Spotlight: Gerd Janson

While any professional DJ dedicates their life to music and club culture, there’s something about Gerd Janson that casually goes above and beyond the norm.

Since 2002, he’s brought an impressive range of artists together with Running Back, a record label he began with his friend, Thorsten Sheu. In hindsight, Janson has described himself as naïve for starting this project, saying that “like with everything else, I try to see if I can do it, and then I do it”. It’s this compulsion that has propelled him onto the scene to develop an influential and well-loved musical space.

Janson has built a career on finding music he loves and showcasing it, by any means possible, to everyone else. Just looking at his DJing achievements alone is impressive. At present, he is playing over a hundred shows annually, covering all corners of the planet, and his diverse tastes mean he’s been called ‘a DJ’s DJ’ by Red Bull Music Academy.

As well as playing records and running a label, Janson finds the time to get involved with music journalism for outlets such as Groove Magazine and Spex. A few years ago, he even ran a record shop, but decided to close after a decline in sales caused by the rise of digital media. Watch here a fresh faced Janson interviewing a familiar Chicago Veteran, Theo Parrish, in 2005.

When expressing himself publically, he comes across as humble and fascinated by the music around him. When talking about his early life, in Frankfurt, he focuses on work of those who inspired him, name dropping an eclectic range of artists including the likes of Theo Parrish, Masters at Work and Robert Hood. When you listen to his productions, you can hear that this list is just scratching the surface and that he blends his influences with his own signature style. Listen to Janson’s disco creation that DJs blasted out all over the world during the hot months of 2017.

Perhaps his earliest influence, during Janson’s early teens, was his scout leader, who lent him a mixtape curated by Sven Väth. Following this, he used to sneak into raves before being collected by his mum to go to school in the morning. While he was fascinated by techno, it was unable to satisfy his cravings on its own. Soon he was playing in Milk!, Mannheim which, although predominantly a jungle and Drum & Bass club, would soften out in the early hours of the morning to allow Gerd to experiment with the emerging sounds of house music. From humble beginnings, he came to play in world renowned venues such as Frankfurt’s Robert Johnson, London’s Fabric, and Berlin’s Panorama Bar.

He will be making the trip to Leeds to see in a Merry Christmas at Beaver Works for our winter closing party on 13th December.