Los Angeles-based producer and DJ, Iman Marouf, or widely known as BLACKGUMMY, is still one of mau5trap best talents on the DEADMAU5's label. Trained by Steve Duda himself, the sound engineer was also the one of the masterminds behind the popular Serum VST. From his debut EP called "Singularity" to his latest "Monolith", BlackGummy continues to push musical boundaries with his uninhibited, dark industry sound that journeys to progressive melodies. Not much is known about BlackGummy apart from his music, but it is said that the producer spends his time in the studio locked away crafting new sounds. It's always fascinating to listen to artists who have a taste for historical idols, hence the name and alien-like look. We got a chance to meet with him after his performance at sold out show at The Warfield in San Francisco as he continues to tour alongside fellow label mate, REZZ.
How did you get into music in the beginning?
Growing up, I always had a love for music. When I was about 6 years old, my uncle produced an album which was one of the first things that sparked my curiosity to understanding how music is made using computers. That curiosity led me down a path which took me to where I am today.
Who or what would you say is your biggest inspiration?
I'm constantly getting inspired, there isn't really one person or thing that I pull most of my inspiration from. Sometimes producing with a nice view could be all the inspiration I need. But really it’s just different creations that inspire me, whether that’s natural rock formations like the Grand Canyon, to architecture, to music, to film.
What's the story behind your name?
I first encountered the idol named BlackGummy when I was on a trip across the Middle East and Asia. And when I saw it, the name kind of just fit naturally. So I adopted it as my own.
Describe to us your sound.
I think the best word to describe my sound is "dark". There are times when I take it to a euphoric place to help create more contrast throughout a set or song but it pretty much always ends up going dark.
Talk to us about your latest EP "Monolith".
'Monolith' was my third EP, which is the final installment of a three-part arc of themes I wanted to explore. 'Singularity', the first EP, explored humanity’s relationship with technology; 'Impactor', the second, was inspired by the Earth’s long and complex relationship with all forms of life (human and otherwise); and I came up with the concept behind 'Monolith', the third, after thinking a lot about the value that humans place on symbols. In terms of the music, for 'Monolith' I took a slightly more minimal approach, writing the music based off of inspiration I got through visiting different archeological sites. One specific idea which had a big impact on my writing was the idea of creating extreme contrast to make something small feel much bigger than it actually is. This technique is used a lot in architecture and can also be applied in music. The three EPs are key to the BlackGummy narrative. In order to understand the rest of the story and existence of the bear-shaped idol, it's key to understand that the idol existed throughout different time periods, including the periods explored in each EP (future, past, and present, respectively).
You just wrapped up your massive tour. How was it?
I couldn't be happier and am extremely grateful for all the support. It's definitely inspired me to work even harder for the next tour in 2018. We may be announcing some news regarding 2018 soon…
Talk to us about your remix of MOGUAI's "Oyster".
I was asked if I would be interested in remixing a song of Moguai's for the mau5trap compilation album and the first song to come to mind of his was Oyster. I had always liked the melody of the track and would play out the MICHAEL WOODS remix which was a more heavy hitting progressive version of the track. At the time of accepting the remix, it was club season in Ibiza and I had been watching a lot of videos from the events. The minimal style resonated with me and I felt like making an Ibiza edit of the track could work really well.
What is one achievement you are most proud of this year?
rReleasing my third EP and making it to every show on the tour without missing a single date. Sometimes that can be tough with how much airlines like to keep you on your toes by cancelling flights at the last minute.
Are there any upcoming records you can share with us about?
I’ve started working on new music but that's about as much as I can say right now. And also some collaborations with some names you may recognize…
What is one thing you are obsessed with?
I’m obsessed with seeing boundaries get pushed or broken in music. Whether it’s a technical innovation, live production, or even narrative story-telling. That’s what I admire so much about ERIC PRYDZ and Deadmau5. They’re making music on a technical level unlike anything made before. And they’re curating live performance experiences that really capture 100% of your attention when you’re there.