Trance mogul Gareth Emery has just concluded his North American escapade, the 100 Reasons To Live tour. The legend has released hits like “Concrete Angel” and “Long Way Home” alongside countless collaborations and other musical ventures such as his very own ‘Electric For Life’ radio series.
It’s 2AM on April 20, 2016 and we’re here at Ascend Nightclub in downtown Boston, a three-story venue inside Umbria Prime, notorious for bringing in niche sub-genre EDM acts. Gareth has just gotten off the decks after putting on a killer performance that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed and we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his 100 Reasons To Live Tour, future plans, and life as a musician.
ASHLEY FELDMAN: Gareth, great job out there! Thanks for being here with me. I’m pumped I got the chance to sit down with you for a few minutes. Given the energy you put into every performance, is there anything you do to unwind and relax after a show?
GARETH EMERY: It really depends on the night. I have a few different strategies, but most recently I’ve picked up mediation. I use an app called Headspace and find it’s really helpful in getting to sleep after being so hyped up. I’ll throw in my headphones and chill for an hour. It is the equivalent to smoking a joint or drinking two large glasses of red wine.
AF: New tours bring new challenges, new experiences, and new insights. How does this tour differ for you from others in your past?
GE: On the last album, we did a big tour right away but that was a mistake because at that point nobody had a chance to get to know the music. This time, we wanted to save the bigger stuff for summer and Fall 2016, utilizing the smaller venues for 100 Reasons. What you lose in production level you gain back in intimacy with your fan base. It’s a great way to figure out what is working and what is not, by testing out different tracks and experimenting. I’ll take that information and know how to approach a festival or larger scene in the future.
AF: What was your inspiration for 100 Reasons To Live?
GE: I was traveling all over the world, playing some of the best clubs and festivals and I found myself not enjoying my life the way I should have been. I lost my flow and passion. I understand that this is a privileged lifestyle I live but it is so easy to get desensitized from it after a while and base your happiness on the luxuries that are ever so prevalent. I saw myself falling into that trap that so many others become subjected to in this industry. But one day, I woke up and realized that wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to be. I started living in the moment and putting less emphasis on social media, taking the time to figure out how to become a more grateful person.
AF: What came of this revelation?
GE: It is common to only portray an artistic façade, where you only show people the glossiest parts of your life. I think this album was born out of hard times and people can connect with that. As I was coming up in the world years back, I used to set career benchmarks as my measure for happiness. “Once I play Coachella, I’ll be happy…once I spin at EDC, I’ll be good. etc. etc.” But that stuff never holds up in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I strive for success but I’ve learned that what makes me happy are true friends, walking in the park, spending time with my daughter, moments when I connect with the crowd and making music that touches my soul. That is what it’s all about.
AF: Tell us a little about Electric For Life?
GE: It’s a compilation of many parts. It’s a foundation and live radio show with a podcast series. My team and I are always on the search for new music, but the selections usually come down to what kind of vibe I’m on that week and the quality of the records I come across. The standard of the music will change so it’s important to keep current with it. Traditionally, the show is built upon Progressive, Deep house, House and Trance jams but we transcend across genres heavily. There are enough people out there who will play only one style, and never change it. I don’t get off doing things that a hundred million other people do.
AF: With the tour coming to a close, is there anything we can expect from you coming up?
GE: At the end of 2015, we held a 24-hour live broadcast called Electric For Life Day (EFLD), featuring artists like Above & Beyond and Armin Van Buuren. The first 18 hours were a radio stream and then the last 6 we switched to a live video broadcast at Stereosonic in Sydney, Australia. Ideally, I’d like to hold another EFLD on New Year’s 2016, hopefully in a venue not too far from [Boston]. But this time around, I’d like to have the venue for 24 hours, stream the radio broadcast for the first 16, and then turn the last 8 into a huge event for thousands of people.
AF: What are your opinions on streaming music and the concept of ‘Free’ in the music marketplace?
GE: I know people don’t need to buy the album; streaming services are unlimited these days. That’s what it’s coming to alongside content that is free of charge upon delivery. But, if you buy it, you’re helping me out and other artists alike for that matter. The way I see it, if fans like the free Electric For Life podcasts and the free downloads and all the other material I provide, 95% of which is completely free, buying the album seems like a fair trade-off. It helps support the artists who will in turn deliver better content to the audience the next time around.
AF: Moving forward, how can fans best keep current with the whereabouts of your career and life?
GE: Definitely Snapchat, it is personal. I’ve got an amazing team that handles all the other platforms. There was a point where I was spending 6 hours a day on social media and 6 hours a month in the studio, I had my priorities completely wrong. That wasn’t what I had in mind when I chose this path. Now, I mostly just outsource my stuff to get the word out about the important things. It may seem like fans lose that interaction on a day-to-day basis, but it buys me time to work on my music and in the end makes it better. I used to be worried in the past that I’d lose my place in the market if I did things my own way but as I’ve matured I feel more confident to do what’s right for me.
AF: Anything you’d like to add?
GE: I’d like to say thanks to the people tonight and everyone for their continued support. I think the coolest part about the changes I’ve made in the past two years is that people have been accepting of it all and understanding of my journey. I try to communicate the life experiences I’ve had and if it helps out other people, it’s a good thing. Thank you to everybody for allowing me to be the artist that I want to be. It’s a lot of fun.
AF: Fantastic, thank you for your time Gareth, I really appreciate it.