If you heard the huge Can You Feel It? EP on Illusion Recordings earlier this year, you could be mistaken for thinking that producer NY Stomp was a one – very impressive – trick pony. In fact, the US house inspired moniker is just one of many attributed to eclectic Dutch musician Gerd. A prominent player on the Dutch house scene in the early 90s, he soon switched things up completely, turning his hand to what came to be known as broken beat and downtempo hip hop. Always restless in his approach to music, MEOKO caught up with Gerd ahead of his headline performance, as NY Stomp, at the One Illusion collaboration event in London this weekend.
Hi Gerd, thanks for your time. You’re headlining the One Illusion party in London’s East End on the 13th October as NY Stomp. How does a NY Stomp set differ to a Gerd set?
Gerd is a little bit more versatile in sound. As Gerd I play house, disco, techno and even afro if the night allows it. NY Stomp is more focussed on house.
The Can You Feel It? EP really put Illusion Recordings on the map. How did this partnership first come about?
A friend of mine from NYC posted some of the tracks on soundcloud which were then picked up by Tom & James from Illusion.
Given the title of that EP, I take it you are big fan of 90s US house. Why do you think artists like yourself, Bicep and the MLIU guys in Paris are so heavily pushing this sound again?
Again? For me the early 90s sound from NYC never disappeared. I always played MAW, Todd Terry or a Roger Sanchez record and always will.
Have you had any feedback from the US guys that are still about on the scene? Do they feel what you’re doing is respectful of their legacy?
Yes I’ve known quite a few of the US pioneers for a long time. The ones I know respect me for what I do and love the vibe I give my house tracks. I am sure there are also producers who do not like what I do. That always was and always will be the case in this and any other industry and that’s totally fine by me.
You’re a very eclectic producer, something people might not know about you. You’ve released everything from tough techno to breaks and drum and bass. Why the eclecticism? Were you just experimenting to find your sound?
I started making house music in 1988 when I still was in high-school. At that point I had been buying and spinning the early house sounds coming from Chicago (and later on NYC, Detroit) for quite a while. House is my first love when it comes to music. But after a couple of years you go digging a little deeper and explore other genres. The same with producing. In the mid/late 90s I got bored with house & techno music and I started exploring breaks. My first album as Gerd appeared on Universal Language/Evolution in the mid-90s and it contained only broken beats long before broken beat as a genre was born. From breaks I went into loungy stuff and from there on I started doing (acoustic) jazz, hip hop and soul and I got more and more involved in producing music for commercials, movies, television and theatre. In the mean time I still produced house music. But it was more for the fun of it. I only released a couple of house records in the period from 2000-2009 (all under various monikers). But in 2010 I wanted to focus on house music more and more again, simply because my love for house lit up again and I guess I got a little bored with the other stuff. And now, 2 years later, here we are.
Now that you’ve achieved a reputable level of success making house as Gerd and NY Stomp, do you think you will stay on this path for a while? Essentially, are you enjoying making and playing house?
I don’t know. I had considerable success with House music early 90s as well. I was one of the first to perform house music live on stage. I travelled and played all over the place. Everything comes and goes. For now I am enjoying playing and producing house a lot. I think you can see that when I’m playing out in a club and I think you can hear the joy and fun in my productions too. But just like in the 90s, I am likely to lose interest and move in other directions at some point again. I still make downtempo music nowadays and I still produce music for commercials, movies and television so, it’s not that I only do house right now. For now I love what I am doing and the question how long this will last is not really on my mind.
Your label 4Lux is equally eclectic, with very little house or techno on it all. Was this always the intention of the label, to set it apart from all the thousands of others? Will the label be keeping this policy in the future?
Yes I started 4lux in 2002 a period in which I focussed on other sounds. I released some house music but the main focus was breaks & broken beat. With 4lux White I focussed on hip hop, electronic soul and stuff like that and this sub-division is still going strong (however mainly on the digital front). With 4lux (Black) I totally focus on house music at the moment. I try to discover new talent rather than ask popular producers to produce something for me. I don’t know why but it is a little bit more exciting for me. 4lux was the first to introduce music from Kez YM, Alex Agore, James Johnston to a wider public. I will try keeping to do so in the future. The release schedule looks really good!
At the Tsuba party back in February you were playing live as Gerd. Will we see a comeback? Do you just much prefer DJing?
I used to play live as Gerd a lot in the past. I still receive requests for live shows but I think 75% of the club things I do are DJ sets.
Having had such a varied career, spanning so many different genres, is there anything else you really want to achieve as an artist?
I recorded a dozen or so albums in the past (3 of them were released under my Gerd moniker) and I executive-produced even more albums for other artists. But having said this, my main goal now indeed is to finish my 4th studio album as Gerd. I started working on it already and the album will feature some nice and interesting guests. I hope to finish it early 2013.
Words by Carlos Hawthorn
Catch NY Stomp aka Gerd next at One Illusion London at Victorian Vaults alongside Bloody Mary, Adam Shelton, Tom Craven and more.