Accessible London house act combine beats and an intelligent approach to building their business in an effort to take over the world of chart dance, and flit into the underground, too.
In a world where some of music’s biggest artists are commercialising their work in – from a fan’s perspective, at least – all the wrong ways, it’s refreshing to see more of an ethos-driven, hard-working and multi-faceted approach to slipping seamlessly into the big time.
London house music duo Gorgon City are not quite a household name yet, and a far cry from the growing world of high-cost VIP meet and greets or ticket sales linked in with buying a small heap of merchandise. In their world, though, they’re edging close to the summit, and the story of their rise is about far more than 2014 hit single ‘Ready For Your Love’.
The duos sound is always beat-driven, taking much of its inspiration from the deep house and garage scenes, but adds chart colour with a series of special guest vocalists. In the past, their tracks have incorporated anyone from MNET to Klaxons, Wyclef Jean to Jennifer Hudson.
Performing both live and as DJs, and perhaps most importantly as part of a heavily franchised, multinational radio show, the pair have developed their music in a series of directions, also splitting their sound into what they see as their chart-ready, accessible angle and a more underground, edgy buzz that comes out in DJ sets and in their popular, franchised radio show.
“The radio show still feels new,” Kye ‘Foamo’ Gibbon tells us ahead of their return to Dublin club District 8. “It’s been exciting to have a radio show in a lot of countries where we’ve never actually played. It’s led to a lot of new bookings coming from places like South America, Asia and Eastern Europe.”
“It’s also a really cool project,” he continues. “It really keeps us on top of new music, and helps us work towards the development of our own label. We hope to be releasing stuff from other people before too long, and we’re keeping a close eye on quite a few up and coming producers.”
“The radio, the club night, they all contribute towards the brand,” Gibbon explains. “That’s building towards Kingdom, which is now both a brand and an album; it’s become part of our identity as a band as well as being a record, as linked in with the radio show as well.” The album version of Kingdom, in fact, has been on the horizon for quite some time, but it is now just around the corner.
“It’ll be out this year, probably late summer,” Gibbon tells us. “It’s almost a ‘best of’ compilation with some new bits, and it’s more song-based, like our first album. We’ll also be putting out more underground and club-friendly bits separately.”
Those two different identities shine through in the way the duo perform, too, and even feature in the touring style, which will see them DJ on one tour and head out live on the next. “It is very different,” Gibbon admits. “We do the live shows more in festival season, stuff like that. They are full-on live shows, with lots of instrumentation on stage, and we bring two different vocalists to perform the various different special guest slots.”
“That’s a difficult job, given there are so many different vocal styles on our tracks, but they do it really well. But the DJ sets (such as the one planned for Dublin) are far more underground than the live shows, and a good chance to present a load of the music we haven’t released.”
Dance music is currently in an interesting place generally, as Gibbon is not afraid to admit. The progressive closing of clubs in London is mirrored in Dublin. While our capital has never been a particularly outstanding clubbing heartland, for reasons varying from restrictive licensing laws to the dominance of competing pubs, gentrification around nightlife venues is a growing factor in our scene and London’s.
“It seems like it’s dying all over the country,” Gibbon says of UK clubbing. “We love Printworks [a new 6000 capacity London super-club], but too many clubs are turning into things like luxury apartments. A lot of places have closed over the last few years and that’s a real shame.”
As for the band’s future? “We’ll keep moving between the mainstream and the underground,” Gibbon says. “We’ll be back in Amnesia [Ibiza] this summer for another residence, and looking to release a load of different stuff, ours and other people’s. We’re in America, then around Europe in the next couple of months, and wé’re just back from Australia. It’s non-stop.”
Gorgon City play District 8 on Friday, March 28, with album ‘Kingdom’ due in the summer. You can listen to their regular radio slot at gorgoncity.com.
This article is part of my weekly music column for the Dublin Gazette, reproduced here with permission. Note: this column is published in the Dublin Gazette several days ahead of on this website. The Gazette is a freesheet paper available across Dublin, published on a Thursday. Pick up copies at these locations.