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the Fuzzy Buggers. He was the singer and the guitar player. But chasing drummers and getting everyone to rehearsal every week took its toll. He was a little more serious about the whole business. It was when Daft Punk and the Chemical Brothers became more rock & roll than the rock & roll at the time that his ears pricked up to the modern sound of the synth. Without his soccer career ahead of him, Gerber found himself at this time “totally broke”. But luckily an architect friend was building a studio for the Israeli goa trance band Astral Projection. Though he wasn’t enamoured by their music, they became good friends. “They had the most amazing studio,” he says. “We were making rock music there to start with, but they had samplers and synthesizers. I miss those days!”

STOPPAGE TIME Back then, in the early 2000s, Sasha and Digweed were playing regularly in Tel Aviv, as were the likes of Deep Dish, who left a big impression. “I loved them, they really heavily influenced me. They were doing really eclectic stuff.” He was also bowled over by the likes of Hawtin and Derrick May, who were also occasional visitors. The Lemon club, which didn’t have guests as much as showcasing their local Tel Aviv DJs, became a regular haunt. “It was a really sexy place. Very sexual. The energy was really intense. There was also a place called Fetish. Both after-hours places, and both really, really cool.” Around this time, he began to make his first tracks. He signed ‘Kenny’s Back’, a collaboration with Sahar Z, to prolific London progressive house label Whoop!. It was followed not long after by ‘Stoppage Time’, his breakthrough track for Digweed’s Bedrock imprint. Though he was working in and around the prog house sphere, tracks like the groove-laden ‘Stoppage Time’ didn’t quite fit the chugging, big room mould. Come 2006, he was making deeper sounds, collaborating with the likes of fellow Israeli Shlomi Aber. So what changed? “For me, the change was I always wanted to make techno, I just didn’t know how. I didn’t have people to learn from, because I didn’t like trance. I was just experimenting, but I didn’t know how to do it. It took me some time to get better, and express myself better and reach the level I wanted to.” What also changed was that he started to make music for Sven Väth’s Cocoon imprint. Väth had long been a fan of his productions, and soon he had also signed to Cocoon’s DJ agency. He accompanied Väth around the globe. As anyone with a passing knowledge of the gregarious Frankfurter will know, Väth’s reputation precedes him. But Gerber remains professionally, and respectfully, tight-lipped about what they got up to on the road. “Sven is very much a party guy, for sure.” So you’ve seen a few things with him, then? “Yeeeah, I’ve seen some things,” he says in a most cagey fashion. “In Ibiza, you see some things, but even without him. You don’t need him to see some things in Ibiza. Especially in those days, when it was a little more free. Now it’s more about brands, and club nights, it’s capitalised. Everyone has a business model.”

Gerber was at this time the linchpin in a burgeoning scene in Tel Aviv. He also launched his own label in 2006, the now-revered Supplement Facts, which has seen more than 30 releases from his sprawling friendship group — the likes of Lee Curtiss, Guti, David K, Varoslav, Kate Simko, Till Von Sein, Jona, Michel Cleis, No Regular Play and dOP. He has connections around the globe, doubtless due to his itchy feet. He and the Visionquest crew are tight. Oh, and Sean Combs. Yes, that Sean Combs.


P DIDDY It’s hardly news that Sean ‘P Diddy/Puff Daddy’ Combs is a fan of the largesse found in the Balearics, and that these days he seems more enamored with the four-four kick of dance music over his alma mater of hip-hop. But Gerber’s quarry seems a little more underground than some of Diddy’s previous flirtations with dance music. Still, when he was preparing to write an album last year, Puffy handed his engineer, at that time unbeknownst to Gerber, a copy of his album ‘Late Bloomers’ on Cocoon, and said ‘I want to sound like this’. He even sampled one of Gerber’s tracks and used it as the intro to his ‘Last Train To Paris’ album. Soon enough, Diddy was on the phone to Tel Aviv, and Gerber was on a flight to New York. “Seemingly he was very inspired by the album,” he says. “I heard he was looking for me, and I thought, ‘What does he want?’ A month later, he must have got my number, and he asked me over to come and work with him. When I got there, he wasn’t there. Just an engineer in his studio and two huge consoles, my dream-come-true studio, with a room full of synthesizers. I just started working. But I didn’t know what to do. I had some of his vocals, but I didn’t just want to put them on a house track. He came the next day and I played him what I had done. He really liked it. At first he wanted me to do a remix album of ‘Last Train To Paris’. I just took pieces from tracks, like a collage, and the songs really changed. He felt that it was more like a whole new album, so he said, ‘We should do a project, just me and you’. He said, ‘Make me some tracks that will be played in rooms that I’m not supposed to be in’.”

Cryptic. But the project has now progressed, and it’s hoped it will be released later this year. “The project is finished, but it continues. We’re just working out how to market it. We want to give the tracks to people, but find the best way to complement the music and the concept. Everyone who listens to it will be surprised. It sounds like nothing he’s done before, and nothing I’ve done before. It’s a bit rough, as if maybe it was made in a bedroom, with real synths. It’s very hazy and weird, like experimental pop.” As reference points, he spans the likes of New Order, the Human League and Grandmaster Flash. Moreover, the pair seem to have really hit it off. “He knew some Jewish people in the industry, but he’d never met an Israeli. I’m very open and straightforward, and say exactly what I think, and so we felt comfortable.” Presumably a night out with Diddy is eye-opening. We’re thinking Cristal corks flying past your earlobes, pneumatic models and red velvet ropes. “He threw a birthday party for me in Ibiza,” he says. “It was the best birthday party I ever had. He rented a house, all my friends were invited, he was cool with everybody, the vibe was an after-party like Ibiza used to be. It was very cool actually.”

LOS ANGELES Now, aside from this hiatus in Berlin, he’s mostly living in LA, among a small but influential community of house heads including Crosstown Rebels boss Damian Lazarus, Martin Buttrich and the Culprit crew, who are all currently resident in La La Land. He loves it. “At the moment, I’d say it’s one of the culture capitals of the world. I find it to be very cultural. And very cinematic. There’s hobos, celebrities, palm trees. And there’s kind of a fake glamor, kind of schizophrenic. You watch it all from the sidelines. You can look at the good side and the bad side. But I still find that also the values there are similar to those in the Middle East. Friendship is important. Family is important. And people try to live by their values.”

Some of the Tea Party types might take exception to that particular comparison, if not the sentiment, but that’s their loss.

His Fabric mix, the 64th in the series, has been occupying him mostly in recent months, and with good reason. Rather than putting together a standard mix, he crafted an entire album of new tracks, 80% of which were made entirely from scratch. “It was just more interesting,” he says, as if it was perfectly normal to go so overboard. “I wanted to express myself and do something that people can talk about, rather than just a mix CD. In the end it’s more interesting as a piece of art than just doing a mix CD.” Indeed it is. It’s like going an extra mile after the extra mile. But that seems to be Gerber’s style.

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