G-MAN / Gez Varley

Interview by Erkki Rautio / pHinnWeb

14 August 2002 - Gez Varley a.k.a. G-Man was the other half of the legendary LFO duo, who created such classic recordings for Warp Records as 'LFO', until his ways with other member, Mark Bell, parted in the mid-1990s. Since then, G-Man has been recording for Swim~ Records of Colin Newman (of the seminal new wave band Wire fame), has had his own label, G, with Swim~ ('Quo Vardis' 12" for Swim~ is considered a masterpiece of minimal techno), and a new label, GMR, with German Neuton distribution. The Gez Varley's new album, Bayou Paradis is out on Force Inc. Now Gez Varley resides in Germany, where he answered some questions by pHinnWeb...

- So what's now happening in the life of Gez Varley, any news?

Yeah, I'm just working on a new Gez Varley album. It should come out towards the end of the year... with Neuton.

- How did you start to make music?

Got into making music from breakdancing as I wanted to make tracks like electro and stuff, so I got an 808 and started from there... (after a lot of saving up.)

- How would you describe your style of music?

Tech house, minimal techno... shit...

- What kind of equipment you create your music with?

I use whatever I can get my hands on; I've got a Mac G4 with Cubase, E6400 Ultra and things like an Akai S3000 and a LinnDrum (my little baby)... and a Mega Drive (Sega)...

- Are there any role models or influential artists for you?

The Queen is my best role model (not). Anything on Force Tracks is an influence for me and also things like Porter Ricks and SND, MRI, The Jerky boys... and so on.

- Care to say anything about the split of LFO? Your early recordings as a duo were very influential, after all.

LFO was a big part of my life for 7 years, but I wanted to do my own thing. I make less money now, but I have more fun; anyway, Mark Bell has done OK for himself. That's all I wanna say...

- By the way, did you use a Roland System 100 Modular on LFO's Frequencies album?

On the album Frequencies we didn't use a System 100, we used a keyboard called "Jen SX 1000". It was only monophonic and we had two of them (Mark painted his one black, don't ask me why?), so we used to sample one key at a time and then make a chord sound from it... What fun that was (hours and hours)... LOL.

- Who do you think has been the most interesting of all those people you have been collaborating with?

Karl Bartos was the best one I worked with. He had all these old keyboards in his studio from the last 25 years... and he came out and got drunk with us, but Warp never put out the record. Never mind...

- What did that LFO/Karl Bartos (ex-Kraftwerk) collaboration sound like, and why exactly Warp did not want to release it?

The track we did with Karl Bartos was called 'Information'. Karl had started the track already before we came in, so when Warp didn't put it out, Karl took out our parts and he put the track out himself... On one of his solo albums.

Warp didn't want to do it because (I think) it wasn't "pop" enough for them. I mean, at the end of the day Warp is there to make money (like most labels), and Warp had spent a lot of money for us to go to Germany for a few weeks... Never mind, we all make mistakes from time to time. LOL...

- Do you have any other projects going on now except G-Man?

I'm doing my own label GMR with Neuton, so there should be some new stuff out on that. I also do some other projects, but I can't say what they are... (LOL).

- What about your live performances, and any interesting anecdotes about them? What have been the best and worst places to play, for example?

I could write a book on my live performances. Japan was the best place and Canada was the fucking pits. LOL...

- You are now based in Germany as I've understood? How did that move happen, and how does it differ from England as a place to live and work in?

Yes, I've been here for 4 years and I came here for love. It's a lot different here to England (I've only had 3 fights in all that time here... wow). It's great as I don't understand one fucking word that people say to me. LOL... and the beer is the best in the world. LOL...

- You're a mate of Finland's own Jimi Tenor? How did you meet and any interesting Jimi stories?

Yes, Jimi is cool. He's mates with a friend of mine (Russ Hasselwell), so we all went out in London one night and got drunk; he's a great pool player. Never bet against him at pool.

- Your own future plans now?

I'm playing on the Popkomm fest, and right now I'm going to the pub to see a man about a dog... if you know what I mean.... LOL...

- Your favourite question they never ask in interviews?

How many beers can you drink before you fall over? LOL...

Copyright © (for the text) pHinnWeb 2002.

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