Lords of Realm Records: Gorgon City
UK dance music stars talk about Defected, their label, Ibiza and more.
Michael Tomlinson on 22 Aug, 2019
North London producers Kye “Foamo” Gibbon and Matt “RackNRuin” Robson-Scott met whilst touring clubs around 2013. Finding that they collaborated well in crafting music together, they decided to form an electronic producing alliance.
Thus the DJing double-act known as Gorgon City was born.
Most will remember the duo’s early success with their first album Sirens. Tracks like Ready For Your Love, Here For You and Real were seminal tracks in the rise of deep house in the pop culture.
These addictive and vocal soaked house anthems gained much acclaim amongst critics and consumers alike, propelling the act to global superstardom. Down the years, they have been an unstoppable force taking the project to new heights.
Their list of accolades includes: travelling festivals and the world with a live show, releasing a highly successful second album, Escape and holding residencies in Ibiza and around the world. They have truly cemented their reputation as one of the UK’s top house acts.
The two lads show no sign of slowing down either.
Whilst holding down a summer residency at Defected, they are developing their imprint – Realm Records – as well as playing label showcases in the UK and America. On top of all this, they also somehow find the time to drop tracks with big names like MK.
Taking some time out of their busy schedule and before smashing out a set at Eden, the pair sat down with us at Café Mambo for a little chat.
Hola Kye and Matt! Okay so let’s get into the serious stuff first…Gorgonzola or Cathedral City?
Kye: (laughs) “I would say Cathedral City, it’s more versatile. Gorgonzola is a bit intense. Coming in strong with the questions!”
Matt: “Yeah, straight for the jugular (laughs). I’m not really a fan of blue cheese though, it’s a bit too much nowadays.”
Anyway, you’re here before your set at Defected in Eden, how are you enjoying the summer there and what do you enjoy about playing there the most?
Kye: “I think it’s just exciting – it kinda brings it back to when we first came to Ibiza. Every time we play there’s this massive energy and hype in the venue.
Everyone’s happy to be there and that’s something we haven’t had for a while, where its rammed and everyone that works there is really enthusiastic. It’s a cool family to be a part of.”
When playing there, what would you say is your Ibiza club weapon track that you’ll pull out?
Matt: “When we play at Defected, it’s actually nice to play classic Defected tracks. I think it feels like a bit of a homage to Simon Dunmore and the whole defected crew, plus all the ravers there.
We’ll play tracks like Strings Of Life and that’s special because we don’t usual play out classic house anthems. We specifically save those for Defected.”
Kye: “Other than that, we’ve got tracks coming out on our label which have been going down really well. One track called Snake by PAX, which is a production duo goes off every time.”
Your most recent release on the Defected label saw you team up with garage legend Todd Edwards, how was that experience for you guys?
Kye: “We’ve actually worked with him in the studio before and been a fan of him since we were teenagers. It was really insightful to see how he works in the studio. He works like no-one else production-wise. That was a real learning lesson for us.”
Matt: “It was nice to be asked by Defected after that to do a remix for him. Out of all the records they release, it was great they put us with someone we’ve worked with before and we’re massive fans of.
I remember one week both Simon and Todd played it at Eden, which was amazing.
Kye: “We always get a buzz out of someone else playing our tracks and especially from Todd, who is an absolute legend.”
Are you DJs that get on the dance floor when you hear a good tune?
Matt: “I used to do it more, but it all depends on the schedule. Sometimes you’ve got time to go out, other times not. Defected is so intimate though, so you feel like you are on the dance floor. The sound system and dancers are right there, it’s a big club and incredible to play in.”
In regards to your label, Realm Records, how would you define the brands sound and what is it you look for when signing new talent?
Matt: “We’re keeping it club focused, but also experimenting with different types of releases. For example, we’ve put out a few more melodic tracks with these guys called Local Dialect from America.
We’re trying to sign artists that we can develop as well, like this guy called Kyle Kinch who’s from Florida.
We’re just trying to find people who have got an interesting sound and then help them progress in production, progressing their ideas and confidence in releasing music.
At the same time, we just want to put out big club tunes, ones that stand out and don’t get lost in the mad mix of millions of songs that get released every day.”
Kye: “We’re trying to find stuff that excites us, sound-wise we’re keeping our eyes open. It also reflects our DJ sets, because when we play out we play everything from house to progressive melodic and the label reflects that I feel.
There’s no rule to what kind of music it is, if it’s interesting or unique we’ll put it out.”
You’re about to take the label on tour for showcases in the UK and the US, how is that shaping up for you?
Kye: “Us doing our Realm parties is very new. Our first one in New York was crazy though, as its the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to there – around 5000 people. That gave us the confidence to do more, so we’re doing San Diego and Tobacco Dock in London very soon.”
Do you think would we possibly see a Realm Records showcase in Ibiza in the future?
Matt: “That’s the dream! Maybe next year we might do a one-off showcase at Defected or perhaps something in Eden on its own, who knows? It would be great to bring out the people from the shows we’re doing now to Ibiza next year for sure.”
On the subject of the white isle, what is it that makes the island special to you that keeps you returning to play here?
Matt: “I’ve been coming here since I was about 18, but we’ve been coming here for 4 or 5 years doing residencies. That’s been amazing, but I haven’t had a proper stint until now. I’ve been staying with Doorly for the past month though, so being in the north.
I’ve been getting to know the island better, discovering all these amazing restaurants and beaches. You just keep finding new stuff all the time in this beautiful place.”
Kye: “Over the hundreds of trips I’ve made here in my life, I also probably only still know about 10 per cent of the island. But that’s a good thing that’s there’s still plenty left to explore. It’s such a small island, so you can get everywhere in 15 minutes, but they certainly do pack a lot into such a small place.”
Matt: “Also, you see something one year and its changed the next. So it’s exciting, that there’s a massive restructuring of where the DJs play, all the residencies change and such. (laughs) It’s like the premier league!”
Would you say that playing in Ibiza has influenced your musical style or the way that you produce at all?
Matt: “Yes, definitely. When we started playing in Amnesia, we specifically made remixes of our own tracks called terrace dubs which we used to play out there. Now we make terrace dubs for all our tracks, because we think these edits will work wicked in Ibiza and sound great in the clubs.
Also, after a night out at DC-10, you also get so much inspiration just listening to all this crazy music. From that, you want to make a tune and recreate what you felt.”
Kye: “There’s definitely a sound of the island. When people play, they cater their sets to that style. Certain weird rhythms will go off in the clubs. Listening to those tunes is a big influence on us as well.”
When it comes to your major, more songwriting based productions, who have been some of your favourite artists to work with?
Kye: “One which we both agree on is Maverick Sabre, we’ve worked with him twice on the first album.
There’s just something about his songwriting which is so emotive and genuine, it really resonates with you. When we’ve worked with him, he’s really easy to work with. We agree on everything. He’s a real artist.”
Matt: “Also we love working with Josh Barry, who is the singer when we do the live shows. He’s also the voice on Delicious – a track we put out on Realm.
You can’t tell it’s him, because we pitched the vocal down. But it’s fun working with him as we’ve got such a vibe and we’re just really good friends.”
Kye: “That’s great because we’re very comfortable when we get in the studio together. We can just have fun, make jokes and throw crazy ideas around. Sometimes you can’t really do this with someone you’ve only just met.”
Matt: “Most of the time when we’re working with an artist, we’ve not even met them before and its a bit like you’ve got to break the ice first.
First, you’re trying to work out how you’re going to get on. Then you’re like, ‘okay, spill your heart out and let’s write a track!’ You get to know someone’s life story in a very short space of time when working in a studio together.”
Sometimes you take these artists on tour to play a live show, what is it you enjoy about playing live over DJing?
Matt: “They’ve both got pros and cons.
The live show is a big operation – there’s a lot that goes into it. There are about 15 people with us on the road. We have to get tour buses and transport massive crates worth of gear. So, yeah, it can be a lot of work compared to us turning up and simply DJing.”
Kye: “I don’t think we’d ever want to stop doing one or the other. They’re completely different to each other.
However, from the live shows, it’s mad that we get to play these massive festivals on the main stages alongside big bands. We still get blown away playing these big stages and playing out our music to these crowd, which gives us a massive buzz.
At the same time though, we love playing clubs which inspires us in our producing. It’s cool to be able to do both.”
What’s your favourite Ibiza anecdote? If we could keep around PG-13 that would be great.
Matt: (laughs) “It’s all rated R!”
Kye: “There have been some funny times. There’s been a lot of times that I’ve been lost in the middle of the island, phones run out of battery, got no money and my flights in an hour. And you can never find a taxi!
But my favourite memory as a clubber would have to be dancing in Space, quite honestly it was the best club in the world.”
Matt: “I remember coming to Ibiza when I was 18. At the end of the holiday, we tried to change our flight because we didn’t want to leave. I rang my mum to borrow £50 for an EasyJet flight, but she wasn’t having any of it so I went home. But I came back so there we go!
Ibiza is that kind of place though, isn’t it? You just never want to leave.”
Lastly, what does the future hold for Gorgon City?
Matt: “Realm is a brand new thing for us. We started it about a year ago and we’re about 10 releases in, but it still feels pretty fresh. We’re still really excited about finding new artists and music to put out.
With the Realm parties, we’ve only done one so far. That was absolutely mind-blowing, bringing all the label artists together for the show. So, yeah, we’re gonna concentrate on developing Realm for the next year.”
You can catch the dynamic house duo play at their Defected residency this Friday, 23 August and then again on 20 September. They’ve been lighting up the San Antonio clubland scene in the past few months, so start your weekend with a bang by joining them on the dancefloor.
Words | Michael Tomlinson
Photography | Sasha Wharton