Gareth Emery Biography:
Gareth Emery is one of dance music’s most influential and innovative DJ producers. Previously being voted number 7 in DJ Mag’s ‘Top 100 DJs” poll made him one of the UK’s highest ranked DJ’s as well as one of the youngest DJs ever to crack the top ten. He has had massive singles from ‘On A Good Day (Metropolis)’ to the hard hitting ‘Tokyo’. Now sitting at the number 13 position, Gareth has been changing his style and pushing boundaries with his new productions. We had the amazing opportunity to interview the man him self.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do an interview with us Gareth, how are you doing today?
I’m good thanks – sat on the train between Manchester (where I currently live) and London, which I seem to be doing all the time.
You’ve been an undeniable driving force in the music industry for almost a decade now. That being said, what direction do you see trance in particular going in 2012?
It’s a hard question. For me one of the great things about trance was that as a genre it was something of a chameleon, meaning, it would change and adapt to the current trends of the time; that’s how it stayed fresh, and that’s how it stays current and stays popular. And there are plenty of producers in the scene who keep innovating and trying to ensure it stays fresh, but there’s also a loud-voiced movement within the scene campaign to “keep it pure” with no deviation from the original trance sound of the late ‘90s. For me, it’s a big mistake, look at hard house and styles like that, they ‘kept it pure’, never changed, and they fucking died. So I’ll never apologize for making trance that pushes the boundaries, and that’s what I like.
Though you are most commonly classified as a trance DJ, we’ve noticed that you play a much wider range of dance music in your sets. What other genres or artists outside of the trance community do you find influential?
There are so many…dance music is such an amazing place right now, with so many talented people doing amazing things, and a lot of it is trance influenced anyway. Take ‘Guilt’ by Nero – it’s technically a dubstep track so a lot of people will dismiss it, but listen to the track and it’s basically trance, the chords, the synths, the vocals. So it fits in my sets. I couldn’t play more than 1 or 2 dubstep tracks in a set but if the track is brilliantly musically and sufficiently trancey, it works great. I also like a lot of the electro house stuff, Michael Woods, Porter Robsinson, Dada Life and some of the slightly more off the wall guys like Steve Aoki and Diplo.
Does the current music industry dictate that artists need to be well rounded in both a creative sense and business sense?
Yeah, definitely, but sometimes I think the business side is over-rated. Yes, it’s important, and social media and all that stuff is vital, but music comes first. You can see people who have all the social media presence, great image, superb business scene, but if their music is basically shit, nobody cares. Whereas if you make great music without good business sense, people will still want to come see you. Obviously a combination of both is ideal.
How do you balance your time in the studio with your touring schedule? Difficult or easy?
Very difficult, finding enough time in the studio is a constant battle. I tend to do a lot of writing on the road, and when I get home I can flesh out those demos into finished ideas, but I often wonder how my productions would be if I wasn’t playing as many shows as I do (130 last year). Some DJs have full time engineers back home in the studio whereas I’ve always done it all myself. Not saying that’ll always be the case, as I do find the time constraints increasing challenging, but so far, that’s been how it’s gone.
You are no stranger to DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ’s list and this year was no exception as you were listed at 13; a worthy addition to your handful of top 10 finishes in the previous years. Do you believe the list is as prestigious and accurate as we are lead to believe, or do you feel like it is merely overrated?
It’s nice to be in the list but I wouldn’t take it too seriously, and that’s what I said when I was no.7 as well. Look, I think the top 20 is actually pretty accurate, just not totally in the correct order. Dropping to 13 has been pretty good for me to be honest. I wrote Tokyo which was my highest charting Beatport record ever and the biggest selling trance track on the site in 2011, and then Concrete Angel my new single which I’m really happy with. So I’m not too bothered about my number, but it’s always nice to be there.
What piece of hardware/software do you find the most useful in your productions?
All my favourite stuff is software now, Sylenth is definitely the best and most versatile synth on the market right now. But I have an old analog SE-1 bass synth which is a nightmare to work with, but can throw out some pretty fat basslines – the basslines of Exposure and Metropolis were made with that.
It seems as if EDM has finally solidified it’s place in American pop culture, but do you think it will last?
Does it matter? Why worry about the future and whether it will last or not, when we can just enjoy the present. There’s a fantastic scene in the US so let’s enjoy it for all it’s worth. Underground will never die, but some of the more commercial scenes, the more VIP bottle service clubs that are currently playing dance music, who knows when the trend might shift back to hip hop? I don’t see it happening any time in the immediate future but it would be unrealistic to think that dance music will be America’s commercial soundtrack forever.
We are all fans of your Garuda record label, but what can you tell us about it’s relation with Manchester’s club Sankeys?
There isn’t a formal relationship as such, but our offices have been in the same building as them since 2009 so we’ve got to know the guys well and have done numerous events at the club. We’ve also done parties in Miami, and at Warehouse Project, the other great venue in Manchester along with Sankeys. Garuda isn’t really tied to any particular club but we’ve done a lot of great shows in Sankeys and will be back there in March.
Anything your fans should know about for 2012? (New releases, collaborations, ect.)
I’m working on a new album, various collabs, and a new live show concept. We did a bunch of tour dates with the Northern Lights Concert last year but I’d like to do something bigger, better, more innovative next time around. Another year of hard work coming up!
Thank you for doing an interview with us Gareth it is a true honor to speak to such an accomplished producer and DJ.
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