Gorgon City are world builders. The duo’s shared moniker and computer-rendered imagery draw on the hedonism of the ancient Greeks, but also the period’s extraordinary gamut of discovery, creativity, and ambition.
Since first linking up for a run of singles at the turn of the decade, Gorgon City – comprising Kye Gibbon and Matt Robson-Scott have entrenched themselves in global club culture, offering a heady mix of big room house and underground heaters.
In 2014, the pair introduced their high-concept, hard-hitting approach with Sirens. The album’s ‘ancient futurist’ approach drew on classic club sounds and the new bass-heavy house music emerging from the UK’s clubs at the time (the ‘Gorgon’ in their name is also a nod to dancehall legend Ninjaman, and the influence of bassy soundsystem music on the pair’s signature style). A penchant for huge hooks and a knack for identifying rising songwriters added elements that saw the pair’s popularity surge. Sirens was home to five top 20 singles – including the MNEK- featuring ‘Ready For Your Love’, which went to number four, became a timeless club anthem, and minted a new singing star in the process.
An intense period of touring followed, incorporating DJ performances and full live shows. The pair graced stages across the US and Europe and ticked off bucket list performances at Glastonbury, Coachella, The Warehouse Project, and Circus, as well as holding down a residency at iconic Ibiza spot Amnesia. Kye and Matt continued to work on new material during this period, squeezing in studio sessions between shows and working via laptops when on the go. The formation of a new label in 2017, called REALM, offered a space for the pair to explore more rugged, underground sounds – even as the huge success of their acid-leaning ‘Real Life’ collaboration with Duke Dumont and NAATIONS saw their star rising further and faster.
On their second album, Escape, Kye and Matt found a middle ground between the big- hearted energy of their debut and the upfront beats pushed on their own REALM imprint. The album also saw new names enter the Gorgon City fold, including UK rap and grime veterans like D Double E and Yungen. By now, the scale and staging of the pair’s live shows was getting bigger. Sold out dates at London’s Printworks and the Novo Theatre in Los Angeles sat among an extensive schedule of US and UK dates, as well as seasons in the Balearics – cementing Gorgon City’s status as one of the most consistent presences in the global club scene.
By the time 2020 came around, and just as the pair geared up to release a new album, a pause was overdue. Almost ten years had whipped by in a whirlwind of parties and unexpected chart smashes. As much of the world went into lockdown, the pair took a moment to breathe. A regular slot on Kiss FM (having taken over the reins from Carl Cox) helped to keep them grounded and in touch with the glut of new music still being produced, as well as offering inspiration and providing a space for emerging talent to incubate within the Gorgon City realm.
Having been gifted a little more time to take stock, the pair responded the only way they now know how: go one bigger.
Olympia, Gorgon City’s third album, is as grand in scale and ambition as its title suggests. What began in 2019 as a compact, 10-track project has grown into an 18-track opus covering multiple moods and movements. From the sultry slouch of ‘House Arrest’ with
Soffi Tukker, to the big-room bridges and drops of the DRAMA- featuring ‘You’ve Done Enough’, each new addition to Olympia is both a symbol and product of the pair’s unbridled ambitions for what they wanted to be a big record in every way conceivable.
The album continues the pair’s form for identifying new singing talent. Matt and Kye typically prefer to work with singers and songwriters operating outside of the dance music sphere – introducing new, stimulating elements to the Gorgon City oeuvre. Fifteen different singers appear across Olympia, exploring primordial themes of love and loss over an array of euphoric piano anthems (on the Hayley May-assisted ‘Never Let Me Down’), punchy techno (‘Lost Feelings’ with Rose Grey), and woozy melancholic house (‘Nobody’, featuring DRAMA).
When discussing the record, Kye and Matt aren’t so much bouncing off each other as building on top of one another: always iterating, always improving. This dynamic contributed to the album’s transatlantic production process too. While most of the writing sessions were completed before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, both Kye (in Chicago) and Matt (in London) were able to continue making tweaks and improvements by passing tracks back and forth between themselves and their numerous collaborators.
By some serendipity, Olympia will arrive just a few days after the scheduled lifting of
lockdown in England – on June 25th. Gorgon City will welcome the return of raving with a run of their own curated festival shows in London’s Finsbury Park. Originally planned as a single-day event, overwhelming demand saw a second consecutive date quickly added. The events, co-curated with Sonny Fodera and titled Back To Love, will build on the pair’s experience hosting REALM parties at other iconic locations such as Tobacco Dock in London, New York’s Brooklyn Mirage, and The Midway in San Francisco. For Kye and Matt, this is an opportunity to step out of the confines of the festival circuit and create another space of their own to experiment in.
Gorgon City’s interest in world building has taken on an even greater significance in the circumstances surrounding the album’s release, as dance music fans have spent over a year pining for their shuttered clubs – and constantly reminded of the importance of these spaces and the need to protect and sustain them. Later in the year, as the nights draw in once more, the duo will set out on on an extensive winter UK tour – marking some of their biggest shows to date, and taking in some of their favourite venues.