Gabriel & Dresden’s Unorthodox Outlook on Songwriting

Oct 1, 2023

Luca Rizzello

2 min read

Josh Gabriel & Dave Dresden, aka Gabriel & Dresden, have built an enduring legacy across their 20+ year career. Known for their unique brand of ‘emotional dance music,’ the DJ and producer duo helped define the sound of modern trance music with hits like “As The Rush Comes”, “Beautiful Things” and “Tracking Treasure Down.”

The pair also created three essential mixes on BBC Radio 1, won Best American DJ, Best Producers and Best Remixers at the IDMA Awards, scored 21 #1’s on the Billboard Dance Chart, peaked at #20 on DJ Mag Top 100 DJ’s poll, and have performed in over 40 countries.

Gabriel & Dresden’s success stems in part from their unorthodox outlook on songwriting. Many producer duos do the bulk of their songwriting separately, bouncing and sending stems back and forth between them from a distance. In contrast, Gabriel & Dresden head into the studio together and take a far more interactive approach.

“We will create a bunch of MIDI tracks and then plug them into an analog synthesizer and just record ourselves playing around with knobs recording everything,” they explain in an interview with Dance Music Northwest. “When we are done, we go back and find the best parts and start creating the track. This way we get to maximize our time together and making music becomes way more fun and interactive," they tell Dance Music North West.

Experimentation is also key here. “There are so many ways you can tweak a synthesizer… we cannot understand why so many people choose essentially the same sounds for every one of their songs.”

Gabriel & Dresden made their The Only Road and Remedy albums off the back of Kickstarter campaigns released on Anjunabeats in 2017 and 2020 respectively. Title track “Only Road”, co-written and performed by Sub Teal, went on to be remixed by Cosmic Gate and was subsequently nominated for a GRAMMY in 2018.

The duo’s most recent release, “Other Eye”, sees them collaborate with fellow GRAMMY-nominated artists Andrew Bayer and Sub Teal.

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