Gareth Emery

Gareth Emery Interview 11.08.2010 by Aaron

Aaron: Hey Gareth! How ya doing?
Gareth Emery: Eh not too bad. I’ve been sick after a proper massive tour over the weekend. But apart from that, not bad. Just sitting at home recovering.

Aaron: That’s good! Yeah I saw on Twitter that you were getting sick after your last few tour dates in the states.
GE: Yeah it was a pretty mad weekend! It was like four shows in a row. First one was in Manchester, then went to New York, San Francisco, Seattle. So yeah, it was pretty big.

Aaron: Well, at least your getting better! So where are you now?
GE: I’m just in Manchester in the UK. Back home. I’ve got a whole week, then a show on Friday.

Aaron: So, how does it feel to be the 7th best DJ in the world now?
GE: I mean, not too different as it did when I was ranked 9th. The major shock was going into Top 10 last year. I mean like, Its been a good year. I’ve released my album, did like a shitload of tour dates…like 130 dates on this year in over 40 countries. I wasn’t totally surprised to get a good result but, you know, it is pretty fucking mad when people say that there’s only six people in front of you. Six places from number one is pretty heavy stuff to be thinking about.

Aaron: Yeah, I could only imagine! Do you feel that anyone in particular should have been ranked higher?
GE: You know with the DJ list, there’s always things we agree with and disagree with. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at any poll or any list and thought it looked like a completely accurate representation. To be honest, when I looked at the list, the hind of the poll actually looked pretty good to me. I didn’t really have too many issues with that, It looked pretty much spot-on. There’s some guys I would have liked to see at the poll, like for instance, Ashley Wallbridge from the UK. Hes a great name, makes some great records and just started to crack as a DJ. It was kinda sad to see he didn’t make it in. Same with like, Jerome Isma-Ae, who’s like a real talent. I would like to see him in the poll. And that’s my personal opinion and it ultimately comes down to not how good of a producer you are or how good of a DJ you are, it is kind of a popularity thing. How many votes you got.

Aaron: How does it feel to go to a festival and hear other DJs playing your tracks?
GE: Its a big honor when you hear other people play your records. Well it first played out as like this massive novelty ya know? Its like you go see Tiesto or something thinking, “This time is he gonna play my track? Is he gonna play my track?” And when he finally plays it, it would be pretty epic. I’ve been in dance music for like 8 years, so the novelty definitely lost a little bit. So it will never be as special as the first, but its still good to see that DJs are appreciative of that. Like my last record actually, got props from an awful lot of people. Armins still playing it, Tiestos playing it. Like when one of your tracks gets played, its always nuts.

Aaron: Are you planning on playing Electric Zoo again next summer?
GE: I hope so. It was an amazing show! I was not really quite sure how it was gonna be for me because I was playing kinda early. I had another show I was playing in Canada that evening so I was going on at like 2:00PM or something and then we just left for Canada. And it was amazing. I couldn’t believe how early everybody came out. The arena was like totally packed! The atmosphere was off the hook despite the fact that it was so early.

Aaron: Playing all over the world, where is your favorite place to play and part of the world to visit?
GE: My favorite country to visit is the states. Its just a nice easy country to travel around. The people are cool, nice hotels, the shows are great. My number one club in the world however, has always been, like for the last five years, a club called, Zouk which is in Singapore. Its an amazing club! Anytime I go there it blows me away. The crowd is absolutely amazing. The club, it just gets everything right for like, sound sytem, lights. And yeah, its a real neat place and I never seem to have a bad time there. So for the last five years, no where else has managed to beat it out.

Aaron: Yeah…there’s not too many of those in Cleveland. So what made you want to break out and start your own label?
GE: It was really about having control over stuff….Like we’d always get shit from people, cause we would want to release a record but the label won’t release it or something. For me, it was nice to have control. So I could take my new record, we want to release it in three weeks time and we can do that. And its just nice for me to have control of who I get to remix my stuff. Again, if you were with another label, you may want a certain remixer, and their like, ‘No, they cost to much money.’ Where now, if we want somebody and I want to pay for them, we can make it happen. Its really a freedom thing I guess.

Aaron: When you collaborate with vocalists, do you have any input on the lyrics or do you give the artist the freedom to write whatever they feel about the song?
GE: Yeah I start the writing with them, I always have some input. I think I’m good at making amendments, but I couldn’t sit down and write a solo for myself. And musically, I’ve written quite a lot of the music for vocals. I feel like thats something I can do. But again, I always get involved even if someone else wrote the music for the vocals, I’ll go and kind of change the those notes and timings and stuff like that.

Aaron: The title of your newest album is, “Northern Lights,” does that come from the actual Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis or whatever you guys call it over there?
GE: Haha no, not really. The album is sort of like a dedication to the north of the UK. I’m originally from the south of this country. And I moved to the north about two and a half years ago. And at the time I moved with an ex-girlfriend, and I wasn’t particularly keen about moving to Manchester. I always thought it was too far north for me. And the move just worked out really well. And I started working from home with a proper office and a studio, starting working with a bunch of really good people on my record label, starting doing nights here. So we have a nightly deal at Sankeys which is a really good club here in Manchester. And it was just the move that actually what made good in me. And obviously, I DJed here in Manchester, wrote the album. So the name of the album is just kind of like a tribute and a nod to the way my career has gone since moving to this part of the UK. And that’s kinda where the name came from.

Aaron: Your podcast really opens up your style to more people than just your audience at clubs or festivals, what made you decide to start podcasting?
GE: I guess I’ve always tried to do stuff to that kind of excited me. And going to a radio station and doing like a two hour mix show like everyone else just didn’t excite me particularly. It just didn’t seem interesting. Theres all these shows that are there like Armin’s show that do that very well and they kind of have that bit of the market cornered. I didn’t just want to go do a show that was like an imitation of Armin’s show. I wanted it to become a little bit different. And at the time, this was like early 2006, podcast was very much fledgling technology. It wasn’t something that people were as aware of as they are today. A lot of people didn’t even know what a podcast was. It just made sense to me cause, for me, I always miss my favorite radio shows cause I’m disorganized. I’m never around to catch them. So, the notion of something that would automatically download onto your computer then you could listen to it whenever you want, was something that was really interesting and exciting to me. I guess I started out just to see if caught on, if people got into it. They did. It kind of expanded, got bigger and bigger. And obviously when the iPhone was launched, that was just a big benefit to me as well because maybe 30 to 40 percent of people have cell phones that you can download and play my podcasts. So, its not really structured like a conventional DJ mix, there’s all sorts of different stuff in there. Play quite a variety of music. Its only like quite short versions of tracks. Like, ya know, three minutes long or so. So, its relatively kinda short and sweet. And yeah, its just a great way to keep in touch with people that maybe you see once a year. I mean a lot of times I can play there once a year, if that, because I’m trying to get around a lot of places. So those guys there, who aren’t going to see me often, can keep in touch with what I’m doing, can keep in touch where I’m at, what records I’m listening to, during the time when I’m not playing in their city. And yeah, 4 1/2 years in, and its still going strong.

Aaron: Well we’d definitely like to keep hearing them! That’s all the time the time I’ll take of yours today. Thanks a lot for the interview and good luck on the rest of your tour!
GE: Absolute pleasure man! Take care.