by Kelly Hubertus
San Francisco, California has quite a few treats to offer: sun, ocean, Golden Gate, cable cars, Rice-A-Roni, and, of course, the dance music scene. If you happen to come across 1388 Haight St. while visiting San Fran, you will find the office of Grayhound Recordings and the second home to Garth of the Wicked Crew.
Garth moved from England to San Francisco back in 1990. Since then, Garth has considered the dance scene as, "an extended family for over a decade." He states, "There have been breakups, reunions, casualties, love affairs, tragedies and tribulations since the get go. It's not an option to give that intensity of living up."
I was able to catch up with Garth to learn what's up with the Wicked Crew, how things are going on the west coast, and what he feels the future of music holds. Garth is considered a major icon in the dance music community, especially in San Francisco. His influences, past and present, include "Almost too many to mention. But acid rock, dub reggae, disco obscurities, early 80's punk funk, definitive house originators." He continues, "Tonka sound system in England in the late eighties showed us what could be done with house music and a dirty attitude."
Garth has accomplished so much in the past 13 years, serving up some of the best and most unpredictable dance music in the states, including remixes of Perry Farrell, Tribe Called Quest, Faithless, Yabby You and Robbie Shakespeare. When asked what Garth considers to be some of his most important accomplishments, he states, "Starting Wicked in 1991 and keeping the 'band' together through thick and thin; pulling off six years of free renegade Full Moons parties in the early 90's; and launching Grayhound Recordings in 1998." As far as disappointments go, which are few, he states, "Losing founding Wicked members Alan and Trish to smack." Aside from that tragedy, Garth continues to live on through music and production.
Wicked is known for having imported the first custom-built UK 15K Turbosound system to California. With that, the Wicked show hit the road, covering major U.S. cities, all in a 1947 Greyhound bus to represent Greyhound Recordings. So what ever happened to that bus? "It got abducted by hippies!" he explains. "Really - we tricked it out and turned it into a gorgeous custom rig for touring. With that and the turbo sound system in 1995, Wicked is a self-contained party second to none." While touring on this bus with his crew, some of Garth's favorite places to play are Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Tampa, Boulder, New York and of course San Francisco. "We have plenty of time and prefer the scenic route to fly by night success," he says.
When asked about his recent "Rocket" moniker that is used in some of his production work, Garth explains, "It used to mean get up and go, fly me to the moon, ain't no stoppin' us now, etc. Then it lost an engine and we retired it. Nothing lasts forever I guess. Now it's Wicked till the end my friend."
Next up are Garth's thoughts on the future of Wicked and of music in general, as the West Coast sound has become so popular all around the globe. "Wicked has always been its own sound, regardless of the West Coast hype," he explains. "We do things differently, as a unit, albeit a very loose unit. We can't be pigeonholed as tech house or anything else, because a night at Wicked encompasses great dance music from the last 30 years." The Wicked Crew has always seemed to be a sort of elite group of music makers, and when asked about the curiosity of it growing or even becoming nationwide, Garth responds, "Wicked is a DJ crew of 4 people. Maybe we will turn into a band, but at the core it will always be myself, Jeno, Markie, and Thomas." As far as new music goes, he reveals, "Markie and I are working full throttle to produce our first artist album. We are recording with some great musicians and conscious vocalists, so we expect to make something very special."
Garth and the Wicked Crew are still pumping out new music and parties in California. Grayhound Recordings has recently released DJ Garth and Markie Mark present "Anthem #1." Be on the lookout for forthcoming new remixes of the classic, "20 Minutes of Disco Glory," as well. Garth also has a new mix CD on NRK Records entitled Nite:Life 07.
Check out their website at www.wicked.com for further updates.
Much thanks to Garth for chatting with Lunar.
|home | features | events | reviews | dj charts | forum | my lunar | links | about us | contact|