IT feels like yesterday that Gary Beck exploded onto the techno scene with his raw, delicately heavy sound. But over ten years later his success continues and he is just about to release his new album, Dál Riata next week on his own label BEK Audio.
A product of the infamous Glaswegian club scene, Gary rose to prominence at the same time as the likes of Alan Fitzpatrick and fellow Scot Harvey McKay. All three artists were welcomed with open arms by techno royalty such as Slam, Adam Beyer and Carl Cox who continue to champion their music. Gary, Alan and Harvey will all play together at the end of this month in for Fitzpatrick’s We Are The Brave at SWG3 in Glasgow which will be pretty special if you are in town.
After recently becoming a father, Gary found a new, inspired focus and the result is new long player Dál Riata. It’s an album unashamedly aimed firmly at the dance floor. This is only his second album, following six years from his debut Bring A Friend which was released on Soma Records.
We caught up with Gary this week to find out more. Listen to an exclusive mix from Gary recorded recently when he performed at EGG in London below.
Can you tell us about your new album Dál Riata, your first album since 2012’s Bring A Friend? I understand that you wrote the album over an intense 6-month period and you have a surplus of material from this time that didn’t make it onto the album?
I felt it was the right time for a fresh challenge in the studio. I couldn’t quite believe that 6 years had passed since the last album I did on Soma Records! My decision to start an LP coincided with moving into my new studio. So, I thought what better way to break it in than to write an album. I spent days and nights making tracks and the whole thing came together quite nicely. I had been spending the previous years writing lots of EP’s so it was a refreshing change to do something a little different.
How did you go about choosing the tracks to feature on the album and what will you do with the music that didn’t make the cut?
I wanted to make an album that reflected predominantly what works for me on the dancefloors right now. There’s lots of energetic tracks on there and that was the direction I wanted to go down this time. Of course, there are some obscure pieces such as ‘Rewind a590’ and ‘Absolute Gem’, however the floor is where it’s at. I think as a techno artist it’s quite hard to lay down an album full of polar opposite tracks, so my vision with this LP was really clear. Some of the unused tracks will find their way to the public at some point I’m sure.
Your last album was released on seminal label Soma and the new one is on your own label BEK Audio. It must feel good to put this one out on your own imprint?
Absolutely! I just thought why not! It’s great to have that full control over everything from the tracks to the artwork. I must say, the first time around, Soma were great, but doing it on my own label is definitely an excellent feeling, and it’s also a big step for BEK to do something like this, as all the previous releases have been EP’s.
Does the music you produce influence your DJing style? You found a signature sound early on but the new album demonstrates a more experimental sound.
I think it’s the other way around. My DJing experiences have helped evolve my productions. I’ve learned so much over years of travelling and I know much better what works on a floor. This album showcases many different styles of my techno. I like to have fun producing techno and I don’t like to be too serious with it. I like to make my tracks colourful with character and I hope I get this message across with Dál Riata.
Since we mentioned Soma earlier, can you tell us how influential Slam and Soma have been to you? I know from speaking to your friend Harvey McKay that the label and the guys played a big part in his techno education and the masses in Glasgow. Was this the same for you?
Yes, it was. I love the Slam guys and I have massive respect for what they have done in the scene. I’m fortunate to travel with them quite a lot and it’s been a lot of fun getting to know them. As a youngster, Soma were my go-to label and I loved everything they released. I loved the fact that each release was different, yet somehow it had that Soma sound about it. Huge respect to them and what they have done.
Can you tell us a little more about the scene in Glasgow and Scotland in general? It has one of the most impressive electronic music legacies in the UK.
The scene here has been very strong for years now, and for me, it’s still one of the best places to play in the world. The crowds are always well up for it and they love a good party. I thought when ‘The Arches’ closed that the scene could go downhill, however if anything, it’s just got better! There’s a tremendous amount of excellent talent coming from Scotland which is becoming globally recognised. Despite the miserable weather, there’s definitely a lot of positivity where the club scene is concerned.
You have had a really busy summer as usual but I noticed that you didn’t really do many shows in Ibiza. Why was that?
I’ve started to fall out of love a bit with Ibiza. It’s become so commercialised and I felt I couldn’t play the music I wanted to out there. I’ve been lucky to play almost everywhere on the island but for me, the vibe was starting to change. Or maybe I’m just getting older!
Heading into Christmas you are playing a lot on home turf with a run of shows in Scotland. One that really stands out is the We Are The Brave party with Alan Fitzpatrick and Harvey McKay at the end of this month. You have known Alan and Harvey for many years, can you tell us a bit about your relationship with both of these guys who have like yourself over the last decade cemented their reputations as some of the best the UK has to offer in techno.
Yes, I’m really looking forward to the shows on home turf! As I said earlier, playing in Scotland is always great fun, so we decided to take my album on a little tour of Scotland! Harvey and Alan were coming through around the same time as me, so we became friends throughout the journey. Harvey is someone I’ve got to know really well and he’s a top lad. Both are exceptional artists and it’s great to see them get the recognition they deserve.
Has becoming a father changed your approach to music and touring?
Yes, it’s been an interesting journey over the past 2 years since he was born, and he’s definitely changed my outlook on life. One thing is for sure, I don’t party as much as I used to as it’s impossible to tour at the weekend then be a Dad on the Sunday night/Monday, so It’s important to make that effort to look after yourself and save some energy for the little fellow.
Gary’s album Dál Riata is available on Vinyl and Digital release now.