After close associations with one of the UK’s most press worthy producers thrust his name into the collective consciousness, London based George FitzGerald (note the capital G in his surname) has released two singles on Scuba’s Hotflush imprint. After initially being toted for releases on Joy Orbison’s Doldrums imprint FitzGerald’s deprecatingly titled ‘The Let Down’ introduced listeners into his production world, a world politely populated with vocal chops and classic groves produced with a knowing nod to the UK underground.
And whilst the above description is slowly becoming more and more of a journalist cliché, referring to tracks like ‘Dont You!?,’ ‘Painted Jezebel’ – released on the Brownswood Electr*c compilation – and ‘Weakness’ it’s evident in the deployment of consistent basslines that test the stomach. His top lines and burrowing synth work might suggest a maturity in terms of melody as well as an obvious and clear passion for vocal samples, but it’s the ground work in the bass and drums that infers a maturity in terms of sound or a lot of time spent experiencing music first hand in clubs.
With the release of the ‘Back & 4th’ compilation – and of his track on it, ‘We Bilateral’ – on Hotflush and a gig this Saturday alongside Scuba and Skudge and London’s clubbing institution fabric, he made good on a promise made hastily one night upon his exit from a Dalston warehouse, delivering us our 77th Sonic Router mix – the second offering we’re proud to bring you this week marking v2 of our corner of the internet.
Sonic Router: Can you give those who may not know you a bit of background info, who are you, what do you do?
GFG: My name’s George FitzGerald with a capital ‘G’, I live in London, I make house and garage tracks, I co-run the Man Make Music series of parties in East London, and by day, I’m a soon-to-be-finished post-grad student.
I’m always interested into how people got into the types of music they make. How did you get into dubstep/garage/whatever-the-fuck-this-is-house?
The first real ‘genre’ I was heavily into was garage back in the late 90s / early 2000s, and it’s definitely my first love. The path from there to now went via all sorts of stuff though, mainly through hip-hop then dubstep then techno and finally house. Having come full circle I guess I now see the tunes I was listening to back then far more in terms of how they fitted into and flowed from house music in general.
You seem to straddle to the divide between house and garage-y dubstep. Where would you say your music sits? I mean there’s a lot of music being made that’s influenced more and more by proper deep house music, do you listen to a lot of that music yourself?
As a kid, I could never understand why people would refer to “House and G” as if they were linked somehow. 2-step seemed so far from the Ibiza-style house shit that was coming out back then. But now that’s something I’m trying to tap into my tracks – that era with people like Tuff Jam when garage and house were really part of the same whole – and update it for today with a dubstep production aesthetic.
I would say I listen to more house and techno than I do of anything from the UK bass/garage/dubstep/blah scene I might be more closely associated with. I definitely look much more to people like FCL, Kerri Chandler or Tony Lionni for inspiration than what’s being battered by all the other DJs in London. That said I definitely like to hold on to what makes me a UK and London producer. The aggression and rawness that I try to maintain is probably what stops my tracks from becoming boring, slinky deep house numbers!
I mean for me the similarities are in the groove. You use vocals predominantly in your tracks, do you think they add an organic touch or flair atop of that groove or are they more of another instrument to you? I’m thinking of ‘Don’t You’ here by the way…
I think some form of voice, even just micro-samples, always adds a touch of humanity to electronic music. Some people don’t like that, but for me it’s almost indispensable. Basically, I still like shit I can sing to even if the words have been chopped up beyond all recognition. I guess I still have quite a poppy sensibility in that regard. Also, whilst it’s a bit of a generalisation, music without voices often alienates girls from the rave. As a general rule, I am firmly in favour of more girls being at raves.
You’ve released two 12”s on Hotflush to date. How did you hook up with Scuba? Had you been sending much stuff elsewhere etc?
From back when I started buying dubstep vinyl in about 2005, Hotflush was one of my favourite labels. I loved the way it always seemed to be just slightly left-field with everything it put out, never really fitting into what everyone else was doing. More than any of the other big dubstep labels, it also always looked outwards to other genres like house and techno and made common ground with them. When I started finishing off tracks I was happy with, Paul (Scuba) was the first guy I started sending them to other than close friends. The tracks always had a housey feel to them, and I just thought they would make sense on Hotflush. Luckily Paul agreed.
Do you think the association with such a strong label as benefitted you? Can you provide any examples?
Undoubtedly. I just don’t think my music would have reached such a broad section of people if it had been released on a smaller label. People from different scenes pay attention to the Hotflush releases and I think that’s allowed my tunes to be picked up by house and techno, as well as dubstep DJs.
I remember when you came out with ‘The Let Down’ there was an explosion of comparisons with Joy Orbison (Andrew’s RA review etc), given the vocal chops and euphoric builds. Do you think it was just bad timing or label association that bought those about?
A bit of both. Arguably the main factor though was that we had originally planned to release ‘Don’t You’ on Doldrums, which meant that the link was already there for people. Whilst it was very flattering to be compared to Pete (Joy O), I found it a bit frustrating to have been labelled by some people as his ‘protégé’ or other bollocks like that.
Do you think you’ve quashed that particular beef and developed your style a little since?
I always felt that after a couple more releases people would stop making the comparisons, and that seems to be the case. Ultimately my style is heading in a very different direction to Pete’s, as can be seen from the stuff we’ve both recently produced. My main concern was that I’d get swallowed up in the post-Hyph Mngo hype/backlash and get written off before having a chance to show what I was actually about. To be honest, that was my only worry with the review Andrew Ryce wrote on RA. Essentially, if you put your music out there for consumption, people are entitled to write negative things and he’s a reviewer who’s (often brutal) honesty I really respect. In a small world full of people doing reviews for tracks by their friends, that kind of integrity is to be valued. In the end, it made me want to make better music, so that was a good thing.
What else have you got coming up?
I’ve got a release on Aus coming up at the end of May, also a couple of remixes I’ve done for Throwing Snow and a French house producer called Brawther will see the light of day later this month. After that, I’ll be putting out a 12” in June on the label I’m starting with the guys from Man Make Music. Finally, whilst all that goes on, I’ll be cooking up the next full release for Hotflush!
Have you got any recommendations of producers to look out for that you’d care to share?
I’m really into Kevin Mcphee’s stuff at the moment. You guys have already covered him but I think 2011 will be a bit of a breakthrough year for him – the guy’s got dope tunes coming out of his ears!
Tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve put together for us…
Well it’s got some new bits from me – ‘We Bilateral’ from the Back and 4th Compilation on Hotflush, and ‘Silhouette’ which is the A-side of my forthcoming Aus release. Other than that it’s got some old school business from E-Dancer and Grain, and some fresh unreleased shit from Midland, Appleblim & Komonazmuk, Lando Kal and Kevin Mcphee. Enjoy.
Finally, any words of wisdom?
Vinyl sucks (only joking).
DOWNLOAD: George FitzGerald – Sonic Router Mix #77
1. George FitzGerald – We Bilateral [Hotflush]
2. Midland – Through Motion [forthcoming Aus]
3. Anthony Shakir – Travellers (MRSK Remix) [Rush Hour]
4. Skudge – Depth Buffering [Alpha House]
5. Lando Kal – Further [forthcoming Hotflush]
6. Grain – Untitled
7. E-Dancer – World of Deep (Carl Craig Remix) [Play It Again Sam]
8. Paul Woolford – Let It Go (Appleblim and Komonazmuk remix) [CDR]
9. Kevin Mcphee – Words Not Chosen [CDR]
10. George FitzGerald – Silhouette [forthcoming Aus]
Words: Oli Marlow
Catch George FitzGerald in Room Two at fabric this Saturday alongside Skudge and Scuba vs. SCB. Hotflush’s Back and 4th compilation is out now.