I've recently returned from a three-week stint in New York. When I'm there, I often get stopped by Creation fans who want to discuss their favourite musical heros and find out the "real story" behind them. But during this recent trip, I've been asked more than a few times about Gareth Goddard, aka Cherrystones, aka Godsy.
Though never signed to Creation (and I would have if I could), Cherrystones is the real deal: intense, passionate and very funny. He's been on the music scene for a while, but it seems only recently that people are beginning to get it. Cherrystones is London's best-kept secret, but for how long? Although a lone wolf, a contextual framework for his music appears to be developing that could bring more exposure for his craft. With artists like Dam Funk, the king of 80s electro boogie, and Zomby, with his take on early-90s rave, people are starting to dig DJs who take on entire decades of music as a speciality. Within this world, Cherrystones's morphing of late-60s and 70s music is relevant. His distinctive ability to blend Italian film soundtracks, garage fuzz, krautrock and punk and translate them into a hip-hop context is very cool. Significantly, like Zomby and Dam Funk, Cherrystones's manifesto is to get people to dance and have a good time.
Cherrystones's encyclopaedic knowledge of music and how to apply it to the dancefloor has led to several reissues and compilations: Cherrystones Word, Cherrystones Rocks and Cherrystones Hidden Charms. His street mixes – Entertaining the Unobvious, Crawl Back to Mine and A Dying Tradition – are built around those compilations, and are simply incredible. They are enough to keep music trainspotters happy while inviting others to get down to the Cherrystones party. He makes hip-hop mixes using unlikely musical subjects such as Hasil Adkins, Roy Orbison and Sweet, and adds quotes from films by Herschell Gordon Lewis and Ed Wood Jr (as well as samples from zombie B-movies, cult fare and pure garage trash).
But Cherrystones is no retro merchant. What he does (and does astoundingly well) is to look to the past to build the future of the club scene. Cherrystones's music is imbued with cinematic Technicolor, you can almost visualise the movies in his head.
His skills as a DJ are world renowned. He's been flown out to Japan for Boredoms shows; caught and kidnapped by Wolf Eyes during their last tour; personally requested for the Horrors aftershow parties; Super Furry Animals brought him out for their all-night rave; and when Sunn O))) did their 10th anniversary show they too selected Cherrystones. He is a genre-jumping rock beast who refuses to be easily tagged.
What I love about Cherrystones is that new music is in his blood. He has turned me on to five new bands this year – Factory Floor, Zola Jesus, Midnite Snake, Boe Weaver and SCUM. You could easily launch an entire music label around Cherrystones's picks. Even more intriguing, is his own rock alias Godsy. In this incarnation he has been picked up by Brooklyn label Whatever We Want, home of Rub'n'Tug aliases, Quiet Village and House on House. Forthcoming Godsy album My Snow Does Not Melt, with its bleak and heavy nature, references the eerie landscapes of Bernard Szajner and Morricone. His remix work is also fascinating, original songs are reborn via the bizarre Cherrystones universe where every track must be high-powered, bottom-end, beat-driven and crunched-up glam.
There is good news for beatheads, as Cherrystones has been working on a series of hip-hop edits, referred to alternatively as Cherry Edits, Chips, Dips, Chains and Whips or The Sweat of Balthazar. For the last two years he has been amassing the choicest cuts that could very possibly put Madlib to shame. Whenever I hear about a new Cherrystones project, I get excited because he is refreshing, transcendent and weirdly fun. In 2009 he has come out of his psychedelic ghetto and is set to drop some heat on you. Are you ready?
Reproduced by Kind Permission of Alan McGee