And now, ladies and gentlemen: Gem Stone
Reported by SunnyAli
Submitted 30-01-08 13:30
You think you like it hard? Meet Gem Stone - she’s the hottest and hardest new girl on the UK dance scene, and is ready with an aural ear-bashing for any challengers. She’s only been playing out four years, but her flawless mixing and signature style of acid filled, fat, synthy hard house won her the 2006 Clubbed Up & Sundissential DJ competition and since then she’s stormed the decks at the Bulldog Bash (twice), Sundissential’s 10th birthday and Emergence and Shine in Birmingham, and has guested on Clubbed Up Radio.
In the last year she’s also turned her capable hands to producing tracks and has worked with the likes of Riggsy and Frank Farrell to create some storming new sounds. Her recent release Rusty Spoon was dubbed a "dirty thumpin throbber" in a rave review in Mixmag, while September-released La Cerveza, produced with Farrell, is currently the top selling download on Canadian record label The Beat Ranch Digital. She’s mastered the art of the hard hitting beat and fat riff and is now busy getting noticed in the international music world.
She’s renowned for her wild antics and serious partying with the likes of Ed Real and is consistently the last (wo)man standing after parties. Luckily I caught her on a quiet night and got the lowdown on her rise to the top.
Let’s introduce you to the HarderFaster massive. How are you today? What are you doing at the moment (apart from speaking to me!)?
Hey Ali, I’m really good, thank you. At the moment I’m just going through my emails and about to start on a new track.
Give us a bit of background - how did you first get into making music?
DJing and production has always been a huge interest to me. I first got into producing about four years ago when I did a Connexions course in DJing and music production. At that point I had already been DJing for three years so found that production was obviously the natural progression.
Describe your sound. How has it changed and evolved over the years?
My main style of music is hard house, filled with acid lines and fat synths, although I have adopted a softer style in the funkier side of hard house too.
My style has definitely changed over the years, the first few records I bought were more trance and hard trance and I played that for a good few years but I have found my love in hard house!
Who or what are your biggest musical influences, and why?
Lately I have been influenced most by the hard house of big guns like Frank Farrell, Dave Owens, Dom Sweeton (Defective Audio), Marc Johnson, Justin Bourne and Lucy Fur. I find that the style of music these people make and play completely reflects the music I love.
What have been the best moments of your mixing and making music so far?
My best gig to date was playing at the Bulldog Bash Festival - it is the most amazing atmosphere. I have played there twice now, in 2006 and 2007, and it feels like such a challenge to play in front of that many people! Winning the Clubbed up and Sundissential DJ competition in 2006 was also such a high – it was great to get some recognition for all my hard work.
As for making music, I’ve enjoyed all of it and have learned loads. To hear a tune come together and then get to play it out to a crowd who loves it is an immense rush.
Your performances around as well as behind the decks have earned you the title Gem “Liability” Stone!! What’s your most embarrassing playing out story?
I turned up to play a gig in Birmingham once and got slightly drunk before my set and while I was playing I fell over my record bag! That was quite embarrassing!
What top five favourite tracks get your crowd going at the moment?
Oohhh…. That’s a hard one! I would have to say:
1. Paul Glazby – Kick it
2. Eufex – Hit The Beat (Ben Stevens Remix)
3. RR Fierce – You Don’t Know
4. Steve Brand & Frank Farrell – Waddling On Acid
5. RR Fierce & Captain Tinrib – Street Tab
What about all time top 5?
1. Beatniqz – Kick It (Frank Farrell & Riggsy Remix)
2. RR Fierce & DMF – Full Metal
3. Psyclone – Goodside
4. Marc Johnson & Paul King - Power of the Sun (Munkjack Remix)
5. Digital Kid & Scott Fo-Shaw – Dusty Keyboard (Munkjack Remix)
What goes through your mind just before you go on the decks?
I’m thinking what tunes have been getting the crowd going, trying to decide what to play. I’m always terrified before I’m about to play out. I always want to be able to do my best. I’d prefer to be nervous than to not be and get too cocky!
You’ve now branched out into producing tracks. What software and hardware do you use in the studio? What would your dream set-up be?
At home I use Reason but have just started to try and get my head around Cubase SX3. When in the studio with other producers, we have only used Cubase.
My dream set-up would be using Cubase and having a whole room dedicated to music. I would have an M Audio Prokeys 88 Midi Keyboard, with some KRK RP 6 LTD Edition monitor speakers. And a gumball machine! Ha ha!
Canadian record label The Beat Ranch Digital has got your tune La Cerveza, produced with Frank Farrell, as its top selling download. What can fans of your music expect from you in 2008? What is your big goal?
In 2008 I am going to be doing a lot more production and working with a lot more producers. The Beat Ranch Digital are also going to be running a remix competition in the next month or so for La Cerveza and the winner will have the tune released on the label – I’m really looking forward to hearing the results!
My big goal this year is to get one of my tunes signed to one of the bigger record labels, e.g. Flashpoint, Vicious Circle, Toolbox or Tidy. I also want to start playing some bigger gigs, entering more competitions and really trying to push my career as much as possible. I am also looking at maybe setting up my own digital record label this year once I have the time to put 100% into it.
Downloads have taken off massively and are changing the face of the music industry – is this good or bad? What do you think of the download phenomenon?
I don’t think it’s a bad thing, it’s just natural progression. CD decks are now an integral part of DJing, nearly every DJ uses them so having digital downloads allows people to branch out and play things they wouldn’t usually play.
If you were going to be shipwrecked on a desert Island and could only take one thing with you, what would it be?
A plug socket with some decks etc attached! Haha!
Hard house legend Justin Bourne has just announced he’s hanging up his headphones – what’s changing in the hard house scene? What do you think is going to happen next, music-wise?
Yeah it really is a shame about Justin Bourne, he is one of my favourite DJs and producers. I think that the hard house scene has become a bit commercial in some ways, which is sad. There are now loads of people who want to become DJs and that’s making it a lot harder to get noticed – even as a female DJ in what used to be a totally male-dominated scene!
Check out Gem’s HF DJ page for details of all her tracks and links to mixes for you to listen to.
For bookings, demo CDs, or more information email Gem on email@example.com.
The Beat Ranch is hosting Gem’s newest mix on its site from 1st Feb 2008: visit www.thebeatranch.com to hear it.
Photos courtesy of Paul Stapleton, Ian Redfern and Alison Lock. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.
| From: sticky on 30th Jan 2008 14:29.58|
A very interesting read well done Gemma x
From: Plan9 on 31st Jan 2008 21:42.40
I know I'm nitpicking, but I find it odd that her all time top 5 is more recent than her current top 5 floor fillers.
From: Gem Stone on 31st Jan 2008 22:28.33
My floor fillers are tunes that always get people up and dancing! People love the oldies!
From: DJANDYSIMPSON on 1st Feb 2008 12:11.24
Great interview, well done Gem!
From: madmichele on 1st Feb 2008 23:48.34
well done gem .. always knew you were goin places ... love it love ya mwah x
From: shezmetz on 2nd Feb 2008 23:25.26
well done Gem
From: Claire99 on 6th Feb 2008 08:05.26
wicked read, heard your demo after you won clubbed up comp @ Sanctuary....your mixing is flawless!!!! your demo is one of my faves still!!!
From: Gem Stone on 6th Feb 2008 11:19.58
Ah thanks mate xx
From: Qudos on 8th Feb 2008 21:15.46
From: Hi Freak1c on 12th Feb 2008 09:25.38
top interview :0)
Keep it up Gem.
From: mutley on 5th Mar 2008 19:27.47
well i got here eventually and it's a very good interview, but one thing was missing............
I NEVER got a mention!!!!
see ya soon hopefully xx
From: mattpickup on 16th Mar 2008 16:55.17
good interview babe x