Thomas Gold: "EDM Is an Open Field... I Love It."
The Berlin-based DJ Thomas Gold will be visiting Maya, one of Scottsdale's newest hosts for EDM artists and events, this Friday.
Up on the Sun spoke with Gold about his upbringing in music, how his touring and festival schedules have been going, and what we can possibly expect to see from him at Maya Day and Night Club on Friday, May 24.
Up on the Sun: You've been super-busy lately, whether it's Ultra, Coachella, or your most recent North American tour. From what I hear, this was your first Coachella. How did everything turn out for you?
Gold: The whole festival setup was great. It was fun playing and seeing the surroundings and the atmosphere, since every place has a different vibe. Coachella was definitely fun . . . I was super-impressed.
With you hailing from Germany, were you ever associated with the huge breakdance scene that brought many of today's EDM stars into the scene?
I actually started to play keyboards when I was young -- I was 7. I got my first music computer and synthesizer when I was 15. From that point on, I learned my stuff, got a bigger and better computer, and developed my music.
But I really started on the keyboards. I had lessons and I used to play all the stuff one typically has to play -- jazz, classic tunes, and even, I guess, one could say pop. So I kind of learned from the basics.
Many people don't realize that many DJs don't just walk up to the sets and start going at it. But it's not that simple -- most have a music background.
Yeah, I think [where you come from] also kind of influences you. For example, if you used to play a lot of classic tracks, you will maybe incorporate some of these chord progressions into your music. So everybody who used to play or still does play an instrument will typically be inspired by the same sort of format of their music knowledge, and take that into producing their electronic or dance music.
So, no breakdancing for you? Sorry, after hearing Markus Schulz talk a few weeks ago about the breakdancing scene in Germany, and how that took him into the EDM world, was interesting. Everyone has his or her own stories.
There are a lot of house guys that started out with hip-hop, even, which is kind of a similar transition. As far as I can remember, breakdancing was a big thing. I wasn't too into that, of course. But it was definitely big here in Germany.
After the jump: "EDM is an open field . . . I love it."
And just as artists can make transitions into different genres or style, so can their music. I remember first listening to you and getting a more trance or melodic feel, and recently I feel more of a tech-house or progressive house sound. Would you say that this is true?
I would say that, of course, I've gone through a couple of phases now. I feel like I've always been very melodic, [and] I've had a couple of tracks where I used to love more trance-y sounds. And actually, at the moment I'm working on some new ones. I've gone more deep and tech-y. I've even had some more groovy sounds as well.
My recent tracks, of course, have been a bit more "progressive house-y." The good thing is now that everything can be mixed up. You can incorporate whatever you want, actually -- every single genre can fit into a track or just mix it up. That's what I really love.
I don't think too much about, "Will I be more trance-y, tech-y, or tribal-ish?" or whatever. That's the good thing: You don't have to think so much about it. You just do it, and if it sounds good... it's all good. EDM is an open field for any kind of direction or genre. I love it.
So for you there are no labels to be left at, when it comes to genres?
I mean, for me it's the best way -- not to think too much about where I want to go on a track. Of course, I have some sort of basic idea in my head, but it could be completely different in the end. So you never know.
Over the years, you've started creating and working with other artists to kind of make these EDM anthems. They're played at almost every show and taken on by several different artists. For example, working with Dirty South for "Alive", Fatboy Slim for "Star 69" or even producing "Sing 2 Me" (which, by the way, I've been listening to in preparation to speaking with you.)
Well done. [Laughs.] And you still like it?
Oh, I love it, of course, yes. [Laughs] But what made you want to work with these people? Or did they come to you?
With the Fatboy Slim track, I had this track as a bootleg in my sets. I don't really remember how everything came together, but I think there was a day when his label approached me. They must have heard this bootleg in one of my shows or on a radio broadcast. They asked me if they could use it officially, as one of the official remixes of the song, and I was like, "Yeah, of course we can." It was a honor to me and that's how it went down.
For Dirty South, we just met; he'd actually invited me to play at one of his sets in London at Ministry of Sound, where we played together. We just sat down and had a little chat. We both loved the idea [of making something together], and a couple of days later we started exchanging short bits and music ideas. We met up in LA where his studio was. We spent four days and four nights there working it out.
This venue that you'll be playing at, Maya Day & Night Club, is pretty new. People are saying that it's Scottsdale competing with Vegas.
Yeah, I heard this and was wondering how it was going to work, actually.
I recently saw Porter Robinson in a pool party atmosphere. Have you ever taken this scene on?
Yeah, I've done it a couple of times in Vegas, and of course in Miami. I must say that it's a completely different experience. I mean, even if you were to play a daytime set at Coachella, it's a completely different vibe than at night.
But it's very special, and it can be very cool. I believe I'm closing the pool party that day, so it should be fun. I'm looking forward to coming to Scottsdale. I saw a couple of pictures of Maya on the Internet, and it looks really nice.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.