INTERVIEWS

Gabriel & Dresden Exclusive Interview

Gabriel & Dresden Talk Of Album "The Only Road" And Their Careers Together

Gabriel & Dresden

Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden, the duo-team of Trance, Techno, and House released their most recent album, “The Only Road”, on December 15. After years of adversity and growth, the two DJs gifted their fans with a 12-track project. As the two describe, the name of the album is based on the fact that they are back on the only road that keeps them true to themselves. The music Gabriel & Dresden enjoy to produce and share with others is the only type of music on “The Only Road”.

The Only Road

Gabriel & Dresden Interview

OneEDM was lucky enough to score an exclusive interview with Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden, who talk about their latest album as well as inspirations for their music.

Where does “The Only Road” come from?

Josh Gabriel:  It has gotten twisted around. At the heart of it, it is really just a play on the words “home is where the heart lies”. We have been working and working, doing what we are doing for a long time. Even through the rough periods when it felt like the music industry seemed it was becoming different forever. Trying to stay true to ourselves. Trust yourself, it is the path you have to follow, the one you have to follow for yourself.

Dave Dresden: There is really only one road for making music and that is the way we know how. We have experience with a lot of other roads in the last 11 years and they did not lead us home. We went back to what we know and what we trust and that is what made this record.

Gabriel & Dresden Release Album
Josh Gabriel (left) & Dave Dresden (right)

When you say what you want, was previous work not really your direction? Or is this like something new you are now exploring?

Dave: We were in a place where we were not quite sure what our place was in the music industry. The music industry was rapidly changing when we got back together in 2011. There was a lot of pressure by nature of the gigs. We were booked at a lot of festivals, and so we were making harder edge music that was not necessarily our path.

Josh: We definitely did some things that we were not completely 100% down with, but you know, at the end of the day we are still proud of that work. This album represents us coming home to what we know and what we believe.

You consistently deliver a magical and emotional journey, which stays true to your new album “The Only Road”. Is that the road you wish to lead listeners on your tour?

That is what has gotten us back on our path, playing those types of sets. We want to create that kind of atmosphere with music. When we were kind of fusing our music with EDM inspired music, it did not feel like home to us. When we did the classics-only tour, we got to hear our music on a course of long sets and got to understand what made us what we are. It was kind of the catalyst for where we are now.

What should your listeners expect different or the same on your “The Only Road Tour”?

For one thing, depending on how long the set is, it will have 30-60 minutes of music from the new album. We also made a couple of bootlegs and edits. One of them is from our classics called “Tracking Treasure Down”. We turned it into something that we can play at a much slower BPM, and continue to make sure that the shows are always changing. We still play some classics, ones that are most inspirational, including techno and junky house, whatever you want to call it. You will probably get the same feeling, starting with the tempo, but the actual songs played will mostly be different than the classics tour.

Will you be bringing back your Organized Nature Podcast and will you be releasing new material on Organized Nature?

We have been thinking about it but just have not had the time. We still do not have the time and have to be realistic at the moment. This album is a lot of work to get it out. Once that is done, we think that will be a natural process. It takes a lot of time and energy to put together a set that we are both proud of. We do everything. We write, produce, and mix all of our own music. Pretty much all of the stuff that is surrounding the music. It is about finding a balance for us, and we have not been able to do that yet. We are working to find that balance, though.

Speaking of tracks, Track #9, “Over Oceans”, says it features Josh Gabriel. Many people probably did not know that you are also a vocalist. What other tracks are you on?

Dave: Yeah, even I did not even know he was (laughs).

Josh: I am on a few. I think one of the first ones was a track of mine called “Alive”. It was on Vandit back in 2004. I sing on that and also on “Without You Near”. The verses are one person and the chorus is me.

Dave: You were also in “Tracking Treasure Down”.

Josh: Oh yes, yes I was also on that.

Gabriel & Dresden On Set

There is also noticeable nature sounds in your tracks. Do you make these sounds, or do you go out in nature to record them for your tracks?

Josh: For both Dave and I, nature is a big part of our background and lives. We realized that not everyone has the same relationship with nature. If you listen to the first song, you will hear the crackling of firewood. Not everyone knows what that even sounds like. There are people that have not even spent a night out in the woods, so it is like giving people a sound of our home.

Dave: That owl in the first song – that owl, a beautiful white spotted owl hangs out in my backyard. We wanted to capture him. I think he was talking to me.

Josh: One of the more interesting sounds, “In Underwater”, at the end of the song you will hear a bird-chirping sound. It is subtle, we work remotely and that was something we heard while we were on Dave’s laptop listening to music. I told him to stop with the bird sounds. I did not realize he had birds in his backyard. He said I cannot, there are birds in my yard. Then he said, “You know what, let’s record it, the sound is great”. So, Dave went to get a recording device.

When we got back, the birds stopped chirping, so we continued to play the music again and realized that the birds were chirping to the music. So, we added the sound of the birds chirping to the music back into the track. We like to have unique sounds and appreciate when people pick it up. Dave has recorded a lot of unique nature sounds over the years that we have used in our work.

Going back to your roots and how you both came to become a duo, meeting for the first time on a rooftop at WMC. What lead up to that and what could have prevented this meeting of minds?

Dave: It is incredible to us because it was not supposed to happen. You just never know what is going to change your life and that was definitely a life-changing moment for both of us obviously.

Josh: I was usually in attendance showing my new software I was working on but at this particular one I decided not to do that. Instead, I brought my own music that I have been working on. So I was there specifically at that party to hear music that I like and DJs that could play my music in their sets. Leon Alexander was playing that night hosted by Groove Radio, whom Dave was a music director at the time for.

Dave: When I saw Josh hand Leon a 12-inch, which also happened to be on an 80’s record, I said, “Hey you make software and music? I gotta hear this.” When I told him I was scouting for Pete Tong, he was like “Yeah sure you are.” Turns out, I really liked it, so I handed it to Pete and he supported it on his show and also licensed it to a compilation which gave us an immediate boost. I thought it was very innovative and something new, which was what Pete was looking for. Pete was looking for American artists who were saying something new, so it fit perfectly with the music report that I gave to Pete and from that WMC. I highlighted that song “Wave 3”.

Going back to your roots Josh, as an inventor, are you currently working on any new projects?

Josh: Yes, that will be another discussion. Let us just say it will be very well received in the industry. Stay tuned. It is the inventor side of my life from that creating things to thinking of how Dave and I will work together in the future. We are always trying to reinvent our ways.

Speaking about 12-inches, are you thinking of offering your album on Vinyl?

Dave: We are discussing this with Anjunabeats, but did not plan for it. They have seen the demand for it on social media, so we are going to reopen the discussion of doing it. We would really love to have it on Vinyl. We think it is the perfect album to be showcased in a vinyl format. The thing is with Vinyl, is that it is a physical thing that applies sounds in a different way, creating a different experience.

Did you design the album cover?

Dave: We used a company in the UK and again going back to the road that leads us home, we did not want the classic, obvious American open-road shot. It just was not resonating with us. Finally, I sent them a couple of pictures from a trip that I took in the Redwoods and it really gave the design team the inspiration for the look. Those shots were very foggy and dark. I read the Facebook comments where someone said, “This is one of Anjunabeats most impressive cover”, which means it is doing the job. It is not supposed to be an easy outcome, which is what the album cover portrays.

Speaking about your ongoing dark and beautiful theme over the years, is that something that you always intend to keep constant in your music?

Josh: Yes, that is something we have spread over the years. One saying is “We make music that makes you feel good about feeling bad”, or “Sad hopeful music”, or “Sad euphoric music”. Yeah, you are hitting the nail on the head. It is music that helps you see beyond where you are or experience where you are more deeply. Kind of what Dave was saying, this album started as songs. It started as words on paper, which makes it different. Then we tried to figure out how to translate it into electronic music. I continue to follow my mentor’s words, “If it doesn’t sound good on guitar or piano, it’s probably not a good song. Something has to be wrong if it doesn’t translate.”

When on tour, what is your favorite tour food and home food?

Dave: We like to keep it healthy as much as we can, so thankfully with all of the new media out there we can find healthy food when we do shows because it energizes us. When people eat pizza and heavier foods, it tends to make them tired. We try to eat salads, Mediterranean, juices, and things like that. When you get older like we are, health is of the utmost importance because of the very unnatural lifestyle that we live in.

Getting on airplanes all of the time, playing sets into the night, and being at home, we want to be creative and alert, so we both really try to keep it as healthy as possible. A lot of vegetables, lean protein, and we both love to cook. By cooking at home, you can regulate what you eat better and also save money.

Where do you see trance trending in the US?

Dave: I see a definite growth. The music industry used to be very top heavy with EDM and bass music. Some people just wanted something more, so sort of started in a community and that is where it is heading. It is more about the community than it is the actual music. For example, Insomniac has invested a lot in their Dreamstate brand, so it is definitely growing.

Now that you are back as a duo, what did you miss the most?

Dave: Just the meeting of the minds really. We even complete each other’s sentences a lot. Josh is very technical and a musical genius. Seriously, I feel very lucky to get to work with him. I love the way he looks at and loves the music. Maybe you want to talk to Josh?

Josh: I think for me, there is something that we do together that makes people really connect with one another that when we made music separately we never did. There is a feeling when you know that you are making music that helps them. That is a feeling that I missed. Dave’s understanding of the history of music has always helped us. When you talk about these references, that is all Dave. I often times try to stump him and he just knows every song. That is something I missed, having access to that database in your head.

Dave: Actually, this album was kind of born by me ripping my entire CD collection to a hard drive, which helped me revisit a lot of the music that I grew up with, that I DJ’d with. All of the experiences that I had with and it really refreshed my ears to the music that I played in my 30-plus years of Djing, so I was fresh and ready for when we started this record with my references.

What track on your album almost did not make it?

Dave: “Underwater” almost did not come to be. We had a group of A-list songs and then we had some left-overs. Originally, Jan Burton was going to sing “Over Oceans”, but it was not really in the pocket of his voice, so we abandoned ship and started thinking about what else we could do. Then we saw “Underwater” again and got him on the mic and he nailed it right out of the box.

When you guys are not doing music, what else are you into?

Josh: I try to do Yoga as much as possible

Dave: I really love to hike, which is one of the things I really miss living out in California. I do not really have the same type of hikes here in Austin, Texas. Hiking and getting out in nature is what I really enjoy. We also love to watch documentaries, look up topics, and explore things. We also like conspiracies.

Speaking of conspiracy shows, have you watched Ancient Aliens?

Dave: Do you want to get me started? Please watch Ancient Aliens Debunked on YouTube, and listen to Graham Hancock and few other people to get a sense of what that show is really doing. The Ancient Alien people are being very deceptive. I am very scientific and the problem I have with that show is that they are obviously not scientific but selling it as a science program. For example, when they discover very smooth rocks and that the only explanation is that they were made by tools that have yet to be discovered is a very illogical concept to me.

Going back to a term I have heard from many artists and listeners. Using the acronym EDM or saying Electronic Dance Music. What is your opinion on it?

Josh: It is like everything else. It is about the context. EDM is a shortening of electronic dance music. However, EDM is also a term that was embraced by a culture that was quickly capitalizing on electronic dance music that needed to make it much easier to market it by using the shortened version EDM. The three letters have come synonymous with people in music, in my opinion, who are doing it for money. It is more of the commercial side of it. At the end of the day, the world is wide open. There are people who are into all sorts of things. The whole process has taught us to just not worry about what other people think. Make music that you love and find others that love it too.

As far as trends go, what are your thoughts about fashion crossing over to electronic dance music with many artists being signed for fashion campaigns?

Josh: All that is, is marketing. DJs have followers that these fashion labels want. These are just business development people that are putting two and two together. I do not pay too much attention to that. You are talking to someone who has one pair of shoes. The one trend I would say that I do like is Ethical Consumption. People being more aware of where they are buying things from. I do not really care what you wear but I do care if it is coming from a cheap store that is made in a way that is wrecking our world. I am all for thrift shopping, and rarely buy anything new. Country of origin is a good trend that hopefully will help.

Where does ‘Dave the Wave’ come from?

Dave: When I was a kid, I was very unpredictable. My mom had a catering business and she had a partner that was just blown away by things that I would do. Things would just come out of nowhere, so she started calling me ‘Dave the Wave’. Then I got into radio and in radio, you need a cute name. I decided to just keep being ‘Dave the Wave’. It became my marketing name, that was my brand. It was one of those names that you hear once and just know who you are.

I became pretty successful locally in Connecticut where I grew up, so it was kind of the perfect name. Once I started making music with Josh, it became apparent that I needed to start using my real name because it was too cheesy. I actually killed and buried ‘Dave the Wave’. I gave him a proper send-off, a huge after-party with a ceremony. My Wikipedia page still has it in there with no explanation, probably because there was not much online information back in the 90s, so luckily there is not a lot of data on it. ‘Dave the Wave’ allowed me to pursue music as a career and not just as a hobby.

What is next for you guys?

Dave: We really do not know yet.

Josh: Our goal is to make more music. Doing this album has been a great process and touring again to have others hear the new music. We want to keep doing it.

Dave: We feel that there is a lot of people who are just starting to learn about us and do not know our story. Helping to tell that story is helping us to get that message out there

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Melissa May
the authorMelissa May