Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden have been a fixture in the dance music scene for almost 15 years. Their outlook on trance and melodic progressive music is one that has a timeless quality to it, one that Gabriel & Dresden still cornering with tracks like their latest release, "New Ground" that came out in late 2014.
This summer, the guys launched a big project: a tour called Classics Only, featuring the guys playing open-to-close DJ sets at various iconic night clubs around North America. Ahead of some of their biggest performances, we got to chat with the guys about some things that we might not know about them and their music.
1. Our first project together started on the day before 9-11.
Many folks consider 9-11 an annual day of mourning (as it should be) but for us, it's also an anniversary. We were offered a chance to remix New Order and we started in earnest on it on Monday, September 10th 2001. We already had a sketch for the remix after the first day and went to sleep with good thoughts in our heads. Only to wake up to the horror that was 9-11 the next morning. We are not quite sure how we found it in ourselves to work on music when the world felt like it was falling to pieces, but we somehow managed to get it done. And everyone loved it and we built our act from that starting point.
2. Our biggest hit, "As The Rush Comes" nearly didn't happen.
We brought the singer Jes Brieden up from LA to work with us in our SF studio for a weekend in June 2002 because we genuinely loved her voice and wanted to write some songs with her. We worked for the first two days on 3 different songs and really loved how the sessions had progressed. We took a dinner break after the 3rd song and after a full meal were not really in the mood to go back down to the studio and write. So we called it a night feeling very confident with what we had achieved together that weekend.
The next morning we all had woken up around 6:30am and decided since we were awake to have one more crack at writing a song before Jes had to be at the airport for a noon flight. Since time was of essence we decided to write the song as we went along with Jes at the microphone tracking the vocals immediately after we got something down on paper. What we wrote that morning was "As The Rush Comes."
3. Dave Dresden is a comedy nerd.
When Dave is not making music, putting together DJ sets or finding music, he's often out there on the internet listening to and purchasing stand up comedy. He owns literally thousands of comedy albums, bits and other comedy audio that he has on a playlist in his iTunes which he plays in shuffle mode while on the road. His favorite comedians are Doug Stanhope, David Cross, Marc Maron, Bill Burr, Chris Rock, Bill Hicks, Joe Rogan and Tom Segura.
4. Josh Gabriel is a software designer/inventor.
Josh has always been interested in interactive music. The company he co-founded, Mixman Technologies, was the first to bring remixing to consumers in the mid-90's. Currently he's working on an interactive music app for mobile devices that gives anyone the ability to creatively express themselves through music.
5. Dave Dresden knows a lot about nature.
Dave can pretty much identify most trees and plants just by looking at them from a distance. It’s been this way for many years. He even won an award in the Stamford, CT 1983 Science Fair for his leaf collection binder that compiled leaves from trees in 27 different states. He's also very good at forecasting weather based on the current conditions.
6. Josh Gabriel is a classically trained musician.
After taking UCLA synthesizer programming extension courses in high school, programming FM synthesis at Stanford's CCRMA Lab, Josh then attended California Institute of the arts where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Composition with a specialty in Interactive Electronic Music.
7. We wrote or co-wrote the lyrics to 90% of the original songs we've made.
We are total lyrics snobs so the only way for us to have control of the song's lyrics is to write them ourselves. We were not born songwriters; we started with one song and once we saw some success that gave us to confidence to continue on writing.
8. All of Molly Bancroft's (the female voice on the Gabriel & Dresden debut album) vocals were recorded on a street that intersects with Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro, CA.
We never even made much of a big deal about it when we recorded her voice, but in hindsight, all these years later, it seems like some kind of strange omen.
9. Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden were inspired by a lot of the same music.
We grew up on separate coasts but we found a lot of early music inspiration by listening to goth-inspired bands such as The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, The Smiths, early hip hop, Chicago acid house and Detroit techno.
10. Josh Gabriel loves science and learning.
Josh is fascinated by the world around him and spends a lot of time watching esoteric science videos, from Quantum Physics to astronomy to lectures about spirituality.