Known for his monster trance hits, Gareth Emery has earned the coveted ninth, seventh, and thirteenth positions in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ poll the last three years in a row (respectively). Recently bringing a new, heavier and harder style to his productions and live performances, Emery has been pushing the envelope with one epic release after another, while playing the hottest clubs and festivals around the world. Since 2006 he has been considered one of best electronic/dance producers to emerge from the U.K., and his following continues to grow. Due to his ability to appeal to diverse tastes and blend trance, house, electro and techno, Gareth Emery is not your average major-league artist.
Born in Southampton, England, Emery was a childhood prodigy, teaching himself to play the piano at age four. At eighteen, he truly discovered dance music, despite being the lead guitarist in an indie band and a classically trained pianist. A chance trip to Ibiza in 1998 sparked three years of practice in electronic music production, and at the age of twenty-two, he finally created a finished track. “Mistral” was an instant classic – his stunning debut had unsuspecting critics and clubbers alike eating out of his hands. From here onward his career ascent was impressively—and deservedly—rapid.
Emery’s award-winning podcast (begun in 2006) marked him as a pioneer of the now widely used media format. Nominated several times for the Miami IMDA Best Podcast award, it has been an important calling card for his career. Another benchmark of Emery’s success was the launch of his own record label, Garuda, granting him the freedom to release his (and others’) music without restriction. Building his brand in record shops, online stores, radio, nightclubs and festivals has given Emery an all-encompassing reputation in dance music to which few can compare.
One of Emery’s recent successes was “Sanctuary,” voted the 2nd biggest track of 2010 by listeners of Armin van Buuren’s A State Of Trance radio show, and then became the most played record of 2011 on Sirius XM Radio’s dance station BPM. 2012 was also off to a huge start, hit single “Concrete Angel” premiered on Judge Jules’ Radio 1 show, the accompanying music video was added to the prestigious MTV Dance playlist and racked up 1,000,000 YouTube plays in its first three weeks online. Also earlier this year, Emery accepted a residency at Marquee Las Vegas, played at the largest US and European music festivals, and has elevated his Garuda party to Space Miami. In addition, he is also working on a new album and live show concept.
The Manchester resident has a distinctive production style that has been described as a fusion of trance, house and progressive—he’s not afraid to meld his bold, scintillating electronic motifs with more organic sounds. His sharp leads and bass lines frequently combine with soaring vocals, traditional songwriting elements and traditional musical instruments. While Emery has spent record-breaking time at the top of Beatport’s trance charts, he won’t let the genre ultimately define him: “I really don’t like to put myself in a bracket. I’ve really liked playing so much different music in my sets. I guess over time, due to playing on certain line-ups, and to be fair, making some really famous trance records over the years, understandably that’s the bracket I get put in. I don’t mind. But, what I do mind is when people apply this really rigid definition of what trance music is. I can play a track by Nicky Romero and people would say, ‘Well that’s not a trance record,’ when if it was made by Ashley Wallbridge they would consider it trance, even if it’s the exact same record,” Emery said, in a recent interview with SunSentinel.
Nonetheless, he considers the gradual breakdown of genre barriers and the cross-pollination of sounds over the past few years a positive transition. In an interview with Ibiza.net, Emery described what and who has an influence on his current performances: “Mainly the new sounds of dance music, dubstep, drumstep, the guys doing different stuff like Skrillex, Nero, Chase & Status, Diplo, Steve Aoki. I love the fact that music is about fun, unashamed partying and doesn’t take itself too seriously. My favorite producers are still continuing to make great stuff – Jerome Isma-Ae, Sander van Doorn, Ashley Wallbridge, etc., but it’s these more alternative guys who I think have really changed the scene this year.”
Regardless of what the future holds for dance music, staying on top and attaining longevity in a career as a DJ, requires (like anything) hard work and a true passion for the craft. “I think those that stay at the top for a long time have to change with the times, and keep evolving their sound so it remains current. With me, it’s hard to predict the future, so I wouldn’t like to make any predictions about longevity. I just plan to keep doing what I love, making and playing music that excites me, whilst keeping my feet on the ground and remaining down-to-earth and connected with people along the way,” said Emery (Colours.co.uk).
Check out his fusion of dance music if he comes to a club or festival near you! Or, if partying on the beautiful beaches of Cabo San Lucas with hundreds of new best friends to an amazing soundtrack sounds like fun to you, then go check him out at the upcoming AWOL Sun, October 12th-16th. Gareth Emery will be headlining at the world-renowned Nikki Beach Sunday afternoon (10/14)—this is an experience you do not want to miss!
For AWOL Sun tickets, click here.
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By: Angelo Castañeda