The vibrations of bass-bins have been causing tremble upon tremble throughout the world of music recently. Dubstep is the new grime, when of course grime was the new garage, although garage is again the new dubstep, only this time it’s future garage. More generally speaking though, it seems that Bass is the new house. Or maybe not, as house is the new minimal. Don’t you just hate music journalists?
The point is dubstep has evolved into something that is now all encompassing. Within its many variations now sit techno clubs, house clubs and dance clubs galore (something which we discussed in our interview with Ramadanman earlier in the year). It is no longer a London-centric craze, little appreciated outside of a small scene, it is now, with it’s funky, 2-step, garage and house varieties taking over and looks like it’s here to stay.
George FitzGerald releases on Scuba’s Hotflush imprint. He makes the kind of hybrid, post-Burial music that is leading the world of bass. This is something that raises the question as to the extent of the impact Burial has had on underground UK music. Without question Burial’s first two albums captivated the ears of so many young people who are now involved in production. The emotion, the sound-scape of a city and the feeling and depth of a city’s most loved club; Plastic People.
But that is a whole other article. FitzGerald’s music sits nicely between dubstep, garage, hip-hop and house. He lives in London, he runs with the infamous Man Make Music party crew and apparently, sees dubstep through a Berlin lens, which makes for some interesting music.
Can we start by you telling us your name, age and the city you live?
Hi, I’m George FitzGerald (no surprises there), 25 years old and from London.
Where did the musical journey begin ?
Like so many other people, going to FWD>> at Plastic People for the first time in 2005 really changed things for me. Equally important was also the fact that I moved to Berlin that year as part of my university course. In a way, I experienced dubstep largely through the lens of the Berlin scene, buying my records at Hard Wax and going to nights like Freakcamp and Bass The World. That really gave me a sense of perspective on what people outside the UK saw to be special in dubstep and how it connected with other genres like house and techno. I’d like to think you can hear those connections in my music.
You recently had a release on Scuba’s Hotflush label, one of the foremost labels in the scene, can you tell us how that came about?
Pestering Scuba on MySpace! No seriously, I had been sending him stuff for 6 months or so and it just kind of happened naturally. Hotflush had been my favorite label for a long time, so Paul was one of the first people I sent my tracks to. I guess I just got lucky.
What were you doing before this release, other than making music?
After leaving university, I worked briefly as a translator in Munich. I then worked a pretty boring city job for a year before going back to studying. I don’t regret that time though – working pretty undemanding jobs gave me a lot of time to focus on my music.
You are involved with the Man Make Music crew in London. Can you tell us a little about your involvement with them?
We’re really just a group of friends who used to DJ and put on nights together at university. When we all came back to London we just wanted to carry on doing the same things – organizing parties, DJ’ing and producing. I’m pretty useless as a promoter so I stick to the DJ’ing and producing! Future plans include bigger warehouse raves, a label and mixcloud.com (founded by one of the guys from MMM) becoming the biggest web start-up since Google – watch this space!
Where did your entry into music begin?
Running around North London as a kid looking for record stores which sold garage vinyl and playing on kitchen tables at rubbish house parties was where it all began for me. I got my first set of decks at about 14, copying my brother who was really into drum and bass at the time. Production really came much later whilst I was at university. It sounds silly but I just got fed up with only playing other people’s songs.
Where would you say your biggest musical inspirations come from?
I find I’m always drawn to artists of any genre who can create a kind of ‘heads-down’ euphoria in their music (if that makes sense). Not the kind of wild, chemical euphoria that you find in tacky trance records for example, but the more genuine emotional intensity you get in records by people like Burial, Shed or Four Tet. By contrast, I also listen to a lot of early garage and (strangely) even some bubblegum RnB. With the garage, there’s a simplicity and playfulness to tracks by Tuff Jam or Steve Gurley, for example, which I find really attractive. As far as the RnB is concerned it’s more about fetishising the flawless production than the inherent musical value of the tracks. The nerd in me can excuse how cheesy the music is sometimes…
Your release on Hotflush seems to be part of a new ‘future garage’ sound which is taking the world by storm. Do you think this will be another flash in the pan genre?
Not really. I don’t know where the term has come from, but to be honest, all ‘future garage’ seems to be is a set of producers, mainly from London, who were/are into Dubstep but are embracing a different set of influences now – House, Techno, IDM, 2-step or whatever. The descent of one half of the Dubstep scene into the wobble-step tear-up stuff that we have today was sad in a way, but I think it has unleashed a lot of creativity amongst other people in response. I think it’s a pretty exciting time to be a producer in London – people are bending and fusing genres in a way that seems to constantly defy any adequate form of labeling. As long as that continues I’m not overly worried about reductive descriptions like ‘future garage’ – people always need names for things.
The sound resonates from London; Berlin has techno, Paris has electro and London has this ever developing underground, dark soulful sound. Where do you think it will go next?
The beauty of it is that you never really know. London doesn’t really seem to have a fixed scene like Berlin, for example. Things change and mutate way too fast, which can be frustrating and invigorating at the same time. In the immediate future, I’d love to see more of people fusing UK Funky with a grittier techno aesthetic. So far I can only think of Altered Natives or maybe at a squeeze Actress coming close, and their recent work totally blew me away.
Who are you listening to at the moment in terms of new music?
Anything by Shed – the man is brilliant and his new album is really quite beautiful. Ramadanman is absolutely killing it right now too – all of his recent releases have been amazing.
What are your plans for the future?
As far as music is concerned I just want to keep evolving my sound and improving my production skills. Each time I sit down to make a beat I feel I’m getting better and that makes me positive about the future. I’d love to do an album at some point but I want to get some more releases behind me before I start thinking about something as big as that. On the non-music front, I still toy with the idea of moving back to Berlin for a while. I love that city and still have a lot of friends there. On the other hand, I kind of think I may have missed the boat on that one – it’s a bit of a cliché now isn’t it!?