Toronto native Greg Gow has steadily been building a formidable reputation as one of Canada’s greatest musical exports in recent years. Consistently pushing the boundaries of his art, Greg’s unique sound is a skillful hybrid of soulful Detroit techno, marinated in the flavours of his Toronto roots. We had a chance to speak with Greg ahead of his set at the season finale of Electric Island, on September 1, and here’s what he had to say…
Although you are from Toronto, you are sometimes referred to as ‘the white sheep of the Detroit techno family.’ What drew you towards the sounds of the Detroit techno scene? Who are some of your favourite Detroit based artists?
My first experiences in electronic music started with buying primarily Garage House records. I loved these records because the tracks had soul and always hit you in the chest. In the late 90s, I had some friends that were going to school in Detroit, and I would regularly go down and visit. They were throwing events under the name DETOR where I heard such artists as Derrick May, Robert Hood and Claude Young. I immediately was drawn to the sound. It had elements of garage and house music, but had more energy and was forward thinking! After that, I was hooked! My favourite Detroit artists hands down are Derrick May, Carl Craig and Robert Hood. I am honoured that I can say I’ve done records for both Transmat (Derrick’s Label) and very recently Carl’s Planet E Communications.
Your 2017 released album ‘Lost Days’ is an excellent display into your wide array of sounds and production techniques. What were some of your inspirations behind this album?
Even though I am know as primarily as a techno DJ, I have a wide range in my sound my roots are from soulful house, mixed with influences from Detroit and the 90’s Toronto Rave scene. Initially, when I sent the No.19 guys some music, the goal was to just do an EP. But after they heard a couple of the tracks, we agreed we should expand it into an album. The process took almost 2 years. In terms of inspiration, I wanted to make something that showed the full range of my influences. The album runs the gamut from techno to house, plus some ambient material.
You travel quite often to play shows all over the world. What are some of your favourite cities to perform at?
That’s a hard one! Different cities pull different energy, but to mention a few I’d say: Amsterdam, Tokyo, Argentina, and In the USA: Brooklyn and of course Detroit.
‘Regardless of a festival or club, I always try to maintain a consistency in my sound, so if you closed your eyes you could say – Yep that’s Gow playing’
– Greg Gow
Over the years as a respected artist, you have gained access to some of the best venues and events in the city. How do your sets differ when playing at a venue such as CODA versus an outdoor music festival such as Dreams or Electric Island?
I always consider several things when programming sets for events. First off, during what point in the event am I playing? Early or closing it out? For festivals on the larger scale, I usually pull tracks with a slightly bigger room feel. For clubs and tighter spaces, I like to play tracks with a more intimate vibe and crawl up your spine. Regardless of a festival or club, I always try to maintain a consistency in my sound so if you closed your eyes you could say ‘Yep! That’s Gow playing!’….
You will be closing the Moog Audio Stage at the season finale of Toronto’s Electric Island on September 1st. What do you love most about this festival and what can fans expect from your closing set?
I just got some new unreleased tracks of Kenny Rogers and Garth Brooks. Can’t wait to bust them out! LOL. No, but seriously my set will go from techno to house and back. I always try to have peaks and valleys and tell some kind of story. Plus, I try to focus on the crowd’s energy, that will set the direction where the set moves to and from.
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