The internet wasn’t as regulated as it is now: McSleazy Interview Pt1

And so we come to the end of these interviews with GYBO bootleggers. To end, it has to be GYBO originator and mod supreme Grant McSleazy. A very, very nice man who tolerated the antics of the rest of us with a wry demeanor but without whom the history of mash ups – certainly in the UK – would have been very different.

He may say of the interview with Freelance Hellraiser yesterday “Nice. Roy is such a relevant person to speak to. He was there right at the beginning with bootlegs & Bastard. He’s the true success story, going from a Stroke of Genie-us to supporting Paul McCartney on his US tour, releasing his own album, remixing & producing and also song writing for major artists. He’s the most successful producer – along with Garrett Lee – who ever touched bootlegs.” but that’s simply to downplay his own central role. I give you the first of a 3 part interview. Take it away G:

1. How the devil are you and how’s the family?

We’re well, thank you. There’s now four kids ranging from 13 weeks to 14 years, so it’s a busy house.

2. You describe yourself as “Sometime music producer, website manager and amateur chef”. Can understand the first two; on the latter, surely it’s all deep fried mars bars in Scotland. Give us a recipe of your own then.

Old school GYBO folk will remember my pleas for packets of fondue and posting recent amazing dishes I’d eaten. A recipe? No, I don’t think I’d embarrass myself. There’s too many good chefs in the public eye. I can’t compete. My wife says paella is my signature dish. This weekend I’m making a Lamb Tagine, which I’ve done once before. Four hours cooking but definitely worth it.

3. You said that you got into music in 1999. How did that happen?

I got into music when I was a young kid. I became McSleazy in 1996 or 7 when I was producing some electro music and the BBC were keen to play it. I needed a name, so I chose that. 1999 was when I started making bootlegs, but by that point, McSleazy was a band, and a name I was Djing under. Like a lot of people doing bootlegs, they were a side thing to ‘proper’ music production. A novelty diversion.

4. You started GYBO in February 2002. How did you want GYBO to differ from Boomselection, which was already posting bootlegs?

I wanted everyone to be able to post things – not just one or two people. I also liked the idea of people posting feedback. The community grew from there.

5. GYBO seemed to live a slightly ramshackle existence in the first few years, always at risk of Cease & Desist notices or being otherwise closed down. How close was it to ending in the early days? And why didn’t you just jack it all in?

It was never close. People used to think that it was, but there were only two occasions when it came up. The first time the site disappeared for a while and it was assumed it was a copyright thing, but it was only a technical issue. I didn’t dispel the myth because people seemed to like it. The second time, somebody complained to the hosts that we were hosting illegal mp3s. I referred the host to the files, and they saw that it was only php files. They put the site back online within the hour.

There was no need to jack it in – at least not then. The internet wasn’t as regulated as it is now. Ramshackle was a good word. GYBO was a rough diamond. The people made it worth doing. The moves I made to keep GYBO as trouble-free as I could (like removing direct links) were proactive. It wasn’t like I was trying to stay one step ahead of the law – it was more like doing what I could to keep the community in a state that didn’t purposely antagonise those who would like to close us down.

6. What are your top 3 GYBO memories?

This is a tough one because there’s so many. 

The peak of the GYBO era included London meet-ups, DJing abroad, working for MTV, touring with bands and getting paid by companies to make music. It was incredible, and all because of GYBO.

The top 3 memories would probably be:

1. The people – particularly meeting up with the Bastard crew in London. I’d usually meet Mike [Cartel], Mark GHP, Essexboy (Grant), Tone & Kathy and sometimes Churchill in a pub in the afternoon after flying down from Glasgow and then get a bit sozzled. Then the Bastard attendees would descend and we’d take over half a pub. On more than one occasion, I nipped back to the hotel to grab my music for the night and close my eyes for a wee snooze. I’d then be woken by a phone call from Mike asking me where I was. I’d bolt to the Asylum in time for a special from the bar before DJing. The cameraderie and relaxed nature of the Bastard nights were a beautiful thing to be part of.

2. The intelligent chat in the threads. GYBO seems to have been a rare place on the internet – somewhere where you can have a conversation or debate without it descending into flaming garbage. We had some serious chats and emotional issues. Illnesses, bereavement, the London bombings, world events – it was more like a group of friends sharing in a respectful, funny and caring manner. I have no idea why this is so rare on the internet or why it happened on GYBO, but it did and it was wonderful.

3. The music. You had to go through a lot of stuff before you found a gem, but the thrill when you found a magic combination made the search worth it.

Oh, and the photo is of a GYBO T-shirt of mine still in use but dating from about 2002.

McSleazy – Press Play and Record – Part 2

~ by acidted on November 12, 2012.

3 Responses to “The internet wasn’t as regulated as it is now: McSleazy Interview Pt1”

  1. […] McSleazy Pt1, Pt 2 and […]

  2. […] then I’d got to know James and Eddy and told them to check out a few people, and told a few GYBOers to send them stuff […]

  3. […] attention, MTV Europe produced a short-lived show called “MTV Mash.” Grant Robson, aka McSleazy, was not only an early mashup producer, but was also the creator of GYBO (which stood for […]

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