Greg Gow: Detroit Love

Words by: Errol Leslie
Posted: 10/4/17 14:13

Toronto’s Greg Gow has been at the forefront of the Canadian electronic music scene for many years now, building his reputation as a resident DJ in some of the cities most reputable venues whilst simultaneously managing his own Restructured imprint.

Greg’s affiliation with the neighbouring Detroit scene shines through in his productions, which can in part be attributed to his affiliation with Derrick May’s Transmat label which he signed to in 2009. Further connections were born from his release on Kevin Saunderson’s KMS imprint and subsequent gigs at the legendary Movement festival, where Gow cemented his name into Detroit’s rich techno lineage.

Greg’s next release lands him on fellow Canadian’s Nitin and Johnny White’s Social Experiment Records. With this in mind, we thought it time to sit down and catch up with the luminary producer and DJ, to find out how he keeps his creativity flowing and what 2017 has in store for him.

Hi Greg, thanks for speaking to us – How are you and what’s new?

I am good. Hope all is well on your end. In terms of what’s new - just working away at promoting the forthcoming album ‘Lost Days’ on Social Experiment which is coming 15 April.

What would you say makes the scene in Canada so fertile?

I think the main element is that there is such a variety of sounds that people get exposed to, everything from deep house to bangin’ techno on any given night. There are always so many events going on. As well, primarily in Toronto and Montreal we get the best international djs from around the world playing regularly at Venues such as Coda and Nest in Toronto and Stereo in Montreal. Plus we have some great summer and winter festivals such as Electric Island in Toronto, MEME Festival (Winnipeg) and Igloo Fest (Montreal), just to mention a few. These factors have really helped nourish the Canadian scene and developed the sound of Canadian Djs and artists.

How did you originally get involved and affiliated with some of the biggest names in the Detroit techno scene?

Back in the mid 2000’s I was throwing a lot of Techno events and the sound of Detroit always had been the sound I loved. So, I did a series of shows called Alleys of Your Mind with a good friend Derrick Ortencio with our primary focus on the Detroit sound. At the same time, I was also working on a lot of material in the studio. For one of these events in 2008, we brought in Derrick May to Footwork, a legendary club that was open in Toronto at the time and I gave Derrick a cd with some of my tracks.

A couple months later he hit me back on FB and said he really liked the music. This ultimately led to me going to see him in Detroit and setting up several releases on his legendary label Transmat. Then he invited me to play with him at Movement in Detroit and Italy in 2010. Through Derrick, I met Kevin Saunderson and Carl Craig.

Since then I have done various projects for Kevin on his imprint KMS. Including a well-received remix of Chez Damier’s Untitled B in 2014 and the year before that, an EP called Three Ways to Skin a Cat. In 2015, Kevin had me on his Movement Line up for the Made In Detroit Stage. And just this past January at BPM Festival in Mexico 2017, I had the honour of playing at Carl Craig’s Detroit Love showcase alongside Dan Bell, Stacey Pullen, Kenny Larkin and Carl himself.

What is your studio set up like and could you tell us a little bit about your production process?

All I will say on this topic is I use a combination of digital and analog gear. I utilize some of the best machines I can get my hands on. But again, my number one goal is to be inspired and have a good idea when I sit down in the studio. There certainly is a method to my madness but I can’t divulge the secret ingredients in my sauce.

Can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind your forthcoming ‘Lost Days’ Album?

About two years ago, I had a few tracks in a raw state which I played for Nitin. I was experimenting with some slightly deeper and dubby material at that time. At any rate, Nitin said send them over to Jonny White, which I did, and Jonny was into them but asked me to produce some more in the same sort of head space for an EP or Album. This process took me about 8 months to lay down an album’s worth of material. There were about 15 finished tracks of which we picked 8 for the main album. Additional effects were added at their studio called The Treatment Centre here in Toronto. This is also the first album I have ever released. 

How do you manage a busy touring schedule with running a label and spending time in the studio?

Ok so I won’t lie here - It certainly can make for a hectic schedule. And I’m an early riser so this helps me get as many things sorted in general. I’m up and at ‘em, messaging my manager - much to his dismay sometimes - at 7am Toronto time or rather 4am his time in LA. But we will sleep when we’re dead, right. LOL

Generally, I must be inspired by something or someone to make music. That is usually what drives me to get in the studio in the first place. And I try to fall off the side of the world, shut off my phone and internet and just focus on my idea until its done. Otherwise there are just too many distractions.

As for the label, that just happens in all the other empty space throughout the day. So, I would sum it up all up as part inspiration and a lot of perspiration.

Since you started releasing music, how would you say your sound has developed?

From the onset my sound was always on the harder edge of things. Over time, I have developed a more refined deeper dynamic side which this album truly showcases.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2017?

Several things are on the go including some tour dates supporting the album and working on a new collaboration with Butr of Treatment Centre here in Toronto - these tracks are on the deeper and synth tinged kind of sound.

Then there're more collaborations, with good friend Ferhat Albayrak in Istanbul. These are more straight up banger type tracks but I will also focus on more melodic techno releases on my own label Restructured.

In May, Restructured has a sick release coming from Til Kruger with some proper deep soulful Techno. And among it all, I want to find time to Road trip this summer to a bunch of US ballparks and catch great Baseball.

Greg Gow Online

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