For years, Gorje Hewek has built his reputation as a leading figure in the melodic and organic house arena, touring the world and becoming an icon from Burning Man to Ibiza. The classically trained talent remains heavily invested in his community; through his well-known imprint Shanti Radio Moscow, he’s helped boost the careers of various emerging artists whilst working with icons like Guy J (under his Cornucopia moniker), Tim Green, and Whomadewho. He also launched a brand new imprint, Peace Symphonies, in 2020 to further his efforts in the world of melodica.
Gorje joined Lee Burridge and his All Day I Dream family during its nascent years, becoming a pillar of the brand as it grew in popularity. It was through All Day I Dream, in fact, that the producer was truly able to make his break—consistent world touring and numerous marquee releases fortified his standing at the top of his class. It thus makes sense that he chose the label as home for his debut album, ‘Collages.’
It’s safe to say that ‘Collages’ is a culmination of his successes. Unfolding across ten tracks, each flowing into the other, the LP is a multifaceted snapshot of his keen ear for harmonics, instrumentation, and arrangement. ‘Collages’ is additionally a tour through emotions—a hallmark of the music Gorje has become an expert in over time.
We chatted with Gorje about ‘Collages,’ its debut single, and more.
Hi Gorje, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Pleased to join! I’ve been frequenting the ski resort of late and enjoying the last snow days. So I’m a little frozen, but very happy.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single ‘Forest Song In The Morning’? What was the production process like?
This track was written at a moment when I moved closer to the forest, where my view is now solely of the nature in front of me. I recorded it early in the morning. The track came together quickly; I’d woken up at about 7AM (which I especially love when that happens), and by 10AM I had all the melodies and rhythm-parts done, with just the finishing touches left. Therefore, the name of the track appeared very organically. And although “Forest Song in the Morning” was the last recorded of all the tracks on the album, in the end it turned out to be the perfect first.
Did anything particular inspire you to write this album as a whole? What do the “Collages” symbolize for you?
Writing an album has always been something I wanted to do, and I really thought about it for a long time, imagining how it would look. I recorded a lot of material, from which after a while, I did not choose anything for the album. So I wrote again, edited again. The tracks that were included in the final list of the album came from different periods of my life and different times, different moods, life stages. That is why the album got the name ‘Collages’.
And what does “Forest Song In The Morning” mean to you?
The morning I recorded this track was really wonderful. Clear sky, slight dampness after a night rain. I went out to get coffee in a neighbouring house. By that time, I had already collected ouds, flutes and strings. And I listened to this fragment with headphones when I walked next to the forest. I really liked how it all figuratively glued together; there was a very cozy and poetic atmosphere in it all. The rustle of the forest, the singing of birds, the murmur of a small river near the house—all this was somehow reflected in the track.
Your album reflects a change in mental state from dark to light. In what other ways has music healed you or provided therapeutic value to your life over time?
Music is what I live for. Sometimes sacrificing other things. And for me this is the main source of strength and inspiration. A wonderful elixir, ready to give at any moment everything you need to move on. Obviously not for everyone, but perfect for me.
What role does Russia play in your music?
To admit, I never thought about it. In this matter, I have always been more of a cosmopolitan citizen. I really appreciate the opportunity to see the world in different ways, spending a lot of time on the road and meeting different cultures. I really love my routine, and can’t attribute my music to any culture or nation. For now I like living in Moscow (especially at the moment in the green area); it is a very beautiful and dynamic city. But I also very much love other cities and countries in which I spend a lot of time (before the pandemic, of course) and for me this is a very important aspect.
Some have mentioned the club scene in music being held back by remaining conservatism from the USSR. Do you agree with this? How have you seen the scene affected by this if so, and how has it evolved in modern times?
I grew up already in post-Soviet times. But I can see that even now, Russia has its own local atmosphere (the same like in any other country), into which not everything fits organically in terms of cultural, mental or spiritual values. And I can only accept it and treat it with respect. Also, I would not say that Russia today is a strictly conservative state.
You’ve released a lot with All Day I Dream. How has your sound evolved since you first joined the label, and where do you see it going?
My sound, of course, changes and this is the main pleasant fact. Over time, however, it’s kept internal DNA code of encouraging people to rejoice, dream and smile. In my opinion ADID has gone through several transformations since I first appeared on this label and became part of a large family. Of course, first of all, any change comes with new musicians who bring fresh ideas and vision. And this fact always inspires me greatly. But also the ADID parties have grown significantly in their scale and geographical map, which also influenced the nature of my sets, and then all my music in general. It really makes me happy.
And how has your time with All Day I Dream impacted your career overall?
Obviously positive. I feel very comfortable on this label, in this atmosphere. I like to watch how the whole team, led by Lee, moves the entire brand to new horizons. I feel like a fish in water, so I can move here freely and confidently. I think this is one of the most important feelings for an artist.
Your label Shanti Radio Moscow is pretty well known now. What is the key to its success? How do you go about picking records to sign to it or seeking out new artists?
Initially, the label was created (as well as radio in the past) more as a personal, local project, for a small number of close people. Therefore, special attention was paid to the very energy of the project, to how everything was going on in it. Some of the covers were drawn by our team for several months in order to get as much as possible into the philosophy of the label. We were in no hurry and did everything for pleasure. This same attitude is applied to the music. Each release has its own unique story that deserves a separate tale. SMR also experienced several transformations during this time, and each new image gave the brand even more meaning and depth. I believe that it was our love for creativity, as well as sincerity that shaped the audience of the label and its sound.
When touring comes back, where would you like to play most and why?
I can’t name one place. I really miss my friends in different parts of the planet, travels and tours. I am sure that these will be very strong emotions, no matter which city or club will be the first. I just hope we don’t have to wait too long.
What’s one secret/fact we haven’t heard about you yet?
In fact, there are a lot of things. For example, I can give odds to many in the sea (or in the Olympic pool) at a distance. I also love to walk and know very few people who can walk as much or even longer. Usually, walking with me ends with someone starting to propose taking a rest, or just sitting down and not getting up.
A separate story is driving. When I get behind the wheel— just show me a point on the map. I can drive without rest for a very long time and for many hundreds of kilometres. Of course, without leading to a dangerous state, as I do it for pleasure and don’t set any records. I just love to drive endlessly.
What else is happening next in Gorje’s world?
Of course, there is the release of the album. Also, a number of very strong releases will be immediately coming this Spring in one gulp on my new label Peace Symphonies. A special piece of art will be a series of covers for these releases. And after this I will present my completely new project, on the sound of which I have been working for the last year and a half. All in all, there is a lot of new music coming like never before.