Different Purpose _ Interview with Gerard Hanson [Convextion / E.R.P]
For those who know, Gerard Hanson needs no introduction. Based in and hailing from Texas, Gerard has released techno under the alias Convextion and electro as E.R.P. on excellent labels such as Echospace [Detroit] and Semantica, amongst others.
Having refused to do interviews in the past, I was very honoured to have Gerard agree to taking the time to have a chat with me about the nature of sound, synths, his experience playing live, space and the future.
Convextion’s subsekt 014 will be broadcast on Fnoob on Wednesday 28th November 2012 @ 2200GMT and will be available on soundcloud after transmission. In the meantime, you can join the event on Facebook.
Rachael: Hi Ger, Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview, hope you’re well armed with that coffee! Just to start with, what does music mean to you?
Ger: Though I love music, it’s not the meaning of my life. It makes my life better. It’s my favorite way to escape, either by listening to it or making it. Music helps me sort out my feelings, and makes the things I imagine seem more real. Music also helps me communicate when I can’t find words. I’ve made some nice friendships through a shared interested in music. I also care for sound in general. Before I liked music I was fascinated by sounds.
Music certainly brings people together doesn’t it! Would you mind elaborating on what sort of sounds you found so fascinating?
It’s not a bad way to find a like mind. Yeah, when I was a kid… let me think… I liked the sound of running water. It could be a stream or a bath or anything with water. I also liked the sound of pans with water in them. I liked it when they were struck and the water would change the tone as it would swirl around. I drove my family crazy with this. I also liked the idle engine of a car we had. It was a Chevrolet Malibu that had slightly loud pipes. The tone was low and resonant with a liquid sort of gurgle. It sounded beautiful. Then I also liked Star Trek sounds, but I was really bonkers for the sounds in Star Wars….. I didn’t really like music yet at this age.
Ger took his chevy to the levy, haha. You conjured up some interesting images there with your descriptions and I am reminded of the following: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFybwg4wadI .You mentioned Star Wars, are you a big fan of science fiction?
I’m not sure. I read more non-fiction and I have a short attention span. I like Sci-fi movies and TV. Sci-fi is my favorite type of story. I like to think about the future or imagine different worlds. Sometimes I feel out of place and I imagine I world that I might like better. I like spaceships, other imaginary mechanical things, and the sounds they would make. I sometimes think about a factory or generator or whatever that would make beautiful sounds as a by-product of its work.
All this talk of machines and cars makes me think of Detroit, has Detroit techno been a big influence on your music, do you think?
Detroit Techno was a very big influence. I was buying records from Detroit at about the same time I was feeling driven to make music. I wanted to make music before this but perhaps Detroit techno is what gave me the final nudge. I thought it was a perfect balance of futurism, funk, and melancholy. There was music from other places I liked at the same time. There was also Chicago, New York, UK, Holland, Germany. I’m probably forgetting some other stuff. I’d been wanting to make music probably since I first heard music with synths, but the records from Detroit were some of my most influential music teachers. I still love these records. I was also inspired by the sound of Basic Channel/Chain Reaction. I remember hearing Paul Johnson play Scion’s Emerge in Dallas years and years ago. I thought it was such a perfect track. It’s still a favorite of mine.
What were the first few memorable records you bought? I’m just thinking of your Model 500 remix as Convextion, how did that end up coming about? It must have felt like a great honour to be asked to do this!
Here are a few records that I was listening to. When the song was close to over I would dread making the decision to play it again and risk burning out on it or trying to find another song that would give me the same feeling.
I first heard Model 500 No UFO’s on a Jack Trax compilation and then found this shortly after.
The Starlight remix was arranged by the Echospace record label. I’d met the Stephen Hitchell a while before this and we were speaking pretty often. I wasn’t sure how do approach the remix and don’t remember if there were isolated parts to work with. Starlight is a song I like and I didn’t see what I would change about it, so I decided to make something inspired by it. I was aiming for a similar mood with some favorite ideas I get when I listen to Model 500 / Infiniti.