Hailing from Bangor and currently based in Glasgow, Gary Caruth, better known as his production alias Sad City, has released just one record in 2011, but the quality on display has made such a stunning impression we decided it’s finally time to invite him to grace the Dummy Mix series.
First surfacing two years ago with his debut record titled ‘Gestures’ for New Jersey label Underwater Peoples – also home to artists likes Ducktails, Julian Lynch, James Ferraro and Real Estates – Caruth’s singular brand of undulating electronic tensions have a weirdness that feels thoroughly ecstatic and charming. Throughout the four-track, 25-minute suite, a dream-like trip is crafted; soaked in reverbs and delays, and juggling around slower moments of house and dub grooves, the experimental-inspired sound is created by the use of unrestricted, soul-indebted far-east saxophone lines and clusters of rolling percussive patterns, all championed in the immediate standout track Jaya.
With a new EP forthcoming on London record shop/label Phonica later this year, Sad City will make his debut live appearance this Saturday on 9th March at the Revive Her x Phonica party, alongside Ukrainian deep house producer Vakula, techno trio Magic Mountain High (Move D and Juju & Jordash), Bubbletease boss Maurice Fulton and Scottish analog performer Lord Of The Isles. Ahead of the event, Caruth has provided a wide-ranging hour-long mixtape, featuring material by artists like Brian Eno, King Tubby, Moodymann, and Manuel Göttsching, as well as two exclusive and unreleased cuts from the man himself. Read our interview with him below.
Hi Gary, how’s it going?
Hi. My name is Gary Caruth. I live and make music in Glasgow under the name Sad City. I’m originally from Bangor in Northern Ireland but have been in Scotland for around 7 years, initially, to study English in Aberdeen.
Can you tell us more about this mix? What’s it gonna do to our head?
I’ve tried to give this mix a sound, sort of. Each track is different in a lot of ways, but there’s a style or approach or something that links them that I like. Pretty much all of them owe a lot to delay and repetition, which I guess I owe a lot to also. I like it when music builds upon itself and starts determining its own path, with swells and feedback and stuff; rhythms picking up and dropping away as they wish, so I thought I’d try to give this mix a sense of that – building in some parts and regressing in others, but repetition being the constant throughout. I’ve included a track called Polymath from the EP I have coming out on Phonica as well as an unreleased track I recorded called Outer. I hope your head enjoys it.
When and why did you begin to make music?
I started making music as Sad City about five years ago. I was involved in different projects before that under lots of different names. When I was studying in first year at Aberdeen, my friend Julian Lynch and I played together a lot. We both loved making a lot of noise, but also making stuff interesting with samples and guitar melodies and strange percussion. I’m sure we have some recordings somewhere. We basically spent the whole year jamming around and playing shows. When I would come back to Bangor over summer, my friends and I would jam in one of our garages. Pavement-type stuff. I always played around with electronic music though. Sad City was kind of the fruition of that.
We adore your debut record, ‘Gestures’, on Underwater Peoples from 2011, how did the EP come about?
I was introduced to Ari and Brody from UP by Julian about four years ago I think. Ari had got in touch about releasing a track I recorded called Agua on their Summertime Showcase. They’re great guys. One thing led to another and they ended up putting my last record out. I’ll always be supportive of those guys.
Who are you inspired by currently?
I haven’t really been listening to that much current music recently… I’ve been listening to the Sublime Frequencies catalogue pretty religiously and Steve Reich is someone I kind of always go back to. He’s probably the biggest musical influence on me. I’m missing an “in-conversion” thing with him in Glasgow on Sunday. Playing the Corsica Studios show is probably the only thing I would have put in place of that! King Tubby has been on repeat too.
What do you hope to inspire in others with your sound?
Motivation to make more music I guess. Whatever music feels right. Whatever way you want to make it.
Glasgow seems like the place to be for new music at the moment, what’s the music scene like over there?
I tend not to get too caught up in what bands or artists around me are doing. I’m a bit musically reclusive in that way. Glasgow has an amazing musical legacy, which maybe makes people feel more free to experiment. It’s also probably why there are so many scenes that come and go. There’s some great music coming out of Glasgow right now, but for me, the best stuff kind of exists outside of the scenes…
We heard you’ve got a new EP forthcoming on the Phonica label, what else have you got planned for the rest of 2013?
Yeah, it’s called ‘You Will Soon Find That Life Is Wonderful’. Real excited for it coming out. I am completely happy with it. I’m always working on new music – right now I’m working on a few things to put out as another EP. I’d like to put out a full length by the end of the year. I’m hoping to record something with my friend Ricky in Glasgow. He makes great music under the name Tangles. I’m excited about that.
What can we expect from your live set this Saturday?
Well… I like improvising around things when I play live. So I guess I can’t really answer that!
Luc Ferrari – Presque Rien No. 2 B (Ainsi Continue La Nuit Dans Ma Tête Multiple)
System 7 – A Cool Dry Place
Manuel Göttsching – Echo Waves
Cluster – Hollywood
Chris Watson & BJ Nilsen – SIGWX
King Tubby – Natty Roots Man Dub
Sad City – Polymath
Biosphere – Patashnik
Brian Eno & Robert Fripp – Untitled
Jon Hassell & Brian Eno – Rising Thermal 14° 16’ N; 32° 28’ E
Francisco López – Wind (Patagonia)
Moodymann – Misled
Joni Haastrup – Greetings
Swell Maps – Raining In My Room
Sad City – Outer