EDMLA got a chance to catch a glimpse into the creative genius that is the legendary duo Gabriel & Dresden prior to their show at Avalon in Hollywood on May 30.
1. How and when did you come into your own unique sound as DJs?
We always have had the same approach to DJing together. Do we like the song? Does it make us want to dance? We’ve had this same aesthetic our whole career, and it will probably never change.
2. What advice do you have to DJs who are inspired by you to become career DJs?
Well, for us the advice would always be to create sets that are unique and include a lot of different sounds, peaks, valleys, vocals, instrumentals etc. But it feels like more and more, it’s becoming important to both have a unique sound and also become an expert at social media marketing.
Also if you’re going to want to tour nationally and internationally, you’re going to need to make music. There’s just no way around it anymore. You can start small by putting re-edits, bootlegs and mashups of other songs on Soundcloud and try to build up a following, but eventually you’re going to have to make some original music.
We’ve always thought the best way to make a dance music song is to have a DJ you want to play it in mind. Study the music they’re playing and see if there’s something you like that you can put your own spin on. Do not copy. Copycats have short careers.
3. How has having a family changed your careers and the ways you tour, etc?
Josh’s first child came in 2003 and Dave’s in 2013 so there have always been some constraints about how we tour. One is that we can’t be on the road for more than 2 weeks at a time without checking in at home.We also never take shows on our children’s birthdays and family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
4. How do you get out of a slump when you feel like you aren’t producing new music?
We’ve found that listening to some older music that used to inspire you can work wonders. It’s kind of how we arrived at doing this tour. We weren’t feeling very inspired by the music around us, and decided to go back and start listening to our older songs and DJ sets. This experience got us thinking of ways we can get back to this style of song and track making, which we are currently exploring.
5. What is your opinion on the changing dance music industry?
It’s a double-edged sword, really. A lot of the music that finds its way to the mainstream is really just watered down pop music with “dance” music production styles and techniques, but at the same time, it’s giving young people a foray into dance music. Dance music, because of EDM, has a strong farm team for when these young fans get older and their tastes mature, which might help fringe genres like techno, deep house, etc gain massive followings as well.
6. What do you hope to communicate through your music?
We want to make people feel good, both in the music we create and the music we play.
7. Who would you ideally like to work with on your next album?
Someone who has not been discovered yet and has something to say musically.
8. What is your most cherished memory from an interaction with a fan?
There’s just way too many to mention. We love to hang out and talk with our fans and share stories. We learn so much from these interactions.
9. What do you miss most about home when you are on tour?
10. Where do you find inspiration for new music?
We found that traveling and interpersonal relationships are two of our biggest inspirations when it comes to writing songs and being inspired to make music.
11. What is your best advice to new DJs who are looking for their big break?
Be original. Know and understand the social media channels your fans use.
12. What has been your most memorable collaboration?
Probably “Zocalo” with Armin van Buuren. It wasn’t our first try making music with Armin, but we had an idea to make an indie rock-meets-trance song and we had 3 days to do it. The way each of us contributed to the process turned something that seemed challenging into something fun that we were able to call complete when Armin left.
By Melissa K. for EDMLA