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Interview with Gusgus

img  Tobias Fischer

The press release to Arabian Horse mentions its „state-of-the-art production“ as one of its selling points.
„State of the art“ is one of our favorite terms … I guess that's why it's in there! (laughs) No, on a serious note, sounding good really is a very important thing to us and good-sounding productions are an inspiration. Words don't really describe anything in music as strongly as the music itself, so finding words that fit is important.

You've been in the business for over fifteen years now. What were some of the most incisive changes you've witnessed over this time?
We don't really think about the things that have changed, we leave that to you. We, however change with time as all people should. The exercise of the developing mind is something that we embrace. I guess music follows, right?
Veiran and myself have always had only one "rule" - if it makes us two dance, it's gotta have something for the world, too. (laughs) But in reality what matters is to make music that you are happy with, you are proud of, you love the sound of - and then to have some nice food afterwards.

And yet, in the new millennium, there seemed to be changes everywhere: New distribution models, new copyright models, new media.
Not just the changes you're mentioning .. but also within Gusgus as a band. We completely changed the line-up and Earth came back on board – a very important time for us in musical terms. But the whole thing of people no longer buying physical records touched us deeply and made us rethink a lot of things. We, along with our record company, have always tried to find interesting and profitably ways to bring forth our music. Times are hard, but I am sure that there is a way somewhere that will make us all happy.

How would you describe your first steps into producing and performing music?
It all just happened really. We put our sails up in 1995 and we got some strong wind. These were pleasant and really interesting times for us. We were into so many things and the energy was unrelenting … We just couldn't get enough. If there is one word to go along with this, it would be: Curiosity. And it's wonderful to be curious. It broadens the horizon considerably.

Sometime in the mid-90s you made the change from T-World to Gus Gus. How do you look back on that transition today?
The album T-World vs Gusgus, which we released in 2000 on 4AD, is about some of the changes I mentioned earlier … if we can call it change at all, that is. To us, it was just two people making techno, tapping into a pot of songwriters to work with. It was fun ... And it is fun still.

Around 2002/2003, things got a bit more quiet in terms of media exposure for Gusgus.
It's kind of ridiculous. We'd finished a complete record about a year after Attention ... or even within eighteen months of its release. But then children were born and we found it hard to agree on a final touch to the record which would please us all.  We should have released at least two albums during this period. We lost time ... Damn! (laughs)

How are you working on music as Gusgus today?
Well, the main change I guess is the Internet. On Arabian Horse, we produced things separately in our studios, Veiran, Daniel and myself, using  Sugarsync to develop our tracks. This provided us with more time to investigate things more thoroughly. But at the very end, we did come  together in one room to deal with the mix.
And then, with time, several new projects were also born ... Right now, I've got four different projects on my mind: Gusgus, Gluteus Maxims, adsr and President Bongo. It's good to have several platforms to explore.

Your current albums on kompakt, 24/7 and Arabian Horse, feel as though you're coming full circle in a way, but they also sound new and fresh at the same time. Has going back to your roots been a step forward in, a way, for you, rather than a step back?
One step backwards and two steps forwards. We are such techno dudes it's almost embarrassing. But techno means different things to people nowadays.  It's not enough to say: "I love techno", you have to say which T you like. This is when things get complicated.

To me, Arabian Horse felt very much like an integration of your many different approaches into a single, cohesive work. Where do you see Gusgus going - and changing – from here in the future?
Yes, that is a good description of this album. We've used strings before … we've done arpeggios and we've worked with different songwriters and singers … And it's all here again … but with new people. As for the future - only the future can tell … I would like to make an ambient album. Veiran wants to explore an album based on beats and Daniel wants it all! (laughs) We're going to spend a weekend in June in a summerhouse  to start …
I don't think I am far enough away from the horse to be able to describe how the last two albums relate to each other or what prompted aesthetic changes from one to another at this point already. I always need much more time ... Call me a late bloomer (laughs) What I can say, though, is that it was fresh to find Högni and to get Earth back as well and also to have the balls to finally make a track with nothing more than a bassdrum for the entire beat. When new things come along you adapt and get inspired. And then things happen. (laughs)

By Tobias Fischer

Gusgus Discography:
Gus Gus (Kjól & Anderson) 1995   
Polydistortion (Labels) 1996   
This Is Normal (4AD) 1999   
Instrumental Mixes (Warner Bros.) 1999   
Gusgus Vs. T-World (4AD) 2000   
Attention (Underwater) 2002   
Forever (Pineapple Records) 2007   
24/7 (Kompakt) 2009   
Arabian Horse (Kompakt) 2011


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