The season in Ibiza has nearly ended, and DJs are heading from Platja d’en Bossa to their respective home bases. Some capitals of the Northern Hemisphere are considerably drearier than others, but in spite of the sun setting before 4 p.m. in London for much of the winter, Matt Robson-Scott and Kye Gibbon of Gorgon City don’t necessarily mind leaving the Mediterranean.
“We’ve played Amnesia every Tuesday for the season for about three years,” Robson-Scott tells SF Weekly from London, referring to the world-famous venue with a capacity of 5,000. “We won’t stop doing it because we love it, and it’s a massive part of our creative process when it comes to getting inspiration for new tracks and ideas. We just love it. We’re DJs at heart.”
Gorgon City is the six-year-old house duo that’s established its reputation on a seemingly endless series of collaborations, and in the four years since 2014’s Sirens, Robson-Scott and Gibbon have essentially never stopped DJing.
“It’s just as important as a live band for us,” Robson-Scott says. ”We kind of come from the underground and we’ve always been DJs and producers, so it’s a natural thing to continue DJing constantly and making club-oriented tracks in our set. We may not release them all, but we’re always making dancefloor-heavy tunes on the road — and in the studio we can play with them.”
All that playing with them has yielded Escape, released in August. While listeners can glean a narrative structure, the record has a sort of greatest-hits-of-the-last-four-years-of-our-adventures feel to it, owing to its genesis and creation occuring while on the road. (There are moments of genuine beauty, of course, especially on “Imagination.”) But the overall vibe goes hand-in-hand with another phenomenon of the period: the re-importation of house into the United States, by British DJs. Disclosure, Duke Dumont, and Route 94 were the three biggest names, and Robson-Scott attributes the trend to “an explosion that had been happening in England.
“The music was fresh again, and it was in the charts,” he says. “We were all having Top 10 hits in the U.K., and … it was a throwback to what a lot of the older generation had when they were younger.”
After EDM peaked, people were looking for more, he says. But they weren’t familiar with the history.
“The timing was perfect for acts like us to come to America and get new fans and audiences,” Robson-Scott continues, “and if it wasn’t for that explosion of UK music, we probably wouldn’t be doing this tour right now.”
A bus tour across North America would typically be hectic, with very few unscheduled segments, but Robson-Scott found the time to attend the Dirtybird West Coast Campout in Modesto earlier this month. They’d share a bill several times — playing Holy Ship together, for instance — so Claude VonStroke suggested it when they were all DJing in San Francisco last New Year’s Eve. In addition to Escape, Gorgon City has released two remixes of “Let It Go” with very different personalities, the “Catz ’N Dogs” version being an especially propulsive banger.
And their show at the Warfield this Saturday, Oct. 27, won’t simply be a DJ set, but a performance with their full band.
“We’ve got our two singers, and we’ve got our drummer, and then the gear: a hell of a lot of new stuff to use,” Robson-Scott says. “We’ve been touring for four years now, and we’ve always built on the original show that we first made, adding songs here and there. But parts of the show we’ve done since the beginning and this time we’ve completely stripped everything back and started from scratch.”
At the time of our phone conversation, Robson-Scott and Gibbon had just left the studio, where they were hard at work at pre-production, fashioning the sounds they’ll use and working out who’s going to play what.
He ticks off a list: “Whether I’m going to play the bassline and Kyle’s going to play the chords, or which drum sounds we’re going to use and which we’re not going to use and how we’re going to change the drums to make them sound more exciting in a live environment.”
All that attention to differentiating the listening-on-the-living-room-floor-with-headphones-on experience from a rave almost makes a person pine for mega-warehouse clubs — like you still find in London, with its temporary licenses and as-yet ungentrified peripheral neighborhoods.
“You do have some cool clubs there,” Robson-Scott says. “Seeing as it’s actually not that big a city, I think you have a good scene.”
Gorgon City, Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m., at the Warfield, 982 Market St. $29-$53.50, thewarfieldtheatre.com