Before there was Porter Robinson or Alesso, Cedric Gervais was the original house prodigy. The so-dubbed “Son of Miami” got his start at the ripe age of 13 spinning in his father’s club in the south of France. He was among the first to import house music to America, and though he has brought his progressive sound to Las Vegas clubs before, the Son is set to unleash a proverbial Sh!t Show on March 10 when he kicks off his residency at Marquee with a full-on production. Here we get Gervais’ pulse on the allure of South Beach, what he has in store for Las Vegas and his take on French house.
How did you get started?
My father owned a club in the South of France and I used to DJ at our Papagayo party when one of the biggest clubs in Paris, Queen, offered me a residency. I was 15 years old, and just when I started the residency the government shut down every bar and nightclub in Paris for drugs. Every bar and nightclub closed. There was no nightlife, so a friend told me to come to Miami and I decided to stay.
I fell in love with the city. I didn’t know any English, but it is a magical city. It was the only city in America with house and dance music [and] with lots of Latin and Caribbean people, Argentinians, Brazilians and Europeans into dance music. L.A. and even Vegas were [into] hip-hop.
There were really two clubs then, the Living Room and Liquid. I did a house party and it was getting a lot of attendance on nights when the Living Room was empty, so the owner of The Living Room started booking me on Sundays and Mondays, and then every day. I moved on to Crobar, then Nikki Beach, then Space before Mansion and LIV. I saw Miami grow.
Planning to stay?
I am a Miami guy, the Son of Miami.
How do you stay ahead of the curve?
I am always in contact with Europe. They have always been a step ahead. They were more tribal, then electro, then techno, then disco house, then commercial house. I stay a step ahead because I watch Europe. I am influenced by big DJs in Ibiza, and take [what’s going on there] back to Miami.
There is a lot of talk about Swedish DJs, but what about the French?
There are a lot of French DJs. The Swedish talent are all producing the commercial sound of today. The French have so many different styles, whereas the Swedish are all the same style. There is no French sound; it’s so diverse from Daft Punk to Guetta. The Swedish are all producing high-energy productions, it’s all the same thing.
How do you balance being a DJ, producer and a performer?
I rarely sleep, maybe on an airplane. To get on top [you have to be] constantly in the studio, managing the business side, planning the show, and that does not leave a lot of time for sleep because I’m on the go.
Tell me about your new production Are You Looking for Molly.
It’s coming out the first week of March, and I am releasing a bunch of singles. “Molly” is the first one and I just shot the video in D.C., so it will be out in time for Winter Music Conference.
What should we expect from your new residency at Marquee?
My residency will be Sh!t Show from my hometown, Miami, at LIV. It will be fun; anything goes and people dress up. By the name you know anything goes. I am bringing what Ibiza is doing, not just being a DJ behind turntables. [It will be a fully] visual, real performances, not just dancers. Each party in Ibiza has its own theme and so will every Sh!t Show. Everything about it will be a Sh!t Show.
Give me an idea.
We take a theme, like Cowboys and Indians in Miami going wild. The photo on the flier [for that party] was a cowboy with a baseball bat with an Indian girl pitching, something that makes no sense. You look at the flier and think, “Wow.” The show makes no sense, but you laugh and want to be a part of it. When you walk in you see a full production: teepees with girls inside were set up at the entrance of LIV—tumbleweeds, midgets running around everywhere, a real shit show.
What’s the theme for your first Vegas Sh!t Show?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with Johnny Depp on drugs.
How do the crowds differ between Las Vegas and Miami, and where do you prefer to play?
Vegas is never the same crowd; it’s a touristy crowd, and Miami is a local-based crowd. Five years ago I would have definitely preferred Miami. Now Vegas is no longer about celebrities on billboards, but DJs, so it’s fun to play there. But Miami is home, and Vegas is my second choice.