Nebraska comes in with a bang for his third release on Heist with ‘Y’miss me baby?’. Taking back centre stage with another release full of disco flavoured electronics. Italian disco man-of-the-moment Giovanni Damico comes along for the ride and delivers a stunning 80’s flavoured remix.
He’s launched his own label ‘Friends & Relations’ where he explores his cut-and-paste style with some seriously cool disco dubs and other sonic adventures. He made a guest appearance on Aaron Dae and JKriv’s Razor ‘n Tape Reserve and apart from his regular musical explorations, he has published a book (Surprise Party Every Week) where we get a glimpse of how Gibbs sees the world. We’re glad to having him for a few questions!
Can you tell us where you’re from?
Originally I’m from Leicester, in Midlands area of England.
Where are you based right now?
Since 1996 I’ve lived in London. I’ve lived in the Peckham area for about 10 years.
Nebraska – the film or the place?
Well for me, the name pre-dates the film (which I enjoyed) and I’ve never yet been to the place. To name the project ‘Nebraska’ was a totally random, very quick ad-hoc decision 20 years ago that’s just stuck.
How long have you been involved in music?
Aside from earlier attempts at tape edits, I started trying to make music at school around 1988, where they had some random bits of kit – a 606, a 101, a JX3P and a Boss digital delay – and a music teacher indulgent enough to give non musicians a few clues.
Were you a DJ before a producer?
Love it though I do, I rarely DJ other than for my own pleasure, or at places like Spiritland where I can play much looser, less locked to maintaining a tempo. The concept of DJ’ing has completely informed how I produce though.
How would you describe your style of music when you play?
I like to play across the board, eclectic. My favourite pieces of musical history are the bits when there aren’t yet enough records to sustain a genre – the early days of disco and hip hop when rock, soul, jazz, European electronic and African records all fuelled the fire.
Is your taste the same for your productions?
I most definitely listen to a broad selection of source and inspirational material when I sample.
Do you still buy records?
Yep. Nearly all second-hand, lots from charity shops. I like rooting through and finding
things – it’s definitely an intrinsic part of my process.
Are you precious about what format you play?
Not really, but I’m a vinyl rather than a digital native. I’ve never really learned how to use CDJs properly. Laziness!
Where’s your secret spot to find gems in the world?
Any charity shop really. I spend a bit of time in Rat Records in Camberwell – I like it that their records are only loosely categorised, so finding that obscure rock record in amongst reggae is a possibility. Lorenzo’s Record Shack in Peckham is a hidden gem. I still buy new records, but not with the same fervour I did in the 80s and 90s.
Three records that mean something to you.
1. Double Dee & Steinski ‘Lesson 2’
I would’ve first heard this via John Peel’s late night radio one show in the mid 80s. The wild eclecticism and overt cut and paste aesthetic lit my brain up immediately. Pieces like this fuelled my early teenage record collecting mania.
2. Studio Pressure (Photek) ‘Fusion’
I already had the original 7” of break that Photek sampled here, but the genius way that he filleted it and combined it with the dusty Rhodes sample really opened my mind to more imaginative sample sequencing. I bought it from a record shop in Leicester some friends ran. I used to spend entire days there, hanging out listening to music and discussing it with whomever drifted through. An education.
3. Pharaoh Sanders ‘Harvest Time’
I love anything that has that drone, that unmoving, hypnotic centre. This is amazing, especially when it drifts into washes of harmonium later on.
Some people talk of a malaise in the music industry right now. What do you think about that?
As always, I still see young people with positive attitude and energy cutting through, making what matters to them and their audience. Music has been around for as long as we have – it’s the ‘recording industry’ bit that’s possibly transient. Maybe the ‘industry’ bit is the malaise?
Who do you admire in the music industry right now?
Anyone who makes the effort and really cares about what they do. I’m always impressed with those who can draw a community around what they make. What Justin and Eamon have built in NYC with Mister Saturday Night and Nowadays is impressive. James Brown has done some really great stuff with Balamii here on south east London. Who else would link music culture with fried chicken and ice-skating Somerset House?
Favourite female DJ/ producer?
I’ve just recently clocked that ‘Will Powers’ who made ‘Adventures in Success’ in the early
was in fact photographer Lynn Goldsmith. A conceptual art record about self-help… so prescient. And brilliant.
Favourite place/ country/ club in the world to play?
Playing anywhere is really a good excuse to meet new people and share a great local meal isn’t it? I’ve loved playing at Prince Charles in Berlin alongside Session Victim; Concrete in Paris and Claire in Amsterdam with Detroit Swindle have been as much fun as you might imagine.
This is your third release on Heist. How did you first hook up with the label?
I met Lars and Maarten when we did Boiler Room together with Jimpster… 2013 I think. We stayed in touch. They bring a lot of energy to everything they do and have good ears – brilliant DJs and much more eclectic in their selections than most.
How do you feel about social media? I see you recently established an Instagram page?
I’ve resisted having separate Instagram accounts for my commercial and artistic endeavours so far. I want to use @nebraska_ldn to explore more deeply the world around how I use sampling to make music and art, and what the influences on that are. On a wider scale I reckon most of us are beginning to understand that social media is a hall of mirrors, and has had a much heavier effect on global politics than we might’ve anticipated. Some less desirable genies are not going to go back into bottles, unfortunately.
I hear you just wrote a book. What is it called? What’s it about?
I published a book in 2016 called ‘Surprise Party Every Week’, with images I’d made on my phone of found signs and graphics. It was about communication and miscommunication, and celebrated the amateur, raw and unpolished over the professional, slick and refined. I did an exhibition of it here in Peckham and created some limited edition t-shirts with 18.01 London. Limited edition prints of my other work are also available via Jealous Gallery in London.
What can you tell us about this release ? Y’ miss Me Baby?
The thing I’ve learned through releasing music over the years is that you’re rarely the best judge of your own material. Maarten and Lars helped sift down to these 3 tracks from a much larger group. Though brilliant A&R helps, it’s the audience that truly reveals what’s really happening – I’m intrigued to find out what people think about this record. The title track is actually derived from chords I discovered on guitar, though no trace of my original playing remains. The vocal is from an earlier, electro-themed track of which very little appears in the finished work. ‘Dip and Flip’ is a much rawer and unfettered exercise in dynamics and making a lot out of a little. ‘Xiao Long Bao’ came from an experiment in recording myself editing samples ‘on-the-fly’ live, but ended up as quite a carefully controlled composition.
Where can we catch you soon?
No idea. I stopped playing live last year to reassess how I do it, where and why. Still working on that. I’m in the studio nearly every day making something, whether it’s musical or visual.