A Guy Called Gerald for MN2S Presents ADE 2017 | Features | MN2S

Ahead of his Sugar Factory set for MN2S’s 2017 ADE party, we ask A Guy Called Gerald about ADE, Amsterdam, and the European music scene.

A Guy Called Gerald’s monicker has always been coy. Decades into his career as one of electronic music’s most influential DJs, it might be even more so. Far more than just “a guy”, Gerald Simpson has gifted us with many classic releases, as a solo artist, and as a member of pioneering Acid House group 808 State. Among them, the immortal ‘Voodoo Ray’.

The DJ is closely associated with his native city of Manchester, playing a huge part in the heady Madchester scene of the 1980s, but Gerald has done plenty of travelling in his time. When did he first make a visit to Amsterdam? “It was 1995,” he says, “in my weed smoking days. I remember being really excited about Orange Haze.”

Gerald was in Amsterdam to do more than sample the local delicacies. “We played at the Melkweg,” he tells us. “We came to sow the seeds of Jungle in Europe.” Video footage of the concert is hard to track down, but Simpson provided us with the flyer. As you can see, A Guy Called Gerald headlined a bill with 4 Hero and Dreazz for the very reasonable price of 15 Dutch guilder.

A Guy Called Gerald MN2S

Gerald’s best show in Amsterdam, though, came later. “It was at Trouw — it was an amazing sound system that gives you space to breathe. There’s nothing like it.” This year, Simpson will be taking to the decks at Sugar Factory. “I remember last time I played Sugar Factory was with Perlon, and it was a great vibe. I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s developed.”

Sugar Factory has hosted several of MN2S’s Amsterdam Dance Event parties now. This year’s, which also features Roger Sanchez and Todd Terry, will no doubt go down as one of the most exciting.

There’s a reason MN2S has been throwing parties at ADE for twelve years. There’s something about the city that keeps electronic music fans and musicians coming back for more. Gerald’s take? “It’s casual and open,” he says — but the electronic connection might go deeper. “It was an old city of technology years and years ago, with all the canals. Seems like the spirit of the place comes from that. Who knows?”

When it comes to the European music scene, A Guy Called Gerald has a lot to say. “We’re still in the 90s. The technology has moved on but the music seems to be stuck in vinyl and analog heaven.” Gerald hasn’t lost hope, though. “I’m looking forward to people realising the potential of what the level of technology has opened up. Funktion One get it—I had the pleasure of working with them and performing live surround sound on their system at the Glade at Glastonbury. Sound systems are the future. People need to now put more energy into the sound, and I’m not talking about minimising. The sound systems in the venues—personally, for me—need to be more dynamic. Not louder but more precise—we don’t need to have our eardrums blown. They need to shrug off the old Rock attitude of ‘loud is better’, and the spectacle of the DJ.”

a guy called gerald dj

The solution? Focus on the party. “Shine a light on the dance floor. The importance is the gathering energy of the dance and not the person playing other people’s music, because that is all they’re doing.” Again with the modesty, although in a way he’s right. And bringing the focus back to the clubbers is a surefire way to create truly memorable nights, and keep the dance music scene alive.

For now though, we turn back to the Amsterdam Dance Event. A Guy Called Gerald leaves us with a story from one of his most memorable ADEs of all. “Well, the most memorable was when a mate found himself in a canal and didn’t know how he got there…”

MN2S Presents: Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry and A Guy Called Gerald is at Sugar Factory in Amsterdam on Friday 20th October. Get your ADE festival tickets here.

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