Behind the Beat: Gerry Gonza
If you went to Miami Music Week, Ultra or any show across the country in April you probably heard the hit “Bad Bitches” by Phoenix-based producer Gerry Gonza. I first heard this track when Malaa dropped it at Echostage in Washington, D.C. during the Pardon My French Tour and have heard it dozens of times since. The track off of Tchami’s Confession label will surely be played over and over throughout the 2016 festival season. Now, it’s time to meet the man behind the hit, Gerry Gonza.
Only The Beat: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get involved in DJing and producing? What was your first break out track and show?
Gerry Gonza: In school, I studied drums and percussion in band class and that’s where I developed my interest in music. I used to make songs called cadences, which are basically songs a drumline plays on FL Studio and that’s how I got started using DAW’s. I was resilient to DJ honestly because at first I didn’t understand the artistry behind it, but now it’s my favorite! My biggest track so far has been “Bad Bitches” which has been such a blessing. Since it was in its beginning stages, I could feel it was going to be something big, something special. My first break out show was way back when I was 18, I played a venue called Circo Sexta in Tijuana, Mexico. It was the first time I traveled outside of where I lived to play and the first time I headlined a big club. The night was insane and ended with the promoters inviting me to stay the entire weekend and party.
Gerry Gonza – Gerry Gonza
OTB: Being based in Phoenix there are a lot of young producers such as yourself, BIJOU and Herbology that are producing a lot of music and getting recognized by major labels. What is the state of dance music and the club scene there?
Gerry Gonza: I’m originally from Calexico, California but I’ve seen quite a bit of the scene in Phoenix and have played in the city and surrounding areas before and the city really has an amazing crowd that’s quite open to genres. The scene is still fresh but is growing so fast and on such a large scale. It’s a very promising place that’s going to be huge for dance music in the very near future.
OTB: How would you describe your style and unique sound?
Gerry Gonza: My style and sound is very much a reflection of my life and myself. It’s simple, melodic, free, and versatile. Every sound in the song has its place and its purpose and isn’t buried beneath layers.
OTB: You recently released “Bad Bitches” and it’s seen a lot of support from Tchami, Mercer, Malaa, and DJ Snake on the Pardon My French Tour among other artists. Are you excited about the reviews and praise within the industry that this track has received?
GG: I’m beyond happy and excited for everything that’s come from this release. The Confession family has shown so much support and the reaction from people has been a dream. Everything from the premier and Top 10 ID at Ultra to me seeing Malaa play it on Holy Ship and people losing it, it’s been great seeing it get so much love. Huge thanks out to everyone who’s supported and shared the track!
OTB: What other artists influence your style and who do you follow in the industry?
GG: The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been a very huge influence on me since my childhood. Their aggressive rock style mixed with a high-energy funk sound made for my dream combination. I don’t necessarily follow Boys Noize, but he’s someone I’ve always admired and seen as a personal hero in the industry because he’s always made unique and fresh music that’s relevant but keeps his original sound and style, while also managing himself for many years and running an amazing label.
OTB: What is your favorite track that you produced and one that you did not produce, but admire?
GG: Amongst the many favorite tracks I’ve made, one that sticks out is “Everything You Got”. It was the first track I ever sang on so I was quite nervous about putting it out there, but it ended up being released on Toolroom Records and charted in the Top 100. One of my favorite tracks ever made is “Tarkus” by Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. It’s a 20-minute piece that doesn’t follow a typical arrangement and takes you on a journey. The riffs are insanely complicated and always blow my mind.
OTB: What is a personal milestone in your DJ/producing career so far?
GG: Going on my first tour back in 2014 has been one of the most memorable milestones for me so far. I had only ever dreamed of flying and traveling and when it finally sunk in and I realized I was in Brazil playing a New Years Festival on the beach for 7,000 people all dressed in white, I finally understood what people meant when they said hard work pays off.
OTB: Outside of Djing, what are your other interests or hobbies?
GG: I have a huge interest in Native American culture and love to learn about their beliefs as well as their history. This month I’m going to a pow-wow that’s sort of like a retreat for me. I spend a few days out in the middle of the mountains with no electricity or running water. Decompressing and disconnecting from the matrix. Reconnecting with myself and with nature.
OTB: What can we expect from you this year? Any big shows, mixes or collaborations coming up?
Gerry Gonza: There’s so much music coming from me this year its insane! I’ve got some really awesome collaborations with Bruno Furlan, BIJOU, and Worthy on my upcoming EP on Sweat It Out. Mark Radford has picked up an EP from me for his Audio Rehab label and I have a remix coming on Sleazy G. I also have collaborations coming with Vanilla Ace, Carnao Beats and other peers. As far as shows, I will be playing the “Who is Malaa?” show in Phoenix on May 29th at Monarch Theatre. I’ll be playing back to back with my boy BIJOU. Also on the bill are Sinden and LondonBridge. I’m absolutely pumped for it!