INTERVIEW: Gabriel & Dresden on Early Influences and Why They Love Toronto

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For over 14 years, Gabriel & Dresden have ignored the trends and instead chased after meaning with their productions. The quintessential definition of what they’ve dubbed “Emotional Dance Music,” their candid and unreserved approach has spawned an expansive discography of timeless classics for their fans to revel in, including Tracking Treasure Down, As The Rush Comes, Beautiful Things and Dangerous Power, as well as newer hits such as Tomorrow Comes and Rise Up from their Organized Nature label.

In anticipation of their show tonight at MOD Club, we caught up with the duo for another EDM TOR exclusive interview. Check it out!

EDM TOR: Over 14 years of excellence, and you both are dubbed “Pioneers of Trance Music“, did you ever expect to make such an impact on the scene?

G & D: We were just trying to do our own thing, take lots of different influences, put them in a pot and build upon the momentum of each record we made. We were always trying to top ourselves. It was a little game we played each time we made music. Whatever happened after that was gravy.

EDM TOR: A tour solely based on the classics of trance and your originals is an enticing decision, what has been the outcome thus far? How are the newer fans to the scene reacting to the sounds of our genres roots?

G & D: The shows have been pretty amazing thus far. It’s pretty safe to say that the music of 10 years ago (and even older) produces a freer, more euphoric feeling than a lot of the current music. The people coming to our shows are reacting differently than we’ve seen in many years. It’s quite interesting to see.

EDM TOR: Dave, you first met Josh when you were scouting for Pete Tong‘s radio show, what made him stand out to you deciding you wanted to become partners?

G & D: I just really liked the ideas he had. I liked that he had an 80’s influence, a progressive house influence and even some trancey ideas going on. His music definitely stood out from all the other music you heard out there at the time. I could not believe he was not known already.

What brought us together was that I had made some suggestions on what he could do to make his tracks even better and they worked. I used a lot of my DJ and A&R experience to make these suggestions. I had no idea that was what a “Record Producer” does and by working with Josh I was able to learn how to get my own ideas down so we could collaborate on songs even better.

EDM TOR: Josh, you received your degree in California for music composition, what made you determine dance music was the path to pursue?

G & D: I bought my first synthesizer in 1981, so by the time I started at Cal Arts in 1986, I was already hooked on making electronic music with analog synths & drum machines. At this point I was influenced by artists like Depeche Mode, Yaz, The Cure and Jean-Michelle Jarre. My first exposure to dance music in a club was my 3rd year of Cal Arts. I spent that year studying abroad at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague, Netherlands. It was during that year in 1988 that I first heard acid house on a club system and it has influenced me to this day. It wasn’t until hearing Sasha & Digweed at Twilo in the late 90’s that I finally started making dance music. Finally in 2001 I decided to pursue making music full time and have never looked back.

EDM TOR: Which original production do you think defines your sound as a whole?

G & D: It was probably all of our Unplugged Mix versions of the remixes we did. Andain‘s Beautiful Things, Oaklenfold‘s Southern Sun remix, KillersRead My Mind, etc. We feel that was the sound which truly defined us.

EDM TOR: Playing open to close sets is becoming a fad again with the veterans of the dance music scene, instead of the usual 90-120 min sets the new wave DJs most frequently do. How does it feel to be able to do 6 hours straight of your own productions?

G & D: It feels pretty good. We decided while we were rehearsing this tour to also include the music of other Producers which we supported on our Organized Nature radio show. So in the end it’s more like 80% our own music, but it still feels good that almost everything we made still works a dance floor.

EDM TOR: What do you feel are the benefits to working as a pair?

G & D: For us, it’s about two people who love music coming together to create or share music for others to enjoy. We both like a lot of the same music but also have very distinct and differing opinions about what makes a record great. And those distinct and differing opinions are a lot of what makes us great. That’s really why we want to work with each other instead of alone.

EDM TOR: What do you think you’ll want to do next?

G & D: We’re really itching to start making some music that’s based around some of our classic tracks. We feel the climate could be right for this in dance music again. There’s a lot of very catchy music out there but a lot of it doesn’t have substance. Which could explain why things don’t last very long anymore. We are hoping to change that and bring back “the feeling.”

EDM TOR: What is your favourite thing about coming to Toronto?

G & D: Toronto is just a great clubbing town. It’s been like that for decades. People sincerely love electronic music in Toronto and we have had deep ties with the city since the dawning of our touring. We always step it up when we play Toronto.

EDM TOR: Is there anything you’d like to say to your Toronto fans?

G & D: We would like thanks for all the years of support and great shows. It’s sounds generic and cliche to say that, but Toronto has always been supportive of us even in the years we were not together. We are expecting that the show at The Mod club will be one that we won’t soon forget.

We sure won’t be forgetting it either. Mod Club is sure to sway with powerful emotion tonight, so grab your tickets and get there early to claim your dance space!

RSVP to the official Facebook event here.

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Veronica Rooney – EDM TOR

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