Our EDC Orlando pre-show coverage keeps rolling in!
We've got a fantastic interview to share with you guys. Trance music is making a massive impression on the electronic dance music scene this year. There are several artists you need to pay attention to when it comes to the current surgue of trance music in the scene, but producer Ben Gold may be one of the most important for the genre. His music is incredibly promising, as is his drive and dedication to the craft. Don't believe us? You'll have to check out his set at EDC Orlando this weekend when he takes the stage at Tinker Fields.
I had an in-depth discussion with Ben about songwriting, his Goldrush Radio show, a brand new artist collaboration he has finished working on and how that came about, and so much more.
I’m curious to know a little bit more about how Goldrush Radio came about. I’m impressed by it and what you’ve been able to do with it.
Thank you! Originally, it was a radio show called Life. It was a two-hour monthly show on After Hours FM. This was way back. I mean, we’re talking, 2009 or 2010? I then molded that into the Ben Gold Podcast. That ran until episode forty. In hindsight, I probably show have just kept all the episodes of [Ben Gold Podcast] going. I’d probably be about 200-250 episodes in by now. With Goldrush Recordings and the brand creation, I wanted to do something weekly that kind of kept me in tune. The main reason I started [the show] was to keep up to date on what was going on with promos and what was getting released every week.
I always wanted to play fifteen new records (roughly the number of tracks in each episode). If there were regular listeners, I didn’t want them to listen and hear the exact same tracks. Occasionally, they are repeats. Those will either be my releases, the label’s releases, or I just love the fucking record. The idea was just to do a weekly hour of the latest and best, in my opinion, best of what trance has to offer.
It took a bit of time. We shuffled the day that I would do the podcast. The show needs to be uploaded for Sirius on Tuesday evenings, so I do the show now on Tuesdays. Which makes things a little bit trickier, only because I get new promos up until Thursdays, sometimes even Fridays, but I’m really glad to have the opportunity to be on Sirius XM every week. The feedback has been really good! I’m really enjoying it.
I saw on Facebook that you were exporting the song stems for a big collaboration that you worked on. Would you mind talking a little about the creative process behind that song, even if you can’t reveal the artist?
Yeah! The collaboration is for an album of an artist who has inspired and mentored me. I’m really excited! I can’t really say too much more, because the album track list has been announced yet, and that’s not my doing. But I will just let everyone make their own mind up as to who it is. It may be pretty obvious, maybe not! I’ve written records with him before, and this one is just mind-blowing.
It started in the Dubai airport. I was on a connecting flight. I flew in from Asia. Flights leave from Dubai at like 3 or 4 AM in the morning. You get in from Asia at about 11 PM, so there’s always a long layover. I just had some time to kill, and my buddy was awake. I used to travel with a little Akai mini-keyboard. It was amazing, actually. My flight was delayed just a little bit. The sun was coming up, and just kind of wrote these chords. At the time, I didn’t really think too much of it.
I listened back to it the next day, and I was like, “this is really cool!” And very quickly, I got an idea together. But then it all stopped. I couldn’t work out how to make this melody shine the best. It was a battle of styles and sounds. So I just thought, “you know what? If I’m forcing it, it’s just not going to work.” So I sat on it for ages and ages. We’re talking about eighteen months. Which is probably not really that long, because I knew it was strong!
I sent it over to the other artist that I collaborated on it with. He got really excited about it, and added some stuff to it which brought the whole thing to life. Now, I have this melody that is finally ready to go, with a clear direction of where it needed to go. I put some things together, and then we went back and forth on Skype. It was a bit of a long process when we were actually writing the record, but that’s all [came] down to our schedules. But usually, I kind of get quite bored if things don’t happen to quick. Not because I’m impatient! If I’m working on something a lot and it’s just not working or coming to life, I usually put it on the backburner and come back to it.
But this was just a great process. Every studio session, the song was improving. Last Friday was the deadline! The final stems are exported. This morning, I received a really nice clip of where it’s at right now. Honestly, they are in the studio right this second mixing it, so I expect to have it back within the next 24 hours. I’m really excited about it. I think it’s a really strong record. It currently has no name, but that will be decided in the next couple of weeks.
You’ll be playing EDC Orlando this weekend. With a festival like this, fans are going to have music and visuals being thrown at them left and right. There’s a lot of distractions. In your opinion, what do you think will get fans to stop and check out your set, setting you apart from the rest of the artists out there?
Well, I enjoy performing, whether it’s in an intimate club, an arena, or on the main stage at a festival. I really enjoy what I’m doing. I like to feel that I give off energy in the same way that the crowd does. I react and respond to that. I try and give a performance, as opposed to just playing music, without doing what everyone else does. That could mean I perhaps don’t use the mic. I try and make it all about the music.
I understand what you’re saying, there’s a lot going on at festivals! A lot of DJs in one particular genre could possibly play the same tracks, although there are going to be repeats throughout the whole day during any festival, at any stage. I do really try to get a good balance of records that are new or records that are affiliated to me. Maybe in a market where I haven’t played before, people will want to hear certain records from my back catalogue that they may have never heard me play before.
I do find it more challenging to play as exclusive and as upfront at festival shows as I do in a club set. There’s a wide of range of people that may not even go to club shows. This is their club show. Maybe they don’t go out often, so I’m cautious to make sure that I really appeal to and work the whole crowd. Maybe a little bit more than in a club set, where it’s more “underground”, if you like.
I found that, from experience, playing too much new music sometimes just doesn’t work. I really focus on each individual set, whether it’s a club or a festival. I pay attention to the location, set time, whether I’ve played there before, and what music is out. I think if I was to play the same set over and over again, it would drive me nuts. I would get so bored, and the performance would become so boring. I treat every show as a new show, and really work out what it is that I’m going to do, especially for the festivals.
If people want to stop by, I’ve got some really, really good new music to play!
What does music mean to you?
It’s a good question. One of the first things that came to my mind when I heard your question was that [music] is an escape. It’s something that, whether I’m doing my radio show, or remixing song, writing original material, just brainstorming ideas, looking back at certain records when I’m really trying to capture that feeling that I got when I first heard it, it’s an escape for me. Just because I’m a DJ and a producer, that doesn’t mean that I don’t face difficulties every day. Whether it be family or friends, something is kind of always going on.
Having music is an escape where I can always “lose myself” in it. With my producer hat on, that’s when I really get my best results, when I’m really lost in it. Sometimes it only needs to be for two hours; sometimes it needs to be for an hour. The way that my mood is changed after that time really depends on how successful that time was that I spent. If I don’t feel that I have achieved anything in my day, or that what I’m quite doing has clicked yet, it would frustrate me, therefore have a knock-on effect on my mood in general!
It can be quite “moody” music in that sense, but it’s a lot of fun! I think the fact that it evolves not just a lot with new guys from every corner of the planet making their interpretation makes it exciting. The list really can go on!
Those are really the main things, I think. It can also work in the other way; if you’re having a shit day, or maybe something hasn’t gone quite right, then music can change your mood. A melody can change the world.
That was perfect. “A melody can change the world.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before, but if I have, then I’m sorry for whoever said that first! But it’s true! Even more so, a simple melody can really change the world. It can certainly change how I go about my day. I don’t know what we’d do without it. There’d be no EDC Orlando for starters if there was no music!
It’s fun. Music is fun, and it should be. I think, from a producer’s point of view, the more profile you get, the bigger your tour schedule becomes, the harder it is to write music. You fear maybe that it doesn’t become so much fun anymore; at that point, it becomes deadline work. Labels start emailing with “this needs to be done, that needs to be done”. And rightly so! It’s all contracted. But when records come to that stage, you’re not really doing it for the right reason.
Only recently, I remixed one of my favorite artists. After about a month of, maybe even six weeks, not solid work, but enough time spent, it just wasn’t happening. The fun was then taken out of the process. Ultimately, I ended up with a product that I just was not that happy with. I pulled out at the last minute because I didn’t want to release something that I felt wasn’t the best of my ability! Plus, I didn’t want it to be something that I look back on and go, “aw man! I could have changed that! I should have changed that! That should have gone there!”
Going back to your second question about the collaboration, that was a lot of fun! When it’s fun, it becomes easy. Not easy in the sense of “anyone can do it”, but easy in the sense of…Let’s say you ask an English soccer player to do keepy-ups with the ball. He can do a hundred or two hundred, because for him, he knows what he’s doing. For me, I could probably do about…twenty? And then I’m done.
When it’s fun, it is easy. You’ve escaped everything else going on around you, so you’re in that frame of mind. You kind of get a little feeling inside of you. You kind of know that “it’s gonna be a good one”. I guess that’s kind of the luxury of making music.
Right now, I probably have just as many records that I’m not planning on releasing as I do have records that are scheduled and ready for release. You make something and it works, you have an idea and a vision, and you accomplish that, but maybe the next one is better, so you think “maybe I don’t want to release it, just for the sake of putting a record out there”.
I might play some of those, actually [in the set]. By no means are they bad records! They just don’t fit the release for a certain time or it’s just not as strong as what you’ve got with other material. But I love living a studio life. I’m quite structured when it comes to being at home. It’s good fun. I think when you enjoy making music, you get the best out of music.
I agree. I know what you were saying earlier about it being easy. When you start working on a track, there are challenges, but it’s “easy” in the sense that you’re locked into that world, and you’re not thinking about anything else going on. You forget that time is happening around you. You look at the clock, and it’s three hours later.
Yeah absolutely! Making music, or doing anything that’s professional, is not easy. I’m glad you understand what I mean with that. I find that writing the melody is the easiest part of creating music. I find [creating] the sound design and dynamics that you can create within the song file to be the hardest part, with how you get things poking through to give it that real, solid wide sound. But there are times when I’ve really enjoyed those parts!
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when I’ve smashed my head against the wall, and been like “why is it not working?” But you learn not to just go round and round. The moment you know it doesn’t work is when you have to assess what it is that you’re working on: what sounds you’re using, the effects you have on it, what is being processed. You have to assess whether those elements are working for you, or whether they’re getting in the way of your end product.
This record that I’m working on right now is going to be my next vocal single. We’re aiming for release around March 2016. I kid you not, this is the hardest record that I have ever written, for a couple of reasons! One reason was getting that melody right. I was hearing the vocal in a few different ways when I started out on the project, which kind of took me one way. I spent such a long time working on it and getting that right. When I got there, I thought, “this is actually not the best version of the vocal that I can do.” So I started from scratch, a whole new blank page.
I went in a different direction. It was only yesterday that I changed the melody yet again! It’s not a new melody that I’ve written; I’ve gone back to one that I’ve written before. Now that I say that, it might change next week. (laughs) But right now, I’m looking at an original track that captures everything that I want to capture. It’s just now a case of the sound design on some of the parts, and then the mixing process to really get it punchy and where it needs to be.
It’s probably been about, wow, six months! I probably got the vocals in around maybe April of this year. I know in a previous question I said, “if it’s not working, then you know to quit”. I think when it comes to vocals though, and you know that you’ve got something really magical and special, then it’s just a case of me having to work with it. The other answer applies to when you don’t have anything and you’re just starting from scratch.
Be sure to catch Ben Gold when he takes the NEONGARDEN stage this weekend at EDC Orlando on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6 from 4:00 PM to 5:15 PM.
For more music and info on Ben Gold, visit www.facebook.com/bengoldmusic
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