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Phonica Mix Series 72:
Gerd Janson


Running Back co-owner Gerd Janson is one of those very few people who get referred to as ‘a DJ’s DJ’ – an aficionado and general nice guy that always delivers the goods whenever you hear him, whatever set he plays and for whatever mood.

Gerd grew up partying around Frankfurt & Mannheim, having been introduced to dance music through a Sven Vath cassette,  listening to the likes of Ata & Heiko MSO, who were behind the seminal Playhouse label. He has been playing at the legendary Frankfurt club Robert Johnson since 2000 alongside his DJ partner Thomas Hammann, they started the Liquid night there.

Over the years, Gerd has produced & remixed countless records and is one half of the Tuff City Kids alongside Philip Lauer , he wrote for Groove Magazine for a number of years and co-runs one of the most respected house labels out there, Running Back.  Now, or at least, before Coronavirus, you would’ve heard him all over Europe & further afield on an exhaustive schedule, often playing 3 or 4 gigs a week. And many a classic set at Panorama Bar too, where Gerd was a Sunday favorite…

We are very lucky to finally get Gerd to do a mix for us as part of the Phonica Mix Series, so we hope you enjoy it. We took some time to ask Gerd a few questions about his current situation and the mix you can now hear…..

Hello Gerd, Hope you are well, what have you been up to during these lockdown times?

It feels macabre to utter it, but I am very well. Thank you. My days and nights are filled with sleeping (hadn’t had enough of that in the last 10 years), reading, eating and exercising. Other than that, I try to finish some studio (building) projects, try to keep the label running and thinking about learning a foreign language, calligraphy, the art of shaping a Bonzai tree or mathematics. I also plan to finish a puzzle of Hieronymus Bosch’s „The Garden of Earthly Delights“.

We hear you have recently played a socially-distanced rave , how did it feel to DJ at that?

On the surface, like every other festival warm-up or come-down session. Needless to say, it wasn’t one of those. There were some inhibitions on all side during the start, but at the end, it felt quite liberating (despite the shielded booth or the masked faces).
Certain records really made me miss certain faces and places.
I know there is some controversy around it. But like I said before, it was licensed and in tune with the sanitation rules that are in place now. Hence, the festival price for a small party. and also the situation in Germany was never as severe or grim as in other parts of the world. But I don’t want to open that can of worms here. I turned down every interview request about it, except for an initial two-question one from Resident Advisor, as I don’t want to use this as a PR scheme myself or have it seen as one.

You are the owner of respected house label Running Back, what has the label got in store for us for the rest of the year?

Much more than house. A trance-not-traens long player by Prins Thomas, a Patrick-Cowley-Roland-303-Moroder enactment-tribute record by Thee J Johanz, a singer-songwriter rave 12“ by Johannes Volk, Suzanne Kraft’s AKSK album project, the second part of the „One Swallow“ sampler series, the next Feater album, some surprises, lots of things in the making and maybe I can convince Krystal Klear to release the piano banger he made, and I had so much fun playing, just before the lights went out. Oh, and some house records.

Can you tell us a little about your Phonica mix? Its a little different that you might expect…..what inspired you?

In my case, the more I started to play out, the less I mixed at home. Accordingly, this is the type of vintage mix that tries the home listener to approve a dance groove. In fact, most times I had to record mixes at home, they turned out like that – if you subtract the ones that have been recorded on camera. So, it’s more the 2007 Computer-Incarnations-for-World-Peace-Gerd than the sadly non-existent 2020 Ibiza-Gerd.

What have you been listening to at home in these times?

At home, I usually prefer silence. But I started to watch concert videos: Dire Straits – Alchemy Live, Talk Talk – Live in Montreux and The Style Council Live in Japan, 1984. Oh, and at the office I enjoyed listening to Peter Brown’s „Stargazer“ album from start to finish a few times.

Thank you Gerd!

Photo credit by Nils Müller


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