The dynamic and exceedingly gracious duo of Gabriel & Dresden – made up of Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden – certainly, know their way around the music industry. This pair at the beginning of their careers had eight years of non-stop success with mega remixes for massive artists such as Paul Oakenfold, Annie Lennox, and Groove Armada to name just a few, and after a brief split came back together stronger than ever in 2011 and haven’t stopped from there to the delight of their loyal fans.
We were lucky enough to get the chance to connect with them right before the set out on an epic journey through their music as Gabriel & Dresden will be playing a 4hr set at The Great Northern, San Francisco this Saturday on July 13th. If you are looking to attend this show last minute, grab your tickets here. Through this interview, we were also quick to discover that their love for the Pacific Northwest is very real and that their past has led them to who they have become as the inspiring artists they are today:
DMNW: I’d love to hear a little bit about your beginnings as a group, were you friends prior to forming Gabriel & Dresden or were you already pursuing solo careers?
G&D: We met at Winter Music Conference 2001 at a party hosted by the LA club Giant. We were not friends previously but we started talking one night in the lobby of the Giant Hotel and immediately found that we had a lot of things in common music taste-wise. The next day, there was a pool party on the roof of that hotel and Leon Alexander (Timo Maas’ manager at the time) was DJing.
When Leon dropped Dirty Vegas’ “Days Go By” (which at the time they were the Hydrogen Rockers), Josh stopped the conversation and reached into his bag and pulled out a record. He then excused himself because he wanted to give Leon a copy.
When Josh returned, Dave asked him what it was that he had given Leon. “It’s my first 12” song called ‘Wave 3’ Josh told him. At that point, Dave had to mention that he was helping Pete Tong find new American artists to promote on his record label FFRR and his radio show The Essential Selection. At first, Josh didn’t really believe him, but begrudgingly gave him one of the few copies he had left. The next day, Dave called Josh and told him that he really liked the track and was going to share it with Pete. The next week, the 4th song in on Tong’s radio show was “Wave 3” – This got us talking about what other material Josh had, for which Dave gave Josh some pointers on how the tracks could be improved. “We should make our own record sometime” Josh suggested to Dave as he really liked a lot of the advice he had given him.
Fast forward to September of that year, and Pete Tong offered Dave a chance to remix a New Order song and suggested that he work on it with Josh. Dave reached out to Josh and the rest they say is history.
DMNW: What was the very first track you began producing together? Was it actually released?
G&D: The aforementioned “Someone Like You” by New Order. It was never released commercially just on a promotional 12”.
DMNW: While we understand it’s very difficult to pick a favorite track off your many albums, which track would be your favorite/favorites?
G&D: Andain’s “Beautiful Things” comes to mind. It’s kind of the blueprint to the Gabriel & Dresden sound and still sounds so fresh even today.
DMNW: For our readers who haven’t experienced your music, how would you describe the general vibe of your musical focus?
G&D: We make songs that make you feel good about feeling bad. With emotional chords, electric basses and lyrics that many people can easily relate to.
DMNW: In order to fund your previous album, you did a Kickstarter Campaign asking for 30k. You ended up getting over 70k. Can you guys talk about what it meant to you to have so many people donate to the campaign and exceed your initial goals for your album?
G&D: We honestly were so nervous about doing the Kickstarter. We had joked about it for years but one night Dave happened upon Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk called “The Art of Asking” where she went on in great detail how she decided to take control of her career by releasing her albums direct to fans via Kickstarter. She raised over one million dollars from 25,000 people. From that moment on we knew that we should at least try it.
During this same time we had been experimenting with making music again after taking a few years off from the studio and we were really starting to enjoy working together.
One night during ADE 2016, Josh called Dave after he had gone to a trance show. “Let’s do it” he exclaimed down the phone line to Dave. “I am ready to make music again for real.” The next week we started working on building the Kickstarter concept and the rewards for the different pledge levels.
The day we launched the Kickstarter we were blown away by the response. In less than 37 hours we were totally funded. We didn’t really realize there were so much love and support for us out there. It really helped our confidence going back into the studio.
DMNW: You guys had a mini breakup period between 2008-2011, how do you think you have grown as a group since you have gotten back together, and how has your overall music evolved? What do you enjoy most about making music together now?
G&D: When we did Gabriel & Dresden before the breakup, we were not really prepared for the kind of success we had. We went from normal lives to traveling every weekend to shows and working day and night in the studio. We just got burned out on G&D and needed a break.
What we learned in the off-time was how to be better communicators and to trust each others’ instincts and what each of us brings to the table. Now, we just trust each other implicitly and don’t really argue about stuff as much. It’s way easier to work.
DMNW: Music is such a gift to the world and what you bring to dance music is truly special, what types of music have inspired you? What is your favorite part about being in the music industry today?
G&D: We both grew up loving 80’s new wave music. Some called it the “2nd British Invasion” of bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and Howard Jones. We liked great songs that had a lot of electronic instrumentation.
The best part of being. In the music industry, today is that there are no rules. If you have something great, you can get it out into the stores with no middleman and hire the people who will help you get the word out.
DMNW: We love you here in the Pacific Northwest, how do you feel about trance fans in the PNW and what is your favorite experience while you have been here? How excited are you to be playing a set at the Anjuna Weekender and at the Gorge? What can we look forward to experiencing during your set coming up at the end of this month?
G&D: We love the PNW so much that one of us lives there. Josh is currently in Spokane, WA where we both got together over the winter to record the follow-up album to The Only Road, which will be called Remedy. We are hoping to have all the songs finished and mastered by The Gorge so we can play some of them in our set. That’s really what everyone should be looking forward to…and, of course, we will play some of the songs you know and love too.
DMNW: Tell me the truth…who is your favorite Anjunabeats artist other than yourselves?
G&D: Tinlicker. These dudes are going to be so huge because they combine great melodies with awesome vocals.
If you do not get the chance to catch what is sure to be their amazing 4-hour set in San Fran this week, tickets are still available online for the Group Therapy Weekender (get them while they last, with the event at 75% sold out capacity as of today) where you can catch them turning out their classic hits with hopefully some new discoveries to be had, with the stunning Gorge Amphitheater as the perfect backdrop for their melodic beats.
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