Once a writer for Muzik, Jockey Slut, IDJ, and The Face and being part of Neon Heights, Cal Gibson is the one man Balearic wrecking machine whose workflow is the kind we all wish we had!
Under his guise as ‘The Secret Soul Society, ‘ he has released four incredible sun soaked sounding E.P.’s on Paper and on labels further afield where his chopped-up reworks take on a whole new life of their own, and we’re massive fans.
His latest release, ‘Oh People’ is out now on Paper, and we caught up with him for the lowdown…
1. Big thanks for being behind such an incredible release (once again!) with ‘Oh People’. You seem to be one of the most prolific music creators we’ve ever had on Paper. Can you give us a rough rundown of your workflow and process?
First off, it’s an absolute joy to be releasing on Paper: it has been such an integral part of my musical journey stretching way back to the days of ‘The Book’ and Dirty Jesus – it’s never put out anything but absolutely top class underground dance music. I think these days I’m quick workwise because I’ve been doing it for so long: if an idea isn’t working pretty much straight away then it gets binned – the days of beavering away for months on tracks are no more. For me now it’s all about fun and enjoyment and the love of music: it really only matters if you like what you are doing – if anyone else likes it then great, if not no worries – it’s about the process of making the art more than anything else. It’s a collage of soft synths and samples, basically, with occasional guest muso appearances from peeps if I can get hold of them, if not then my rudimentary noodles have to make do. Keep the mistakes in, keep the wonkiness in, mess around and have fun. Fun being the key word. Music as therapy. Creation is all. We’re not around for long – try and enjoy it.
2. There is some really clever use of samples throughout your work. Do you go deliberately digging for things to use or do you have a pile of records in waiting collected over time?
A bit of both: I’ve sold most of my vinyl, but there’s a fair chunk still kicking around, waiting to be repurposed. And then there’s the vast dystopia online where everything and nothing exists at once, and our minds are reshaping themselves as we speak. Squish it all together, and voila. I do recall Jonny Trunk saying how much he loves getting lost in a good loop: something you can spin in the headphones for hours and hours – I tend to be that way inclined. I then usually spoil the loop by plonking squiggly noises over it. Job done. The best ideas are always the simplest ones – one great hook, sample, vocal, guitar lick – and then try your best not to mess it up.
3. Tell us about your current studio set-up?
Streamlined to the point of not being there: on the table sits a laptop, MIDI keyboard, couple of guitars. Currently enjoying Arturia’s Minifreak softsynth and the Surge free download. Less choice often leads to more creativity.
4. It’s quite a unique yet familiar sound to your work. Are there any producers or styles you draw influence from?
I respect anyone expressing themselves artistically in any format. Art, literature, music, philosophy: these are the cornerstones of a life well-lived – when you couple them up with a ton of love, of course. Anyone creating and presenting that creation to the world, with all the knockbacks and ego-bashing that entails, then yes, I’m right with you, amigo. Hate hate and love love. Anything left of centre and quirky tends to find favour in our house: today, let’s go with Gilberto Gil, Yabby You, Husker Du, Mahlathini, Space Ghost, Airto, Guy Maxwell and Duval Timothy.
5. Lastly, what is your favoured studio snack of choice when having a long day at the controls?
Bucketloads of diet coke, sadly. Not good, but hey, you do what you can, right?
Thanks, Cal x
Great review below from Juno on ‘Oh People’ – check it out HERE.
“Once something of a UK deep house and downtempo mainstay thanks to his role in Notts outfit Neon Heights, Cal Gibson has quietly set about building up quite a catalogue with his latest project, The Secret Soul Society. ‘Oh People’, the latest TSSS outing, offers a neat summary of the collective’s various influences, inspirations and developing trademark sound. For proof, check the drowsy, loved-up sunrise shuffle of opener ‘Boo Boo4 Sure’, the Beatdown-goes-ultra-deep-house bliss of ‘Oh People’, the Rotary Connection-with-electronic-instruments dreaminess of ‘Stay’ and the unashamedly saucer-eyed Balearic pop warmth of ‘Sooner or Later“. JUNO Review Feb 23