Interview: GW Harrison
GW Harrison is a hot UK talent who has risen through the ranks to become a vital house and tech artist.
He has established himself as one of the key residents at London night Abode—a party built around its great residents—and will feature regularly for them when they take over Sankeys Ibiza for a full weekly season in 2016.
As well as in the clubs, he is comfortable headlining at festivals like We Are FSTVL, which he has done a couple of times now, and is getting ever more gigs round Europe. With an always on point sound that finds him adapting to any situation with style, we caught up with George to find out his back story, his playing methods and about his first forays into production.
“I grew up with my Dad heavily involved within the illegal and legal rave scene “
You are a hard working DJ – how long have you been spinning, and why did you start?
From the early age of 13 I was DJing in clubs. I grew up with my Dad heavily involved within the illegal and legal rave scene. It gave me a platform as I would often DJ the early morning after parties with my dad having to carry my record box. I was playing on vinyl at the time so my record box weighed more than I did!
What have been your proudest moments so far, or scariest, come to that?
I have so many but I think it leans toward the time I had to cover for Hedi at We Are FSTVL main stage 2015. I had a tap on the shoulder and was told I needed to go on and cover for her. She had hurt her ankle so couldn’t make the show. I honestly didnt believe it at first until I walked up to the back stairs of the main stage and was greeted by the stage manger. He asked me for the correct spelling of my name for the screens. Then it really started to feel real. I poked my head around the gaint wall of LED screen to see what must of been 10.000 people in front of me. Two tracks in and I felt so comfortable in front of such a massive crowd the whole thing was bit of a blur and a real dream come true moment .
What is your style, who or what influenced it? Quick and slick or slow and long for example?
I get asked that a lot – ‘what music do I play’. It’s hard to confine it within a certain genre, ‘House music’ or ’tech house’ . I simply play uplifting records and let the records do the talking. I really like to engage with the crowd so I like long breaks and build ups. It gives everyone a chance to take a breath and still lift their arms in the air ready for the next big moment.
Tell us about your role in Abode – how did you get involved?
I’ve been involved with ABODE since day 1. Not only am I a resident DJ, I also do all the artwork and creative direction . I remember the first conversation when we were trying to choose the name along with the logo and identity . Now its become a major part of my life as even throughout the week I’m heavily involved working on the creative. I eat sleep and breathe ABODE ha.
What makes that party so special for you?
For me its the people and energy. From the headliners to the residents it seems people are not scared to play what they want to play. The crowd have always got a smile on ther face. The connection between the DJ and the people is infectious and with so many familiar faces at every party it just seems like one big family. I haven’t played another party with such a good vibe.
What are your fondest memories of playing it?
Must of been the first time I played . It was not until the 3rd party I got a chance to play. The 338 Terrace is a big space so you really are on stage in front of 2000 people . My set went down a storm and within 10 minutes of me finishing I was asked if i wanted to be resident. I couldn’t believe it, I was smiling for weeks. I knew it could become something special.
The night hits Ibiza soon – what makes Ibiza so special do you think? Why do people keep going back?
There are so many answers for that question, it’s so personal to so many people. I have been back and forth on the island for 9 years now and the engery is always so electric . The people you meet at a club / bar or even on the bus home are always there for the right reasons so it just seems natural for people to keep going back .
What is your relationship with the place like? Can you remember the first time you went?
When I was 16 and i managed to sneak my way into Privilege, I was blown away . Standing in the worlds biggest club . I danced all night long and it was at that point I knew where I wanted to be and how i was going to get there. I continued to return doing seasons DJing in bars for drinks trying to get my big break. And now to be invited to be resident at Sakneys ibiza is a dream come true. I remember going to the opening it didnt even have a sign and you could still smell the paint where it hadn’t dried. I honestly never thought i would get a chance to play that iconic basement booth . So its a big tick for me and a realisation that nothing is impossible
You played We Are FSTVL – what was it like on the main stage? Do you get nerves?
This year was my second year on the main stage and yes the nerves are still there, But I think that’s a good thing. Over confidence can be a bad thing as you let your guard down. I’m nervous because I’m passionate about playing a good show.
How different is a festival set out doors to one in a basement? Do you play different music?
I’m not one of the DJs that fight the crowd with the set sound. I adapt to the venue and party. I never plan a set, I believe it’s important to read the crowd so playing a big International festival like We Are FSTVL is naturally going to differ from a smaller venue. Sankeys basement you can really play deep rolling sounds as the soundsystem just compliments them so well but you might not get the same effect on an outdoor stage .
What else have you got coming up/are you looking forward to?
I have some incredible things lined up, some things is can talk about and some I cant . One magjor thing for me is hosting my own room at Space for Sunday at Space on June 26th . I almost fell off my chair when i got the email. To be asked to play Space on its 27th and final year is an incredible thing for me . Only yesterday I saw the billboard with my name on. A real pinch yourself moment. I can’t wait.
George is a resident at Abode Sankeys Ibiza every Friday this summer | TICKETS