Reunited and It Feels So Good

Electronic music pioneers Gabriel & Dresden make their return to Las Vegas

Twenty years ago, before the Internet, before Beatport, and before you had ever heard of a guy named Tiësto, were two twenty-something DJs, obsessing over all things dance music. After Dave Dresden heard a record Josh Gabriel had worked on, the two came together and for seven years hypnotized international audiences, scored a soundtrack and won numerous awards united as Gabriel & Dresden. In advance of their June 19 Tao Beach gig, Vegas Seven Skyped with Gabriel (in Amsterdam) and Dresden (in Oakland, Calif.) about breaking up, getting back together and everything in between.

After taking a break for three years, how did it feel to play together again this past New Year’s Eve at the Hollywood Palladium?

Dresden: The first 10 minutes we were a little bit nervous, then after that everything just kind of fell into place; we knew what each other were thinking while the show was going on.

What prompted the reunion?

Dresden: Both of us had gotten a lot of positive things from fans throughout the years. We had enough distance from projects that we started to think about it again and decided to try it and see what it felt like.

What was the main reason for the split in 2008?

Dresden: When you work with someone everyday for six straight years, I mean, we never even had weekends off; you come to a point where you need a break. With the time apart we got to figure out and respect what each other brings to the table.

How have you grown as individuals since the separation?

Gabriel: The biggest change is that we’re both better at working with someone else.

Dresden: It seems to be working quicker now.

What are the advantages of working as a DJ duo?

Gabriel: The benefits of a duo of any type is that you have two filters instead of one, and that changes what you make. The filter Dave and I have combined seems to work. We both spent time away making music with other people and learned more about ourselves, as producers and musicians. Coming back together and putting certain knowledge that we found elsewhere to good use feels really refreshing.

Was it difficult finding people to collaborate and mesh with as well as each other?

Gabriel: I didn’t find anybody I mesh with as well as Dave.

Dresden: Same, and I worked with some people that I respect pretty highly. You don’t really know until you’re in the situation, but that’s how it is with Josh and I; it’s a one in a million combination.

Now that you’re reunited, what will you do differently?

Dresden: We’re going to live on separate corners of the earth and make music on the road and on airplanes. I live in Oakland and he lives in Amsterdam, so a lot is done on the Internet.

How will that better the process?

Gabriel: You can never tell. We don’t know if it’s good or not, we just have to experience it.

Dresden: We’re used to working in a confined space. I always imagined that making music on the road is good because there’s so much emotion going on while you’re touring that should be recorded.

What can fans expect of your performance at Tao Beach on June 19?

Gabriel: Expect an emotional ride; pretty powerful vocals; it feels stronger than it used to be; a lot of familiar vocals.

Whether through vocals or lyrics you yourselves write, Gabriel & Dresden songs always convey so much emotion and spirituality.

Dresden: Josh and I are very emotional people, and music is what brings out emotions, so what we aim for when we make music is to make people feel something. It’s a powerful emotion when you feel something deep and it’s brought on by a song.

Do you have any personal spiritual connections with certain songs?

Gabriel: It’s more places. I’ve been going to Burning Man for over 15 years and there’s a very spiritual connection there with the music and the people.

Dresden: I have many; [they’re] synonymous with each other; it always has been. It’s what music does for me. It makes me feel alive.