Gerd Janson (fabric 89)
I was born in a Romanian city and spent the first year of my life in a small German settlement next to it. Very rural and quiet and I don't remember anything of it.
Born in Romania, raised in Germany. My parents followed the big German exodus at the end of the 1970s and we ended up near Frankfurt am Main, where I spent my childhood, youth and most of my adult life when I wasn't travelling. My family is not musical per se, and except for my mom and her brother playing the accordion, there was not much of an influence from that side. On a closer look though, my parents and their friends and relatives always liked to dance and celebrate. Not necessarily to music that I would approve of, but the ethos definitely was there. So some of what draws me to clubs and dance music might stem from there.
The first 12” I bought was Tina Turner's We Don’t Need Another Hero from the Mad Max movie score. More out of disappointment that I was too young at the time to see it at the movies than a love for the song. It's quite good though. From there on in pop stuff like Modern Talking or The Hooters appeared, followed by Iron Maiden, Run DMC and AC/DC records. I wish I could namecheck Trax Records and the likes but it was all rather standard stuff until I stumbled across Klaus Walter's Der Ball Ist Rund show on German radio. Similar to John Peel, Walter used to play everything: from the Pixies to Buju Banton, Detroit Techno Soul compilations on Tresor and German anarchists turned folk singers. Supposedly, my musical schizophrenia stems from there. The dance music fever or techno affinity finally happened after a boy scout trip to the mountains, where someone had a mixtape by Sven Väth with him. A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd's Total Confusion was the big one in there that struck a nerve and somehow symbolizes the warped Frankenstein school of dance music that I sometimes indulge in.
"One thing I always admired with fabric the programming and the aesthetics of the club: a specific focus on sound quality, booths that make DJs feel most comfortable, Craig Richards as an impeccably dressed and audible pillar, and artists like Ricardo Villalobos bringing their A-game on a regular basis. I also love the fact that Fridays is a stronghold for the UK hardcore continuum in all its shapes. To me it always seemed and still seems like an umbrella to all the various genres and sub-genres of dance music. One roof for different grooves."
At the risk of sounding vulgar, I just drifted into working in music. Despite going to clubs and raves early on, collecting records and gravitating more towards DJ culture than following bands, I never had an epiphany of the “this-is-what-I-wanna-do-for-the-rest-of-my-life” kind. On the contrary, I never wanted to become a DJ, let alone a producer (which I don't consider myself to be anyway). My passion for it, just led me to become a fanboy music journalist as I thought that might be the way to partake in it, get to know the people behind it and even a few records for free. It was all a bit more mysterious and felt like secret knowledge in the pre-internet-days. So, in the early days, I was already writing for magazines and fanzines like Groove, Spex and Ouk, when I spent a bonus I received for civilian service on one turntable and half a mixer (my brother, who was into hip hop at the time, took the other half). After a little while, I just got asked to play records at private parties, small clubs and before I knew it, I was allowed to be in a resident pool of DJs (together with some of my best friends) at one of my favourite clubs (Café Kesselhaus, Darmstadt). Two years later, Robert Johnson followed and it just went downhill from there.
LABELS & PRODUCTION:
The label I have been involved with the most is obviously Running Back. Founded by Thorsten Scheu and myself, we were a bit naïve at the time and wanted to build a home for the traditional styles and US flavours of house music that we were obsessed with at the time. Needless to say, it went wrong and zigzagged through the house like a burst balloon.
If I remember correctly, the first time I played at fabric was in Room Three together with Mark E. My record bag broke that night and I panicked to get all my records home safely. One thing I always admired with fabric the programming and the aesthetics of the club: a specific focus on sound quality, booths that make DJs feel most comfortable, Craig Richards as an impeccably dressed and audible pillar, and artists like Ricardo Villalobos bringing their A-game on a regular basis. I also love the fact that Fridays is a stronghold for the UK hardcore continuum in all its shapes. To me it always seemed and still seems like an umbrella to all the various genres and sub-genres of dance music. One roof for different grooves.
To be completely honest, recording mixes is always very painful for me – especially if I know that someone is going to spend money on it. So, this is my first-ever (the one for Robert Johnson was together with my esteemed teacher and mentor Thomas Hammann) official mix and so it was even more complicated. My self-confidence as a DJ is at gutter level, and doing one for fabric as part of a series amongst the best of the best, is quite intimidating. Plus, it's a club, so I shied away from my tried and tested mixtape method of boring people for the first 74 minutes. I ended up choosing some records that I played and enjoyed a lot over the last few months in a party context, mingled them with some exclusives and up-and-coming ones and tried to eternalise the valleys and the mountains of a 12 hour long epic journey onto one silver disc.
A fabric mix CD!
fabric 89: Gerd Janson is out on 19th August.
Order your copy from fabric here.
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Gerd Janson launches fabric 89 on Saturday 30th July.
Tickets are available here.