A Guy Called Gerald
|A Guy Called Gerald|
|Birth name||Gerald Simpson|
|Born||16 February 1967|
|Origin||Moss Side, Manchester, England|
|Associated acts||808 State|
Gerald Simpson (born 16 February 1967, Moss Side, Manchester, England), better known as A Guy Called Gerald, is a British DJ, record producer and musician.
He is best known for his early work in the Manchester acid house scene in the late 1980s and the track "Voodoo Ray". At that time, he specialised in techno music produced using equipment such as the Roland TB-303 bass synthesiser and the TR-808 drum machine. His style developed during the early 1990s, and his 1995 album Black Secret Technology would become a "much-touted candidate for 'best jungle album ever.'"
Early influences and music
Simpson was influenced by his Jamaican roots; his father's blue beat, ska and Trojan reggae record collection, his mother's Pentecostal church sessions and the Jamaican sound system parties in Manchester's Moss Side area where he grew up.
He absorbed jazz fusion and electro funk at clubs, youth clubs and shebeens such as Legends, St.Alfonso's, British Legion and the Reno in Manchester, where the dancefloor in the early 1980s inspired him to study contemporary dance. Manchester was a hotbed of dance music with black club nights open every night of the week and Simpson spent his time joining in the vibe. Around 1983 with electro booming and early hip hop, breakdancing and b-boy culture making its way from the US, he left dance college to immerse himself in electronic music production. At this time music from Detroit and Chicago – from producers such as Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson was being played by Stu Allen on Piccadilly Radio and imported directly into Manchester's specialist record shops.
Inspired, Simpson began experimenting with tape editing and drum machines and the regular jams in the attic of his house led to forming the Scratchbeat Masters. Using cut up beats, samples and turntables they would challenge other bands and their sound systems. They released a 12" single called "Wax On The Melt", a collaboration between a number of crews and Graham Massey and Martin Price together with whom he would later form 808 State. Their first album, Newbuild, was released in 1988, but he soon left the group to concentrate on his solo work.
Early releases + dance music in Manchester
The result of heading back into his bedroom studio was "Voodoo Ray", played first at the Hacienda in 1988 and then the underground clubs before entering the UK Singles Chart a year later. It was the first acid house track produced in the UK, and released on a small Merseyside independent label (Rham! Records) based in Wallasey. "Voodoo Ray" entered the UK record chart in 1989 rising to number 12. It was also the best selling independently released single of that year.
Much is written the influence of the Hacienda and rave scene on his music however Simpson was more influenced of the dancers in black club scene in the North of England such as Foot Patrol and the Jazz Defektors who were regulars in the clubs.
Greg Wilson, an influential Northern UK DJ and music writer explains on his blog: "A Guy Called Gerald provides the perfect analogy for what happened in Manchester. Most people would assume that he went to The Haçienda, heard this incredible House music for the first time, had an epiphany, and then went home and set to work on the era defining single ‘Voodoo Ray’ (which he wrote with Foot Patrol in mind, visualising how they might dance to it). The reality, of course, is that Gerald and his contemporaries were those very kids from Hulme and Moss Side, who brought House music into The Haçienda in the first place. Gerald had already been on the black scene for many years, dancing to Jazz-Funk, then Electro, before starting out with the Scratch Beatmasters as a Hip Hop DJ (MC Tunes rapping). ‘Voodoo Ray’ isn’t an orthodox House track, but a culmination of his influences – The Haçienda providing the perfect setting in which to unleash this quintessential British dance track. Inadvertently bestowing Gerald with his name was Stu Allan – prior to ‘Voodoo Ray’, on playing a track he’d been given on tape by a local newcomer, he told his Piccadilly listeners that it was by a guy called Gerald from Hulme.''
At the same time a track Simpson started before leaving 808 State, "Pacific State", was released and hit the charts. However, according to Simpson, they had finished and released the track without his permission. Although Simpson was credited on its first release on the album Quadrastate both as a writer and co-producer, the dispute escalated as Simpson claimed to have written the entire track. The dispute was eventually settled out of court.
In 1991, after CBS / Sony released Automanikk, he started his own label, Juice Box Records, releasing a string of 12" singles – the seeds of what became known as jungle and later drum and bass. The first singles were compiled and released on his third album 28 Gun Bad Boy (1992). In 1995, his next album, Black Secret Technology was released. A remastered version was re-issued in June 2008.
Juice Box Records + jungle
|Juice Box Records|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
Juice Box Records was an independent record label in the United Kingdom, based at Riverside Studios in West London. It was established by Simpson in 1992, after he left SME Records, and closed in 1998. It took its name from the sound system that Simpson operated with MC Tunes. The label provided an outlet for seven years for Simpson's work, with thirty three titles released under various other pseudonyms such as The K.G.B. and Ricky Rouge, and collaborations between Simpson and artists including Lisa May, DJ Tamsin, Goldie (as 'The 2 G's'), and Finley Quaye.
The label has been identified as being responsible for influential releases that provided the blueprint for what was to become jungle then drum and bass, with early singles on the label described as "genre-defining". The early singles on the label were compiled on the LP 28 Gun Bad Boy, of which Simon Reynolds of Melody Maker stated in a review of the album, "If there was a blueprint for what would transform rave into jungle/techno, then this is it.". It is regarded as the first full-length Jungle album ever released.
Reynolds also stated in a Melody Maker article in October 1994, about Simpson's Juice Box-era music, "Gerald's tracks take the jungle mesh of polyrhythms, cross-rhythms and counter-rhythms to new levels of insane detail." Gerald's Black Secret Technology LP was released in 1995 and reached UK Charts #64, including contributions from Goldie and Finley Quaye, In 1998, the label closed, with Simpson relocating to New York.
In 1997, he moved to New York and, in 2000, released Essence on the independent label !K7 Records. Essence was Simpson's first song-based rather than dance/club album, featuring guests such as Lou Rhodes, David Simpson, Lady Miss Kier and Wendy Page. In January 2005, he released a more ambient album To All Things What They Need, also on !K7 Records.
In August 2006, Proto Acid / The Berlin Sessions was released on the German label, Laboratory Instinct. A continuous mix album, it was recorded live in Berlin. The second album in The Berlin Sessions series was released in 2010 : "Tronic Jazz / The Berlin Sessions.
"How Long Is Now" EP was released on Bosconi Records in 2012.
In 2013 the album "Silent Spread Sound Spectrum" album was released on the Society of Sound - a subscription based music retail project by Bowers & Wilkins audio equipment company. Subscribers receive two albums per month curated by Peter Gabriel and the London Symphony Orchestra.
"The entire track was performed by Gerald live (in the Big Room at Real World Studio) from two laptops captured into a Pro Tools HD system. Audio resolution was high throughout this project with a 24 bit resolution and a 96kHz sampling rate maintained from creation through to capturing the performance. A few additional sounds made it onto this album that were taken from 1986 – sampled from a vinyl release and incorporated into this composition."
"I am fascinated by the science of sound. Silent Sound Spread Spectrum (SSSS) or S-Quad or Squad is allegedly a technology used by the US Department Of Defence that uses subliminal programming carried over ultra-high frequency broadcast waves. With this system, planting inaudible messages directly into the subconscious becomes very easy to do and everyone is susceptible. This composition is about 50 mins and it follows no specific style. It should leave the listener refreshed and relaxed." A Guy Called Gerald
Simpson has been touring steadily worldwide preferring to perform his own productions Live In Session.
On 2015 Simpson is concentrating on a new album and developing a "Live In Session" experience - "a new way to present the music live based around the idea of being in the centre of the dancefloor and at eye level... I am looking to create a space which mimics the studio environment – not only that – because I would be in the centre of the dancefloor so I can monitor everything around me and be at the same level – eye-level with the presumed dancer. This way it makes it easy for me to create the atmosphere and the rhythm suitable for the individual dancefloor. Kind of like an open kitchen in a restaurant – it’s an open kitchen in a club bringing the food to the people instantly – as soon as it’s produced it’s already on the dancefloor. What I’m looking for in 2015 is sound reproduction in the clubs being taken a lot more seriously than in the past."
Albums (A Guy Called Gerald)
- Hot Lemonade (1989 - Rham! Records)
- Automanikk (1990 - Columbia/CBS) – UK #68
- Hi Life, Lo Profile (Columbia/CBS, 1990 — Unreleased)
- 28 Gun Bad Boy (1992 - Juice Box Records)
- Black Secret Technology (1995 - Juice Box Records) – UK #64
- Cryogenix (1999 - MP3.com)
- Essence (2000 - !K7 Records)
- To All Things What They Need (2005 - !K7 Records)
- Proto Acid – The Berlin Sessions (2006 - Laboratory Instinct)
- Tronic Jazz – The Berlin Sessions (2010 - Laboratory Instinct)
- Silent Sound Spread Spectrum (2013 - Bowers & Wilkins – 60, Real World Records – 60, Society of Sound Music – 60)
- The John Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit 1989)
- The John Peel Sessions – A Guy Called Gerald (Strange Fruit 1999)
Singles / 12" (A Guy Called Gerald unless specified)
- "Voodoo Ray" Single (Rham! Records 1988) – UK #12
- "Voodoo Ray" EP (Rham! Records 1988)
- "Voodoo Ray Remixes" (Warlock USA 1988)
- "Voodoo Ray Remixes" (Rham! Records 1988)
- "Hot Lemonade" (Rham! Records 1989)
- "Hot Lemonade Youth Remixes" (Rham! Records 1989)
- "The Peel Sessions" EP (Strange Fruit 1989)
- "Trip City" (1989)
- "FX" / "Eyes of Sorrow" (1989) – UK #52
- "FX Mayday Mix" (CBS / Sony 1989)
- "FX Elevation Mix" (CBS / Sony 1989)
- "The Peel Sessions" EP (USA 1990)
- "Automanikk (Just 4 U Gordon Mix" EP USA 1990)
- "Automanikk (Bass Overload Mix" EP USA 1990)
- "Automanikk (Bass Overload Mix" EP USA 1990)
- "Emotions Electric" (Juice Box Records 1990)
- "Disneyband / Anything" (Juice Box Records 1991)
- "Nowhere to Run" – Inertia (Black Out Records 1991)
- "Digital Bad Boy" (Juice Box Records 1992)
- "Cops" (Juice Box Records 1992)
- "Ses Makes You Wise" (Juice Box Records 1992)
- "The Musical Magical Midi Machine" (Juice Box Records 1992)
- "Changing" (Juice Box Records 1992)
- "I Feel The Magic" (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Strange Love" – Ricky Rouge (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Strange Love Remixes" – Ricky Rouge (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "When You Took My Love" – Ricky Rouge (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "De Ja Vu" – Ricky Rouge (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Song For Every Man" – Ricky Rouge (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Satisfaction" – Inertia (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Fragments" – Inertia (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Too Fucked to Dance" – Inertia (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "The Glok" (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Nazinji-zaka" (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Darker Than I Should Be" (Juice Box Records 1993)
- "Finley's Rainbow" (Juice Box Records 1995)
- "Finley's Rainbow Remixes" (Juice Box Records 1995)
- "So Many Dreams" (Juice Box Records 1996)
- "The Curse Of Voodoo Ray" Promo Only (Juice Box Records 1996)
- "Radar Systems" (Juice Box Records 1998)
- "Fever" (!K7 2000)
- "Humanity" (!K7 2000)
- "First Try" (!K7 2005)
- "Flo-ride" (Sugoi 2005)
- "Is Man In Danger" (Protechshon 2005)
- "Sufistifunk" (Sugoi 2006)
- "Time to Jak" (Sender 2006)
- "Proto Acid / The Berlin Sessions 1" (Laboratory Instinct 2006)
- "Proto Acid / The Berlin Sessions 2" (Laboratory Instinct 2006)
- "In Ya Head" (featuring Mia) (Perlon Records PERL71 2008)
- "Tronic Jazz / The Berlin Sessions 1" (Laboratory Instinct 2010)
- "Tronic Jazz / The Berlin Sessions 2" (Laboratory Instinct 2010)
- "Tronic Jazz / The Berlin Sessions 3" (Laboratory Instinct 2010)
- "Tronic Jazz / The Berlin Sessions 4" (Laboratory Instinct 2010)
- "How Long Is Now" (Bosconi Records 2012 BOSCO021)
- Newbuild – 808 State (Creed 1988)
- Prebuild – 808 State (Rephlex 2005)
- "Let Yourself Go" – 808 State (1988)
- "Dream 17" – Annette (Deconstruction 1988)
- "Massage-A-Rama" – Lounge Jays (1989)
- "Born In The North" – US (Wooden 1989)
- "Energy" – The Two G'$ (Juice Box Records 1995)
- "Black Gravity" – with Herbie Hancock / Bill Laswell (2001)
- "Falling" - Tom Clark And Benno Blome feat. A Guy Called Gerald (Highgrade Records 2011)
- IMO Records. "A Guy Called Gerald Biography", IMO Records, Retrieved on 24 February 2012.
- Retrieved on 5 August 2011.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 238. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Vision – A Guy Called Gerald. Visionmusic.co.uk. Retrieved on 5 August 2011.
- Label Profile – A Guy Called Gerald" from ''Echoes'', June 1994 Archived 10 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. Homepages.force9.net. Retrieved on 5 August 2011.
- Juice Box. Discogs.com. Retrieved on 5 August 2011.
- new music radio from Tokyo, Japan & The World. samurai.fm. Retrieved on 5 August 2011.
- Melody Maker, 8 October 1994, reproduced here Archived 10 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- Allmusic review of Black Secret Technology
- B&W Society Of Sound
- Bidder, Sean; Rough Guides (1999) The Rough Guide to House ISBN 1-85828-432-5
- Carlisle, Colin (1995) Fly | Global Music Culture
- Kabuubi, Maxine (2000) Knowledge Magazine
- Shapiro, Peter; Rough Guides (1999) The Rough Guide to Drum n Bass ISBN 1-85828-433-3
- A Guy Called Gerald – official site
- A Guy Called Gerald discography at Discogs
- A Guy Called Gerald discography at MusicBrainz
- A Guy Called Gerald interview at Textura, 2006
- A Guy Called Gerald interview with Graham Brown-Martin for Ammo City, 2004
- A Guy Called Gerald Interview at Higher Frequency, 2003
- A Guy Called Gerald biography at MN2S Booking Agency