The ASOT 550 artists: Gareth Emery

February 26, 2012

One of UK’s leading lights in the world of dance, is Gareth Emery. Not only is he the mastermind behind (future) classics ‘GTR – Mistral’, ‘This Is That’, ‘Metropolis’ and his latest jewel ‘Concrete Angel’, this guy’s also got the crowd in his hands. Despite a killer gig schedule, Gareth’s sets or Podcasts never lack energy or spirit. He’ll be joining the ASOT 550 celebrations in Los Angeles and Den Bosch. And it’s definitely not his first or last ASOT event to play at…

Hey Gareth! It’s been quite a while. How are you? Where can we find you today?
Gareth:”Sitting in the lounge at Toronto airport about to fly home, after a great North American tour. Played five shows in the last five nights in varies cities so I’m pretty tired but it was all good times.”

Last year (and 2010) was all about ‘Northern Lights’, your long-awaited debut album. How do you look back onto it, was it a dream-project? What has it taught you?
Gareth:”I’m not sure if ‘dream project’ is the right word. It was extremely hard work. I wrote the album over a very intensive seven-month period and then had a long period of promotion etc, but in the end I was very happy with the results. Obviously ‘Sanctuary’ did the best, but other tracks on the album like ‘Arrival’ and ‘Into The Light’ still have integral places in my sets now, so looking back, I think we mostly got it right.”

Your year has started off quite alright for you – ‘Concrete Angel’ is a big success! What else do you have to offer to 2012 – a new album perhaps?
Gareth:”Yeah, I’m writing my new album so hopefully it’s ready this year. It’ll surprise a few people as there will be a few new sounds and directions on there, but of course there will also be plenty of trademark Gareth sounds. I really can’t believe the success of ‘Concrete Angel’. I always felt the vocal was a special one from the moment I first heard it, but the support from my fellow DJs has been incredible. Of course, I also owe a lot to John O’Callaghan who’s produced an incredible remix, and Ross Ching who shot the most beautiful, fitting music video that hit a million views in a week or two.”

Only a short while till the ASOT 550 madness kicks in. You’ve been invited to play at the LA and Den Bosch shows of A State of Trance 550! How does it feel to be part of a massive celebration such as this one?
Gareth:”The ASOT shows are very special – I always feel with the ASOT parties that it’s more than just a celebration of 400 or 500 episodes, it’s a love of a whole genre and style. You get a huge number of people coming out to celebrate the music that they love, which is why there’s an atmosphere and energy from the crowd that is quite unique.”

You’ve been playing at several of the ASOT celebrations throughout the years. What does the show and events mean to you personally? And has the show made any difference for your career?
Gareth:”Regardless of the location, all of the ASOT gigs I’ve done have been fantastic – Den Bosch last year was particular special. I definitely think the shows have helped my career, especially in the early days. The first ASOT show I played was ASOT400 in 2009, and at the time these were some of the biggest DJ gigs I’d ever done. This was when I was playing tracks like ‘Exposure’ and ‘Metropolis’ for the first time and started Garuda. It was an important period for me.”

Your own Podcast has been going strong for quite a while as well. What inspired you to start it?
Gareth:”I guess I wanted to start a radio show of some form, but felt I needed to do something different. Like, I could have started a radio show in a similar style to ASOT but why? It would’ve have just been copying and I’m not interested in that. Armin has done an amazing job with ASOT, and I’m not sure anyone can pull of that style of show as well as him, so there was no point imitating. So I started a podcast. At the time it was a very new technology that not many people really ‘got’ but as the years went on, podcasts got more and more popular and I benefited from being there early, especially when the iPhone was released and it became easy for people to download the show to their phones. I still think the show is very unique, it’s only an hour a week but in that hour I’ll play 16-17 tracks, so I cover a lot of music, and I play a lot of other stuff over than trance. It’s pretty fun.”

What is the real A State of Trance feeling to you?
Gareth:”Ha, I don’t know. I’m probably the wrong person to ask, as I’m known for mixing trance up with other styles, which makes me seen as an innovator by some, and a bit of a traitor by the more conservative listeners who don’t want to deviate from the old sound of 1998-99, which I think is a bit mad. Trance has always been one of most futuristic genres of dance music, so to try and prevent it from using modern sounds and production techniques seems insane. I guess what I love about trance is the way it has the ability to absorb influences from different styles, evolve, and change with the times, and I strongly believe that is why trance continues to fill clubs and festivals today, as it did ten years ago. When we look at styles that never changed (hard house for instance) they started to sound dated and ended up dying out completely – and I don’t want that to happen to trance. So we have to innovate.”

What can the clubbers expect from your sets in LA and Den Bosch? Any special exclusives?
Gareth:”I don’t know yet. I’ll probably test out some new stuff. Radio broadcast sets can be tricky, as you’re trying to please both the crowd at the festival who want to hear your hits, but also the crowd listening at home who are more interested in new stuff. So it’s always a case of trying to find a middle ground. Whatever I play though, it’ll be a fun, party set. I’m not interested in nine minute tunes at the moment. They just bore me. Music is supposed to be fun, and that is the way I approach my sets.”

Any word you’d like to say to Armin to congratulate him with this milestone?
Gareth:”Huge congratulations buddy, and thanks for the support over the years. See you on stage!”