“When I got the opportunity at Pacha, I said I would only do it if I had full creative control.” So says Israel’s Guy Gerber, talking of his decision to turn Pacha Ibiza on its head with an edgy new high-profile residency this year called, naturally, Wisdom Of The Glove. What else? Gerber says he came up with the name after a party in the Mexican jungle that was hosted by Audiofly.
“Someone gave me a Michael Jackson looking glove, which I started using to touch people on the face. The glove felt very cheap and rough on the inside… though very soft on the outside. So I came up with the idea that the more you touch, the more the glove charges you with creepiness, because every time I’m touching it I feel weird. But, then if I shake your hand with my gloveless hand, I channel everything out and hold you in your dreams with all the creepiness that I’ve accumulated. So that’s The Wisdom of the Glove!”
Standard fodder for a high-profile residency at one of Ibiza’s glitziest and most iconic clubs, then. However, in a season when Paris Hilton’s foam-filled residency at Amnesia has come to represent the excesses of vapid, cashed-up EDM culture, Gerber on the other hand is representing the notion of underground house and techno stepping into the spotlight.
Several months in, has Gerber’s grand experiment succeeded? Was the Island ready?
“I think overall, the island definitely wasn’t ready for some of the names we have been bringing; but the island definitely was ready for a change. I feel the support everywhere I go. This party is about changing without really knowing in what direction, but I’m really just enjoying the process of doing something different, and I’ve found that people have been really fond of this”.
With five parties left this year, Data Transmission talks to the man himself to find out a little more about the wisdom of the glove.
First things first, you’re a few months into your Pacha residency. It was obviously a very brave move, and quite experimental in its approach. ‘Different’ is how you’ve termed it yourself. What’s your honest assessment on how it’s been performing so far?
Some of the artists that I chose have been a little bit risky in the sense that they are doing things within the electronic music realm that are not so common. But so far, the response from the people has been great.
How did you select the support DJs, were you conscious of perhaps needing to please a different, larger crowd when making these selections?
I initially had some DJs in mind that I was not able to book because, let’s just say, there were a few people trying to ‘cock block’ me. But that ultimately turned out to be a blessing, because I was able to dig deeper and choose much more cutting-edge, innovative DJs. Pacha was also involved in the DJ selection for about three out of the 20 nights of the season.
More than consciously aiming to please a larger crowd with names, we wanted to create a situation that whenever you enter through the door at Wisdom of the Glove, you will always hear very good music. That was our only goal and so far we’ve always achieved it.
Along with Solomun, you’ve come to represent the face of the underground taking the mainstage in Ibiza. Do you feel comfortable with this mantle?
I came to Ibiza for the first time 7 years ago, and it’s my favorite place in the world. After going from one place to another for so many years, I finally have my own setup that allows me to give something back to the island that I love so much. I’m not interested on being the face of this or that, especially because the word ‘underground’ takes on different meanings depending on where you are. I just want to contribute in making Ibiza a fascinating place once again.
Do you feel like this is a signal of a wider shift in dance culture?
I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think we planted a seed and it has been growing, so its important for people to realize that it is possible to do it without being a slave to the usual trends.
You’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the US, with a tour during your Ibiza residency. What are your observations on the developments over there?
I’m a big fan of the US, whether people like it or not. I’m actually involved in opening up a club this year in Brooklyn, New York called Verboten. I took two weeks off out of the Pacha summer residency: one was for 4th of July weekend, and the next one is going to be for Burning Man, because I’m really fascinated with the whole experience.
The US is a very interesting place where there have been a lot of changes in recent years. People usually complain of how commercial it has become, but there are also many underground parties that didn’t exist before. Things feel very fresh and exiting.
Something that’s quite interesting is last month you dropped an entire free album of new material. I’m assuming you’re in quite a prolific creative space in terms of studio work.
Yes, I create music almost every day, or at least almost every week, but I’m not so good in following through. Also, because I keep on moving and changing studios when I’m traveling, there are many things that are left unfinished. I had a lot of unreleased material that I used for the album, and this was a chance of doing something for the sake of the music itself without having to go through the whole process of promoting it. And I just wanted to give something back to my fans that have supported me and purchased my tracks over the years. And maybe even piss off the ones who are used to downloading them illegally.
Do you feel that mix captures the sound of ‘Wisdom of the Glove’?
Yes, the beginning is very cinematic, which goes well with the concept. It is also quite deep and that’s something that I can also say about our night, it’s not a hands-in-the-air type of party.
Your Fabric mix from last year also itself equated to a whole new album of material. Looking back over the past ten years, do you feel you’ve necessarily always been so prolific in terms of your idea, or does it come in waves?
Yes, creativity definitely comes in waves for me. My process of making music is based on not thinking too much. I’m like a sculptor that just sculpts away without having a specific figure in mind. For these two albums in particular, the time pressure added some sort of distress, but also added boundaries that, as an artist, were actually helping me be more creative, because when I don’t have any boundaries I tend to get lost.
I think if you looked back to the beginning of 2012, you having your own Pacha residency isn’t something anybody would have been able to predict. It’s a reflection of the fact that your star has risen quite a lot in that time. Tell us about the journey for you.
Looking back, I can honestly say that I never consciously took any particular career decisions that would lead me here. I was just being honest with my self and doing my own thing. Sometimes it wasn’t all that easy, especially when you have so many people around taking the easy route and releasing music that is easier to digest. 2012 was a very good year for me musically speaking. I started to DJ along with my live set, and this decision made playing much more enjoyable and inspiring for me. Playing live was, in a way, becoming too easy because I didn’t have to prepare and it was very melodic therefore easier to get people exited; now I feel I need to work harder to get that same reaction. I was in Mexico exactly for the beginning of the new Mayan cycle, and I think something happened to me and I landed in a positive orbit.
For those of you not lucky enough to catch Guy at Wisdom Of The Glove in Ibiza you can also find him playing alongside Dixon and Ame for the equally unorthodox Freeze in Liverpool on the 21st of September. For more information please visit www.clubfreeze.co.uk/tickets