The debut Cagedbaby album Will See You Now is about to hit the shops in the next week so we felt it would be good to catch up with Tom Gandey to find out a little bit more about one of the best young dance producers in Britain today.
Read on to find out what he had to say about partying with Norman Cook, the Cagedbaby live experience and the comparisons to Royksopp, Prince and T-Rex!
It must be a great feeling to have the likes of Rob Da Bank, Erol Alkan and Trevor Jackson championing what you are doing? Have you had chance to speak to them?
Yeah, Rob couldn’t come to my wedding which was a shame but I go to a few Sunday best events, I’m booked to play Bestival with him in September and at a couple more parties over the summer, I don’t know Errol- but I love his dj’ing, hes the closest thing we have to a dj star at the moment. Trevors been coming to a few of our gigs, he’s been onside since the start, I love his label got every record.
If you believe everything you read in the press then dance / electronic music has been on the verge of dying several times in the last few years, however fantastic releases by the likes of Royksopp, Mylo, Cut Copy and Vitalic suggest otherwise, has the success of their albums been of any inspiration to you?
great to have a big pile of talent shining through in 2005, LCD have been an
inspiration, it was the club scene that died off a bit not the music.
People were pissed off with overpriced clubs and dance music was only being showcased there. There’s only so far you can go with a dj and a Â£20 entrance ticket.
And how do you assess the current state of dance / electronic music?
I think its great, it’s passed the sampling stage and gone back to the creation of music. There’s so much cheap old analogue gear out there that just needs to be played with, and the technology has put production and the music into everybodys grasp. Its exciting times – its gone global, There’s some beautiful people making the music too and working in the industry with their hearts in the right place.
You’ve been compared to everyone from T-Rex to Royksopp are you happy with such comparisons?
I’m out there doing my thing and then I look up and suddenly get compared to such different guys (well legends) as T- Rex and Royksopp, I guess that’s just whats inside me trying to get out. I see the Royksopp thing we’re using a lot of the same equipment and inspirations, I guess the rock thing has been instilled into my childhood. T-Rex was amazing. I hope I live up to the comparison.
I suppose the good thing is with such comparisons it means you aren’t going to be easy to pigeon hole which must be pleasing after one album?
I’m a keyboard player, who became a producer, who then sang on my songs, then wrote a some more tracks, and finished up with an album, the’re my first ever tracks, so I was very creative with this project, I certainly wasn’t aspiring or trying to be anyone else or to fit into any genre, I think the label saw that and liked the honesty. In fact I only heard my first Prince track when my manager played some to me, so being compared to him was pretty crazy.
I understand you recently jetted off to Japan for the Fuji Rock Festival, how was that? The Japanese fans can be quite intense at times!
Got back last night, it was unbelievable, 5000 japanese going for it, we had the best gig yet, I’ve yet to come down from that one. Tokyo and Fuji is awesome, everyone should go to a festival abroad and check it out.
You played the Glastonbury Festival at the end of June, How did that go as it’s always seen as a landmark moment for bands?
Its been on my list of things to do ever since I was a kid, as was going to japan, I’ve DJ’d at glasto for the last couple of years but had never made the bill, so this year was the year for me. Playing live topped it , our tent only just opened in time after being struck by lightening and collapsing and with glastonbury not on next year I was biting my tongue a bit.
Dance music has evolved a lot in the last ten years with live performances now having a much better reputation thanks to the likes of the Chemical Brothers, Orbital, Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada who all put on very impressive live shows… is that something you are conscious of when playing live?
Cagedbaby is a bit different live, there’s no playback at all, a couple of hit triggers. The drummer isnt playing to a click track so we are live, like Spektrum or LCD or Soulwax. I love seeing the Chems, great video and lighting show and the atmosphere is electric. We’ relooking at putting a lighting and video show together as soon as I can get some more money together.
Talking of the Chemical Brothers, you mention that you wanted to be next to them in the racks at Virgin in your press release (hence the name Cagedbaby) – are they heroes of yours?
Yeah, and now mates – top respect to them for keeping at it and making such brilliant records. Truly inspirational, especially coming up with such a genius album this year.i think it blew a lot of people away.
It sounds like you have a huge classical influence in your family, has that helped you in any way in what you are doing now?
It definitely helped my understanding of music, keyboard skills and vocals. Its great to start learning an instrument as a child and too keep it up you just get too busy when you’re older, the number of people I know that want to start playing piano, its very therapuetic as well.
Do you see Dance music being similar to classical music in any way?
All the chord progressions in dance music are quite recognisable from classical pieces, whether the producer knows that the’ve lifted it or not, the chords provide the basis and the atmosphere and this provides the moods in dance music. Classical is in free time that’s a beautiful thing, that’s what you can achieve playing live – if that makes any sense.. ???
How have your family taken to your career and decision to veer away from the family business (Fishmongers) in favour of a music career?
Very happy for me, mum and dad live in france and I send them regular reports or rather they send them to me.
How did the band come together?
I wanted to take the album out into the open, I had two choices to either play it from samplers and just cut up the album, or reinterpret it with musicians, the guitarist played on the album anyway,the keyboard player I saw in my local club with a band called Mula . The drummer has the studio next to me and has played all over the world with many acts, LRD & Freeland, I think the band will be more involved in the next album. They are all friends, I picked them pretty carefully and they all have very impressive cv’s.
Were you looking for people with the same vision as yourself or is it more a case of looking for talented musicians that can do what you want them to do rather than inputting into the creative side of things?
The keyboard player provides the bass and keyboards in the band, that’s a big responsibility. He is a creative genius and I let them get into it, that’s why the live versions are so live, the drummer was once described as the king of britfunk.
How did the link-up with Southern Fried come about? Is it a Brighton thing or is pure chance that you’ve ended up on Fat Boy Slims label?
I was going to go for Skint , then I heard Fatboy had started up a label and I liked the sound of it, they were the only label I approached I had a lot of interest in Cagedbaby around the same tie.
How much of a help has he been to you from both a label perspective and from his experience gained over the years if any?
He’s been amazing, what a genius, I’ve partied a lot with him and his gang, its amazing fun. He definitely inspired me to get into music after I heard him on the radio saying he was just trying to put some fun back into dance music.
The album is produced by yourself I notice, is that something you’d be keen to be involved in with other artists’ work, be it helping them to produce or remixing?
I’ve been producing a few artists for a while, I’m getting more into it, I only do stuff I’m totally blown away with and want to get involved in, and obviously when I have time. I’ve been working with Radioslave , Justin Robertson and Ashley Beedle lately, its good to keep the diversity up and not be a one trick pony.
Have you got any plans in place moving forward for where you’d like to take Cagedbaby next musically?
There’s certainly a whole load more to come out of me and into Cagedbaby. Musically I’m on fire and relish the chances I now get to be in the studio writing. Album two is going to be just as much fun to make.
If you want to hear footage of Cagedbaby playing a storming live version of Disco Biscuit then click on the Album Microsite link above.