The success of 2015 is still running with the power of a steam engine when DJ Mag USA catches up with Cedric Gervais just before a sold-out show at Marquee New York to see what's in store for 2016. With the first four releases already lined up for his yet-to-be named label and a double mix compilation slated for a June release already in the books, all signs point to another year of dance music domination.
You've played at every kind of club over the years and you are doing double duty at Marquee in Vegas and here in New York this week alone. This makes you a bit of an expert. What do you think makes a great nightclub?
"What makes a great club is the mix of things. Obviously the sound system, the lighting, the staff that works the club and the tech guy are all very important to make sure that things are in place. The group that promotes the club and gets behind it are really also who should get credit for throwing a great night. These days you have to deal with VIPs as well as GAs with the same amount of time and dedication at the same location. Before, there was a bit more differentiation from these two types of clubs. Now you have these spaces - which Marquee is – that deal both with VIP and hard ticket patrons.”
And what about Miami? What would you say makes her tick? Is it the nightlife or is there something more?
“My favorite part of Miami is the water; I live on the water so every morning I take my boat out.”
Tell us a little about your new track ‘De Ja Vu’ and what went into the recording process?
“I wanted to write the track that had a more tech-house vibe and I had this symphony idea and breakdown of strings in mind for it. Very melodic. I was getting a lot of support from my team about it and Spinnin’ freaked out over it. It is very out there for me and I am glad people liked it.”
2016 looks like it's going to be a big year for you, can you tell us a little about the label you are launching and what we can expect from it?
“I have been working with a lot of young producers recently. I will be teaming up with Armada for my new label early next year. I have yet to come up with a name for it but it is still in the works. We have five releases already prepared by young producers from all over the globe; Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Spain, Italy.
“It is going to be a new sound. I started doing a lot of progressive, popping house music and I want a label to represent that. A lot of DJs, like my friend David Guetta, like to play this type of music these days and I wanted to create a label that promoted this sound.”
What's the sound we can expect from your yet-to-be-released mix compilation?
“I will be doing a double CD with my label as well as Marquee. Disc one is going to be a bit more house-y – perfect for the daytime. Disc two will be a bit more like how I described my label – perfect for the club.”
What are some artists or tracks that are inspiring you today?
“Right now, to be honest, there are not a lot of things that spark my attention. It seems as if there is a lot of generic music floating around. I have been playing this Joris Voorn remix of Deadmau5's ‘Strobe’ from back in the day that has been receiving a huge reaction from the crowd.”
What kind of music were you into growing up?
“When I was growing up I would listen to a lot of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Guns N' Roses. However, this transitioned into techno music as I got older and discovered Laurent Garnier and Carl Cox - they are two prime examples.”
You started your DJ career as a resident at the infamous Le Queen club in Paris at age 19. What piece of advice would you tell yourself today knowing what you know now?
“Wear earplugs. Wear earplugs now and don't wait because you are going to destroy your ears. With all my years in the booth that is honestly what I would tell myself.”
Other than ear protection, would you have done anything differently over the years or are you pretty content with what you have accomplished thus far in your career?
“I would’ve started learning how to produce music earlier, I think. With years of learning and being on the road and knowing what I know now I would have made it a priority earlier to produce my own music.”
Arguably you have produced one of the most successful remixes ever. Personally, what do you think makes a great remix?
“I think the original song itself is the most important. A lot of people can do an okay remix but sometimes do not realize that the original will not relate well in the dance world. Sometimes DJs take a song and are like ‘Oh, it's great. It's Usher!’ but fail to realize that it will not work in the dance world. A lot of people do it because of the name, because of the money involved with working with a big artist, but I do it when I feel it’s the right song and when I feel it’s going to fit well into what I do.”
On that note what about Lana Del Rey’s ‘Summertime Sadness’ spoke to you? Did she ask for a remix of the track or did you hear it one day and think you just had to remix it?
“From the get-go I always had an idea for remixing the track because it’s a masterpiece. After first listen I said, ‘One day I have to remix this’, and after that it was history.”
Is there anything else you have to share about your plans for 2016?
“I'm doing a little bit of acting right now. I have a role in the movie about the British Petroleum disaster called ‘Deepwater Horizon’ with Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell. I've done ‘Pain & Gain’ in the past with Michael Bay and I have a part in ‘Ballers’ on season 2 that I am looking forward to.
How would you describe your sound to those uninitiated with Cedric Gervais?
“Wow! No one usually asks me that question directly. Sexy, fuckable house music.”
Words KEVIN CAMPS Pics: CHRIS LAVADO
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