Gabriel & Dresden teach us about emotional dance music
Success is never a solo endeavor. It takes hard work and determination to accomplish anything worthwhile in life; and even then, failure is ever present, lurking in the background. But what is failure but a chance to learn, grow, and move forward. Every now and then, the dance music community is blessed by the union of two geniuses that when together, have the ability to create music that is something more special than they could ever accomplish alone.
Through trials and tribulations, solo projects and rough patches, Josh Gabriel & Dave Dresden have become one of those special duos. Their music has transcended genres and given us some of dance music’s most prized possessions including: Tracking Treasure down, As The Rush Comes, Dangerous Power, Promises (G&D Remix), and most recently Rise Up.
Their music has changed our lives, which is why I believe Gabriel & Dresden embody the spirit of OTB and what it represents: It’s More Than Music.
For these guys, it’s a lifestyle. And a beautiful one at that.
I can’t explain how excited I am to share this interview with you today OTB’ers, so without further ado, let’s jump into it!
OTB: “Rise Up” just came out two months ago and I’m not going to lie, I got a DMC trying to upload it to Soundcloud. Do you care if sites like OTB or EDM.com upload your tracks to Soundcloud and YouTube? What are you thoughts on copyright infringement?
G&D: We are sure most artists prefer to have their Soundcloud/YouTube postings embedded in the blog post. Promoters and the industry do look at play counts and the virality of your content on a regular basis, and that’s the main reason why it should be this way. But in the end, exposure is exposure and if someone wants to post one of our songs on their social media channels we personally will never ask to take it off. However, Armada, our distributor, does employ methods to have songs removed that are infringing on copyrights.
Gabriel & Dresden – Rise up
OTB: Eloquently put! Your answer appeases both the labels and fans like myself. I was trying to upload “Rise Up” to Soundcloud (when it got flagged) because it’s freaking amazing. It was the first thing you’ve uploaded to Soundcloud in about 7 months. Where did it come from? Are you working on new tracks right now? Was it something that doesn’t fit with an EP or album that you’re working on and you decided to release it by itself, or was it something that just kind of came out of nowhere?
G&D: We used a very different way of making music to create “Rise Up”. Our friend Carey “Khaz” Stansfield gave us free reign of his studio and 6 oscillator Moog Modular synthesizer. We wrote the chord progressions and melodies in MIDI and then sent them straight to the modular. We then tweaked the synth patches until we had something we liked. Then we would record ourselves tweaking and twisting things for about 15-20 minutes a pass. When we had everything we needed we then edited down the recorded audio into a song, added some drums and we were ready to go. We have since gone in and done this method a few more times for future songs. We really enjoy this style of writing because it gets us both involved in the process and then when we are done, finishing the song is almost like doing a remix.
OTB: That’s something up and coming producers should take note of, these guys have been working together for 14+ years and they’re still learning and using new techniques to perfect their craft. There is no right or wrong, only trial and error. Keep pushing, keep innovating, have empathy, and be open to new ideas. On that note, what does G&D’s creative process look like? Take some time to walk us through your creative process and how you two collaborate on tracks. What are your individual strengths and weaknesses?
G&D: We both carry many years of experience in different facets of the music business with us. Josh has been playing around with synthesizers and computers for nearly 30 years, with a degree in musical composition from The Institute of Sonology in the Netherlands. Dave spent his 10,000 hours as a DJ, A&R man and radio programmer. When we enter the studio we combine these experiences to create the music. In the 14 years since we’ve started each of us has a pretty deep understanding of almost everything that goes into making a song or putting together a DJ set. We talk amongst ourselves often and teach each other things that we know from our past experiences.
OTB: Well if anyone ever had any questions about your qualifications, I think that answer will suffice! Gabriel & Dresden are trance legends. There’s no doubt about it. But for those new to the scene, what do you want to them to know about G&D today?
G&D: The funny thing about us being “trance legends” is that we never set out to make trance. Sure, we were inspired by a lot of the music, and some of our biggest records came as a result of us going to a Tiesto show together, but none of those songs were ever meant to be “pure” trance. It’s just that trance DJ’s gravitated to our music.
OTB: Fair enough! I’m a huge fan of the hashtag you use on Soundcloud ‘#EmotionalDanceMusic.” It’s really in line with the message OTB tries to convey to our readers. Yes, we categorize tracks so you can find them conveniently, but all the music on this site has one thing in common, the person who posted it was moved emotionally by the music in some way. We want to help people discover music that moves them, because music with an emotional connection has the power to change lives. Speaking of music that can change lives, I’m really really excited about your new podcast! Can you tell the fans how you came up with the name “Organized Nature” and where your fans can find it?
G&D: Thank you! We both love nature and are constantly impressed with how nature has its systems to create beauty survival. When we started making music, there was a lot of criticism about electronic music not having any soul. We wanted to use our influence to show that electronic music can have soul and be created from sounds that are both electronic and acoustic. We have used the Organized Nature brand on our label and our radio show. It will probably be a touring entity soon as well. You listen to the podcast by following us on Soundcloud or subscribing to it on iTunes.
Gabriel & Dresden present Organized Nature Radio Episode 34
OTB: Again, it’s a fitting title, and this blogger approves! Who are some artists that G&D are following? Do they influence your sound? Or are they just people you respect as artists?
G&D: In the past year we have found a bunch of producers from France, Holland and Germany who are inspiring us to make different music. Some of these artists are Teho, Eggo, Rone, Microtrauma, Kiasmos and Paul Hazendonk. We are feeling a much slower, dubbier and prettier version of progressive house that harks back to a simpler time in dance music. With dance music moving to the mainstream and so many producers making identikit records to cash in, we felt we really needed to make a change and we are so much happier for it.
OTB: I took some time to listen to the artists you mentioned above, and I can definitely hear what your talking about. I also now follow all of them on Soundcloud, thanks for the tip! And also, it’s refreshing to hear you say that you’re moving away from the idea of “cashing in.” People seem to forget that once you’ve cashed in….you don’t have anything left to cash in. Your reputation sticks. Smart move to stay away from the commercialized electro, but then again, I never considered G&D to be the type of duo to go that route in the first place. Since we’re on the topic: How would you define your sound? And where do your influences come from?
G&D: We accidentally called our music “Emotional Dance Music” one day on Twitter and it has stuck. Our sound makes you feel something, get in touch with your emotions, and it also makes your dance.
OTB: Love it! Do you have any pre/post-show rituals?
G&D: We always like to edit or re-arrange every new song we add to our DJ set. Sometimes, if we have the time we will match an acappella to a track and make a little bootleg mashup. It gets us excited and pumped up for the show.
OTB: Any true fan of electronic dance music can appreciate the time you take to make those changes to your set as well as the mashup that keep us guessing and blow our minds. I’ve always said this, but I want to go on the record right now: When I go to see a DJ, I don’t want to hear music I already know, I don’t want to hear what’s popular right now, you’re a DJ, I want you to blow my mind and play music that I’ve never heard before, something that excites me and gives me the same feeling I get when I discover new music on my own. If you can deliver new music in a live setting, you’re create a new experience for the fans, which is, you guessed it, an emotional connection as well…#EmotionalDanceMusic! Rant over.
So the fact that you take the time to create these new experiences for your fans is one of the reasons I value your live shows so highly and go out of my way to attend them. I think a lot of upcoming DJ’s need to take a page out of your book in this area. But, before the show even gets going….What’s on your rider?
G&D: We are pretty simple dudes. We just ask for a bottle of whiskey and enough space to fit our laptop to the left of the mixer. That’s all.
OTB: Respect. What does G&D have in store for the second half of 2014? New Releases? Tour Dates?
G&D: We have consciously taken less shows this year to focus on making music. We tried to make music on the laptop while on tour, and it usually ends up taking 3 times as long if we do that. By staying put and in the studio we can make way more music. We are not sure if what we are making will be an album or a series of EPs. People for the most part do not listen to albums as a body of work any more, so its hard to justify releasing a year’s worth of studio time into one body of work. By doing EPs, we can focus on making a set of 3 great songs every few months. Of course, your die hard fans will always be excited about a new album, but for the most part, nobody else cares anymore.
Gabriel & Dresden Live At Paradiso Festival 06 – 28 – 14
OTB: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me guys, I will always been a huge fan and look forward to more #EmotionalDanceMusic from G&D! I thought it would be fun to end the interview with a little video that OTB cut from one of your performances in Scottsdale, AZ over two years ago! This was literally one of the first pieces of content we ever pushed out, so it never got a lot of attention, but I think it will now 😉 And excuse my poor on-camera skillz at the end:
Until next time, Connect with Gabriel & Dresden here:
~It’s more than music~