On a sunny Las Vegas afternoon, Robert Ferguson eyes the kiddie train circling Town Square, contemplating whether the conductor will let him hop on for a ride since business is slow. The charismatic Northern Ireland native who now calls Vegas home just completed a summer residency at Wet Republic, and will be gigging Nov. 2 and 9 on the patio at Pure. But if his moniker of Rob Güson doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because he’s actually been known as hard house/techno DJ/producer Fergie for about 20 years. We’d like to introduce you to his new persona.
Your recent Rob Güson S.K.A.M. Artist mix with the big-room anthems and club bangers is quite the departure from your productions as Fergie. Is the CD a representation of the style of music you’ll be making now as well?
Definitely, but I’m still making techno as Fergie. It’s important that they both carry on. I don’t see why during the night they both can’t meet; the scene’s moving that fast. But if you listen to the mix and if you listen to—not a Fergie production—but a Fergie mix, you’ll see it has the same sort of identity the way it’s mixed, the same sort of vibe, the sort of structure of it. I think it’s important to try to keep a bit of that identity. The Rob productions are going to be like the Fergie stuff in [that] it’s going to be ballsy, it’s going to be big hands-in-the-air-party tracks, but there will be some vocal-y stuff as well. It’s been nice leaving the Fergie productions behind for a little while and getting myself into this sort of stuff; it keeps it exciting. I’m still doing a few Fergie techno gigs. I just want to stay [in Las Vegas] for now.
It might be more so in the U.S., but was the new moniker partially prompted because of confusion with the Black Eyed Peas singer of the same name?
[Laughs.] Well, there’s a bit of that in there, and it’s surprising. I got offered a gig in India. It all came to light when they were like, “How long is she singing for?” I was like, “You’re trying to book the wrong person.” For me personally, I wanted to come over [to the States], do something totally new, and I didn’t want to have too much of the past going on. I’m very proud of what’s happened before, and I’m lucky that I’ve got a rich history in the electronic scene. But I just wanted to try something a little bit different, be a little bit freer with it.
There are numerous funny rumors about your first gig, so let’s confirm or deny them on the record: Were you escorted out by the police, and did you have to stand on a milk crate?
I started off as a mobile DJ doing weddings with my dad taking me to churches and shit, playing all this bizarre music. But my first gig, where the milk crate story comes from, is [when] I was a resident at a place called The Airport 2000 at 14 [years old]. This place was so rough the police wouldn’t even go to this club. The first night I ever played, all the power went out and I remember having the crates [over my head as a shield] behind the DJ booth because all these bottles and glasses are getting thrown, and me and my brother are like, “Holy fuck! We’re going to get killed in here!” Also when I was 14, I had to be taken out of a club in Belfast called the Network—it was one of the biggest afterhours places back then. The police came in and were telling me to turn the music off and everybody in the club is like, “Turn the fucking music back on!” So I do and the police came up in the DJ booth, ripped the needle off the deck, asked me my date of birth and I shit myself. I tried to make up a fake date of birth, but I made myself out to be about 10 years old—I’d done it the wrong way. So they took me to the police station, and my mom and dad had to come and pick me up.
Were your parents angry?
My mom and dad were very lenient with me. They had to be. I moved to England when I was 16 with [the late DJ/producer] Tony De Vit. But what a great ride it’s been.