought all pop music was shit, i’d go straight for the weirdest, most obscure stuff i could lay my hands on to. growing up i realised how hard it is to actually make something simple and beautiful, regardless if it was something by say wire or rodney jerkins.
and how did you hook up with fourth wave, you been sending demos out or, did you think your sounds would work on that label specifically?
it was quite effortless, it almost happened overnight! i sent them some songs, they liked them, asked for some more and we had a record. honestly, the whole thing was done in a couple of emails. they were aware of my music through gerry as far as i know, but yeah, we hit it off right from the get go. it’s safe to say i found a good home, i’m very comfortable to pursue my ideas and contribute to an already incredible output of quality music.
the profile pic on your soundcloud is kinda psychedelic, trippy, a bit fucked up in the texture – are those aesthetics you like and aim for in your music?
i’m not gonna spill everything out for you. i present my music the way i learned to love it and the mystery is an integral part of that.
are you working or studying at the same time? on what? is it a goal to do music full time?
i don’t think about music that way. it’s something i do in my regular course of the day and i wouldn’t want to change that. i am aware of the sacrifices and compromises one has to make in order to live off music and i don’t plan to make those.
do you play live or dj at all? does one of your sets relate to the music you make at all or are they different things?
my live sets are quite different from when i dj. whenever i’m asked to play, i think of the surroundings and the people first, i have a plan in mind to create a certain atmosphere or mood that fits with the whole of the night. you have to know what works and where and that’s something you learn with time. i think of the overall experience of the listener and i’ve actually turned down quite a few gigs where i believed that me being there was unnecessary.
what else you got coming up/are you looking forward to?
i’m currently putting the finishing touches to my first album, the working title is “rejoice” and it’s safe to say i’m taking my time with it. i finished the skyway ep last june and since then i’ve been working on that album and enough time has gone by to wrap my head around a concept. aside from that, i’m looking forward to playing my first gigs outside greece, it’s an exciting time.
what do you like to do away from music?