Displaying a broad range of styles and dynamics within their music, Harry (Gerra) and Dave (Stone) have proven that they can design D&B for any kind of dancefloor. Having joint forces 10 years ago, they've continuously displayed this talent within their productions - and this year is no exception.
2019's already seen the duo drop 2 EPs with our sister label, SGN:LTD, as well as an addition to our celebratory 15 Years compilation and an Australia/NZ tour on the horizon. Both 4-track EPs demonstrate how far they can stretch their sonic soundscapes in either direction, with the 'Disillusion' EP being the most recent and some of their most progressive work to date.
Considering the year they're having, we decided to catch up with Gerra & Stone to talk about their past, present and future - please read on...
So, guys - take us back to the beginning and tell us about the early days of Gerra & Stone?
Harry: We both started out as resident DJs in the Southampton/South Coast area around 2009 or so. Dave got into promoting shortly after and ran some D&B events in the city for the next few years, at the same time I worked at a local record shop which stocked almost exclusively D&B records. We had a decent scene going down there during that time with about 3 or 4 regular monthly events bringing headliners.
Dave: Around 2011 we had our first few releases on Proximity Recordings which gave us a platform as unknown artists - we'll always be grateful for that. Then in 2013, we had our first release on Dispatch Recordings which was a proud moment for us as we'd been fans of the label for some years.
Harry: Then in 2014 I moved to Bristol and Dave moved to London not long after. Around about this time we started to release a few singles with Ram Records/Program which was another milestone. Over the next few years, we continued working with these labels and were also lucky enough to play more or less every major EU country, as well as getting out to US/Canada/Australia/New Zealand.
And what happened after this?
Dave: At some point after that, we began working on our debut album 'Polarism' which we released on Dispatch in 2017. It took around about a year and a half to write and was definitely a huge learning curve, but one we're happy to look back on. As a lot of artists do, we had a bit of a break from production after this to take some time to reflect on and change some workflows and methods, etc.
Harry: We also started working with Vandal Records not long after, we'd always liked and played music from the label and had a good connection with the crew after playing the infamous 'Le Bikini' club in Toulouse a few times, which is heavily linked with the label. In 2018 we had our first release with Shogun Audio, 'System' on 'Point Of Origin, Vol. 2', which was obviously a big moment for us as the label has been one of our earliest influences. From then up until now we've really enjoyed working with Shogun Audio and their sister label SGN:LTD over a variety of releases.
Fast forward to 2019 now - you recently dropped your second EP on SGN:LTD (the 'Disillusion' EP) - tell us all about that?
Dave: We approached this EP in a fairly similar way to our 'Pathfinder' EP which we dropped on SGN:LTD earlier this year. We usually like to have a variety of sounds touching on the darker/dancefloor orientated tracks and some more soulful flavours.
Take us inside the studio for a minute - what did you use production-wise for your latest EP?
Harry: In terms of sound design a lot of the synth, percussion, ambient, and FX sounds come originally from various analogue devices which are then recorded and sequenced in the computer, mainly Elektron Analog Rytm/Digitakt/Analog Heat/Korg Minilogue and also some modular synths. We've got quite a bit on the modular side but some companies we love are Mutable Instruments/Dreadbox/Intellijel and Make Noise.
Dave: We're happy with the current workflow as it allows for more experimental and 'happy accident' time with the analogue devices, along with the inevitable long hours of painstaking mixing and sound design in the box!
Following on from this you just released 'Sprung', your contribution to our '15 Years Of Shogun Audio' compilation, give us the low-down on that?
Harry: Yeah, we're super excited to be included in this project! The track that ended up being selected came together pretty quickly (for us).
What was the process like for making the track?
Dave: It started as a hardware jam, then added the main drums and bass elements on the computer along with a cheeky old school RnB acapella. The tune came to life after only one or two sessions really. It was one those tracks that pretty much wrote itself after we had the main elements.
What's on the horizon for Gerra & Stone?
Harry: In December we're doing our second tour of Australia & NZ, touching down in 4 cities in NZ and Perth in Australia. We can't wait to get back out there as there is so much passion for D&B in both of these beautiful countries! We also have a run of UK and EU shows to announce soon from December through till March which we can't wait for!
Dave: Music-wise we've also got a single coming out on Flexout Audio coming late November, as well as 2 remixes with our American mates Legion & Logam out on Program in January. Aside from that, we're working away on more new music for now!
So that's a breakdown of the Gerra & Stone journey (so far). Time to challenge you with some quick-fire questions to get to know you a little better. Firstly, who's your favourite duo in D&B?
Dave: At the moment we would have to say it's QZB. They have a really distinct sound that encompasses lots of music we're into and make it translate really well to the dance-floor.
Top 5 artists that inspire your sound from outside of D&B?
Harry: TOOL, Martyn, Skee Mask, Daniel Avery, Actress
Dave: Surgeon, System Of A Down, Jehst, Radiohead, Flying Lotus
What do you you guys like to do when you're not making D&B?
Harry: To be honest my world pretty much revolves around making noise of some kind! I love to experiment with all the equipment in my studio and see if something unique comes out. Outside of music I work for a technology company and also teach music production.
Dave: Pretty much similar for me as well though I do teach music production at Point Blank College in London for a couple of days a week. It's enjoyable work and they are the leading name in the industry for learning music production - so it's a pleasure to be a part of.
Best and worst DJ moments?
Dave: Best is probably playing the Moat Stage at Outlook Festival or Room 1 Fabric
Harry: Worst - I played in Kuala Lumpur a few years ago and just before my set I indulged rather too much in some fantastic street food after a 10-hour flight from NZ. About halfway through the set it caught up with me! Luckily there was a toilet right next to the DJ booth, so I loaded up an 8-minute track and went to deal with the matter. Managed to get back in time to mix in the next track and no one was none the wiser! It was an uncomfortable experience none the less!
Favourite track from 2019?
Harry: D&B - Submarine 'Grunge' / Other - TOOL 'Fear Inoculum'
Dave: D&B - Alix Perez 'Trinity' / Other - Floating Points 'Last Bloom'
And finally, if you could only play one last slot at any event ever, what would it be and why?
Dave: Perhaps a fairly obvious cliche but playing Sunday afternoon at the Panorama Bar would be a bucket list goal. We've been lucky enough to play a lot of great D&B stages over the last few years so to answer the question... 5-6 hours to play whatever we wanted in the Panorama Bar would be it!
Thank you very much for your time guys!
Dave/Harry: No worries at all!
You can check out Gerra & Stone's addition to our '15 Years Of Shogun Audio' album below.