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Gabriel & Dresden Interview

Author: Mark Burton
Thursday, 6 October 2005
Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden, better known collectively as Gabriel and Dresden, are the most exciting dance talent to emerge from the States in the last few years, with recognition coming by way of many awards including a top 50 berth in the DJ Mag poll for the last two years running. Their own productions are immaculately detailed and versatile whilst their remix portfolio is equally as impressive, with anthems such as Nalin and Kane's immortal Beachball and leading pop divas Annie Lennox, Dido, Madonna and Britney Spears all getting re-worked by the prolific duo. Oh we shouldn't forget their group project, Motorcycle with vocalist Jes Brieden, whose smash As The Rush Comes swept to the top of charts worldwide in 2003.

At present the duo are busily beavering away in the studio on their debut artist album, as Josh explains. "Its going awesomely. We started off with a female singer named Molly who we've co-wrote and recorded a bunch of tracks with, and right now we have a male singer in the studio who we're working on some male vocal stuff with." Dave continues, "His name is Jan, he sang in the band Syntax. I was always a fan of the song he did called Pray. I really loved the voice and the lyrics and how it all sort of went together and I really wanted to remix it. I guess the next best thing is to have the guy in the studio and write a song with him. The opportunity came up that we were able to work with him and we jumped at the chance." The album is likely to be predominantly song-based, as Dave reveals. "We've been feeling pretty good with the song-writing lately."

A chance encounter at the 2001 Miami Winter Music Conference led the duo into the studio together, as Josh recalls. "At the beginning it was tough because I'm more technical, engineering-based and I didn't want to believe that collaborating was a good thing, especially with somebody else who wasn't as savvy on gear as I was. But at the time I didn't know how important Dave's knowledge of DJing and dance music history was, and now the gear has faded into the background and it's the ideas that we talk about that are important." Dave continues, "on musical sensibility, (we) definitely have a broad range and some places don't quite meet the way they should and we'll correct each others mistakes. I think in the end it makes for a better song." He admits "Funnily enough, Josh has had a major influence on my ability to listen to music over the last few years, and he definitely taught me that listening to the words of a song is very important. He's probably made me a lot more, dare I say it, snobbish about my music! I used to be a lot more open-minded, but I think it's for the better if I'm honest with you!" Josh adds, "I think it's a natural process as you go deeper and deeper into production, you become less tolerant for stuff that doesn't say anything!"

The duo DJ together using Ableton LIVE. As Josh reveals, "we probably DJ in a way that no-one has ever seen before and we play a lot of our own music. We'll have a lot of songs from the new album that we're working on and will be testing out." Dave concludes, "right from the beginning of our touring as DJs Josh wasn't interested in the vinyl, DJing thing. He showed it (Ableton Live) to me and I thought it was really cool but stuck to my CDs. So we would divide our sets in half but it always felt just like that: divided. And one night, just by the mere fact that we could only use LIVE to do a set we decided to change around what we were. It became me on the mixer, Josh on LIVE. We'd be talking about the transitions; how they were going to work and what it was gonna feel like, and where we're gonna go with that. And that to me is DJing. Two heads, four hands taking people on a journey!"

Gabriel & Dresden play Godskitchen on Saturday 8th of October