Hailing from the post-industrial city of Nancy, France, is bad boy and multi-instrumentalist funkateer Gary Gritness aka Slikk Tim. Killer electro funk blending nowadays influences from the streets of Detroit, Oakland and Atlanta around his trademark soulful sound. Using an oldschool setup, Gary’s music is dirty, warm & funky as hell, and is best enjoyed in his powerful live shows featuring masterful vocoder action and hard-core keyboards aggression. After the Adventures Of… , two electro-techno EP’s released on Clone in 2015, Gary hit it with the funk in 2016 on Hypercolour with the Sugar Cane Chronicles and is back with the 2nd Volume in 2017. We asked him to open up his (huge) tour bag !
1 • My keytar
Everything centers around this when I perform.
I use it for bass, leads, pads, vocoder, FX, and even mic gain as clubs don’t have an engineer. It’s kinda tricky to deal with everything at once but you get used to it with practice.
Technically it’s just a cheap Korg USB Minikeys, customized with black spray paint and long- screwed guitar strap-locks. I used to roll a big clumsy Alesis fullsize keys one, but after airlines lost it two times this year, I decided it was time to search hard for something that fits overhead.
Luckily it doesn’t change anything to the way I perform and I can still reach the pitch bend guitar-style.
2 • My old-ass, beat-up, won’t-die Lenovo Thinkpad from 2008
I love them shits. Those are the best-made laptops you can get. They cost 2000 euros brand-new. The trick is, 90% of big corporations only roll this and they renew them every 2 years, so the used market is filled with those. I got this one 3 years ago for 100 euros. It’s been to war, done dozens of shows, never gone wrong once and it’s still going strong.
Software-wise it’s running my shows on Reaper, and I program it so every keyboard patch gets auto-switched and I can focus on performing and improvising. I got the idea from touring with big rock acts where the engineer would know the show by heart and press on guitar pedals with his hands.
I am of those who are fully convinced by modern digital audio, so it’s exactly the same thing I use for the records. This way I can bring the same sound and power to the audience, it ain’t no half-steppin.
3 • My Keytar’s pricey-ass premium 5-meter USB cable
I pack it very tightly in my leather Shure mic pouch so it’s all cozy and won’t get hurt.
4 • My ESI Maya22 Soundcard
German engineering at its finest. Who needs knobs anyway ? 24 bit output, tiny, and try to beat 1.8 ms latency. I plug in the DJ Mixer so I always bring spare RCA adaptors.
5 • Sony USB Key’s
16Gb is enough. 1:1 copy for security. Those are packed with .wav, top sounding jams, mostly 80s funk, rap and electro, in case I get the occasion to do a DJ mix or my gear explodes when I plug it in. Shout out to Lil Krampf for the brand tip, those are very reliable.
6 • Shades
Triple black. Prescription Loc’s. As George Clinton would say: “Ah-lemme put on my sunglasses so I can feel cool.”
7 • Bling
When you put that shit on, you know you better throw the fuck down, there’s no excuse. The chain is just nice solid steel, I like the look and the feel of a heavy chain but walking around with somebody’s paycheck around your neck is the best way to look for trouble.
The grill always gets polarizing reactions. Some people hate it and think I’m trying to be badass, some people love it because they think I’m badass. Different strokes. Respect to someone who will know who he is for the plug. It’s made by the same black market dentists who do insane stuff off the books for big stars down in Paris. I got the basic, cobalt-made chromed one, top notch stuff. I remember going with him to the dodgy, -3 floor the dentists are working in to get the mold and paying cash upfront — felt straight out of a Scorsese movie.
8 • Ear monitors with volume control
Those ones are just nice Final Audio ones fitted with Comply military foam for -20db rejection. Ear monitors are the shit. They are my guarantee everywhere I go I get perfect monitoring, control, comfort, and perform to the best of my ability without fucking my ears up. Plus it’s mandatory to turn down the booth so the mic doesn’t feedback.
9 • A Xiaomi camera and a Zoom recorder
I tape everything I do so I can watch and study it later and constantly improve my performance, to see all the little spots that need some polishing. I use the camera to take photos as well, for souvenirs and social media.
10 • My trusty Nokia dumbphone
I been rolling Nokias forever. I just can’t get with smartphones. Recently I tried an iPhone and after 2 weeks I couldn’t stand how much of a pain in the ass it was so it’s back to phones made for slangin’, for good. They call, they text, they don’t have internet so my mind can relax on tour and be in the moment when I meet cool people or the DJ drops some heat in the club. Oh, and they got 5 days of charge so I’m not that dude worrying if it’s gonna die, if anyone got a charger or hoggin’ up the fucking power strips in the booth.
11 • My Shure SM57
My favorite mic. They are required for the vocoder, wich I do a lot of on stage, to be intelligible. And I can’t understand how anyone would want to use a backline mic and put their lips on a germs-full piece of metal that’s been spat on a millions times and never washed.
If I leave the clamp on, I gets me some sweet airport security check lovin’.
12 • Small pouch with stuff that I need to stay so ‘fresh and so clean’
(How about a hoe in leopard print ?) The Hermès bottle is a sample I got one day in a crazy hotel, it just contains my cheap face gel and is small enough so airport doesn’t trash it out. But I can still act like I’m some rich-ass motherfucker opening it up.
13 • A 10 year old Sandisk ClipZip
Again, no smartphone, so I stick to what I like. The charge lasts a week and the preamp is much, much better than any phone out there. It’s great to rehearse my show a couple times while travelling and have vocal warmups and relaxation exercises in it.
I never use the Sdcard, so it’s just 2GB. I love sticking albums in it so I can listen to them over and over until they soak deep into my memory. Right now I’m on a healthy mix of early 80s Dio, the latest Power Trip record, a couple of Curren$y mixtapes, Isao Tomita’s Ravel LP, Marley Marl’s ‘In Control’, a Willie Rosario LP and some 60s Grant Green. I’m also a big fan of audiobooks, I’ve been on Neuromancer read by William Gibson himself, delightful.
14 • A Buffalo, japan-made, top quality SNES USB gamepad
Feels just like the real thing, same exact plastics and everything. It’s flat and tough as nails so it’s perfect for travel. I am a real hardcore gamer, and video games are an undending source of inspiration to me. Right now I’m trying to one- credit Battle Garegga, an amazing 90’s japanese arcade shooter with fucking killer UR-styled music. Manabu Namiki is the Don.
15 • A liquorice chewstic
My girl gets me those in indian or african shops so I can still cut my teeth on something when she’s not around. More seriously, I love the taste and find it very relaxing.
16 • My passport, printed train and plane tickets, and small pocket notepad with pen
I love how chill I get this way and how I never forget anything.
17 • Ear plugs and essential oils
My ears are the most precious part of ergonomy (I guess) so again, I don’t want to fuck them up in the club. Vital for goddamn flying nurseries, I mean, busy planes with oh-so-cute babies on it. I’m an essential oil advocate, I can’t travel without Lavender and Eucalyptus. Lavender works better than weed to relax and to get good sleep, and if you get hurt it heals you. Eucalyptus is to make sure I don’t catch a cold and breathe nice.
I sniff the oils right off the bottle so it’s always a nice prank to hand out the Eucalyptus one to some tweaker in the club thinking it’s poppers and watch him cough like hell after inhaling too strong.
18 • My stage shirts
I played for a while in heavy metal and punk-hardcore bands, and the whole thing of repping the bands you like with cut-out shirts stuck with me. Right now I alternate between a Sepultura ‘Beneath The Remains’ one and an EPMD ‘Strictly Business’ one. I remember how I met Andy from Hercules & Love Affair at Glastonbury and he was rockin’ a Napalm Death cutout. Just cause you play one genre doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it’s opposite.
19 • A Simond alpine backpack
This model is called a ‘Rockbag’. No, really. It’s the best bag ever made to me. Fuck trolleys, that’s for old folks and it’s a pain down stairs. It’s a backpack that’s super rugged and that fits perfectly for overhead restrictions, I did some math so I could be sure my keytar litteraly fits by a centimer in it in diagonal. Plus you can always rock climb with it if you get bored of planes.
20 • Cables
Spare cables. More cables. Cables cables cables cables. Fuck them fucking cables.
21 • Always ‘ranger roll’ everything
It’s how the military pack. Once you learn it, you can’t do any other way. For example, this is a rolled, technical long sleeve shirt made for winter sports. When it gets super cold it beats freezing or carrying some big ass sweater anyday.
22 • A 50cl water bottle
It’s hard to stay hydrated during transit. That’s why I never drink alcohol, first cause I don’t like it, but on top of that it dries you out quick. What most people call “jet lag” is actually an advanced state of dehydratation, and it fucks with your head. I’ll drink 50cl going to the airport, and pass the security with it empty so I can refill it in the bathroom and not get hustled out by the damn thieve shops inside.
This one is a souvenir from Dimensions, they had this Croatian spring water bottles with a dope design of an ancient Rome Centurion drinkin’ on it, I kept it so now I can feel like a conqueror drinking airport bathroom tap water.
Gary Gritness will be playing with Jacob Mafuleni the Batanidzo project (Nyami Nyami Records) in Paris on October 13th, Lyon on the 14th and Amsterdam on the 21st.
Gary G’s Custom Shop Pt. 1 – out soon on white label 12’’ only