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Music comes first

Interview met Gerd Janson

Music comes first

26-09-2013 | 11.23

Gerd Janson sluit deze zondag de eerste spannende maand van Trouw's nieuwe club seizoen af. Met de titel Resident van de Maand September nam Gerd de tijd om een paar vragen te beantwoorden over zijn label Running Back, zijn link met de Robert Johnson te Frankfurt en natuurlijk zijn gevoelens voor Trouw.

As a member of Robert Johnson, in what way can you compare Trouw to RJ? To me, Trouw is one big family. Do you experience this feeling as well when being at Trouw?
"As much as both clubs differ in terms of size, architecture and atmosphere, I think they are very much alike when it comes to the core of what makes a great club a great club. Decent sound plus careful music programming, a staff that cares and last but not least people that “are up for it” instead of waiting to be entertained. So both have their extended family structures... Maybe Trouw even is an extended tribal family."

Describe, if you want, the early days at Robert Johnson. How did they start out?
"If my memory doesn't fail me, I think I missed the construction party there, but set foot into the place a few weeks after it opened. And as with all small and big things legendary, it was quite a calm first year. My first night there, I think Thorsten Scheu aka Glance and his friend Oliver Mohnsame played, felt like entering a space where everything seemed all too precious: a perfect wooden floor, white walls, pristine and crystal clear sound. That's also how people behaved. They seemed scared to spill a drink or ash on the floor in a place that felt like a music gallery... I am rambling here. Anyway, that soon changed. My next visit with Luke Solomon and Rob Mello behind the wheel was a taste of what was soon to follow. Ecstatic people, house music of all kinds, a loft without columns, tv monitors instead of strobe lights and sunrises on a balcony all made a sight for the gods. A barefooted Charles Webster playing all the deep house greats way before it was fashionable again, electro clash haircuts dancing to Theo Parrish, Theo Parrish not dancing to electro clash or Herbert recording the whole club and turning it into a record. That stuff would make for a book."

Last month you played back-to-back with Marcel Dettmann at Dekmantel Festival. How was that?
"I brought all my techno records and Marcel all his house records. Then we changed bags."

Last one: you are a journalist, right? How important is 'the story behind the artist' in considering releases on Running Back? Is a good track sufficient or is an artist's story important for the weight of success for a release?
"Used-to-be-journalist or want-to-be-journalist might be the better description. You can imagine, I had my fair share of stories. With Running Back, I always tried to run the label like a DJ and not like a journalist, although I know how much people usually crave for stories, gossip and headlines. But like every boring ascetic, I am a firm believer in the music-comes-first-balderdash-is-second-rule."

Tekst: Dennis de Vogt