Online Interview with Biggi of GusGus
by Nora Manthey
21. July, 2008
Nora from www.seatwave.de talked to the Icelandic DJ duo (collective on stage) GusGus after Melt!Festival. Topics ranged from collectives, icons, techno from Iceland and Italy and Whatever Forever.
The interview with Biggi Veira was conducted online, because the guys were partying too hard to meet at the Festival – fair enough, but please, read for yourself.
Melt! Festival must almost have felt like a reunion with friends and family, Roisin Murphy, you´ve done some remixes for, Björk, you used to work with Sugarcubes in the very beginning. Have you met up, had a party together?
Not really, Björk was playing Sunday, and we left on Saturday afternoon. Mostly it was the reunion with Melt itself that did it for me. In 2005 we had just an excellent gig on the extrastage (Gemini I think you call it now) and stole all the crowd from the main stage when we played. Now in 2008 it was bit different. The main stage at 5 in the morning; It was just turning daylight and I was bit afraid that it would not be that many people still awake, but it was quite full when we played and everybody was dancing until the end at 6:10 in the morning.
Which acts have you seen at Melt? Would you consider yourself a fan?
I did not see many to tell the truth. I did not connect to the indie acts that were on the main stage the day we played. I mostly spend my time at the 24 hour party place. I think we left for the bus to sleep at 11 Saturday morning.
Biggi Veira, you worked with GusGus from the very beginning in the 90ies. What is the difference between working in a team rather than in a collective?
Less crap more focus.
Could you please shortly introduce all the people making music with you on stage at the Melt Gig?
Me of course manipulating the Mackie mixer and the Doepfer filter pannel, and President Bongo working the Akai-MPC2500 and the Doepfer synth. Then we had Daniel Agust vocalist who has been with us from the beginning in the 90ies doing some new tracks on the upcoming album (Add this song, Thin ice, Hatefull) and Moss from the album Forever. Then there is Love Breakfast (Asta) that used to do backing vocals for us on the Forever tour that is now doing the main vocals in the Hit Need in me from that album. Then there is the new backing vocal setup with Svana and Erla, two cheerlezders from Iceland.
Would you say the Icelandic music scene is easier to get in to than in bigger countries?
Probably, but you have to be good nevertheless, bad stuff is mostly avoided as wherever.
You seem to be family guys, or people that rely on close connections? Is that true?
Well I have a family, GusGus is based on friendship and love for music but not business. So I guess I’ll say yes, it is true.
Did you get support from the very beginning, i.e. of your parents? Have you ever considered a different career other than music? Have you learned anything else 😉
I have a university degree in computer science and Bongo learned photography in Paris for many years. And we both have career as such, though the music has our hearts.
Your new Album is called Forever. What do you refer to- Forever GusGus? Forever Music? Forever Party?
Whatever forever basically. It just refers that the now is an ongoing thing that last forever.
What influences are the most important for that album?
The concept of degeneration was the one that triggered my aprocce. That is the degeneration as path towards new fresh start. As the western world is now in the degeneration phase makes it a bit political I guess.
In the press release and the outlook of Forever you are using religious vocabulary. Would you consider yourself spiritual or do you feel like a God yourself, performing in front of a huge crowd?
Everybody is spiritual or at least has all the ingreediens to be one. By iconicing ourselfs we were just indicating that everybody has that halo of a spiritual person. Everybody is on a spiritual jurney. But many are just hanging at the pit stopp drinking beer.
Why do you work with all these oldschool equipment? I read about discussions about the right bass machine, synthesizers and so on. I was especially fascinated by the super 8 videos… Is there a specific idea to it?
Not really, I just bought myself the Roland drummachines in the beginning of the 90s along with my most trusty synths the ARP 2500, SH-101 and Yamaha CS-30. Then the Juno-2 that does almost all cord stuff in GusGus (organ in Ladyshave, Synth in David, Need in me, Call of the wild, Piano in Moss, e.t.c.) was the first synth I bought in 1986. And I have just been using this stuff since. It sounds great and I don’t see any need in going softsynths, this is just our sound. The only thing I have added throughout the years is enormous collection of the German Doepfer modular synths that I use for various things, percussive, synth and effect oriented.
Techno without compromises, you call your music. What do you mean by it?
I don’t recall calling it that; But then again I am not a big fan of compromises. But I can say that we are heading for deeper techno waters on the forthcoming album so be prepared.
You said once, that you love Germany best? Why is that? Is it because we are not puking on the dancefloor only?
Hehe, well the Brits and the Icelandic are not always puking. I just connect more to the German dance scene than any else. I like it deep and Germany has the best deep techno scene. There are some really interesting techno pouring of Italy at the moment so you have to stay on your toes if you don´t want to lose you leed.
What was the live act that impressed you most or deepest? Was there an initial gig, that made you decide: I want to do the same/different/better?
It was definitely the 808 State concert in Iceland in the year 1990. It was just so cool. Soon after that I was doing live performance with T World in basically the same fashion as I am doing today.
What was the craziest story or the hardest effort you´ve ever made to get into a club or concert or maybe stadium?
I can’t remember honestly. I don’t linger to the past much, so it basically fades away rather quickly.
Thank you very much – your performance was fascinating!
So you were one of those that was still awake? Glad you enjoyed it. We definitely did.