We talk with Glaswegian techno powerhouse, Gary Beck.
In terms of techno, they don’t come much bigger than this guy. Gary Beck has been a staple name on techno flyers since he first emerged in 2007. He quickly gained huge respect from the scene for his unique take on the music and it wasn’t long before his tunes were being dropped by the techno elites and labels from Drumcode to Cocoon all rushing to sign his tracks.
2012 saw Beck release his first album, Bring A Friend on the infamous Soma. 7 years since and he just hasn’t stopped releasing banging techno and touring across the globe. At the tail end of last year he followed up his debut album with another smasher on his own BEK Audio, Dál Riata, where Beck focused in on the dancefloor.
We had a quick chat with the Scotsman at the beginning of this year to see what’s going down.
How was your NYE, were you anyway good?
I spent New Year’s Eve in Budapest playing with Luke Slater which was great fun.
Got any New Year’s resolutions this year?
The usual cut down on drinking thing but that's fallen apart already!
Yeah, we feel you! What's got you motivated right now?
I'm busy in the studio working on new projects. The Dál Riata album is done now so I'm always looking to get on with the next project. I have a new studio and it's great to spend time in, so that's keeping me motivated!
Feel good to have it all complete and out?
Yes it's nice to have it all completed. It's so much more work when an album is released on your own label. I'm focusing my time now on 10 Years of BEK Audio album which is coming together nicely. I also have a number of EPs in the works which I'm just completing.
What’s the story behind the album title?
I wanted the album to have a Scottish/Celtic feel about it - from the artwork to the music. Dál Riata is an ancient Scottish/Irish kingdom and I loved the name so I had to have it.
It's a heavy listen, was there a theme behind it?
I wanted to have this LP more dancefloor orientated, showcasing what I'm feeling in the clubs right now, although it's quite a varied listen. From 'Bonkers Bus' to 'Absolute Gem’, there's a little something in there for everyone. I was keen to show that I enjoy lots of different styles, and releasing an album allows you to have freedom to do this.
You featured a fair bit of orchestral elements, is that an avenue that you’ve wanted to try for a while?
I love orchestral music. I used to play trumpet in an orchestra so this sound has followed me through ever since. I'm a huge fan of film music and composers such as John Barry and James Horner.
It’s been 6 years since your last full length album, has there been any big changes or realisations between each album that affected your attitude towards producing this album?
Not too much has changed for me. I've gained a lot more musical experience through so much travelling but my vision has always been the same. Both albums are fairly similar in approach except the new one has more tracks suited for the dance floor.
On both your new album and your 2012 Bring A Friend cover, you feature the same dog - who is this canine?
Yes it's my Dad's artwork. He is very talented albeit slightly warped with his imagination! I thought it would be nice to keep the theme consistent. I don't like taking things too seriously so having the dog seemed appropriate.
This year will be a special one as your label, BEK Audio reaches the 10 year milestone - got any special plans up your sleeve to celebrate the labels success?
Yes we will be doing a nice compilation as mentioned, featuring past and present artists. We will also be doing a number of tour dates.
We’ll keep our eyes out of those! Is there a tune from it’s back catalogue that you still can’t get over and still hammer out?
My most popular tracks are the ones I don't like so much! But my track 'Algoreal' is always a joy to play out.
Given your touring diary you have a wealth of experience playing venues across the world; is there anywhere which is close to your heart?
My first visit to Tokyo was unreal, and I've played there maybe 8 times since at venues such as Ageha and Womb. It has a special place in my heart. Everything is beautiful about Japan.
Glasgow has always punched hard in techno with acts like yourself; Slam, Harvey McKay, and Hans Bouffmyhre all smashing the scene - what does the Glasgow techno scene mean to you?
It's a brilliant scene to be part of. So many great artists in such a small place! I can never put my finger on why this is. Maybe it’s the crap weather keeping us indoors with nothing else to do! I’m immensely proud to be a Glaswegian.
Is there a track that you feel sums up the Glasgow scene?
Artmesia - ‘Bits n Pieces’ LOL
How do you feel about the techno scene in general at the moment? Are there any new acts that you’re really digging right now?
It seems strong however it's sad to see so many clubs closing. 5 I counted in the last month that were special to me. In terms of new artists, yes there's some good talent coming through like Ryan Mckay & JX-216.
Was there a party that changed your life?
My first ever party at The Arches in Glasgow. John Digweed and Boy George! It was my first rave and I fucking loved it. It basically set me on my path. After that night I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
If you could play anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?
I've played most places but I would have to say Movement Detroit is still up there on my list.
What are you most in love with right now?
My Son - he’s 2 and simply incredible.
What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in life?
It's an old cliche but 'Never Give Up' has carried me through.
What's changed your life, and how has it changed your life?
Becoming a father has changed my life big time. It's made me grow up!!
If you could fill a swimming pool with anything, what would that be and what would you do with that?
Haha, good question. I would have to say Great White Sharks, so I could throw certain political people in there!!
Gary Beck and his Dál Riata tour stop in London for Familia at Egg LDN on March 16th - Tickets
Sat, 16 March
Line up: Bart Skils, Gary Beck (Dál Riata tour), Fabio Ferro (Extended Set), Uakoz
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