DJ Neil Gain – Interview
DJ Neil Gain started Deejaying in 1996 with a few friends. His passion and LOVE for music has been flowing through his veins since birth. Coming from a talented musical family background, Neil was always exposed to live music and instruments. His father being a major influence, who played the Piano and keyboards in bands for many years, as well his Grandfather, uncles and aunts who all performed in bands. This had a positive influence on his Deejaying and musical journey, and the obvious choice to peruse his love for music is to produce and collaborate with other musicians and Deejays. Like most Deejays he started out doing private parties, corporate events, weddings while still schooling. He started off on turntables for many years, he has a solid record collection and his love for spinning vinyl got him name Vinyl Junkie. Neil has warmed up the floor for some of SA’s respected headlining DJ’s and artist, namely Pascal & Pearce, Roger Goode, Crazy White Boy, Craig De Sousa, George Sax, Marissa Guzman Sprosperek UK, Tony Smith, Aston Abels. Erefaan Pearce. We get to chat to him about his recently released project and his views on the current house scene in Cape Town, South Africa.
Firstly congratulations on your new EP, how did it come about and the concept behind it?
Thank you, Firstly it’s an absolute honor to do this interview for the Scratch Lab.
I have been writing all these tracks since last year as part of my learning and experimenting with new equipment. The initial idea was to release with label but that fell through, I approached a few labels for which I had these tracks in mind and got no response I decided instead to release it as a FREE EP.
I thought about it long and hard and came to the conclusion that if I make my music more accessible I would potentially grow a small fan base and my music would have a better chance of being heard.
Take us through the creative process…
I use Maschine 2.0 I write and arrange everything in Maschine, once I’m happy with the creative process; I will bounce everything off as 24bit WAV samples and mix it down it Logic.
You’ve released music before what makes this project different?
Yes I have released 2 tracks with local label Native Rootz
This project had a Dub mix of a remix I done for a friend (SAY – OneOne8 remix) all the other tracks were also produced more towards a certain sound of a label that I was following. Unfortunately the label was not interested in releasing the tracks. The thing that also makes this different is that I have released it as a FREE EP. I have more leverage over it terms of sharing it with anyone who wants to play my music.
Are you planning to drop music videos as well?
Not anytime soon, I’m still learning the production side of things, I’m thinking of focusing more on mixing technique and hopefully one day get into mastering my own sound. We all see how the face of deejaying is changing in terms of stems and remix decks, where you producing and remixing on the fly. I think to be ahead of the game you need to have your sound quality and technical ability to go hand in hand.
Give us some insights into the house scene in Cape Town?
The Cape Town House scene in my opinion is growing, I see many cats playing and having this love for Deep House, even cats that played commercial are now supporting and appreciating the deep house movement which I think is great, music is being appreciated. What I have also noticed is that there are more people running their own events these days, and the events are multi genre, most people want something different when supporting events. If you want to attract numbers you have to cater for all. It doesn’t have to be commercial or pop music, we can educate the masses by playing good music too. The House scene is alive here in Cape Town.
Do you think the scene has reached it pinnacle yet if not what are some of the challenges?
I don’t think the scene has reached its pinnacle, I think we in a massive growth spurt in terms of this music, everywhere you switch on its Deep house, you see allot of new Deep House events popping up. It has all been done before but it’s good to see the scene growing.
Tell us more about Native Roots?
Native Roots is run by Eugiene Carr and Chad Naidoo, 2 very good friends of mine, I have released 2 tracks with the label in the past.
- I wrote this tracks with George Saxx. http://www.traxsource.com/artist/159843/house-society
- And one I wrote for their artist sampler Needs of Love. http://www.traxsource.com/artist/249183/neil-gain
Are there any DJs off the Native Roots roster we should look out for?
I have been mentoring a young DJ by the name of JKUHN, and he does regular private gigs with me. Quite and energetic and talented guy, and on the NR roster, I would say Garth Abrahams aka Cntafield, originally a Producer who shared allot of knowledge with me who recently started DJ’ing.
You have an interesting live setup and live remixing seems to be one of your specialties. What led you to this playing style and what equipment do you use and why?
I only use Native instrument for DJ’ing and Production I enjoy the whole idea of being creative on the fly, from making the beat in maschine and layering percussions over it from traktors remix decks, to firing off accapella’s samples from another remix deck and triggering FX on top of that, This takes quite allot of time to perfect and it is exciting to have all this going in a DJ set. This is the future of DJ’ing. We see these developments happening every day. I prefer playing with traktor’s remix decks as it gives you more options to slot samples as opposed to this new stem function which only allows for 4 stems.
What challenges do you face with your setup and how do you compromise if you’re not able to showcase with your current DJ setup?
The Challenges I’ve faced in the past was running Traktor and Maschine together via the MIDI clock, it had a negative impact on my CPU. I recently upgraded my MacBook Pro with a 256 gig SSD and 8 gigs RAM. It runs much better now and I found that If I have too plugins in Maschine while playing live the CPU acts up, so I have managed to find a work around to prevent my CPU from spiking. But I’ll have to explain that in details, I have faced many issues in the past with Traktor and Maschine and I am more than happy to share my experiences.
Being a Native Instruments user what’s your thoughts on STEMS?
I think Stems is just another gimmick by Native Instruments and record labels to make money. The introduction of the remix decks 3 years ago already changed the game of live remixing. They have not convinced me yet why I should go this route. If I were to perform Live I would use my maschine and the remix decks.
With your solid record collection and being a DJ who started off with spinning vinyl what are some of the advantages in your opinion in starting off with wax in an age where digital DJ’ing is the standard?
I think the advantage I have is being able to beat matching without the use of BPM counters and being able to throw a sample to blend it in smoothly. Unfortunately syncing do not work with everything, you need to be able to incorporate that live element of beat matching and mixing. And this is where the advantaging of mixing with vinyl comes in.
What’s your association with DJ Syndicate?
I volunteered to assist Dino Michael with running a pop up store 2 years ago. I assist with the administration on the DJ Syndicate website, I co-ordinate and run the pop up store Up. DJ Syndicate has been a part of who I am today. It is such an icon brand and I am happy to be associated with it. All I’m saying is “watch this space”
What’s next for Neil Gain?
I’d like to delve more into the Live Production side of the music. This is the future and the future is happening now, just not here. So I’m patiently waiting for that time to come.
Famous last words….
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed soothes the mind and gives it rest heals the heart and makes it whole flows from heaven to the soul”
booking agent: http://georgesaxentertainment.co.za/neil-gain/