Barry Gilbey - Midi sucks; software all the way!

A bald bearded Sheffield Wednesday football fan, Barry Gilbey is know to be 'churning' out remixes, bootlegs or re-edits almost instantly. Music fans will know him for his storming hybrid tech-house-breaks productions on his revered Sheffield-based label, Choo Choo, and from releases under a range of pseudonyms, including Mara, Pappa & Gilbey, London Squeak Motif, Jarrod & Gilbey and several others.

Barry's productions are played the world over by everyone from Erick Morillo to Deep Dish and Meat Katie to Sasha. His vocal projects with Sara Whittaker-Gilbey as Mara have been huge underground smashes and his other productions as Prototype and Hyperion have found supporters across the board. Other productions with BT, Anthony Pappa, Revolt, Bill Hamel and Alan Bremner have also meant that, while Barry has been firmly placed in the A-List's record boxes, he hasn't had much time to tend to his own.

Beat Factor: Hi Barry, how are you today and what does your day typically involve?

Barry Gilbey: Hi, I'm very well; thank you! I've had a busy day working in the studio on a new project I'm involved in and then I'm come home to watch Sheffield United lose to Watford. So basically I'm over the moon!! The dirty piggies lost 4-1! I'm obsessed with my team "Sheffield Wednesday" so the news that our vile rivals lost is amazing!

I'm a big believer in the idea that you should have fun in the studio and not lose the vibe. Sitting there for 17 days listening to a bass line isn't my idea of fun.
BF: In an age where many a label has shut its doors, Choo-Choo seems to be firmly grounded, what has been the secret to its success?

BG: I'm not really sure, we've always tried to release music that we liked and not just follow fashions. Sometimes that's left people a little puzzled maybe by a particular release but overall I can say hand on heart that I'm happy with every track we've released.

BF: What can we look forward to in the future for Choo-Choo?

BG: We've got some very cool new stuff up our sleeves, including the blinding new release from Belfast's favourite son, a certain Mr Chris Cargo. The track is called "Shift it" and its getting some fantastic reactions.

BF: You have a keen eye for spotting new talent (a.k.a Gene Carbonell, Shafunkers and Spartak), what makes a good new artist?

BG: Someone who is confident and stands up for themselves and yet is also willing to learn and grow as an artist. It's a difficult balance to achieve but when you do it, it can really set you up for a bright career.

BF: You produce as the now defunct "Mara", "Finger Fest INC", "Phony MCs". "Pappa and Gilbey" and now "London Squek Motif". What does each moniker offer you?

BG: Don't be so certain that Mara is no more, never say never. For me every different moniker offered a different pair of shoes to walk in, a different coat to wear. Almost a disguise sometimes. It's funny how even just changing the name you write under can change your attitude to making music.

BF: With the above question in mind, you are known for your collaborations with the likes of Chris Cargo, Anthony Pappa, D.Ramirez and James Mowbray, any further collaboration we can look forward to in the future?

BG: To be honest I've been working headlong on a couple of TV projects for the last 6 months and so have had to cut back a little on my collaborations in the studio. I've always wanted to get more into making music for TV and film so this is a fantastic opportunity for me. I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio and making some more house music, for instance I and Pappa speak weekly about doing another track!

Features Archive


Barry Gilbey - Midi sucks; software all the way!

February 11, 2006 at 8:54 PM CET


Paul Prior

BF: You have always been quick at "churning" out releases and remixes, what's next for yourself? How do you get them finished so quick?

BG: I've just finished a track with James Mowbray which is a filthy bootleg/remix/re-edit of a track called "Doug Lazy - Let the Rhythm" which we are hoping will be coming out later this year. I'm not sure if I work fast or slow really, I just get in the studio, fire the G5 up and get something happening in Logic. Either it works or it doesn't, I'm a big believer in the idea that you should have fun in the studio and not lose the vibe. Sitting there for 17 days listening to a bass line isn't my idea of fun.

BF: Are you hardware or software man and why?

BG: Midi sucks FACT. It's ancient; it's had its day...its gone. Just like vinyl. I'm software all the way, apart from logic control (which I really must find a use for!)

BF: Having travelled the world both with the MARA Soundsystem and as a Dj yourself, what have been your favourite moments so far?

BG: Almost too many to list, Mexico Love Parade was amazing playing to 500k people, playing Womb for the first time in Tokyo, getting arrested in Moscow by armed police...yeah that one was fun!!! Its been brilliant, I feel very lucky to have seen and experienced so much. Plus we've met some amazing people along the way, its been one hell of a laugh!

BF: If you where not a label manager/producer/dj what would you be?

BG: I'd either be playing upfront for Sheffield Wednesday (like a bald bearded David Hirst) or sat propping up a bar drinking Duff's with Homer.

Comments on this article: