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a guy called gerald

A Guy Called Gerald: Official K7 Biography

Since the 80s, Manchester, UK native now NYC resident A Guy Called Gerald, born Gerald Simpson, has proven to be among the most innovative modern music figures. His influence is international, and through his versatility he has spawned genres and generations of music culture. Since his early experimentation with techno and acid house into his groundbreaking contributions to drum & bass music, GCGs art and craft has perpetually evolved regardless of his individual successes in each of those genres.

A Guy Called Geralds long awaited album "Essence" will proudly be released through Studio K7 Records on August 28th, 2000 worldwide. This will be his first project since 1995s groundbreaking "Black Secret Technology." Featuring sleek and sexy production, "Essence" features the song writing and vocals from guest artists such as David Simpson, Lady Miss Kier, Lambs Louise Rhodes, and successful UK songwriter Wendy Page. Merging subtly ambitious elements of drum & bass and dub over immaculate melodies and tones, "Essence" hopes to vitalize the stale nature of drum & bass expanding the song writing and composition potential of breakbeat music with sleek and soulful production.

In the early 70s in Manchester, UK a young Gerald Simpson was found alongside his mother at church listening to the organist through which he found inspiration to pursue music. Gospel melodies evolved into an affinity for the Jackson 5, the soul turned into funk, and funk spawned hip hop. Musics steady mutations and newfound brilliance kept Geralds interests keen, and no later could one find Gerald experimenting on an Amstrad twin cassette deck, stripping apart and re-orchestrating pieces of Herbie Hancocks "Rockit" into minimal, twisted forms. His early forays in production embodied the raw brilliance that would later reflect the ethic of his music.

Gerald Simpson then a member of local band Scratchbeat Masters moved on teaming up with The Hit Squad, who later became the ubiquitous 808 State. As an original member of the proto-techno legends, Gerald was responsible, but not credited until much later, for the production and composition of their groundbreaking first album "Newbuild" which featured the UK techno anthem "Pacific State". While "Pacific State" topped UK charts and 808 States profile skyrocketed, Gerald pursued further music mobility working on his solo projects as A Guy Called Gerald. Finding a modern influence through Detroit techno and Chicago house, A Guy Called Gerald produced "Voodoo Ray" storming the UK and worldwide dance charts at the same time his 808 State "Pacific State" track was still in the charts. With two tracks in the charts (only recognized for one), A Guy Called Gerald became an international star and "Voodoo Ray" became the anthem that many identify for launching UKs acid house movement.

The success of "Voodoo Ray" landed Gerald a solo record deal with Sony/Columbia in 1990 quickly followed by the release of his first LP "Automanikk". With success came tension. As Geralds success as a pop artist grew, Geralds need for artistic license expanded. His label could not keep up with Geralds forward thinking music and never released his second album. Relegated back into the underground, Gerald found solace and further explored the emerging breakbeat influenced sounds. In 1993 Gerald, the master, released 28 Gun Bad Boy, a pioneering album that harnessed the brutal dynamics of drum & bass. As jungle rose in popularity so did Gerald, once again.

In 1995, A Guy Called Gerald released the classic "Black Secret Technology" LP becoming the leading pioneering of UKs urban sound. "Black Secret Technology" featured vocals from a then unknown Finley Quaye on "Finleys Rainbow" thus launching Finleys successful solo career. Geralds forward thinking music led to invitations from other artists such as Tricky, The Stone Roses, Goldie, Roy Ayers, Herbie Hancock and most notably David Bowie on collaborations and remixes.

Prominence has never inspired Gerald. Already a legend in each of his various forays, A Guy Called Gerald spent the greater part of the last six years producing his latest album (the last two years in NYC) "Essence," featuring vocal contributions from Lambs Louise Rhodes, MC Kusta, singer/songwriter Wendy Page, and Lady Miss Kier. To be released on Studio K7 August 2000, the album Essence will also feature singles with remixes from Ian Simmonds, Funkstrung, Ashley Beedle, and others to be confirmed. Starting with cassette decks, Gerald, by choice, has taken the long but well journeyed direction towards musical calm.

"AGCG is the master of UK dance. Essence an album of the future" - CMU, May-00

"brilliantly edgy, dark stuff" - Melody Maker, 2000

"A masterful musical massage from the Manchester maestro" - Ministry Magazine, 2000

A Guy Called Gerald: Biography

Where to start with a GUY who grasped the absolute beauty of a brilliant new music as a kid and has never let go?

Where to start with a GUY who in his own laconic, vaguely self-depreciating way, shines as brightly as any anti-star of the underground?

I mean, where exactly do you start with......A GUY CALLED GERALD.

We could give the beginning a go...right back to a church in Manchester, England in the early Seventies. Gerald Simpson sits in a church with his mother. He listens as the organist plays and decides:

"I want to do that. I knew right then that I wanted to be a musician"

Music, as he put it, saved him from boredom. He heard the Jackson 5 and was rescued in an instant. Then soul turned to funk and funk turned into hip-hop. By now he was experimenting on an Amstrad twin cassette deck, ripping and shredding Herbie Hancocks Rocket into a twisted skeletal form.

He joined the Scratchbeat Masters, (which included amongst its number Nicky Lockett-MC Tunes) concentrating on similarly lo-fi scratch works (releasing a track called Back to Attack) before teaming up with The Hit Squad which became the seminal group 808 State. It took too long for the truth to surface, but eventually we learnt that it was actually Gerald who wrote the shimmering proto-UK techno anthem Pacific State. After a long dispute Gerald received public acknowledgement as a writer of this ground breaking title.

It was in 1987 whilst working with The Hit Squad that Gerald launched his alter ego, A Guy Called Gerald. In addition to completing his first tour of the US as a solo artist in 1988, he was featured on the John Peel Show for Radio 1. This session included Time Waits, Rockin Ricky and the hugely popular club track Emotions Electric. As this was all happening he was continuing to write. He released Voodoo Ray and by June of 1989 it had jumped from clubs and warehouses to Number 12 in the National Charts. Gerald, meanwhile was keeping his head down "Basically, I made the track because I wanted something to play on my Walkman" he says, humbly. "I was looking for a simple dance vibe, just a basic track and then everyone went mad for it!" "I didnt push that record. It did what it did." He continues. "By the time it went into the charts, I was hiding."

Gerald used the success of Voodoo Ray to secure a deal with Sony in 1990. Everything was looking rosy Automanikk, his first LP was released and he was off again to the US. On his return from the States, he took the major step towards creating his own studio, The Machine Room.

Then it went all wrong.

Geralds music was advancing at a rate that Sony could not keep up with. They rejected his follow-up, High Life-Low Profile and subsequently negotiated a release from his contract. After that, Gerald, well, kind of disappeared...........

"It was a brilliant time, very peaceful" laughs Gerald. "Id built a great studio and just started working on hundreds and hundreds of tracks. People were coming up and asking me why dont you want another hit? Youve had one big record, so you could easily have another. Im more of an adventurer than a Top of the Pops star"

He then went out on a limb and set up JuiceBox/JuiceGroove Records and continued to supply the clubs with cutting edge material. As the influence of breakbeat, the roots of Jungle started to displace techno, Gerald surged further into the unknown. Little was heard from him until 1993 and the release of his 28 Gun Bad Boy album.

Amid the tension and dynamics of brutal Drum+Bass it was written that a master was at work again.

In 1994 The Machine Room recording studios were moved to Ducie House in central Manchester. With the production of Finleys Rainbow with a yet known Finley Quaye and three remixes from the Suns of Arqa EP, Govindas Dream, the continual process of innovated development was maintained.

As Jungles profile rose so did Geralds. By 1995 and the release on JuiceBox of his genre breaking Black Secret Technology LP, he was held aloft as a bonafide pioneer of the UKs increasingly sophisticated dance export. After a series of shows playing underground licks on Radio 1, A Guy Called Gerald had hit an all time high.

He relocated The Machine Room and JuiceBox from Manchester to London, signed a publishing deal with Chrysalis Music

As 1996 began, so did writing for Aquarius Rising his follow-up, at the same time he was remixing and deejaying across the globe. In 1997 Aquarius Rising was finished, it featured the likes of Lady Miss Kier, Louise Rhodes of Lamb, Wendy Page and rhyming skills of MC Kusta it was bound to impress just as Black Secret Technology had done before.

Towards the end of 1997 Gerald quietly signed with Island Records, in America and his assault on the world was being carefully planned.

Then it all fell apart, again.

Chris Blackwell, the founder and Chairmans much publicized tension resulted in his departure. This in-turn resulted in their parent company, PolyGram to bring in a new Chairman and President. They didnt understand Gerald music and again he was released from his contract months before the album was to hit the streets.

Now the process starts all over again.

"Ive always been into finding new sounds, That is the one thing that has remained the same." He explains. "If it feels right in my ears, Ill have-it; keep it" he continues, "Im a explorer, Im not into the idea of having an easy life. I just cant sit back. I have to keep moving."

So, as Geralds journey continues he finds himself in New York City, one of the few places in the world he felt comfortable in. Now in 1998 a new start-up label in the works, Hard Drive, his assault on the world is low-key, more subtle but just as affective......

Watch this space.

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