Cedric Gervais, Miami's king of Space, has a lot to live up to at this year's WMC. Last year, his moody, slow-burning jam "Mauri's Dream" scored a nearly monthlong "essential tune of the week" nod on Pete Tong's BBC One radio show. With that coronation, the track soon became the big-room, tech-house anthem of Conference. And though this affable Frenchman is seemingly unflappable, even he admits to feeling some pressure. "I have so many tracks, and I don't know which one to push!" he says, laughing.
He certainly does have a fresh selection. It's been four years since the release of his debut studio album, The Experiment, and after years of remixing and touring nonstop, he finally has a fresh platter for his hordes of hungry fans. Due out in June on Ultra Records, the sophomore effort is called Miamication, and as the title indicates, it has Gervais's adopted hometown's stamp all over. "I've been in Miami for, like, 15 years, and I've seen it change so many times," he says. "Every time I tour, they're like, 'That's the guy from Miami,' so I wanted to call the record something about that."
In fact, part of the reason behind the several years' gap between the records, Gervais says, is that his musical style changed along with the city's scene. He even recorded an entire album's worth of material not long after The Experiment, only to scrap it and start over completely. "I went from tribal to tech-house, and now I'm coming back to more funky, disco-house. And that affects me as a producer, because I'm not going to make something I'm not going to play on the dance floor," he explains. "So I went back to the studio and decided to rearrange everything."
At the Sleaze Recordings Presents Cedric Gervais and Friends party, featuring a special performance by Mya, with Tony Arzadon, Craig Pettigrew, and others. 10 p.m. Thursday, March 25. Mynt, 1921 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is $30; ages 21 and up; 305-695-1705; myntlounge.com. At the Cedric Gervais and Tocadisco and Friends pool party, with Tocadisco, Juanjo Martin, John Shelvin, and others. Noon Friday, March 26, to 8 p.m. the next day. Club 50 at the Viceroy, 485 Brickell Ave., Miami. Admission costs $60 before 2 p.m.; 305-503-4400; viceroymiami.com. At the Paul Van Dyk: 10 Years of Vandit Records party with Paul Van Dyk, Pete Tong, Steve Bug, Tocadisco, Wally Lopez, and others. 10 p.m. Saturday, March 26, to 2 p.m. the next day. Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami. Tickets cost $60 before midnight and $80 before 2 a.m.; ages 21 and up; 305-372-9378; clubspace.com. At the Conference Closing Pool Party with Axweel, Benny Benassi, Funkagenda, and others. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, March 28. The Surfcomber Hotel, 1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $30 before 2 p.m., $45 after; ages 21 and up; surfcomberpoolparties.com.
The final product sees Gervais flexing his production muscles, with an offering that's equal parts club-ready and radio-friendly. The edges of dance and pop music are bleeding together more and more with each passing day, something that's reflected in possibly the biggest crossover guest star on his record, singer Mya. Other collaborators on the disc include powerhouse songwriter Dee Robert, vocalist Rachael Starr, and the superstar knob-tweakers of Second Sun.
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Don't take this as Gervais going commercial, though. On one hand, he hopes his track with Mya, "Love Is the Answer," will be as massive as "Mauri's Dream." But on the other, he's also cooking up a new, more underground oddity with Sharam, which they'll release in time for Conference under the name Shargais. It's so left field for him, Gervais says, that he can't even describe it, instead just laughing again. "It's either gonna go or not go," he says. "It's pretty weird. It's a different sound, and I don't even have a style for it." Keep your ears open for both tracks this week at any massive dance floor around town.