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Gav Easby [Interview]

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Gav Easby is now establishing himself as an Electronic Music Artist, Producer, Remixer on some of best progressive & melodic house labels in the scene and has always retained his passion for DJing. He is the label owner of INU & IN2U Records as well as releasing on his own Galvanised Imprint and one half of the INU Musika Project with Andy Woldman. Radio Show Co-host on Frisky Radio (INU Musika Show) and Host of INU Residents Sessions. 2023 has seen Gav further elevate his INU imprint through releases from Dowden, Hobin Rude, Kamilo Sanclemente, K Loveski, Kostya Outta, Michael A, Ric Niels and more. Gav too has stepped into the spotlight with his most recent single 'Reconcile' landing in impressive fashion, alongside remixes from Gai Barone and Enertia-Sound.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Gav to learn more about the release of 'Reconcile', his background, DJing, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Gav, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

GE: “Thanks for the kind offer for the interview, mood is great right now and looking forward to the future. Music wise, I listen to allot of music all the time, today I have been listening to tracks from Michael A, Sebastian Sellares, Analog Jungs & Alex O'Rion - Great artists!”

How has your year been so far and what are your plans for the week?

GE: “This year has been fantastic, at the turn of the year I am not sure what clicked, but it felt like my sound started falling into place, workflow speed increased massively and the majority of the goals I set myself at the start of 2023 are coming through, in some cases exceeding expectations, its a great feeling, so riding the wave. This week, I will working on a few projects that have been bubbling away and get these Tracks & Remixes completed.”

Do you consider yourself a DJ or producer first? And which do you enjoy more and why?

GE: “Great question! I am not really sure anymore… I think when you look around the scene now, Artists are now one and the same and need both skill sets to stand out from the crowd. Both skill sets are very unique and symbiotic. I guess the best way is to let listeners decide ha ha…

I love creating Music, it’s certainly my passion, but you can’t beat the feeling when you are DJing, the vibe and energy when people are dancing, creating moments - That’s what its all about”

Talk to us about growing up in the UK, how did you discover your passion for electronic music and what sort of musical background do you have?

GE: “When growing up in the UK, it was the birth of electronic music in that era, Hip Hop Artists were using allot of 808 Sounds & Drum Machines and Electro was big with plenty of Synthesizers being used, I remember hearing allot of it on the radio.

My first introduction to music was back when I was 9 years old and was classically trained in playing the Violin and played well into my teen years.

During my teens I was more into Guns & Roses, Nirvana & Oasis, before I was introduced to the clubbing scene back in 1998. I used to go to a club called the Sugarshack at the Middlesbrough Empire, it was a converted theatre, back then it was all about coming together, dancing and the music. I used to go week in week out and listen to every big name DJ going, Sasha, Digweed, Carl Cox, Roger Sanchez, Pete Tong, you name it at that time, most played there. When I turned 18 I got a job and a loan for a pair of Technic 1210’s and Vestax PMC17A Mixer and was totally hooked!”

And to add to that, what British producers or DJs first inspired you when you discovered electronic music?

GE: “Looking back at Producers at that time in the UK that really inspired me, Steve Lawler, Bedrock (Nick Muir & John Digweed), Science Department (Danny Howells & Dick Trevor), Charlie May, Sister Bliss & D.Ramirez, it was defiantly a special time where Artists were breaking new ground all the time .”

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in the UK, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

GE: “I think nowadays, you have to go to the big cities. From north to south, start at Sub Club in Glasgow, Digital and World Head Quarters in Newcastle, Mint Club in Leeds and down in London, you have Fabric for the big events and names, the Prog House scene in the UK is back on the rise, with allot of promoters focusing on more intimate venues, with some fantastic line ups and there are allot of great local DJ’s”

If you are not DJing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

GE: “Away from the scene, you find me at the day job, at the Gym or taking long walks”

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

GE: “My first introduction to music production, was when hiring a Studio in Sheffield in UK and just so happened D. Ramirez was the owner and sound engineer, he showed me the basics of producing and putting a track together. After taking some time out of the scene to raise my family, when getting back into music production, it was self-taught, but with some feedback early on from the likes of Enertia-Sound and Manu Riga, great guys and were certainly a massive help early on.

I would definitely recommend any new producer to invest in some good monitors and sound card/Amp, everything else you need to produce a good standard of music is usually included in your DAW Package now.

I would certainly get as much constructive feedback as you can from more experienced Artists and learn to take constructive criticism and use it to get better, I still do this today and keep learning and crafting my skills and lastly, just keep on going!

There will be times you feel frustrated and get stuck, keep going through these mental barriers, it will bare fruit eventually”

You stepped away from the industry for a bit and returned in 2019, what led to your hiatus and what eventually brought you back to the scene?

GE: “Yeah, when my Son was born, I hung up my headphones and concentrated on my career and raising my family, my Daughter came along shortly afterwards. As both entered their teen years, spending time with Dad wasn’t cool anymore ha ha, so had allot of free time. Dance music tends to stay in your blood and I still listened to allot of music during this time, with how technology had moved on, it was fairly easy to get going creating music again and do it from home.”

You have a new single ‘Reconcile’ out this week via your inU imprint. Tell us a bit about the track, who’s been playing it and why you decided to release it on your own label as opposed to signing it somewhere else.

GE: “We have had some excellent feedback on this release! At the turn of the year, I sat down and wrote down some goals, one was to release at least 3 EP’s on my own imprint and be involved with as many Remixes as I could handle. This one will be the 3rd of the year and certainly the best I have produced to date.”

The remixes from Gai Barone and Enertia-Sound are also exceptional, tell how you went about selecting those artists and why you think they are a good fit for this particular track.

GE: “I have been a massive fan of Gai’s work for a long time, one of the best of the best in my opinion, we had been speaking for a while about working on a project, I showed him this one and was delighted that he enjoyed it and agreed to work with me on a Remix (I was a little taken back to be honest, fanboy moment.. ha ha) and his version was exactly what I expected it to be - EPIC!

I have been good friends with Enertia-Sound for some time now and when I showed him the track, initially for some feedback, he asked if he could remix it and I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity.

Both remixes have their own unique flavour and I always look to do this when building an EP, so there something for everyone to enjoy, this one is definitely the best I have put together.”

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically on ‘Reconcile’.

GE: “I use Ableton for my main DAW, for Monitors I have the Kali Audio LP-8’s and a Beringer UMC1820 for my interface and have been using the AKAI APC40 as a controller. While creating I use the NI A49 Keyboard to write in Midi (Jotting down ideas). Synth wise, on Reconcile, I used the Korg Minologue XD for the main melody parts and Roland TR-8S for Drums. On Plugins, I use Pigments, but the rest, I use the stock Ableton tools”

Let’s look a bit more at production, once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you’re satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practice?

GE: “Since the turn of the year, I pretty much stick with the same formula. Create a 16 or 32 Bar loop and create a “Peak” or where the track would be at its fullest, from there I would transfer all the sounds to Ableton’s Live View and play around with different combinations. I would then map out an outline/sketch of a full track and record in from Live View into Session View, the sketch may be 10-15 minutes long to give me enough variations to play with.

I would then go back into Session View and the go through the track bar by bar, cut out the bits I don’t like and trim down to around 7-8 mins to give me the skeleton of the track.

I usually leave it at this point, just for a few days and come back with fresh ears, if it still sounds good and flowing nicely, I then add in fx, automation and add some extra spice and work on transitions.

I try and get this done very quickly to keep the flow and momentum while in a creative mindset. Once I think it is done, I usually leave for a couple of days and then go back in, if it sounds done with fresh ears, I don’t tinker anymore and get the track over for Mastering.

I always start a session with a goal before opening the DAW, once the goals are completed. Close down and walk away, I used to spend hours and hours tinkering and 9/10 made the tracks worse that when I started ha ha… Speed is the key to keep the creative juices flowing”

And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

GE: “I usually share with our Mastering Engineer Rob Walberg (aka Nightbob) for more technical feedback, this has been a massive help over the last few years. I always send to Enertia-Sound, I know he will give critical & detailed constructive feedback. I also send to Danny Jarvis, great DJ in the North East of the UK and he gives a good DJ point of view.”

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

GE: “I really enjoy the whole creative process, getting a groove going that makes your body move and get the creative juices flowing is a great feeling!

I will create the tracks I produce and do all the sound design and mixing myself.

I never Master my own work though, I will always send my tracks away to be professionally done by Rob Walberg (aka Nightbob) and Rob does all the Mastering for my Labels too.”

Let’s talk about DJing briefly, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

GE: “I was speaking to a good friend about this recently on their podcast, how the DJ presents the music is just as important as the music itself, the magic is in the mix. If I am recording a mix or a guest mix, I can only go off my own feelings and energy levels at the time and you hope when people listen they can get in sync with their own energy and enjoy the mix. Playing out live is totally different, reading the room and the dance floor and improvising along the way is a skill all by itself and I believe what sets apart the good from the great, I never have a pre-planned set list, just a load of music in files on the USB Stick and see how things unfold naturally, if the vibe is there, keep pushing the energy through the mixes and take them on a journey with you”

How has your work as a DJ influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

GE: “Massively, like a hand in a glove. The main reason I started producing music was to create a series of tracks that would be of a good enough standard to play out as a DJ. The vast majority of the Music I produce is structured in a way that is DJ Friendly for mixing in and out, this part is super important to me”

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

GE: “The interview is not long enough to list ha ha… Synth wise it would have to be a Moog One, an upgrade to the Monitor to Kali Audio IN8’s and fully soundproof the Studio space at home and probably do an extension on the house so I could put in a DJ booth with some CDJ3000’s and Mixer set up.”

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

  1. Carl Cox - 01:00 - 03:00
  2. Sasha & Digweed B2B -22:30 - 01:00
  3. D-Nox - 21:00 - 22:30
  4. Hernan Cattaneo & Nick Warren B2B - 18:00 - 21:00
  5. DJ Ruby - 16:00 - 18:00

Cheated a little on the B2B I know… ha ha..

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

GE: “The Original Matrix Movie was a mind blower, still one of fav go to movies”

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

GE: “Spending time with the family & going to the Gym, I have only recently went back to working out again and keeps the mind clear and lost a bit of weight as well (which is a bonus ha ha)”

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you in terms of releases and gigs? Anything you can share with us?

GE: “The rest of 2023 is packed! I will be doing a Live Performance in Newcastle for the Early Doors Club Event at World Head Quarters in December, it will be the first time performing tracks I have produced live to an audience, so will be very special indeed!

I am speaking with some promoters about a possible debut in Sri Lanka next year and ADE 2024 is definitely on the cards.

I have 3 Remixes to come on my inU Label, working with Dowden, Michael A & Ultraverse, great guys and awesome Originals! I also have a Co-Lab coming out on inU next year with Jelly For Babies & Phonic Youth on Vocals, it has been a pleasure working with them and can’t wait to share this one. I have a few Original tracks I am working on that I will finish and look to maybe release on my Galvanised Label later this year. I am doing allot of planning for 2024 now too, sitting down and working out a plan worked this year, so I will be doing the same again for next year and then see where the universe takes me :-) “

'Reconcile' is available now via INU: https://shorturl.at/pDLP4

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