It's kind of amazing that Guy Gerber is still conscious right now. He's leaning up against his backstage trailer, minutes after a 90-minute set at the Yuma tent on Saturday, sipping leisurely from a plastic glass full of vodka. The DJ sports a fitted blue shirt, black skinny jeans and Beatle boots. His dark shades are underscored by a gold henna lightening bolt above his cheek.
As he laughs and talks with friends and rail thin party girls, it's hard to believe that barely six hours ago, he was boarding a plane back to Indio for his second week at Coachella. The night before, he DJed for six hours straight at Marquee nightclub in New York, almost 3,000 miles away. The night before that, he was manning the decks all night at a club in San Francisco.
"I started playing at 11:45 p.m., and by 12:30 a.m. I was already drunk," Gerber says, laughing. The DJ's thick, Israeli accent makes all his "t"'s sound like "z"'s. "We had maybe 20 girls in the DJ booth and things got so sexual. Ze girls were all making out with each other. I've never seen something so crazy."
Gerber might appear to be just another suave-looking, European DJ. But the world traveling techno spinner from Tel Aviv has been a badass in the EDM world for well over a decade. He's also the founder go his own EDM label, Supplement Facts. However, much of the the mainstream is just now learning his name thanks to his unlikely collaboration with Diddy on their ballyhooed forthcoming album, 11:11. But he's still a man of the people when it comes to partying at the festival - he even allows this journalist to hang with him while he does. Joining us are his lovely assistants Pao Lopez and Lauren Rolls.
"To be able to come back a second weekend, not just play for a day and leave, it makes you feel like you are a part of Coachella," Gerber says was we walk out onto the field. It takes about 10 seconds for a fan with khaki shorts, blonde hair and glasses to come greet him.
"Guy, hey man I just wanted to say a friend of mine turned me onto you and..." The dude barely gets the sentence out before he reaches out to shake Gerber's hand and accidentally knocks the DJ's vodka glass and spills it all over the Gerber's shirt collar.
"Nice move," Gerber says, grinning it off as he shakes the fan's hand and walks toward MGMT, performing at dusk on the Coachella Stage. At this point in his 24-hour party cycle, few things can really distract Gerber from a good time as he exchanges laughs and whispers with his assistants (who always seem to have at least three different inside jokes going at once). Lopez, a petite, dark-haired Colombian dressed in a fitted black two piece outfit, is a perfect playmate for Rolls, a thin, gregarious blond in a black halter top and breezy, multi-colored bell bottoms.
Gerber is quickly assembling a small tribe of people as he journeys deeper into the fest - Guy's manager, Jason Armon, his girlfriend and an array of festival pals are with him now. It makes the congo line weaving in and out of MGMT's set and into the VIP section a little tough to follow as Gerber talks about his relationship with Diddy. Meanwhile, his assistants are dancing and swirling around him to the playful synth lines of MGMT's "Kids," like it's the summer of 2007.
"Diddy, I fucking love zis guy," he says. Rumors circled last week about him even joining Gerber on stage at the Yuma tent. And although he was there, the two never actually performed together, though the DJ says they partied at a private location later that night. In interviews Diddy has said much of the time he and Gerber spent creating their album was "after hours," which sounds perfect for an album of all-night party music. So the fact that it's taken about four years might not be such a surprise. "To produce my album would just take a few months, to produce a Diddy album, it takes like a year, to do something that sounds like me and him together takes a long time, it had to sounds like me and him and I think we did it."
With his Coachella tribe in toe, Gerber is moving like a caffeinated teenager as we grab a bite from L.A. restaurant Eveleigh, and then back onto the field as Lopez and Rolls trail just behind. "Keeping track of Guy at stuff like this is...impossible at times," Lopez says laughing. She and Gerber have been friends for years. "We keep him in check though, we make sure sure he gets around okay," adds Rolls.
As we walk, Lopez sticks out her hand cupping what looks like pile of dried wood shavings. It's actually chopped-up 'shrooms. She offers some and I oblige - after all, the plan is to go on the ferris wheel. Various people in the group divvy up the rest. Noshing on stems and pieces of caps, it's hard to tell how much I've actually taken as we weave back through the festival, and Guy darts ahead of the crowds.
"For me last week was too much. People were like dying to party, it was insane," Gerber says. "This week is more mellow." That seems to be the general consensus, but that doesn't mean Gerber's shown many signs of slowing down this evening.
As we finally prepare to board the giant, glowing ferris wheel, my brain and skin start to tingle as the 'shrooms kick in. My eyes are locked upward, gazing at the lights and mechanical intricacies of Coachella's circular, spinning Goliath as it glows in the desert sky. After several minutes, it's our turn to board and my body is starting to hum like a tuning fork. The ferris wheel is overpacked with Gerber and friends.
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On the ride up, Gerber stands with the girls to get a good look down at Foster the People playing the main stage. Swarms of people are crowding the polo grounds like ants in a densely packed, Technicolor dream world. For a brief moment, there's something about being on this ferris wheel with a first time Coachellite like Gerber that makes even a hardened Indio vet like myself feel like a newbie again. With his arms around his girlfriend and Lopez looking over the festival lights, Gerber's relaxing second weekend has come to the high point of the night.
"We take a selfie right now, yes. We are at Coachella!" He says. "Zis is what we do here, selfies!" I'm usually like, fuck selfies, but at this point in time I have to agree with him....yes, zis is what we do.