We recently had a chance to catch up with Gareth Emery in the midst of his North American Tour. Performing in Gainesville, Florida for the first time thanks to The Dynasty Group, Emery took some time to let us in on his upcoming album due for release early 2014.
So tell me about your North American tour. How is it going so far, any favorites?
It’s been going really well. I guess this tour has been kind of the pre-album tour. So this is a tour when I’m seeing a big load of cities. I’m testing all of the new records that are going to be on the album, seeing the reactions and then kind of tweaking them on the planes in between shows. You know, it’s been difficult to pick favorite cities. There have been so many amazing shows. It’s been good to come to some places for the first time. I’ve had debuts in Portland, in Nashville, and Gainesville which have all been like amazing, so much where I was thinking why haven’t I been to any of these places before? But yes, it’s been good. I’m also doing the big shows, like really big festivals like you know TomorrowWorld and Beyond Wonderland in the Bay Area. We’re doing Virgin Mobile Festival tomorrow, so it’s a mix. It’s nice to do clubs and the festivals mix it up.
Definitely, and speaking of your upcoming album, what can you tell us about this?
It’s about like 80-90% done, it’s pretty close. I’m just finalizing a few of the tracks and doing like fine tuning. I’m probably testing four or five of my tracks in my set right now so when there are tracks you don’t know there’s a good chance they’ll be on the album. There’s one with Krewella which is the one a lot of people know about. That one is going on their album first and then mine afterwards. Yeah, I’m just kind of looking for like new vocalists and new singers. So rather than picking the standard big name, featured artists, or vocalists, I’d rather focus on finding people who people haven’t heard. Christina Novelli who sang on ‘Concrete Angel’ had never done a big record before she sang that, so I’m looking for like the Christina Novelli.
So are you working with any of other producers?
So yeah, there’s one collaboration with Ben Gold. That’s a really cool track that we’ve both been playing in our sets for about a year now, and it’s been massive. We’ve just been holding on to it, you know like keeping it a secret weapon [laughs]. I think there’s one with Ashley Wallbridge right now. There might be one or two surprises, but it’s really with the singers when you know you’ve found these hot new artists.
Has this been an ongoing project for a while now?
Oh yeah, since I basically finished Northern Lights in 2010 I’ve been writing music for it. So it’s really been a three year process. The longer you spend, you begin to throw some bits away. I think like the majority would’ve been written in the last year, some bits would’ve have been longer than that.
I bet you’re so excited for early next year.
Well, it’s a mix of trepidation for the hard work ahead. When I finally finish it and get it done, it’s going to be a good day.
That’s awesome. Now, your radio show...what do you do to keep it original and refreshing? It’s been going on for seven or six years now right?
Yeah seven years, since 2006 so yeah. It was one of the first dance music podcasts so kind of old school. Now we have the synthesized version, Gareth Emery Presents which is now on Sirius XM Electric Area. I’ve just tried to be guided on musical taste. I’ve never done anything more than just play the records I like. Fortunately the show is one hour, so I can be really picky about the quality and make sure I’m really you known the best tracks. I think when you have two hours during the week to fill you sometimes have to include stuff that’s not that great of quality. Two hours would take a lot of great music to find when you are playing new stuff every week, so yeah short and sweet. I just kind of rely on putting in the stuff I like and hopefully people agree with me.
Your record label, Garuda, what would you say makes it stand out more so than other labels?
There are a lot of fantastic labels out there. They all have their own sound and that’s what makes them individual. I think with Garuda it’s just a reflection of my musical taste. We have some great artists on there like Craig Connelly, Ben Gold, and we have some up-and-coming guys as well. I think it’s just nice when people will listen to the music I play in my sets and send us records that reflect that sound. Yeah, it’s been four years since we started, time flies.
That’s incredible. When you’re not DJing, producing, or working on your label, what do you like to do for fun?
Um, god, it’s so hard because there is so little time and we spend so much time traveling. When I’m not traveling I’ll be hanging out at home with my wife, and I like to go out for nice dinners and shit. You know hit the gym and try to do exercise [laughs] because touring can be such an unhealthy lifestyle, but this job is kind of all consuming, it takes up everything you do. You try to fit in other little things when you can but your work ends up taking up most of your life.
And does your wife ever travel with you to the shows?
Well she cherry-picks shows. It’s an easy travel schedule. Obviously we fly around 200 or so times a year and she’ll come on like 30 shows a year out of the like 120 I’ll do. So yeah, she’ll probably do about a quarter. She probably wouldn’t want to go half-way across the world for one show that we have. We do shit like that. If it looks fun and there is like a nice long run of shows with a bit of off-time, those are the ones that she will do.
And who are you listening to right now, like who is getting your attention right now?
There have actually been three albums I’ve been listening to over the past week that are very different. One is the Hot Natured album, it’s called Different Sides of the Sun. It’s like four of the UK’s deep house guys. So it’s like Jamie Jones, Lee Foss, Luca C, and Ali Love. It’s an amazing, amazing album, very different than what I do but very wicked. Another guy I’ve loved is called Petar Dundov, just an incredible album called Sailing Off The Grid. It’s super, super chilled out, progressive trance/progressive house, and bordering chill-out. Again, not something I’d play in my set but it’s amazing. I also have to say, on a totally different note, the new Avicii album. He has nailed it. It had a sound that some people weren’t too sure about at first, but I have to say, hats off, it’s a great album. So those are the three that are in the car right now.
I agree, Avicii has killed it. Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Thank you for the support. You know the one thing that continues to kind of surprise and amaze me is how supportive the fans are and how each and every gig is so f*cking incredible. Just thank you and keep supporting, and I’ll do my best to give you something on the new album that you all will like.
Check out Gareth's set from Global Gathering earlier this summer below, and be sure to listen out for updates on his upcoming album!