Picking up where our Guy Gerber feature left off, here’s a breakdown, in Guy Gerber’s words, about the 11:11 collaboration that came about between he and P-Diddy.
On Facebook, I saw someone put the Ten Commandments on how to be a miserable artist. One of the things was like, “try to satisfy your parents.” Another was “make decisions that relate to money.” But the best thing that I really related to was “base your career on one single project.”
This Diddy thing, when it came, I was almost done with the Fabric thing and he just called me one day when I was in Rome. He got in touch with me through Mixmag. I thought it was something related to the label so I sent them to my label manager, but they said “no, we want to speak with Guy.” And when I got on the phone they said “Diddy is looking for you.”
And I said “ooookkkaaaay,” not believing it was for sure. So I called, they said it was for real and the editor said” he’s a pretty serious guy so if he said he’s going to contact you, he will.”
About a month later, I got a call from the States, and I think I was totally naked because I was on my way to the shower, and they told me “don’t do anything, Diddy is about to call you.” But I’m naked, so I gotta take the shower.
I still get the call and I get on the phone and Diddy says “Don’t worry, I’m a fan. I like your music. Come to New York, I want to use one of your tracks for my album.” It was Persona Non Grata from 2007, and he wanted to use it for the intro to his album. He asked me for the stems and I told him that I lost them. And he said “ok, come to New York anyways, let’s make some music together.”
So I’m in New York a month later and I go to his $1 million studio where everyone like Biggie and even Michael Jackson worked there and the console belonged to Whitney Houston. This AMAZING studio. Everything was there.
I come in and they ask me, “ok, what do you want?” I went to a room full of synthesizers and I told them I want this one, this one, this one, this one and this one and they built me this wall of synthesizers within the studio. But…Diddy wasn’t there, so what am I supposed to do? It’s like a Kafka situation. I’m in this place, so what am I supposed to do now?
So basically, after two hours, he comes and gives me this CD and tells me that this is the track that he is giving to every producer who is working on his artist album as the inspiration. So I said, ok, let’s listen. And it’s Persona Non Grata. So I was like “oh yeah, I know this track, I can do something like this.”
The funny part is that this track was made in the stupid studio in the little room in the same apartment building in Tel Aviv where the guy cut himself and jumped off the rooftop. And now it’s the inspiration for Diddy’s entire album.
So, when work started, a lot of other producers, I felt, would just want to take his voice, put their beat under it and call it a remix, but that’s just not my thing. I thought even if I do it and it would take my career farther, I don’t want to deal with that because that’s not where I want to be.
For me, I’m good at what I know how to do and I don’t know how to do this commercial stuff. So I said I’ll just do my own thing.
So I did this beat and I finished it and I went home and the next day I just stayed home because I didn’t know if he would call or not. And the whole time, his people are calling me asking “are you coming to the studio?” and I kept telling them “yeah, I’m on my way, I’m on my way, but I prefer to do most work at home.”
After I was supposed to be there at 5, it’s 8:30 and they ask me if I’m coming because Diddy is about to leave. So I’m like “fuuuck, he was there the whole time?!” I’m like literally holding up Diddy for 3.5 hours
So I get into the studio and I arrive really fucking stressed. Everything is being filmed because it’s a reality show as well so I’m just walking in and I say to Diddy that I want to go to the other room, do some stuff, hook up my computer and let him come listen to what I have.
I turn up the computer…and I’m 37 right now, if this happened to me when I was 25, I would have freaked out…get the file, click open…file is corrupted. Everything I did was corrupted.
So I come back to Diddy and he’s on the phone and I’m like “Um, I’m sorry, the file is corrupted,” and this is already after he first asked me for the stems and I had lost them so he was like “What! What are you doing to me??”
So he’s really stressed and I say “Don’t worry, give me 20 minutes, I’m going to reassemble what I did yesterday” because I knew I had recorded most of it in audio.
And now, this is the funny part. I reassemble it quickly and just before he came into the room, I took an acapella and just threw it into Ableton. And Ableton…it does beatmatching, but if you put a vocal, it doesn’t know how to match it so the acapella just landed randomly. I pitched it quickly to fit the track but I didn’t touch it beyond that.
He came in, pushed play and and cranked it and shouted “You’re a genius! This is how it should be!” He rushed back with his two singers and said “listen to this, listen to this, this is how we should sing the song!” and they all started to mimic my arrangement.
The vocal was slightly off by half a beat or so and it sounded different than all of the other stuff I had heard.
And I say, “Of course, that’s exactly what I meant.”
And he says “Let’s make an album together.”
And so, what started out as an invitation to do one track eventually became an entire remix and collaboration effort that Gerber did with Diddy. It took some time to finally coalesce under a shared vision, but expect a release in the near future as soon as a few distribution details are worked out.
Until then, what can be said about Guy Gerber is that he is someone you’d want as your guide on an eating tour of Rome. He’s someone you’d want to shoot the shit about life with over a beer (or four). And he certainly can hold court in a room of people and keep things interesting.
He just so happens to also be a world-class EDM talent.