Nara is Near makes interview with GERGAZ

As someone of Slovakian descent, the first thing to come to mind when I think of the motherland isn’t a DIY record label. However, once I spoke with Vlado, one of the co-founders of the label, my idea of what really is happening in Slovakia changed. After listening to GERGAZ’s artist roster, I quickly realized the importance and impact they are making in both Slovkia but across the Internet. GERGAZ’s mission statement is to “release work of relatively unknown artists and projects.” They’re doing exactly that, but despite their best efforts artists such as Jimmy Pé and Fallgrapp won’t stay unknown for long.

Could you tell us a little more about the creation of GERGAZ?

At the time, back in 2008 GLGN, who is a founder of the label as well as a producer, had his debut EP ready but didn’t have many options to release it. There were only a couple of relevant labels in Slovakia that would fit his music and there was a huge chance they wouldn’t have been interested in releasing it. There were other artists, friends of ours, in exactly the same situation and obviously others abroad so creating a label just made perfect sense. GERGAZ was founded as a platform that would allow and help unknown artists and projects to introduce their music and themselves to the scene.

What does the label look for when scouting new talent?

We are always looking for interesting and original music, something that may surprise us as well as the listeners. It’s difficult to explain what it is exactly. There are several elements that we wish were included in the tunes.

Where does the name GERGAZ come from? What’s the meaning behind the name?

Gergaz is a little lake just off Moravsky Svaty Jan, Slovakia, a place where all 3 of us (GLGN, Jimmy Pé, jablkonosic) are from. The lake is actually called Gergelik but as kids we called it Gergaz. It is the street name for it. GERGAZ was also our local music club and the label used its name, in a way, to keep its legacy alive, since it had huge effect on us. GERGAZ is known for offering free downloads to the fans of the label. What was the reasoning behind this and have you noticed any positive or negative impacts due to it? The idea behind the free downloads was to spread the music around as much as possible and introduce the artists to the listeners at the same time. The impact was very positive. We managed to create a base of fans that like the music, and a few blogs noticed what we were doing and helped spread the music even further. This brought us more producers interested to release their music on GERGAZ. So we got what we aimed for. We will certainly carry on doing free releases as well as the paid ones.

What is the first thought or memory that comes to mind when you think of vinyl records?

A pile of 7” records lying around in my great aunt’s living room. I use to purposely play them on the wrong speed for hours just for laughs until I was told off.

What are your thoughts on the resurgence of vinyl?

I’m glad to see the comeback of vinyl and for it to even be considered, ‘fashionable.’ Maybe it’s partially the nostalgia of records that is pushing the resurgence.

Loading MP3s to a laptop while sitting on the sofa and having a cup of coffee is not exactly the same experience as blowing the dust off the record before putting a needle on it. The first couple of pops you hear might make even the coffee taste better. The music certainly does.