King Midas realized that his golden touch was actually a curse, but for German DJ/Producer Thomas Gold, his ability to mix lusterous tracks is anything but. Thomas got heads nodding this year for his stellar remix of Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" (see video below) and his recent collaboration with Dirty South. Voted Beatport's "Rising Star" for 2010 and "Best Breakthrough DJ/Producer for 2010" by Axwell in DJ Magazine, Thomas Gold has lived up to his last name and proven that the golden touch isn't just for mythical kings. (Still, we'd keep our daughters away).
Joonbug got the chance to catch up with Thomas Gold to chat about creativity, inspiration, and how he plans to make 2011 a "Gold" year. (It is the only commodity rising on the market right now...)
CA: You’ve remixed a lot of pop songs from big artists-- Adele, Lady Gaga-- what is the creative process behind remixing a popular vocal track vs. producing original work?
Thomas: Generally speaking, I always try to have a musical approach; be it on a remix or an original production – I’m big on MELODIES! (laughs)
When I get a remix request for a vocal track, for me it's important to kind of 'feel' the vocal (and the all over song); I need to have an idea of how I can do the remix, that's the difference compared to an original where I can start with literally anything and end up with something completely different.
I usually start with a bit of the vocal and I try to find some sounds that might work together with it; I just play around with some little ideas and see how it sounds. After programming the basic idea, I take it from there and build the track around it. Next I’ll work on the rough arrangement and from then on I let it go with the flow until the remix is finished.
CA: In the future, will you be focusing on more remixes like these (which get a lot of attention) or producing original work?
Thomas: To be honest I’d say it’d be both! I did a couple of remixes in the past months and I just released my own original production "Alive" which I did together with Dirty South. Next will also be an original track of mine.
Sometimes my own productions take a long time until they are finished and ready to be released. So there is often space for some remixes. I love both - remixes to me are kind of a musical challenge. You have an original track that you have to re-work in your way and add your own 'flavor' whilst keeping at least the essence of the original.
Original productions are my real "babies." I produce them from scratch and I love the process of developing a whole track from a little idea at the start. This might take some time but it's just amazing to have your own track at the end (smiles).
CA: You’ve been playing the organ/piano since you were a child; what’s your favorite instrumental sound to incorporate into a track?
Thomas: My favorite instrument is the piano, you can do so many different things and create so many vibes with that and I just love the sound of it! I'm also a huge fan of real orchestral strings, I often use them in my productions to create this special atmosphere they add some real 'drama' (musically) to a track. Apart from that I use all kinds of synthesized sounds - I love the fact that with today's software and hardware, you can tweak them into any shape you want!
CA: You’ve been touring pretty much most of this year. What has been your favorite event/club to play? In America?
Thomas: My personal highlights were my gigs at Masquerade Motel during the Miami Music week in March and Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas in June. These huge crowds were mind-blowing and the vibe was insane! I was really excited and I loved it!
Club-wise America is great, there are so many cool and amazing clubs, the crowds are so into the music, it's just fun to play ther!! Can't wait to get back for my next US tour when I will be in Vegas again and at Size Matters with Steve Angello in NYC and in Miami!
CA: How has your busy touring schedule - Miami, EDC, Ibiza and now on a few stops on Size Matters-- had an effect on your productions?
Thomas: It certainly has - I can see and feel a lot about the energy of a certain track when I see those huge crowds partying and when I get the chance to watch the other big guys playing. This really affects the way I produce my tracks - I think a lot about this energy when I'm in the studio while producing. You can't copy the vibe from a club or a festival into your studio so there's nothing better than getting this 'real time' live experience at those gigs. It helps a lot for producing this kind of music as ultimately it is for clubs and it should make people dance!
CA: The Swedes are doing some interesting stuff right now, especially popularizing this electro sound. How did you link up with them and what effect has it had on your own music? Have you been influenced at all by the German techno scene?
Thomas: I got in touch with them when I got signed to Steve Angello's Label SIZE and then Axwell named me the '2010 breakthrough producer and DJ'. Right after that I did the remix on "Blow Up" together with Axwell and I also joined the same booking agency the guys are in. I think the Swedes are the most influential dance music producers at the moment, they invented a new kind of house music style and they always come up with new things. I think there is a lot of their influence in my music, although for me it's important not to just copy their style but rather get inspired!
Regarding the German techno scene, I don't think it influenced my sound a lot. Although the "old" techno generation made it at all possible for DJs/producer like me as it opened and started everything regarding the club scene in Germany. I still love to go out in Berlin to underground clubs and listen to it live!
CA: And now the question everyone has been waiting for: in your opinion, does size really matter?
Thomas: (laughs) Of COURSE! ;-)
CA: What are your plans for the fall?
Thomas: I will be traveling to do some more festivals and clubs, but apart from that I’m really looking forward to get my next release out on Axtone! I’m also going to work on some other new tracks and collaboration productions which I'm excited about...but can't tell too much about that yet :-)
Catch Thomas Gold when he appears alongside Steve Angello at NYC's Governor's Island next Saturday, August 20th and at Miami's Fountainbleu on Sunday, August 21st. (For more info, click here.)