Between his upcoming album, his Electric For Life tour and his record label, Garuda Music, UK trance superstar Gareth Emery has been especially busy. Not too busy, however, to devote time to what will likely be EDM’s most eccentric side project in 2016.
Emery recently unveiled a provocative side project with fellow UK trance mainstay Ashley Wallbridge called CVNT5 (pronounced either as “cunts” or as its full initialism for added comedic effect) that parodies the excess of mainstream electronic music through music, video and web content.
Before our interview with him at the SLS Hotel during Electric For Life Miami, his team asked that we avoid the topic of CVNT5. To our delight, however, Emery brought it up himself in a particularly tongue-in-cheek manner, speaking about it in the third person for the duration of the dialogue.
Among other things, Emery also mentioned a more sincere project in the works between himself and one of his Garuda Music signees, Christina Novelli, and how he feels about the “pure trance” movement.
Check it out below and enjoy!
What’s your Miami Music Week been looking like so far?
Gareth Emery: Hard work, but good! Normally I come to Miami and just tend to party a lot, but this year has been the complete opposite. It’s been clean living, swimming in the morning, and making records in hotel rooms. I had one night when I first landed – it got a little heavy, that one, but other than that it’s been super chill.
Well I imagine your Electric For Life party has been keeping you busy, right?
Gareth Emery: All day today, yeah. I love this spot; it’s my third year doing it at SLS, and it’s got an amazing lineup. We’ve got a great mix of artists. We’ve got Louis Vivet, Ben Nicky doing underground trance, but also big names like Arty, Cash Cash and Michael Woods. Sebastian Ingrosso is the special guest – which, for me, is amazing to have on an Electric For Life lineup. Electric For Life is about many different genres, so although a lot of what we do is trance and progressive, we’ve kind of expanded it. I’m excited for the lineup.
Speaking of Ben Nicky, you both have performed at Insomniac Events’ inaugural Dreamstate massives. What do you think about the experience that they curate at those events?
Gareth Emery: I think it’s amazing. I haven’t been to the SoCal one so it’s hard to make a direct comparison, but the San Francisco edition was at the Bill Graham Auditorium which is an amazing venue. I was doing the closing set, and it was an amazing honor to be closing out the night. San Francisco’s always been a good city to me. I’ve done a lot of sold-out shows there over the years and the crowd’s always been amazing.
How do you feel about the “pure trance” movement that events like Dreamstate have exposed more to American audiences? Do you think it causes people to live in the past too much, or do you find it important to reinforce those classic trance themes?
Gareth Emery: That’s a difficult question. My answer to it could be very, very long so I’ll try to keep it concise. I don’t think there’s anything wrong if people like a specific genre. I think it would be a bit arrogant of me to tell people what they can like and what they can’t like. If they like one style, that’s their choice – but in my personal opinion, there’s so much amazing music out there that if you restrict yourself to one style you’re missing out on a lot of good shit, so I don’t restrict myself to one style for that very reason.
On a similar level, if you define good music based on BPM, you’re gonna be listening to shitty music that happens to be the right BPM, while ignoring good music that may be of a lower BPM. I think the best criteria to judge music on is “Does it make you feel good, does it sound cool?” rather than, “Does it fit some specific criteria of what you think good music is?” That’s just the way I judge things.
You have a new album right around the corner! Are you planning on debuting more of those tracks live before the release?
Gareth Emery: There’s been a good five or six tracks from the album in my sets. The album is called 100 Reasons to Live, and it comes out on April 1st. It’s my third studio album, and the one I’m most excited about. We worked super hard on all the songs on it, so I think you’ll like it.
How about collaborations? After the album is out, do you have anything on the horizon with other artists?
Gareth Emery: There’s this act, actually, and I don’t know much about them. C-V-N-T-5, I believe it’s pronounced. I don’t know much about these guys, they’re just kind of an internet sensation right now – but I hear they’ve dropped a new record with DJ Khaled.
So then it really looks like CVNT5 are here to stay; they’re not just a one-time gimmick.
Gareth Emery: Who knows, it’s hard to say. I don’t know a lot about those guys. What I do think is that I did catch their first music video, and many answers to the questions people have about them are embedded somewhere in that video, even if people don’t get them on the first watch.
So you speculate as a third party that there are easter eggs in that video that reveal what they’re gonna do in the future?
Gareth Emery: Oh yeah, third party, but I think that there are a lot of easter eggs in there.
I’ve gotta ask, though – don’t you think those guys sort of seem like cunts?
Gareth Emery: Yeah, I mean they’re not people I’d wanna hang around with in terms of me working with them, but that’s as much as I’ll say on the topic.
Are there any other up-and-coming acts that you’d like to give some exposure to while you have a chance?
Gareth Emery: We’ve got a lot of amazing guys on Garuda [Music], like Luke Bond, Lanos, and Christina Novelli. So yeah, it’s just been amazing times for me with the new album coming out and Electric For Life. What I’m most excited about is a passion project of mine – an acoustic version of the track with Christina Novelli. It’s me on piano, her singing, and nothing else. It’s one of the most fun things I’ve done in ages. Hopefully we can have that up in a week or so.
This concludes out interview with Gareth Emery, but we would like to thank him very much for his time – and for being such a good sport.