Wolfgang discusses his upcoming releases, the importance of genres, and why we should all learn to take breaks.
For a man that has been heavily involved in the club music scene for over 15 years, Joey Youngman knows exactly how important it is to take a break. Since creating his alter alias Wolfgang Gartner in the late 90s, the dj and producer has produced over 5 EPs, 2 albums, and a multitude of originals and remixes to date, not including countless hours on tour throughout the world. From originally spinning disco, soul, and funk, to becoming a leader in the electro house and progressive house scenes, Wolfgang has developed a profound knowledge of the evolution in dance music and what it means to be an artist in the scene today.
EDM.com spoke with Wolfgang Gartner about working with vocalists on his upcoming releases, why genres matter, and the most important lesson he has learned about being an artist.
Wolfgang Gartner has worked with a number of vocalists in his career: Omarion on his 2011 release "Still My Baby," Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones on his 2012 single "Go Home," and Medina on his 2013 original "Overdose." Although the majority of his work stands without vocal implementations, Wolfgang still finds merit in the beauty of the human instrument. "When you get the right vocal on a song, no matter what genre of music is, it adds a whole new dimension. There is always a place for instrumental music, especially in the club on the dancefloor, and there are some artists that can make amazing instrumental dance music that manages to entertain and hold your attention with no vocals whatsoever... But there is no instrument like the human voice, and none that can talk, or sing, or behave anywhere close to it. It really is the 3rd dimension of music and when a producer and a vocalist make something together with a collective vision and vibe, that's when songs are made that will stand the test of decades."
Earlier this year, Wolfgang took a hiatus from touring to focus on creating timeless productions that wouldn't get caught in the saturated over-flow of electro and house we see today. As we eagerly await for his third studio album, Wolfgang has been teasing fans with a preview of his upcoming single "Unholy," which is set for release on October 21. We are proud to provide an exclusive premiere stream of the new single, and it takes an unprecedented direction from his previous works.
We asked Gartner about the importance of genres in dance music, and how they have shaped dance music over time. "Genres and subgenres are a necessary part of dance music. It really is like no other genre in the sense that is has this plethora of subgenres, literally hundreds of legitimate ones, some that last a year or two, and some that still hold strong today. What a lot of people don't realize is it actually used to be a lot crazier than it is now; 2 decades ago the subgenre thing was out of control - there was gospel house, garage house, chicago house, san francisco house, etc, and then another 10 subgenres for jungle; jump up jungle, ragga, drumcore, all these other subgenres. There are still a ton of subgenres of dance music and fans who won't stray outside them, but people aren't as stuck to these tiny little niches quite as tightly as they were 15 or 20 years ago."
"Believe it or not, we have actually evolved as a culture in that respect, I think. Regardless of whether all this categorization and labeling is a good or bad thing for the creative process and dance music as a whole, it's necessary, so I just let it be."
In a previous interview with Billboard, Wolfgang mentioned that he had toured America more in the past year than any other year beforehand. In that time, he was able to observe the state of our scene, and more importantly, the state of its artists. Wolfgang spoke to us about the fight-or-flight mode that many artists experience in their manic lifestyle, and what he's found as the best solution to battling the cluttered headspace.
"When you are constantly touring, whether it's a bus tour or you're just playing every weekend and flying thousands of miles to do it, you get wrapped up in it and get into a different headspace. Part of it is your body being in semi-constant fight or flight mode because it is under all this stress from the travel and lack of sleep, and part of it is your brain being stimulated and activated by the shows, the music, and the energy that surrounds touring. So on one hand, your body is fighting trying to keep up with this lifestyle, fighting lack of sleep, maybe jetlag, and getting pretty beat up out there. On the other hand, your brain is like "yeah yeah give me more, I love this stuff" from the residual rush after each gig that'll last a day or two depending on how good it was."
If there is any lesson Wolfgang has learned from his time away from touring, it's the importance of stopping to smell the roses. "It's important to take breaks from touring occasionally, because for me at least, I only really get back in touch with my true self after I've been home for a bit and spent time to myself. It is easy to lose one's identity if you're constantly on the road, and I think a lot of DJs who tour a lot suffer from this. They become whatever their stage name is, and forget what their real name is. Literally and metaphorically."
"Unholy" will be released on Wolfgang's own Kindergarten label on October 21st, and is available for pre-order here.
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