It’s safe to say that Mr G is a name synonymous with musicality since his very first entrance onto the scene twenty or so years ago. From his initial days spanning the circuit with his tear-out techno alongside Cisco Ferreira (aka The Advent) to the softer toned output under his self-conducted label Phoenix G, Mr G has drifted between the intensity of touring to the electronic tech-funk and bass heavy fusion that has subsequently garnered him a mass of credible acclaim. Yet, despite his career committing to the cornerstones of 4/4, Mr G aka Colin McBean is widely considered as one of those under-rated under the radar types, with only a select few appreciating his extensive contribution to dance music.
Having always been such a precocious producer, as a performer he is set to let loose on his machines as he ventures to our club this Saturday. Combining his techno-inspired persuasion and his infamous dance moves with the live template of just a MPC, a mixer and a notepad, the masterful selector moves above and beyond the typical live shows in the club realm today. It’s no question that Mr G will always remain at the pinnacle of dance music but to be able to really get to grips with the brains behind the musical mastermind, we got in touch with the man himself before his set this Saturday.
With years spent in the studio, it must have been a bit of safe haven in terms of finding a means to discover your output and find a way of expressing yourself. What does the studio mean to you and what has it provided over the years?
Aha my studio (The Heights) means the world to me... without it - damn, not a great thought! It's the place I can be totally myself good, bad, indifferent and indulge myself in music...any music, I work double hard to keep it alive as it in turn looks after me!
Do you have a philosophy when it comes to creating music?
Nope, just be the best I can staying true to what I believe, making raw, bass heavy music with soul for the girls you know, “big gal batty riders". For me it's just what I do, create my own soundscape based on what's going on in life or around me, it affects what and when I do produce and its outcome is either good or bad.
If you could take us back to The Advent days with Cisco Ferreira, what was it about back then that essentially forged your musical direction?
We were hungry and fresh and for me there was a magic that we brought to the music we made. We wanted a piece of the pie and thought we could take it. We did and some great moments were had during those times which have served me well.
There's a fair amount of time between those days and the live production you’re currently pursuing. What made you go back on the road? How does your time with Cisco compare to your time now?
The pull of the chance to tour Japan again with Matt, being able to hone my craft at the same time, five gigs, five cities, bullet train every day, thats a golden week of hell and heaven right there. I was scared but part of going back on the road alone, going from a duo to on ya jacks, fuck, now that's hard! You gotta love what you play to make it work and Japan showed me if I can do it there in my unconventional style then I could anywhere. Even though it was a battle, me performing and acting the fool helped me pass the shyness and fear I have on stage.
Your street-style dancing alongside the slightly rough-edge and organic style your sets portray is one of many things that define you as an artist and a performer. It’s something that must have been fairly innovative back when you first emerged on the scene, what made you stick to your guns and resist the urge to change into something more conventional?
Had no choice! That's me being real! If I'm feeling' it, I'm getting down, expressing myself and getting sweaty! I looked at people I loved or respected and they all told stories of sticking to their guns no-matter how hard or fool hardy, stating one day they'd have a good picture of who they were and a great body of work that would one day be recognised... kind of worked eh? Originality will be seen as original all day long.
When you play, you seem perfectly connected with the whole room whilst being completely and incredibly hooked with what you’re doing. I always wonder what exactly are you thinking once you’re up there, is the thought process different with every performance?
Haha I'm constantly thinking - smile, relax and what's the bass doing? Are they enjoying it? Do they get me? This then changes every gig, pending loads of things: travel, health, fitness, sound, space and so on. Then the challenge is to connect all that into the performance which becomes on-going and on-going! When you do get those moments; wow! It so makes up for everything you go through with each gig and gives me the strength to go on.
I read in a previous interview from 2010 that you felt London is not what it was in terms of club culture; do you still feel that is the case? If so, what is it about the city that makes you think that?
Yes I do. The freeness I've felt clubbing in London is less (and don't all jump down my throat, that's how I see it). When you go to other cities that have great parties it's good spaces, great sound a good crowd with friendly security and a friendship and helpfulness between promoters only wanting the best for each other and you whereas in London, I feel it's less about the sound and trying to do something different and fresh, taking a few risks along the way and in it for the long haul but having said that I still have a few fave spots (haha, you thought I'd be crazy enough to tell ya). It's like everything in life, it is what you make it!
What does the future hold for Mr G?
If only I knew! Keep my head down, work hard in the studio, keep on my search for that perfect club, sound, space, crowd, moment, day, night, while trying to keep the same values and quality about what I do but most of all, keep on enjoying what I do, remembering how blessed I am, while always thinking ‘wish Lex could see this’. He was a true mentor and I didn't join the dots till he'd gone... life eh?
And thanks for the great questions, I had to really think about the replies! Roll on Saturday; I’m going to throw down some G tech on ya! Maybe it will be one of those moments?