Backstage at Spotify House during SXSW, we caught up with the members of Gorgon City Kye Gibbon and Matt Robson-Scott, aka “Foamo” and “RackNRuin” respectively. These two English gents are still fresh on the scene touring their album Sirens this year and working on their sophomore album in-between tour dates. They were good sports to take time post-set to chat with us about their impending workload, the appeal of SXSW, and what generally makes them tick.
mxdwn: You guys have had a pretty whirlwind past year. How do you guys feel about that?
GC (Foamo): It’s weird because we’ve been so busy that we always just take every day as it comes… It was only like the end of last year where we had a little bit of time to reflect on stuff that went down last year which is mad because I remember when we first started Gorgon City, it was just a side project; and it was just a kind of underground thing. It wasn’t until we made the track “Real” with Yasmin that we kind of accidentally blew up in the UK, got like radio play and it wasn’t what we expected. We just made that tune as an underground house tune, and for that to blow up… We kind of just took that opportunity and thought, “Let’s see what we can do with it.” Ever since then, we’ve just been just loving it, just doing our thing and having fun. It’s been amazing.
mxdwn (to RackNRuin): Anything you want to add to that?
GC (RackNRuin): Ditto.
mxdwn: That’s fantastic. Well, you did start with “Real” rising on the charts, but how do you feel your sound’s developed?
GC (RackNRuin): I think like when we kind of realized that we had a sort of body of work that could make up an album, we started really kind of going in and working with really interesting people and developing our sort of sound and just, you know, exploring different sounds to make the album more than just a kind of collection of club-bangers. We wanted to make it something a bit more, you know, cohesive and like something that could appeal to more people. Yeah, I think like that kind of helped us develop as songwriters. I mean, before, we were kind of more underground dark music producers where we weren’t really working with song, we were just working with like club tracks. We learned a lot writing an album, and now it’s like we can really kind of experiment with songwriting as well as making, you know – beats and bass lines and stuff. So, we’ve definitely learned a lot from the process of making an album – you know, with singers and songwriters and stuff – and I think that’s kind of helped us develop and hopefully we can really kind of explore that even more with our second album which we’re just sort of starting now, and yeah, we’re really kind of excited about that – working with new people and just really kind of, you know, making some crazy stuff that we’ve never done before.
mxdwn: Well, congratulations! Sirens is a masterpiece. You guys have really mastered the art of collaborating. What inspires you? What inspired the album?
GC (Foamo): The main thing is, like Matt (RackNRuin) was saying, it is taking our production techniques that we’ve been doing for years and years of making underground instrumental music. Whether it is like we grew up on drum and bass, garage – we used to produce that before we got into house. Making all that kind of music and then using those production techniques to make songs rather than tracks, and, you know, getting into songwriting, and it is like that kind of fusion of different styles that was the kind of main inspiration for the album.
mxdwn: Who’s your favorite artist that you’ve collaborated with, and why?
GC (RackNRuin): We’ve been really lucky working with such amazing people. I think, for me, like working with Maverick Sabre on the album. I was always a massive fan of his. He’s always been around in the kind of British and Irish, obviously, music scene for years. He started really young… I first found out about him when he was 16, and getting to work with him was really cool. We didn’t know, but when we made the tune with him, he was like, “Oh, I live like a five minutes’ walk away,” and we were like, “What?!” So, that kind of thing where you get to know people and you start creating, you know, relationships together and just like go partying together and then touring together and stuff. Yeah, he was definitely one of the most kind of amazing and inspiring writers to work with on the album. Maverick Sabre. If you haven’t checked out his own music, you should check it out. He’s really good.
mxdwn: Ok, well, who’s your dream collaborative artist that you’d love to work with?
GC (Foamo): We’re lucky. We don’t go for a specific like hit list. We just love working with people that you don’t normally find in dance music. Like a lot of our album (songs) are people that we collaborated with aren’t dance music people, and you know so when you do tracks with people like that, you don’t end up with a generic dance sound. You have something different. We just love working with people that have something unique to bring to the table. I don’t know. It would be wicked to do something with maybe someone like George Ezra.
RackNRuin: He’s here, I think. I think he’s at SX. He’s like blowing up in the UK. I don’t know if he’s really come over the pond yet. Hopefully. But he will shortly.
Foamo: And because his sound is so different from dance music, that’s why we’d love to work with him. I think we’d have something interesting. I don’t know. Who else? We were talking about Florence and the Machine. Even though she’s done dance music, because her style is so unique, that’s kind of what we love.
RackNRuin: Yeah, Florence and the Machine would be amazing. Who else? Oh yeah, Royal Blood. That would just be insane. They’re probably here, Hopefully. Maybe they’re too big now.
Foamo: Yeah, they got their album out. They smashed it with that. To do something with someone that’s so not dance music…
RackNRuin: …That’s what excites us. It gives us original ideas, rather than just making generic dance music.
Foamo: It’s a challenge, and it’s different. That’s what we try and go for.
mxdwn: Well, you do have an unexpected quality about your music which is why it’s so entertaining, danceable and catchy in my book. How do you feel you’re going to fuel that toward your goals for the year? What are your goals for the rest of the year?
GC (Foamo): At the moment, it’s a lot of touring. I think we seem to have expanded our time in America at the moment which we’re loving. We love it out here, but then also we want to get our second album finished hopefully by the end of the year. We kind of just want to take what we’d done with the first album and just expand on that, you know, and see where we can take it. If it’s like Sirens was the start of us, then we can go places with that kind of concept.
RackNRuin: We’re spending two weeks in the studio during Coachella, and we’re going to be working with a lot of American artists. So, hopefully we’ll get some really interesting music made then and we can like take that kind of, you know, body of work that we do there and then take it back to the UK and really go in and start producing it up and working with more British artists and European artists as well, and just kind of get as many different vibes that sound new and fresh for us as well as for everyone else.
Foamo: Yeah, it’s just continuing to experiment. We never want to stop experimenting. That’s what we want to do – just take what we’ve done and see where we can go with it.
mxdwn: This isn’t your first SX. Is that correct?
GC (RackNRuin): This is our second.
mxdwn: Who are you looking forward to seeing here? Are you guys going to try to catch any specific artists?
GC (RackNRuin): I haven’t really looked at the lineup. We’ve got to play ten shows and it’s like we haven’t really got any time to see anyone… I want to see some new music that I’ve never heard before, man. I want to go into a venue and just be like right that’s sick.
Foamo: That’s the good thing about SX is you could walk into any venue and know you’re going to see really quality music you might not have heard before. That’s why we love coming here. So hopefully we can do a bit of that.
mxdwn: Is that your favorite part of SX?
GC (Foamo): I think so. Yeah.
RackNRuin: I love the whole just being out at night and being like oh, let’s go in here. Like, check this band out. Have a drink. Do a shot. Watch a band. Go. Do it again. Like, keep going around and just having fun.
mxdwn: And that would be a shot of what?
GC (collectively): Fireballs!
Foamo: We had never heard of it before. It’s this really cool shot called Fireballs. It’s this really classy American drink. We love classy drinks like Fireballs.
mxdwn: Ok, well, theoretically, let’s say dead/alive/present/past, who would be your favorite SX performer to catch?
GC (RackNRuin): It’d be sick to be around in the 90s and sort of see Nirvana playing. Like walk in and just drink some old… One of those tins, you know, those tins of Budweiser? They look like the baked bean tins.
mxdwn: Tall cans.
GC (RackNRuin): Yeah, yeah. Just get one of them and just like watch Nirvana. That’d be cool.