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Jamie Lamberski

"It's a pretty f--king amazing drug": Veteran DJ Talks Drugs in Dance Music

English trance veteran Gareth Emery has always been outspoken about the prevalence of hype-drive, pay-to-play DJs in the scene, and he recently took it upon himself to call these people out in a recent single and video disguised as a satirical side-project in "CVNT5" (pronounced "Cunts").

The single appeared on Emery's third studio album, 100 Reasons To Live, which was released earlier this month on Garuda Records and Armada Music. The follow up to his second album Drive, this new body of work features previously released singles "Hands" featuring Alastor & London Thor, "Until We Meet Again" featuring Ben Gold and "Reckless" featuring Wayward Daughter.

In a recent interview with Billboard, the trance legend discloses some of the inspiration behind this album - mainly a personal shift in recent years to focus on self-improvement. Emery realized that the more he worked on being a better producer and person overall, the happier he was and the more he enjoyed life.

As he worked on this album and continued to refocus his energies, Emery was reminded of his true passions and strengths as well as what he wants out of this life and this career. It pushed him to write more timeless songs for this album and to just get back to being a musician in general, he told Billboard.

Emery went on to explain why after years of drinking heavily on tours, he now performs stone cold sober. It's a perspective that reminded us of another recent interview during which Laidback Luke discussed the demons of the DJ industry, the negative impact heavy touring can have on your psyche and health and the pressure young DJs often encounter when thrust into stardom. While an ongoing conversation in the industry, the topic's been rekindled with Avicii's recent retirement announcement.

"...I used to drink every show when I first started. I’m British, we like to drink. At that time it was just like twenty shows a year cause I wasn’t playing much, then it became like 50, then it became like 100. And I was like, 'F--k it, I’m drinking a hundred times a year for work, plus how many times I go out socially, this is far too much drinking.' So I kind of learned to break the connection in my head between DJing and drinking and now unless I’ve got friends coming out, I'm stone cold sober. I play a better set and I have more fun as well. "

Emery does not necessarily look down on or judge those fans and producers who do like to party. In fact, he understands and relates. Drugs don't just enhance the experience, he bluntly admits, they turn what could be an intolerable situation into a euphoric one.

"There are two answers to that. First, if you look at molly, it's a pretty f--king amazing drug. I haven’t taken it myself in over a decade, but I remember it was pretty unbelievable the times I took it. It wasn’t a good drug for me because I didn’t like the other side of it... And I realized that going out and taking that drug every weekend led to certain other things in my personal and professional life not going as well as I would have liked. But I do totally get people doing it, and it makes music sound f--king amazing... If you’re going to a club, I think it’s fine to be sober if most other people are sober. But if you’re sober and everyone else is drunk, it’s pretty f--king annoying."

And yet, while Emery 'gets it' he also explains how and why the glitter of the party lifestyle begins to fade, resulting in DJs like himself, Calvin Harris and many others to hang up their party hat forever in favor of sobriety.

"There’s a point you realize the additional high you get from the drug is not worth the additional low you get from the comedown, it’s just not worth it. I do also think, and I don’t want to sound anti-drug cause I’m not, you get a more pure enjoyment of the music when you’re not f--king wasted..."

Check out the full interview with Billboard over at http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/dance/73265...

Cover photo by Erick Govea / Govea Productions

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Tags Gareth Emery
Jamie Lamberski Senior Editor

I'm a storyteller at heart, and music makes my world go round.

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