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Going Live, An Interview With Gorgon City's Kye Gibbon

By Robert Martin in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 17, 2015 7:10PM

Gorgon City, photo via their Facebook page

The United Kingdom has established itself as an international epicenter in house music's ascension over the past five years and North London duo Gorgon City is its latest export. Matt "RackNRuin" Robson-Scott and Kye "Foamo" Gibbon abandoned their solo careers to join forces in 2012. The result is a blend of UK garage unseen since the rise of the Disclosure brothers. Now, the duo has taken taken their act beyond the decks and into a live spectrum.

We got a chance to chat with Gibbon about Gorgon City’s new tour just hours after opening night in Dublin, and ahead of the group's Chicago date Wednesday.

CHICAGOIST: You opened the live tour last night in Dublin, how was the show?

KYE GIBBON: It was the first show in and it just went down really great. It’s our second live tour in the UK now so the band’s all ready and there’s a lot of energy on stage, it’s great.

C: Seven of your UK shows on this tour sold out. How does that feel only three years after forming the project?

KG: We had no idea how far it would go, you know? We never thought it’d be a live band. The fact that we’re doing it and selling out the shows is an amazing feeling. Before we started Gorgon City we were just DJs/producers and with DJing it’s just playing tracks for the crowd.

When you’re doing it live, every movement you make is making a sound and you’ve got a live drummer and vocalists and everything. It’s so much more than what we’re used to, it’s a big challenge for us but I’m so glad that we made that stab. There’s a lot more you can do with it, you can be spontaneous and it’s a different experience.

C: Playing your live show do you feel that you’re getting a different sound each night of the tour compared to when you’re DJing?

KG: That’s what we want to do. We don’t want to just play the tracks how they are on the album. We might as well just be DJing if we did that. Having our drummer Tug, he’s sort of always improvising and when we play we can jam out and try new things each night, especially now since it’s our second tour. We’re quite comfortable playing the tracks and can sort of experiment a bit more.

C: What did you try last night?

KG: We do a cover of some old garage tracks. That went off sort of amazingly last night. It’ll be interesting to do that in America, because obviously UK garage is such a British thing, it’ll be interesting to see how American crowds react to that one. Also we have a drum ‘n bass section as well, which we see as kind of a UK sound, we’re looking forward to seeing how Americans will react to that as well.

C: Your tour is coming stateside. is there anything you’re looking forward to most on this trip?

KG: We love playing in America and it seems like we’re coming to America more and more. Last year we were out there a lot and we’ve got the live band this year. New York will be the first time we’ve [played in the States] as a live band.

C: The show at Concord Music Hall [Feb. 18] is billed a live set. What all does that entail and what extra equipment is coming with you?

KG: We have the drummer and that is sort of a mixture of electronic and acoustic drums. The main drums are made electronically, but if we add acoustic drums as well it gives it a bit more. Me and Matt have pads we can play the bassline from and a lot of midi controllers for playing keys and [other instruments] live. It’s a fun new element for the show. We also have a few vocalists like Lulu James and Josh Barry.

C: Chicago is a city that’s very serious about house music. You said in another interview that crowds vary so much from city to city, what does it feel like here?

KG: We’ve played Chicago once with Annie Mac and Green Velvet and we found that the crowd was very into techno and house. The city’s got so much history that it’s sort of a privilege to play there. The crowd, you can tell it’s like in their DNA, house and techno. It’s a great feeling to play there and we’re interested to see how it goes live.

C: How do you feel about the state of electronic music right now? How have things changed since when you first started the project three years ago?

KG:It’s been interesting seeing over the last two and half years how big it has gotten in the UK. It’s sort of taken over. You look at the top 20 on iTunes or the official charts and so much of it is house music. It’s sort of crazy to see but at the same time you don’t want to be seen as just another “house act,” you want to do something different. It’s definitely good to see this kind of music get so big in the UK, and we’re getting more and more into a soulful sound. EDM is cool as well, but you’ve also gotta have soul.

C: What’s next after this tour? Any festival plans for the summer?

KG: We did SXSW last year and there’s a great vibe there, we’re really looking forward to that. We’re also doing a few other festivals over the summer and yeah I think we’re going to be doing more DJ sets and hopefully later on in the year another live tour.

C: Any chance we’ll be seeing you in Chicago this summer?

KG: Yeah hopefully. I think there’s definitely some stuff in the books that hasn’t been confirmed yet, but yeah we love playing in Chicago and definitely want to come back in the summer.

C: What’s your favorite record of 2015 so far?

KG: There’s a new Paul Woolford track we’ve been playing out a lot. It’s actually called "MDMA", but we’re big fans of Paul Woolford. We’re loving that at the moment. Other than that we haven’t had that much time to check out new albums, but it’s cool to check SoundCloud and see what new talent there is out there. We are planning on starting up a label this year as well to showcase new artists.

That’s definitely something that we are getting more and more into. I think when we first started our careers separately, we owed a lot to established artists checking their inboxes and it’s cool to pay some of that back to other new artists.

Gorgon City plays with Roy Davis Jr. 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, at Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave. $20, 18+