An Interview with Bryan Gerrard

JMatthews: Hey Bryan, really looking forward to having you play Nov. 7th for HotDish’s “Local’s Guide to Trainwreckin’” @ First Ave’s VIP. Many people know you in the Minneapolis dance scene, but can you give us a quick rundown of the history of Bryan Gerrard?

Gerrard: Lookin forward to it too man! It’s been a minute since I played up in the VIP. Quick rundown huh? Well I guess when it comes to house in MPLS – Been playin music since ’94 and like a lot of us dusty old cats still left around,  I came up playin raves and warehouse parties throughout Mpls and the Midwest in the 90’s. Started playin clubs shortly after and have been doin it ever since. I’ve played at or held a residency at pretty much every club in the city over the last 10-15 years and still love it!

JMatthews: Can you give us a rundown on Celebrity Records?

Gerrard: Celebrity was formed in ’99 with my homeboy David Drone in the back of his record shop Bassment Records. We started basically with the idea of releasing quality music that we believed in as opposed to saturating the market with a million tracks like a lot of other labels do.  It’s always been a labor of love for us and about quality over quantity. Over the years we’ve had the pleasure of working with industry veterans like Andy Caldwell, Scott Wozniak, Gene Farris, Jay-J, Stacy Kidd, Jay West and Alexander East as well as exposing the world to now famous and prolific artists such as Chuck Love, Audiowhores and Random Soul (all of whom released their first productions on Celebrity).  It has also been an outlet for many of our own production and will continue to be till the sun (or we) burn out!

JMatthews: What has been your biggest influence in the Minneapolis music scene?

Gerrard: Wow biggest influence…Well if we’re talking about people its without a doubt my house brothers 4 life Monte Hilleman, Alex Jarvis and David Drone. Those boys were doin this shit before me and I used to go see all them play before I ever started and that’s without a doubt the reason I got behind the decks. They graciously invited me into the fold a few years later and we’ve had sooo many crazy experiences since then it’s impossible to count. I’d also have to say the early days of SNDP at First Ave and old nights at The 90’s with DJ Miss Miss back in the day were major influences as well.

JMatthews: Who would you say has the most influence on you and your music right now both locally and internationally?

Gerrard: Well without a doubt all the people I mentioned before remain a big influence. I’ve been getting into a lot of other music lately but when it comes to house I’m diggin the stuff Crazy P, Spirit Catcher and Lovebirds are  doin big time. Really diggin the slowed down disco approach to things although there really doesn’t seem to be much of an ear for that here in MPLS. I’m also a big fan of Jay West and Manuel Sahagun’s stuff. Pretty much every track those guys do stays in my wallet forever. I love that they really respect sound quality while keeping the tracks innovative and funky as hell!

JMatthews: Can you tell us a little bit about the earlier life of Bryan Gerrard in the early 2000’s with beatopia, First Avenue, etc? Do you feel that times then are different then vs. now?

Gerrard: That was definitely the heyday that’s for sure! The best times I’ve EVER had djing in my life were up in the VIP room. I miss the feeling that people were open to hearing music they didn’t know and music with a feeling and just having a great time!

JMatthews: Let It Be, what a shame, right? Have you been able to visit the warehouse or the now online shop?

Gerrard: Yeah that’s too bad but not a huge surprise. All the good record shops are gone. Haven’t had the chance to check out the warehouse yet.

JMatthews: Digital versus vinyl. Thoughts?

Gerrard: I think I get asked this question about once a week. And honestly I’m surprised I still do considering digital has been the standard for several years now. My take on it is to move along with technology instead of fighting it. I love the sound of a record as much as the next guy but when clubs refuse to have a decent set of working turntables in them, all the record shops are gone and only about 10% of all the music getting made is released on vinyl the choice kind of makes itself no? I will be busting out some vinyl in the VIP!

JMatthews: Best club to rock out at outside of the 612?

Gerrard: My favs are Smart Bar in Chicago, Blue in Miami, and until last year before it closed Pink in SF was the joint!!!!

JMatthews: You are now holding a residency at The Lounge, can you give the dance community who doesn’t know a little about what your nights are like there?

Gerrard: I love it at The Lounge. That place has been around for so many years that you just gotta! I play a lot of different styles there depending on the night but when that place gets goin it can be one of the best nights in town. They recently remodeled the Main Room which I think makes a huge difference. People need to come down and check it out!!!

JMatthews: What are your thoughts on where house music is going and where it is going to be in the next 5-10 years?

Gerrard: wow man who knows. In the past just when you think house is dying out it comes back. I think people get wrapped up in all these sub-genres and fads but at the end of the day house always wins and will always be around in some format. Probably just need to wait a few more years so it can be all “Retro” then we’ll see its next big resurgence.

JMatthews: Well we sure are looking forward to having you come out and rock some of that vinyl, that is one thing we will never deny a DJ!

 

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