GYBO was an independent coffee shop to Facebook’s Starbucks: McSleazy Interview Pt 2

Second part of this final GYBO interview with the GYBO supremo McSleazy.

7. If you wanted to demonstrate to someone the creativity of mashups, which one track from the early days would you choose?

One? I’m not sure I could pick just one. You have your plain A&B’s, but then you have the more adventurous tunes which are carefully constructed with many more component parts. I’m going to ignore your restriction and pick three.

1. Freelance Hellraiser’s A Stroke of Genius. Yup, it’s a cliché to pick it but there’s a good reason. The production value in it. It isn’t just the acapella over the music. Listen to the cut up of the Strokes track, the tricks used, the additional filter and effects. I appreciate the extra effort made in making that track and it deserves to be the stand out track. It also has the winning combination of girl pella and guitar band backing. Look at Soundhog’s Adina Howard v Mansun for another example of how to make that work properly.

2. GHP’s Don’t Hold Back, Sweet Jane. This is a masterclass in making a seamless tune out of lots of different tracks. I listened to it about a dozen times in a row when it came out and still play it to people as an example of what an amazing bootleg is. It’s incredible.

3. Anything by Lionel Vinyl. When Ian joined GYBO, he raised the bar for throwaway pop bootlegs. While others tweaked and retweaked to force tunes to work (and failed), Ian was shitting top quality bootlegs before breakfast. His tunes were fun, flawless and his choice of tunes to mix were spot on. Between him, Mark (GHP), Ben (Soundhog), Loo & Placido and possibly one or two more, there were some top class music production talent showcasing work on GYBO. That never happened in the later years.

8. GYBO was the first mashup forum, and was one of the first to create compilations and remix whole albums – can you think of any other firsts than came from there, especially ones people might not know about?

Possibly the first forum to generate number one singles. (Think Phil’n’Dog, BigBadBaz, Loo & Placido etc). First forum to inspire an MTV series. We were the go-to website for Hollywood if they were looking for mash-ups. The first to offer its own currency and games room…

9. As Eve Massacre said, GYBO was the best ‘come for the music, stay for the banter’. Why do you think that was? And is it still possible in a twitter/FB world?

I do not know. I wish I did. I don’t know how much of it was down to me. GYBO was more about the people. There were probably around 100 hardcore members that enabled the site to police itself. There were rules, but usually it was the GYBO users who kept things right. Mutual respect for people who shared the same interest, I suppose. I don’t know if it’s still possible post-Facebook to run a niche site with the same level of interaction that we had in GYBO at it’s peak. I’d like to think so. GYBO was an independent coffee shop to Facebook’s Starbucks. Perhaps there’ll be room for new-GYBO in the future. Time will tell.

10. Someone, ThriftshopXL I think, described GYBO as the last of the ‘old internet’ sites from the web’s early freewheeling days. There was plenty of trolling, some witty provocation (hello LV15), not to mention the prolific use of aliases and name-changing. How did you keep ‘order’ or a semblance of it in such a bear pit? Or was that impossible, given a very small number of people got banned?

Like I mentioned before, the members kept things in order. I had very little to do. I think there were only two real (non-spam) people banned in ten years. Not bad at all considering we had 16,000 registered users at our peak. I suppose the advantage is that the people who could cut people down in the most intelligent and visceral manner (like LV15 or Eve Massacre) were decent people and not doing it to wind people up. Rob (LV15), I didn’t always agree with, but you help but be impressed with the clarity with which he put forward his arguments. If there was somebody antagonising in a thread and Rob took it upon himself to engage with them, then myself and the mods didn’t need to step in. We couldn’t top him. I met Rob on a trip to Trier. I was a little anxious about meeting him before going to the airport. I think that was possibly because of a thinly veiled threat of physical violence. After meeting him and realising that my life wasn’t in imminent danger, I thoroughly enjoyed his company. I let him down, however, on a wine-tasting trip when he decided to leave the excursion to pursue vodka. I said I’d join him then changed my mind. I still feel a bit of a dick about that.  Unfortunately, he was keen on Drum & Bass which I fucking hated.

Anyway, keeping order on GYBO was down to great members and the mods.  There were many mods in our time – too many to name check, although special mention needs to go to Eve (for longest serving), Lee [Spoons] (above and beyond) and Solcofn too.

11. Since it had managed to get to 10 years, why close GYBO down now? I know you quoted the surfthechannel conviction. But if a British Government Minister feels able to say in 2010 “The amateur animator who wants to mash up some content she found on the internet. Is she infringing copyright or just exercising her right to free speech?” doesn’t that mean the tide is turning?

We had a party on a boat to celebrate GYBO’s fifth birthday. I had a drunken conversation with Mike Cartel where we agreed that it was the  right time to close GYBO. It ran for another five years. Had the surfthechannel conviction happened eight years ago, perhaps I would have felt it was right to continue GYBO. Nowadays, though, it’s a different ball game. It still had it’s heart, but it had lost it’s balls. The balance has tipped and there’s just not enough going on in the site to justify the potential punishment.

12. The issue of copyright dogged GYBO. Is there an equitable solution? I remember hearing Fergal Sharkey getting passionate about the need for artists to be able to control the use to which the things they produced were put. And if that meant not re-releasing something that was their choice and right.

It’s tough. The BPI states that it represents it’s member record companies, but it clearly doesn’t. At the same time that bootleggers were being closed with Cease & Desist orders, record companies were approaching us, asking us to do mixes for them. Mixed signals. The BPI had to be seen to do something otherwise how could they justify their own existence? Either they didn’t know that the record companies were working with the bootleggers, or they just steamrollered ahead anyway. I think we just have to ask – why were the record companies releasing instrumentals and acapellas? It’s as simple as that.

13. How did your first bootlegs come about? For example combining Blur and Madison must have been a strange combination then, how do you choose your sources?

Same tempo, same key. No big secret. I’d do a loose mix, a sample, and if it worked then I’d do the full thing. It was a hit and miss thing – you just had to recognise the spark when it happened and try and not ruin it.

~ by acidted on November 12, 2012.

2 Responses to “GYBO was an independent coffee shop to Facebook’s Starbucks: McSleazy Interview Pt 2”

  1. […] McSleazy Pt1, Pt 2 and […]

  2. […] international mashup community. In Bootie’s early years, many of our guest DJs — Dsico, McSleazy, Go Home Productions, DJ Zebra, Phil n’ Dog, Lionel Vinyl, Instamatic, Ian Fondue, dj BC, […]

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