Greg Sawyer – The ‘Monday Is Ok’ Ransom Note Mix
Everything we've heard so far from Greg Sawyer's upcoming Whenever I Try To Leave has been just so appetising that we couldn't help but want more of his aural delicacies. So we decided to ask him to get his headphones on and curate a mix for us so that we could spend plenty more time letting him guide our ears. While you wait until the release on 26th October, enjoy this beauty of a mix and read on as we have a chat with the clever bloke behind it all;
Please introduce yourself…
Hi, I’m Greg. How are you? (We're all very well, thanks for asking – Ed.)
Who are you, where are you and what are you?
I’m a PR chap for Defected and occasional DJ and music maker. I’m at home in my new flat in North London. I am a man who does some stuff, sometimes.
When did you start DJing and was it something you took seriously or did for the love of it?
When I was about 14 or 15, yeah I took it really seriously, probably too seriously. Or at least took myself too seriously. I was pretty much convinced I was going to be a big time DJ, banging out trance in my bedroom on my belt drives.
What's the first song you can remember listening to and really enjoying?
Well the first thing that springs to mind is ‘Two Little Boys’ by everyone’s least favourite Australian painter, and I think that’s actually the truth. But if that’s too controversial just put ‘La Isla Bonita’.
What's your favourite thing about making music?
That you can start with nothing, a completely blank canvas, and end up with something that makes you and other people happy. Not that that’s exclusive to music. Also that feeling you get when something just clicks, and you get those sexy goosebumps.
What kind of sandwich do you think would best accompany your music if we got hungry whilst listening?
An open one, full of promise; one that you never want to end and that when you finish the last bite you want to go straight back to the deli and get another one.
Do you have a favourite track on the new release?
It’s a toss-up between ‘Whenever I Try to Leave’ and ‘Mayflies’. The former has a better name though, so let’s go with that.
If you could choose your own birthday cake, what would it be like?
Like that nsfw one in Under Siege.
Where's your favourite place to listen to music?
Probably on a train, or some other form of fairly relaxing public transport. There’s something about motion that focusses the mind on what you’re listening to, and at times, can completely change your experience of it. There are some albums I tend only listen to when I’m travelling.
Do you have a musical guilty pleasure?
So many that I’ve long since stopped feeling guilty about any of them. A favourite is listening to Elton John’s greatest hits while doing an kind of menial task. I also recently rebought the Ace Of Base album and love whimsical Scandinavian folk like First Aid Kit et al. I’m not even sure what I should feel guilty about any more. Alanis Morissette? Chet Faker? Need I go on?
Are you a coffee kind of guy or do you prefer tea?
Veto. I started answering this but realised that it was literally the most boring question I’ve ever been asked. Once, when I was just a budding music journalist, I had the opportunity to interview Fedde Le Grande. One of the questions I asked was “If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?”. I thought that was pretty shit (it is), but hot beverage banters wins, hands down.
Winter is just around the corner. How do you feel about the cold weather?
Very positive. Autumn is my favourite season. Lovely colours and usually less disappointing weather than the others.
Will you be dressing up for Halloween and if so, what as?
I won’t, but I’ll be getting my baby daughter a pumpkin costume. She’s only 5 months and will look pretty cute, so will hopefully be able to make a decent bit of cash out of her.
What's your favourite colour?
Used to be green, then it was grey (which cynics have tried to convince me isn’t a colour), now it’s blue. I’m THAT unpredictable.
Describe your music in three words.
Almost quite ok.
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sufjan Stevens – The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us.
Onto the mix…
Where was the mix recorded?
In my flat, using Ableton.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
I designed the mix to be listened to everywhere, whether that’s on the way to a club, at an afterparty or just driving down to…LOL! Nah not really, it’s so fucking slow and deep that if you listened to it anywhere expect as home sitting on the sofa you’d might fall asleep (you might still fall asleep here, but at least you’d be safe), and if you tried to play it at any kind of party it would be turned off and you’d be politely asked to leave.
What should we be wearing?
The self-satisfied smile of someone who knows that their tastes in house music are slower and a bit more obscure than most other peoples’.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
Dear Fabric, please can I come and play all night in Room 3 (cos you know, Room 1 would be a frankly ridiculous location to listen to music I’d want to play) and record my mix? Nice one.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
A track called ‘Portraits’ by Ruben Tobias. It was released on a label I run called Tenth Circle a few years ago, and really didn’t set the world alight, but I’ve always thought there was something to it. It’s fucking stunning frankly, and I urge you to pay attention to it. It’s even track 2 in the mix, so you don’t even need to listen to the whole thing!
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
Alive: Ben UFO. I think he’s probably the person you could learn the most from about DJing. Dead: Larry Levan, because who wouldn’t want to do that?
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
It was 2 Gemini belt drives and a very cheap mixer that I’ve forgotten the name of. It’s now two Technics 1210’s that are slowly succumbing to the ill effects of damp in my friend Jo’s cellar.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
I think that if you have any respect for the guy who’s playing before you, then your first track is often a bridge between what they’re playing and what you want to play, so sometimes that might involve a little compromise. I don’t think your first track is as definitive as your last: your last track should be how people remember you and your set, so that’s more important for me.
What were the first and last records you bought?
The first was this:
The last was this:
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
The buffalo wings they do at Meat Liquor. Have you tried those things? They are fucking amazing.
If it was an animal what would it be?
A cross between a sloth and a cat with sunstroke.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
Far from impossible I’m sure, but one that’s been annoying me recently is DJ Nature’s Destiny Reprise. It starts with these really quiet hats that fade up, and the bass never comes in when I’m expecting it to. Have had to abandon it on a few occasions. Needs an edit.
Upcoming in the world of Greg Sawyer?
I’m DJing at Ministry of Sound for Defected on New Year’s Eve, which should be lots of fun. I’ve also got to paint my bedroom.
Anything else we need to discuss?
Probably my attitude, that’s usually what people want to talk to me about.
Whenever I Try To Leave is out on 26th October via Falk Records.
01. Greg Sawyer – Whenever I Try To Leave
02. Rueben Tobias – Portraits
03. Michael McLardy – Seven
04. Terekke – Amaze
05. Malbetrieb & Sebastian Davidson – Song for M
06. Greg Sawyer – Mayflies
07. Julius Steinhoff, Hammouda – You Are
08. Mall Grab – Guap
09. Ion Ludwig – Slowion
10. Route 8 – The Sunrise In Her Eyes
11. Grant – Syracus
12. Arnaldo – Moving On
13. Iron Curtis – Daniel
14. Conforce – Predictive Flow