LARRY GUS

Last September RedMilk launched its second issue on paper with a special party featuring the unique performance of Larry Gus. After that, his show became very popular in Milan and he played several times in town. On Friday 6th, we met him again at Tunnel Club after his soundcheck on the occasion of Elita DWF10 Warm Up Party

Ciao Larry, nice to meet you again. Are you still based here in Milan? Shall we do the interview in Italian?
No, please. I am still very bad with the language (laughs). And yes i am here but I think we – me and my wife – are going to move again to Greece for a couple of years; we just had a baby, right now he is 8 months old. We live in Athens so it’s easy to go anywhere else while there and i can keep playing around. The situation in Greece is still tough but maybe with the new government there will be more chances to do new things and i feel some positivity even if there still so much to do and everything is very difficult. I think we will in any case stay here for the Expo: my wife is a designer so it makes sense for her to stay.

You are going to open Ariel Pink’s show tonight. How do you feel and what’s your perception of this artist?
Well, he is one of my favorite. And i feel very lucky that i was born at the same time as him so i am able to listen to his music. He has such an amazing personality, he is an extraordinary songwriter and i love his craziness: he is a genius, that’s it. He really means so much to me; when i was in the army – because in Greece you have to spend one year doing the service – i was listening to his songs all the time and he was really helpful for my career. I am struggling tonight to open his show and i hope i can find some time to speak to him. I am excited like a school girl (laughs).

Listen, speaking again about Milan: how much do you like the city and which are your favorite spots in town?
I love Milano. And the thing with this city is that is my favorite place: i travel quite a lot but then i am always happy to be back here. I like Paris also, but i think that Milan is truly beautiful. I like Milan because is very dark, very grey, it’s clean but it’s dirty at the same time; you have all these parks that are almost hidden and the center for me is very ugly, too touristy, but for me is a the perfect city because i have the calm and serenity to do stuff and there are a lot for good vibes ad inputs if you are looking for that. I can be so creative here. I don’t really go out, i don’t socialite that much so i can concentrate on my work.

This was my next question. I read that you are sort of antisocial…
It’s true. My favorite thing is to run. I live where Plastic (a popular disco in Milan) used to be and i like to run all the way to Navigli through Porta Nuova and Sempione and get back home: it’s 15km more or less and most of the time i am crying. Yes, crying because everything is so beautiful. I know that for many Italians Milan is an ugly place and i can understand it if compared to other cities like Rome, Florence or Venice, but for me it’s the perfect balance being in the Mediterranean and at the same time have this central Europe feeling. And despite all of this i am not that social… (laughs)

What about Expo? Do you have expectations?
Well, i try not to have expectations. In general, it’s the worst thing you can do to have expectations because reality always crashes them. With regards to Expo i don’t know if i like all the stuff they are doing because they are changing the city and it’s funny all these burger and veggie restaurant that appeared in town because of the food theme. But i am curious to see what’s going to happen.

When you are not playing, which are your favorite hobbies?
My background is very different from what i do, very technical because i am a computer engineer, so because of that music has always been my hobby. And since 4 years when i started playing professional, it’s hard for be to believe that this is now a proper job. I really like what i do so every day looks like an holiday even if i am working. It’s an amazing feeling. The other day i was speaking to my wife and i mentioned her the things that i like in life: reading books, eating, go to the cinema. I think i like books more than anything, i wish i could be a writer.

And you take inspiration from books as well for your music, right?
Yes, yes, i get inspired a lot by books and writers. Right now i am reading a book by this guy that won the Pulizer prize in 2008, really really great and i am also reading this german guy called Sebald. I really like Calvino for example, i think is one of the best. The way Calvino works, i am trying to do it myself. You have these concepts and ideas and you try mix them together.

Do you think that this is also the reason why is music and remixes sounds so dense?
(Laughs). The thing is… that i have a big problem. I try all the time to be more simple but the way i work and the way i like stuff to be done doesn’t coexist with simplicity. I like my music to have layers: if people like the song they can hear it but they can find more, understand how i work, because there are many connections and deeper meanings.

What about instead the experience you had last year in Tokyo with Red Bull Music Academy?
It was the first time in my life that i’ve been to a place and i felt like my identity was erased. The city, for us European, is disorienting. You don’t have any sense of where you are, you get lost very easily, you don’t understand a word. You simply feel out of space. I think i have very strong roots, also due to my family and my wife, but over there i really felt lost. I want to go back in any case and have more time to get to know this culture.

What’s next for you?
I finishing my album, i am flying to New York next friday to my label DFA. I am working 24h a day, hectic period. But i am happy: this time i’ve written more actual songs, more lyrics, that i’ve never done before so i am very pleased with the result. And then i’ll start touring, i have already few dates for may and june. So let’s see what happens!

Thank you Larry for your time.
My pleasure, it has been a fun interview.

Larry Gus played on Friday 6th March at Tunnel Club in Milan before Ariel Pink and Martyn, for the second warm up date of Elita Design Week Festival 2015. www.designweekfestival.com

Photography Fabrizio Consoli www.instagram.com/fabconsoli
Special thanks to Annalaura Giorgio @ Elita