The Warehouse Project threw a huge Hacienda party this Easter, so we caught up with one of the artists appearing, DJ Gerald Simpson
Anyone with a smidgeon of interest in dance music or a love of old skool has heard, or at least heard of, the classic acid house track ‘Voodoo Ray’ by A Guy Called Gerald. It even made an appearance in the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas game as one of the radio tracks that could be heard while players car-jacked and murdered their way around its virtual cities.
A Guy Called Gerald, aka Gerald Simpson, made a return to Manchester on 23rd March for the Hacienda Warehouse Party as part of The Lost Weekends events from The Warehouse Project. After Dark caught up with Gerald to see how he felt about the ongoing interest in the Hac and his own thoughts on the dance music scene.
Should memories of the Hacienda be consigned to history? Gerald takes a philosophical view. “It was a positive part of Manchester really so I don’t think we should forget it. Obviously we should move on to other things too but having a celebration of it is not a bad idea.” Gerald’s favourite memory from that halcyon era is not the chart position of ‘Voodoo Ray’ or his early work with 808 State, but in the self-effacing style of a man that shuns the limelight he recalls “hanging out in the lighting box upstairs, watching the crowd, listening to the music and sometimes getting a chance to do the lighting. That was great, working the strobes and keeping it on beam.”
So was that scene as much of a revolution as the generation that have grown from it still claim? “Well, I think then we were changing times, we were all caught up in that moment really so we were all growing with what was going on and that was part of the excitement.” With the 2007 Hacienda Xmas Party, the Urbis ‘Hacienda 25: fac 491’ exhibition and this Easter’s Hacienda Warehouse Party, it seems today’s younger clubber has plenty of chance to see what the fuss was about.
The theory goes that there’s nothing truly original in dance music any more. “"Back then we thought ‘Wow! In the future, everyone’s going to have a computer so everyone will be able to make music. There will be all these different kinds of music out there”. But for some reason iIt’s turned out that everyone’s looking at everyone else’s music and trying to copy a bit of that. A lot of electronic stuff is becoming generic.” It seems that even the niche sound that Gerald works within can fall victim to this. “When someone says ‘techno’, you have a generic idea of what that is. It shows human nature in a way – we’re all individuals, or we try to be, but when we have the freedom to do something different you get a lot of people focussing on the same thing.”
So if a rebellion against generic music is needed, does Gerald think that there’s anything about the current Manchester clubbing scene that is exciting or innovative? “I wouldn’t know anyone from Manchester now, to be honest. I wouldn’t know where anyone is from. The globe is such a small place when it comes to music that it’s hard to know who is from where.” As if to underline that his influences come from within and he feels the need to avoid becoming generic he adds, “I must say I’ve been a little bit indulgent in my own thing, trying to do something different and every so often I’ll pop my head out and have a listen to what’s going on.”
As an originator, from being an early part of the British house scene at the Hacienda in the late eighties and then a pioneer of the drum n bass scene of the early nineties, Gerald must have thoughts on what he sees as the future? “I know a lot of people would be interested in some of the more underground stuff, but they get dwarfed because the stuff that’s getting pushed by the major labels and marketing is this really ethereal, pop, trancey-type stuff.” As if recalling his ill-fated spell recording for Sony he remarks that “major record labels are looking at numbers rather than the value of something, so there’s lots of great music falling by the wayside. It could go one of two ways – people could go ‘We’ve had enough of this totally poppy stuff, it’s really nineties,’ and go for more of the interesting stuff or they could go even poppier.”
On the rare occasions that he can be heard live on these shores, an evening listening to Gerald’s choice in music is a cast-iron guarantee of hearing techno that goes deeper underground than the capital’s tube system.
A Guy Called Gerald played at The Hacienda Warehouse Party on 23rd March.
words: Justin Richards
31/03/2008 by Vivien Natascha
I've been going out since the Summer of '83 - my 1st experience of the Hac was when i went to see Farley Jackmaster Funk and another eve when my friend went up to Ryan Giggs and planted a big smacke-rooney on him ;-) I've also been on many Ibiza hols during my decades of club nights but this event was ONE OF THE BEST- what an atmosphere and i got a kiss from Hooky ;-)
Rated 5 out of 5
28/03/2008 by Jedeye
the Hacienda party was mint!! Easily the best atmosphere I've ever witnessed, and I've been going out 15 years.
Rated 5 out of 5
04/03/2008 by MIke
How come? No harm in it, you just don't go if you're not keen, surely? If people like them, good on them.
Rated 5 out of 5
29/02/2008 by Felix
Hacienda parties really hack me off.
Rated 2 out of 5