Gabriel & Dresden: ”You need to stand out more than ever before.”
A golden past and a silver lining to their future. A string of musical pearls to back them up and an endless creative flow to guide them through what’s ahead. The award-winning duo of Gabriel & Dresden have hit back in, making their grand return to what they love most; making, living and breathing the movement that is electronic dance music. We hooked up with Josh and Dave, confronting them with quotes from old interviews, as they tell us all about keeping up with the strong tide that is EDM. G&D:“You have a one-on-one relationship with your fans now; they are in your lives and you are in theirs.”
“Taking the time apart gave us a chance to figure out who were are as individual artists so that we could come back together. Hopefully stronger than before!”
Has the Gabriel & Dresden comeback turned out the way you two thought it would? Was it the warm welcome you expected – or was getting back to the top harder than you initially thought?
G&D:”We would definitely say that from the fans‘ perspective, they have welcomed us back with open arms. We played some amazing shows and headlined major festivals all over the world. We wouldn’t say things are harder now, they are just different. Media is coming at people from all different directions. You need to stand out even more than you ever have before.”
“To really appreciate dance music I think you need to let go of the past, open your ears and follow your heart.”
When you’ve had such incredible success as you guys, it must be incredibly hard not to look back, right?
G&D:”We are definitely proud of the songs we’ve written and produced but we really like to look to what’s next for us. Sure, we still play our classics in our DJ sets and seeing the people singing them gives us a great feeling. Knowing some of these songs are 10 years old and still relevant is incredible. But we are most excited when we’re creating new sounds and writing new songs.”
“I think we quickly realized that we still do have a very good music chemistry and the ability to make really good music that the fans are into.”
What are some of the things you’ve learned while being apart that comes in handy for the future?
G&D:”Really the main thing we learned is how to be better collaborators. We worked with quite a few different people in the time off and that gave us tons of experience and perspective. It also made us appreciate more the chemistry we had in the studio. Nowadays, we try to amplify each other’s talents where before it sometimes felt like it was Gabriel vs Dresden.”
“We never really were one genre, that’s always been sort of our blessing and our curse.”
It’s incredibly hard to pin down today’s EDM sound, since both trance, house and prog incorporate influences from one another. Considering today’s diversity, are we right to say you’ve been trendsetters?
G&D:”That could very well be true, but we never like to think about those things too much.”
“We like to take music from all kinds of scenes and mix it up because we just have that personality where we can’t focus on one thing.”
Are we right to say that ‘Play It Back’ ft. Betsie Larkin is the first track with that typical G&D sound, diverse yet recognisably G&D? And ‘No Reservations’ more of a ‘new G&D style’?
G&D:”Throughout our history, we’ve always made all kinds of different records. From 124bpm minimal house to 132bpm techno to 140bpm trance. We never think too much about genre when we make music. We like to experiment with sound. It keeps us inspired. But yes, ‘Play it Back’ was a move towards a more ‘classic’ G&D vocal trance sound. “
“It seems to me that the music has gotten simpler. I think for the first time in my career I’ve seen electronic musicians be taken seriously, on a music level.”
So while electronic dance music in general is taken more serious, it’s also become easier to create music. What balance does that give to the EDM scene, from your perspective?
G&D:”While it’s become easier to create music, that doesn’t mean you’re going to make great music. So much goes into making a killer song that comes with knowledge and experience. Just because you found out on YouTube how to make a Nicky Romero bassline isn’t going to make you into the next Nicky Romero. It’s really up to producers to innovate and not copy one another. Hit records have been made on all kinds of different equipment but it’s the ideas that are put into them which will carry the song.”
“We had so much fun playing at the Electric Daisy festivals and playing for the younger crowd that are really new, and don’t really know us.”
Comparing the crowds of – let’s say – 2003 to 2013, which one’s the most dedicated?
G&D:”People were dedicated then, and they are dedicated now. Dedication just means something different now. Instead of just going to your show and buying your album, now the fans can do that AND follow your every movement online and share that with their friends. You have a one-on-one relationship with your fans now; they are in your lives and you are in theirs.”
“We played it for the first time in Belarus and it went over really well. We spent over 2 days here in Amsterdam working on it so it’s feeling a lot more finished.“
A brand new version of ‘Tracking Treasure Down’ is coming up! Was that classic a tough one to crack?
G&D:”We’ve approached this project as a remix. This band Gabriel & Dresden asked us to do a mix on their song ‘Tracking Treasure Down’ - it doesn’t seem so daunting because we’ve been given songs by Dido , Sarah McLachlan, Annie Lennox and The Killers to remix and we made something that worked for them.”
“I think our best music is yet to be made.”
So, what about the Gabriel & Dresden album? Will it see the light this year?
G&D:”Since we had such a heavy touring schedule last year, we really didn’t have the time to sit in the studio and make records from the ground up. This year we are intentionally taking less gigs and really focusing on our craft in a studio to make some new songs that will be hopefully be around 10 years from now and beyond.”