Get To Know: GEST

By Peter Van Dongen

We're delighted to welcome a new member to the Shogun family...

Some of you may recognise their faces having previously released on our sister SGN:LTD imprint under former guise Gerra & Stone

The duo have since rebranded as GEST to match a rejuvenated sound & exciting new direction. 
 

Marking their debut with 'The Foundation' their first offering was a statement on how the duo intend to proceed, with a thumping sequenced bassline weaving in between tight rolling drums.

As they swiftly carve out their own niche within underground drum & bass, we caught up with GEST to talk about their past, reasons for the re-brand, what they're feeling right now & more importantly what's to come - please read on...

Hey guys! So for anyone who doesn't know... Please intro yourselves

We’re Harry and David, a drum & bass duo previously known under the name Gerra & Stone

How did you meet and when did you start producing?

H - Dave and I attended the same school although I’m a couple of years older and we didn’t know each other at the time. We met through mutual friends around a few years later, about 2005 and were both DJ’ing drum & bass in clubs in and around our hometown of Southampton. As we got to know each other we were both starting to dabble in music production and naturally started writing beats together. We both had very similar tastes at the time so it was easy to channel each other’s ideas.
 
D - Around the same time I also started running some events in the town along with some friends, and through that we got introduced to quite a lot of different people within the drum & bass community. That helped us on our way to getting a few connections etc (as well as giving us a regular spot to test out the music we were working on to a crowd) and our first releases came shortly after. 

What was the reason behind the re-brand to GEST?
 

H - The re-brand spawned from an A&R meeting we had with Friction and his team at Shogun Audio down at their office in Brighton. It is something we had toyed with the idea of for a long time prior to the meeting, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to begin a new project and have a fresh start. We didn’t want to have a complete departure from our old moniker, more like an evolution.

D - Yeah, we’re proud of what we managed to achieve with our previous project over about 9 years since our first release, but it felt like the right time to refresh/ rebrand and move in a more focused direction. The early sound of Shogun Audio has been one of our largest influences since we started making music, between us we collected most of the vinyls in the early years since Shogun 001. With this in mind it was a no brainer really to refine everything we are doing and channel the whole project exclusively through the label.

How does this new direction differ musically from your previous work?

The fundamental sound hasn't changed entirely, it’s just evolved. What we’re doing with GEST tends to sway more towards our influences from techno and electronic music outside of drum & bass, but still retaining the same core elements and ‘upfront’ kind of sound. The first single “The Foundation” definitely has a nod towards the techno pioneers from Detroit.

Quite a lot of the inspiration comes from our love of hardware synths and drum machines etc, and a desire to combine that with rolling drum & bass. We’re using machines like the 303, analogue modular synths and Elektron boxes, especially in the writing process.


Continuing their dark journey, the duo flexed their skills in the studio once more with their follow up single - the tech-inspired roller that is 'Been Thru'. The track features eerie atmospherics and digital blips which lead into an ominous vocal cut and spaced out drone before switching to a grooving peak with a techy synth riff and stepping drums.

You'll soon put out your third single on Shogun as GEST since dropping your debut track 'The Foundation' in Sept, how's the journey going since joining the family?

H - We’ve definitely felt very welcomed and supported by the team at Shogun and they’ve put in a lot of time to helping us develop our new project. We weren’t quite prepared for how much detail there is involved in rebranding and launching a new project so we’ve learnt a lot. And of course the current global pandemic is another curve ball that we have all had to deal with.
 
D - It has of course been a strange time to launch a new project like this, particularly with the music being pretty firmly aimed at the dancefloor/ rave. However we’ve been really pleased with the support so far from both peers and listeners. It’s really spurred us on to keep writing and releasing, whilst looking forward to a time when the music can be enjoyed in its intended setting once again! 

Who are your main influences?

H - My influences change like the British weather but there are a few key artists that have been hugely inspiring for me. My go-to’s would be.. Daniel Avery, Skee Mask, TOOL, Martyn, Prince of Denmark, Deftones, Forest Drive West, Skudge, Dettmann, Alfa Mist, Jehst, Actress, Calibre, Space Afrika, Yussef Dayes, Stenny, Teebs, Sa Pa, Thom Yorke to name a few!

D - Early 00’s metal/ nu metal / grunge etc - bands like System of a Down, Slipknot, Tool, RATM.. on the other end of the spectrum I enjoy modern jazz artists like Jose James/Nubya Garcia/ Ezra Collective .. also I couldn’t miss out classic 90’s Hip Hop names like Tribe called Quest, De La Soul, Nas .. I’m big on Flying Lotus and the whole Brainfeeder camp as well.. Techno wise there’s too many to mention, but I particularly love an artist called Shlomi Aber and his label Be As One imprint - the way they merge the classic Detroit /acid sounds with banging modern/ industrial techno is great.

It’s debatable as to how much of that energy is channeled into our music, but I guess it’s in there somewhere! Drum & Bass wise again there’s too many to mention, but Marcus Intalex and Alix Perez are probably the all time biggest influences if I had to pick.

3 favourite Shogun releases!?

Now this is a tough one, as we said we’ve both been fans since the start of the label!

H:
  1. Icicle - Spartan/Hang on
  2. Alix Perez - Down The Line/Finger Click
  3. Break - Let it Happen/Chaos Theory
D:
  1. Commix - Faceless (Marcus Intalex remix)
  2. Spectrasoul - The Tube
  3. Alix Perez & Sabre - Solitary Native 

3 artists you're feeling right now in D&B?

It feels like there is a real surge in awesome music in drum & bass right now so it's impossible to narrow it down to 3 really. Everyone in the Shogun camp is smashing out some amazing stuff but if we had to name 3 it would be: 

H - Ground, QZB, and Workforce.
D - Sustance, Submarine, Amoss

If you weren't in music and had to 're-train' what would be the obvious choice?

H - If I had to retrain and any avenue was feasible I would probably look into electronic engineering. I would love to have that background with the goal of designing and engineering forward thinking music production hardware.

D - If we’re talking about completely moving away from music, I always quite fancied the idea of being a pilot… although I think the airline industry is even more screwed than ours is right now?!
 
If you could collab with anyone in the scene, who would it be?

We don’t have a definitive answer for this, there are definitely some heroes and peers of ours that it would be an honour to work, with but we feel the best collaborative tracks seem to be a result of a chemistry that you have with another artist, in our case anyway. A good example of this is when Dave was staying with Quadrant & Iris over in Seattle on our U.S. tour last year, they built up a bond and our next single “Sequential” was the result.

What can we expect next from GEST? Anything in the works or exciting projects on the horizon?

As mentioned our next single will be out on Shogun late November, and we’re looking at another Shogun release in Jan 2021. Gig wise, it is obviously a bit of a tough one at the moment but we have a calendar of rescheduled Europe shows which we really can’t wait to get on with once it’s all possible! In the meantime there’s some more live streams lined up as we really enjoyed the recent one from Shogun HQ. The first of them being the Stay At Home festival this weekend.

Amazing! Thanks for taking the time out to chat with us and for playing the debut Shogun Sessions. We will see you very soon and look forward to the next single dropping! 

Watch back to GEST's debut performance, rolling out at Shogun Sessions 001 last month w/ Visionobi on mic.

The next single from GEST titled 'Sequential' drops 20th November. Check their first two singles here and follow to stay up to date with brand new music & updates! 

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