Most DJ/producers don't crack into the DJMag Top 100 before the age of 30. Most of them don't shun major label attention. Most of them don't have them don't have the balls to call out the scene that they belong to when it's failing to deliver the goods. And some don't even produce 'their' own tracks. Gareth Emery, with his potent blend of trance, house, electro and techno, however, is not your average major league artist.
He was a prodigious talent in his childhood, teaching himself to play the piano from the age of 4, and continuing his invaluable classical education until he began playing guitar in an indie band at 15. Neither of these were false starts for his eventual electronic conversion; instead, both paths giving him essential experience and understanding of music and songwriting and how to convey emotion through his sounds.
His baptism of fire came on a chance trance trip to Ibiza in 1998, which was followed by three years of learning the machinations of electronic music making. At the age of 22, he created a track on a laptop while on holiday in France. That track was the instant classic Mistral; a stunning debut which soon had unsuspecting pundits and clubbers alike eating out of his hands. From here onwards his career ascent was impressively - and deservedly - rapid.
'I guess it's just good, melodic dance music,' he says of his musical style. 'One of the most positive things about the scene over the past few years has been the gradual breaking down of genre barriers and the cross-pollination of sounds. I just look for records that I enjoy musically and also work well in a club. The genre is unimportant'. He's not afraid to meld his bold, scintillating electronic motifs with more organic flavours, with his crisp, sharp leads and basslines frequently married to soaring vocals, traditional songwriting prowess and what some might call 'proper' instruments.
While he's spent record-breaking stints at the top of Beatport's Trance sales chart, and while trance will always be a part of what he does, he won't let the sound ultimately define him. 'I've realised that my strength is in music and melodies that touch people. I'm a music guy. It just happens to be that the music I make is electronic. That realisation has allowed me a lot more creative freedom than when I felt I had to write music for a certain 'scene'.' It's this very decision which has helped him to garner such widespread acclaim and which has ensured that he's never boxed as simply a trance DJ/producer.
His ambitions are bigger than any one sound or scene, and his eclectically flavoured output is testament to that fact. 'The longer I've been producing, the less I see myself as a dance music producer and more as an artist and musician' he explains of this approach to production. 'I always start a track with the music, rather than the beats, and I found the dance scene after classical piano training and years of playing guitar in bands, so I guess in a way I've come full circle.'
His ground-breaking podcast started back in 2006, marking him out as one of the key early adopters of the now ubiquitous format. Nominated several times for the Miami IDMA Best Podcast award, it's been a seriously important calling card for his career. 'I got lucky basically. But I also never had any musical rules about the show; it was always whatever tracks I liked that week, regardless of whether they fitted my sets. Down the line that allowed me to be more innovative and varied with my DJ sets.'
He's consistently voted inside the DJMag Top 100 DJs Poll - peaking at Number 7 - with his burgeoning Garuda party selling out Manchester's legendary Sankeys four times in a row and spawning a critically acclaimed compilation, The Sound Of Garuda. Building a musical brand around his name in record shops, download stores, radio and clubland has given him an all-encompassing reputation in dance music which is rivalled by few.
As you can probably tell, Gareth Emery is a man of hard-graft and sizeable ambition. His ambitions are impressive, with a view to produce bands and other artists in the future. His focus for the foreseeable future is on building further on the huge platform that Garuda sits on, taking his club nights and new show across the globe, while continuing to create more slices of 'anti-genre' dancefloor gold.
2014 saw Gareth Emery score his second US iTunes #1 album with 'DRIVE', be awarded 'Track of the Year' for his smash hit 'U', play over 200 shows worldwide including Coachella, Ultra: Miami and EDC. He's sold over 5 million records world-wide, has over 100 million YouTube plays, and a dedicated social following of 3 million. But Emery is just getting started, if there is one thing this global super-star does not do well... its complacency.
2014 saw his hugely successful radio show - The Gareth Emery Podcast - undergo a radical rebirth, with Emery citing he felt he was 'PLAYING IT TOO SAFE' and wanting to 'DIG OUT THE REAL GEMS FOR HIS FANS'. In November, Emery launched Electric For Life at a sell-out show in LA's legendary Palladium. Electric For Life's mantra is 'A GOOD MELODY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD' and having already catapulted into the iTunes Top 10 Audio Podcasts, it seems the world agrees. Emery's visionary drive doesn't end there: Garuda - Emery's highly acclaimed imprint- which has seen the launch of talents such as Ben Gold, Luke Bond and Christina Novelli has joined forces with global power-house Armada.
Already this year Emery has released 'DRIVE: Refueled (which features a list of remixers that looks more like an Ultra main-stage line-up: R3hab, Deorro, W&W) as well as his face-ripping and melodious smash 'Huracan'. Emery has also confirmed he is currently working on his 3rd studio album and has promised 'THE BEST TRACKS YOU HAVE EVER HEARD FROM'. When Emery speaks, we listen. 2015 is going to be the year of Gareth Emery.
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