Friday, 30 November 2012

Interview: Guti (BidoLito!)

Guti live at Circus, Liverpool Saturday 1st December

As Guti As Gold
Argentine producer GUTI comes to Liverpool this weekend as part of an impressive Circus line-up, marking his second Liverpool appearance in as many years. Surfacing in 2009, Guti is still a new name in electronic music, working his way to the top of bills all over Europe with his creative Latino American-influenced house music. Go back a few more years and Guti was playing to tens of thousands as a pianist in his blues band Jovenes Pordioseros (Young Homeless), selling out stadiums across the world and landing himself in folklore of the South American rock scene.
Guti started to experiment with the studio as he became more involved with the production of Jovanes Pordioseros, using his jazz training and South American culture to create a style of house music that was unique, exciting and let’s face it, desperately needed. Guti’s break came in 2009 when Loco Dice featured one of his tracks on a mix, prompting him to release his first electronic works under the excellent Desolat imprint. Guti’s success as an electronic artist in his own right is epitomised this weekend as he shares a bill with Julio Bashmore and Laurent Garnier in what is sure to be one of the best shows the iconic Masque has seen in years.
Bido Lito!’s Mike Townsend caught up with Guti last week to see how he was getting on.


Bido Lito!: How did you find yourself getting involved with electronic music? Any DJs/producers that acted as early influences for you?
Guti: I don't really know, it just happened. It was a new world for me and still it is. Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Dice were early influences in the beginning. Then Marco Carola. Playing with Marco changed the way I played a lot.

BL!: How do you find the intricate and precise nature of house music works with the more free form nature your jazz and blues past?
G: Yes, with electronic music you have some rules, but in any kind of music you have some rules. You need to try and find your space in music. What I like in electronic music is all the space you have to work with. Silence is the greatest element in this music I think…

BL!: Do you find it has helped you create a more original sound?
G: Your sound is, in the end, yourself. So I think, yes, everything does.

BL!: You first broke after featuring on a Loco Dice mix-tape. How valuable was this exposure? What advice did he have for you going forward?
G: Completely invaluable! He gave me so much advice and I’ve followed it ever since. He is a great man and artist. I’m still growing up and learning, though.

BL!: As a keyboard player in Jovenes Pordioseros, you were playing to crowds of 10,000+ in your home country. How have you found going from shows like this to moving to be a live electronic artist? Have you had to change the way you connect with your audiences?
G: I’ve played really big shows before. When you are part of a band, you are a group: now it is you and the crowd. Now I play some big shows like that very often. Some years ago when I made the switch it was a bit shocking but now it is OK. Life takes you wherever it wants to, and I’m OK with this.  

BL!: You’re based in Düsseldorf right now. Was this a conscious decision, given Germany’s historic electronic music scene?
G: It is a place that gave me calm and music. It isn’t the first choice in many people’s minds, but it works for me. Especially the privacy and reclusion.

BL!: How are you finding it over there? 
G: Peaceful. Lonely. Musical. Calm.

BL!: You’re playing in the Masque this weekend, somewhat of an iconic venue up here in the North West. Have you heard much about it when preparing for this show?
G: I played at the Masque already! Two years ago with Seth Troxler, and I loved the place. Can’t wait to come back.

BL!: You have releases out on a number of record labels at the moment, including Desolat, Raum and Crosstown Rebels. Any plans to launch your own label any time soon?
G: Yes next year. I’m on the process of setting it up. It will be not club orientated though, more jazz and soundtracks. Music you can dream to.

BL!: Your debut full length album came out in 2009 on Desolat, followed by a number of singles. Do you feel like full length albums are important / the future for you as an artist?
G: I had a double EP in 2009, and the album in 2011 on Desolat. For me is all about albums now. That’s why I haven’t released much this year. Next year I’ll release my jazz album on my new label and a new Guti album somewhere else.

BL!: I heard that you have Seth Troxler’s name tattooed on your arm? What’s all that about?!
G: I have his name tattooed on my arm and he has mine on his! He’s one of my best friends, even if we do only see each other every few months. He is a bit dangerous, and so am I. That’s the whole point, we always meet somewhere without plan and always having the craziest time. That’s the way it should be.

BL!: What does 2013 have in store for you? 
G: 2013 will kick off with collaboration with my great friend Davide Squillace. This record will also come with a Carl Cox remix. Not a bad start right?

Guti plays Circus on Saturday 1st December at The Masque, alongside Laurent Garnier, Julio Bashmore and Circus resident Yousef.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Live Review: Terra Naomi (BidoLito!)

Adam Barnes, Rags
Mellowtone & The Sound
LEAF Liverpool
Sunday, 4th November 2012

The evening begins with a rare live performance Rags. Having impressed last year with excellent single You Started It All, produced by Picture book, we’ve heard very little from the Norwegian songstress. Alone with an acoustic guitar, Rags’ astounding voice does its best to encourage a series of uninspiring songs. Littered with b-movie lyrics and sub Norah Jones melodies, each track blends gravely into the next as Rags struggles to connect with an increasingly disinterested audience.

Promising singer-songwriter Adam Barnes comes to Leaf after an impressive 2012, touring extensively and prickling the ears of national press with his lovely mini album Blisters. As he launches into a heart-breaking rendition of Come Undone, his voice cracking as the high notes just escape him, it’s impossible not to warm to the young lad from Oxford. The sprawling piano accompaniment threatens to over power at times, especially on If I Was a Lonely Man which would have benefited from a bit more subtlety. His best songs by some distance though are those that tackle the darker side of human emotion, epitomised by the bleak and sombre We Can Only Sleep. At times though Ben’s songwrting flirts around the wrong side of average, as he introduces a flavourless ballad “about loving apples” whilst the audience regretfully concede that there is no metaphor and perhaps he just really loves apples.

Headliner Terra Naomi eventually shuffles on stage offering a few timid words of introduction. With over 20 million YouTube hits, Terra is one of the pioneers of the internet pop-star, epitomising the hope and optimism that came during the YouTube boom back in 2006. These days of course, unknown singers are getting millions of hits every week as ‘YouTube sensation’ becomes the most winced at term in music, only emphasising how well Terra has done to launch a three album (and counting) career off the back of it.
Terra plays alone on stage, offering much more stripped back renditions of her songs, much to their benefit. Up Here and Jenny are transformed into quirky, fun pop gems as Terra plays with the tempo and dynamic at will, giving them a personality that struggles to come across on record. The Vicodin Song is astonishingly moving as the snow patrol-esque guitars are replaced by a sparse, twinkling piano arrangement, rendering a chatty LEAF second floor utterly silent.

The covers inevitably rear their heads, as Terra plods through lazy versions of Billie Jean and Time After Time prompting much of the audience decide they need another drink. It would be unfair to dwell on these two songs too much, but with three albums worth of original material to play with you have to question their inclusion at all, especially for an artist who has spent the last few years trying to escape her YouTube success story.

The songs are far from extraordinary, but it is the charm and charisma that Terra both speaks and performs with that keeps the set from falling flat. This enables her to transcend all the musical clichés and criticisms that come with music of her genre and her background and produce a memorable performance. Whether it will be enough to maintain her popularity beyond the next few years is questionable, but for tonight, in what is one of the loveliest venues in the City, it will do just fine.