Jon Gurd is a name we’re hearing more and more of these days. He’s a self taught sound engineer, producer and DJ based in the south of the UK and making some really big noises in the techno scene right now. With releases on labels like Derelicht, Octopus, Quartz and 8 Sided Dice plus his own imprint Det Sync. and numerous collaborations with the likes of Dave Robertson (Reset Robot) and Alan Fitzpatrick. During a short break from some intensive studio work, we caught up with him to discuss his rise to fame, life as a full time studio engineer and his thoughts on the state of the techno scene.
Hi Jon, thanks for taking the time to chat to us at Decoded Magazine. How’s your day been so far?
No worries, it’s 9.20am so not much has happened, breakfast was nice though.
Could you tell us about growing up in Portsmouth. What music were you influenced by back then and where were the usual haunts?
When I think back to growing up in Portsmouth, not much of it includes musical influences… My bro’s tapes that he would bring back from the raves that were going on at the time influenced me to explore dance music. But clubbing wise it was really my first few visits to Fabric that turned me on, still does to this day.
Tell us about how you met your good friends Dave Robertson and Alan Fitzpatrick.
Dave worked in my local record shop back in 2001 ish, I got to know him that way and ended up working in the studio with him. Alan is one of Dave’s mates from school so I met him a few times through Dave.
Talk us through your current studio hardware set up, any favourites in there?
I’m solely a Reason user.. I have some controllers and such, but all music making is done within the software.
As a self-taught producer and engineer, what have been the biggest challenges?
The biggest challenges have been fitting in enough time in my schedule to work on my own music. My engineering client base is much smaller these days, I’m working with people who I really like working with now, rather than just taking on clients for the sake of money. I really love the diversity in the people I work with now and their styles of music has helped me learn a lot.
Are there any projects on the go that you can tell us about?
I have an EP coming out on Derelicht soon that features a Dave Clarke remix that I’m really excited about.
How long does a new track take you to produce, could you walk us through the process?
This can really vary, I’d say anything between a day and a few weeks. The process isn’t particularly a straight forward one, and changes pretty much on a track by track basis. I like to think the music reflects what I am feeling at that time.
We understand you have a live show. How does that differ from your DJ sets?
The live performance is in it’s infancy but certainly something I’m playing with right now. It’s certainly going to be diverse…
Tell us about your most memorable performance, any funny stories you can share?
Off the top of my head I can remember playing in Florence, Italy and right in the middle of my set all the power was cut off. I thought it was just a power cut only to be bundled out of the back door by the promoter telling me it was a police raid and we couldn’t leave through the front door. Was pretty funny!
What are your thoughts on the UK techno scene at present, are we in good health?
I think London’s scene is almost separate from the UK. The capital is absolutely having it right now. In terms of the rest of the UK, there’s not many proper techno events happening. But if you look hard enough there are some fantastic events dotted about.
How do you find the social media angle of the modern artist?
I definitely find it a chore. I don’t like the culture that has developed from social media, its without soul and superficial in my opinion. Creating an army of selfie taking girls who put their make up on with a shovel and lads trying to look like Joey Essex. But on the other hand, being able to speak directly with fans of my music is fantastic. It can certainly be used for good.
Do you have any views on streaming and how it is impacting the music business?
Streaming music is raising artist’s profiles all over, that can only be a good thing.
If you could change anything in your career to date, what would it be?
I wish I was able to wake up for all those hotel breakfasts I’ve missed over the years! hahaha
Thanks for speaking with us Jon. Best of luck with the live show and your new releases. Finally , whats happening for the rest of the year?
More music, in the form of a few EP’s with a view to start writing an album towards the end of the year. As mentioned earlier there will be an EP coming including a Dave Clarke remix on Derelicht very soon. Also a project I’m involved with called Mister Woo have some releases coming up, with one in June coming with an Alan Fitzpatrick remix. DJ wise, I have a residency in London with Loco events, I’m really excited about this.