Gibby goes techno

Former Boston punk frontman tops German club charts; 7L goes reggaeton
By DAVID DAY  |  February 27, 2006

Gibby MillerMany Bostonians remember the name GIBBY MILLER. He made his home in the Hub for almost a decade, fronting two celebrated Boston punk bands, the TROUBLE and PANIC, then founding makeoutclub.com and START!. The prototype for all punk-rock/art-school/dance nights to follow, Start! had residencies around the city, most notoriously at Bill’s Bar on Lansdowne Street. It may come as a surprise to many of his old fans that he’s found a new career as a techno vocalist. This week, fast-rising techno star Troy Pierce drops Enemy Love, a new CD from his Louderbach project. The disc highlights Miller’s dark vocals, and it’s already garnering huge buzz from the techno elite:in pre-release sales, it’s the #1-rated record at Groove magazine (www.groove.de), the arbiter of club cool in Germany and beyond. (It’s fending off heavy competition from the DFA, Kompakt, Tiga, and — wouldn’t you know it — Boston’s own EDAN).

“Without using too many bullshit adjectives, I’ll just say that I felt very comfortable in the sound, especially with Troy,” says Miller, who now lives in LA. He stumbled into techno-vocal work around 2003, recording for Magda and Troy “one night after a long night of partying.” This late-night riffing resulted in “Wanda’s Wig Wax,” a sort of joke 12-inch that found its way into record crates worldwide. From there, Miller has recorded for überkoolische labels like Poker Flat, Mo’s Ferry, and Richie Hawtin’s M_nus. “Their sound for me was really appealing, very stripped-down, no-frills, cold, stark — what I love about dance music taken down to its basic building blocks. Troy and I come from a similar musical background of dark stuff, like Coil, Joy Division, and Bauhaus, so we see eye to eye on lyrics and æsthetics or whatever.”

Although the connection between punk and dance music seems obvious in 2006, it was anything but back in 2001, when Start! had begun to peak and Miller began sprinkling his usual post-punk sets with electro from labels like BPitch Control, Int’l DJ Gigolo, and Shitkatapult, records he’d discovered working at Other Music in Harvard Square. (Full-disclosure memo: Miller and I were colleagues at that now-defunct store).“I remember at the time being super-excited about that scene because a lot of it was vocal and complemented my love for post-punk and early Factory records. ”Soon after, Magda and Pierce DJed Start!, and Miller fell in love with the sound and the scene. Within months he was living in NYC and keeping up with techno at the whole gang’s loft in Brooklyn. “That was basically it. I loved what they were playing and doing and got swept up in the madness!”

He’s not done by any stretch.Enemy Lovewill spawn remixes this year by a hot roster including Matt John, Dinky, Konrad Black, and Donnacha Costello. Miller also has another track (“Day After Yesterday”) coming this May on the M_nus sublabel Items and Things, and he hints there might be a live tour with Pierce in 2006.

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