We had the fabulous opportunity to sit down with the EDM powerhouse Thomas Gold before his On Fire tour stop at NYC’s Space nightclub. The super talented extremely down to earth man of the hour took some time to explain to us where hes coming from, and where his GPS is pointed to next. We talk everything from Adele to Swedish House Mafia to Ibiza and Miami and every other country out there.
Photo Credit: edmphotos.com
Beatcue: So, you started out in Germany, where you are from- around 2006. Do you still have a lot of gigs in Germany?
Thomas Gold: I play more internationally than in Germany because of the shift in music. I play the most in the USA, actually. Due to the sheer size of the market, so many cities; it’s bigger here. In Europe it’s going back to deep house. I do still play there, and a lot in Asia. I Just played in Belgium, I’m doing everything back and forth. The festival season sees me all over the world. Germany though, it depends on the city. Munich is different from Hamburg and Cologne. So for a DJ like me, and many DJs, I might not play in my home country but I play in others all the time. But its constantly changing, so one country that I might not see a lot now, I will see in 5 years. That’s the cool thing; you have the whole world- all these places you can go.
BC: How do you think everything is evolving for music at the moment?
TG: Of course everyone now is talking about EDM slowing down, but at the end- if you look back 20 years, music has always been constantly evolving. We had hip hop being big, then we had a huge trance scene in Europe which is almost gone now. But now trance is coming up now in the states I hear, I see it and also when I speak to promoters it’s discussed. Then there is old school house which was going away for a while, but now in Europe its coming back. So there’s constant movement for music as a whole. EDM was just one facet. Of course it went huge, especially in the US and Canada with all the festivals. Also social media grew and exploded at the same time, so this helps. The perception can also be due to money, making information more available- and there is a lot of money in EDM. In the end it was just one genre, though. People are going in other directions now, people are exploring different things. Which is a great thing overall. It’s a great thing for producers, especially like me, I can evolve my sounds, try different things. I’m not going to stick to the things I did the year before, or things I did three years ago. I want to constantly change my sound as well. I’m going for another direction right now as well. For me it’s cool, and not surprising. Do I know where were going? I have no idea. No one really knows, but at the end we’ll all be there and people will follow what they want.
BC: Its nice to hear your open to other things…
TG: I have to. Otherwise I feel very limited. I had a time that I felt a little bit limited, I felt like ok I have to s tick to my genre and arrangements and my sounds. It was just a little phase and my mindset at the time though. Now I am open to anything, and that is really exciting. The stuff I’m working on is exciting. No limits.
BC: Tell us what your’e working on now. Going into new territory it sounds like?
TG: Yeah, my debut album. It’s planned to come out October or November. I’m taking a totally new approach for the album. No club music or EDM at all. More dance and pop approach. Still Thomas Gold sounds, same tempos but also tracks with slower tempos…going through all the ranges. I’m feeling very free with the style I’m working with. I don’t want to limit myself with any genre. I have songs based on vocals, I create the music around the vocal. I don’t have to worry or think about “Is this going to work in a club? In a festival?”. I always wanted to do that [go outside one genre]. The album is the first time I can. I want to show people what I can do, I can do so much. I’m not jumping around like crazy with sounds, but you will hear the difference.
BC: Sounds like it will be a fun journey for the listener
TG:Yes! I want to go from this point to that point. This is a collective of ideas I’ve collected over the years, things I never could use in past tracks; which is a great big project for me.
BC: When you’re working on a track with a vocalist, do you find it easier to create a track, then without the vocals/vocalist? Is it easier to get into the vibe of production because you have a vocalist?
TG: When you have a vocal you have a big portion of the track in front of you already. The vocal should normally be the focus, everything is based on this. This is what people remember, sing along to. So I want to try and support the vocal rather than play over it, the song structure should be supportive. Sometimes it’s very easy- 5 min I have a chord progression, sometimes it takes a while. I create something, re-listen and think- “this is not exciting”. Sometimes it takes 3-4 approaches to find the track that makes you say- “Yes that is the perfect track. That’s the chord progression I want. That’s vibe we’re looking for.” This is what takes the vocal to the next level. You could have the best vocals, but if the production behind it doesn’t fit- it won’t feel right. You can have vocals from Adele, and not use the proper progression, and even though its Adele it’s hard to follow and enjoy.
BC: That’s something a lot of listeners associate with, the vocals. It’s the first thing I run to when I need something new.
TG: Vocals are the most important part of music. Guitar is nice, piano is nice, but a real human voice is what truly touches us. That’s why vocals are all over the radio.
BC: You do a ton of touring, do you have a favorite place by any chance?
TG: I have a couple, I hate to pick just one. I love NY, LA, Ibiza, Bangkok. Bangkok has crazy people the city is so awesome. I am going there again soon to see more. Toronto also. There’s so many. It’s not about the city it is also about the crowd and the energy. So that’s why I can’t pick THE one. Summer, Ibiza is great, and Miami is great all the time. There are options everywhere.
BC: Whatever season you want to be in right? TG: Yeah!
BC: So think back to that point in time, where you were still “struggling”, hoping and praying for that “big break”. Fantasizing about where you want to be. The moment that you finally realized- this is it. I made it. This is the biggest thing to happen to me, I’ve finally broken through.
TG: I really was always dreaming and visioning being on big stages. Being at places like EDC, playing Ultra and Tomorrowland. I was always seeing all these other djs doing it, and it was my dream. I think the first really big thing where I was like ok that’s it, now you’re really in the game- EDC Mainstage in Las Vegas. I opened so it was the beginning, after me were Swedish House Mafia, Alesso, Avicci. I was hanging with them during the show- after my set, and at the time SHM supported me a lot and were so nice to me. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life so far being on that stage- Seeing thousands of people looking up at me. It was all based on the tracks I did on Axtone and the remix of Adele. That was my breakthrough year. Especially in the US.
Photo credit: rukes.com
BC: This happened pretty quickly for you too, didn’t it? EDC then the world right away!
TG: I was there at the right place at the right time. The EDM scene took off at that moment so there was a lot of opportunity and chances and you had to be there as much as possible in the spotlight. And I tried, I worked hard to do that. I traveled a lot and produced a lot. We started my radio show, were now at 200 episodes- so 4 years ago. That was all at the same time. I worked my ass off. I was one of the lucky ones.
BC: Makes it that much sweeter, doesn’t it? Working hard and receiving the recognition
TG: Of course. You have to work a lot. I’ve been through times where it didn’t go well in the beginning, I couldn’t get the doors open and talk to people. But I kept pushing. You will be gone so fast if you give up for just a moment. There are so many people working hard out there. Especially in the US, people see you working hard and they appreciate that. They show you the love and support when they know you worked hard to get where you are. I played a festival, and they smile and come to you and say thank you. This is the best part of the hard work. The big part of the tour is that it is essential for feedback from the fans.
Photo Credit: edmphotos.com
BC: You have a radio show, you play tons of festivals, you’ve played at pretty much every kind of venue there is. What is your game plan for each? Different sets? Will I hear the same thing at EDC as a radio show…etc?
TG: No it’s all totally different. First of all the radio show is totally different. It doesn’t even reflect what I’m playing out there. The radio show is something I want to be totally free style-wise. I don’t want to be limited to the people who are listening. I want to play the latest stuff that I am getting. Its 18 tracks, all stuff I get that week sent by fans colleagues, promos. Really fresh material. To show people- “Hey I like this, check it out.” It’s just stuff I like. When I play, I make differences between festivals big stages- where you only get 45 min an hour to play. Then you have club shows where you get 2 hours. I lay out my set differently I play different tracks. I create a bigger journey. Then when it comes to more intimate sets, I have things I would play there. Tonight, at space for example- I have two sets. One 11-130 then again at 230-close. More underground stuff for the second half for sure.
BC: One question I like to ask artists, especially those who aren’t from the US- Do you have anything you’ve learned over the years that you realize- “Wow I wish I knew that when I was struggling, when I was passionate but just not there yet.” Anything you wish you did that you didn’t do or vice versa?
TG: I wouldn’t say there’s really anything I shouldn’t have done earlier. But there is one thing I did, recently, in LA back in January. I went to a recording session with different groups of people every day. Vocalists, guitar players; It was so inspiring, I came back with so many ideas. Great track starters. I think, maybe I could have done this a few years before. I had a time I was struggling to find the right vocals, the right vocalist. Because in Europe the market is slow, I found in LA, this is where everyone is. I went to LA and met up with Europeans even- LA is where everyone goes to meet. I wish I had done this a little earlier, to make these connections. I brought a lot of ideas with me, I prepared them before I went. Then we started writing to the ideas, we tweaked it. Every day was different. The people where different. Which was interesting, to see how different people work. Other producers, how they create a track and start a track. How they work with a vocalist. We were in the studio all day.
BC: If you weren’t a DJ/producer what would you be
TG: I can’t really imagine. I’d be doing something creative. Where I can work with my own ideas and grow. I can’t really imagine being out of the industry.
BC: So this is what you’ve always wanted?
TG: Yes, at age 7 I started playing keyboards. Since then it has always been my dream. Live with and for the music. Making sounds. It’s been with me all my life.
BC: What is your favorite personal production or remix, of your own?
TG: I think ‘Sing To Me’ is very special to me, it’s an instrumental. It’s simple, but it’s the way the track goes. Its super effective. A lot of people connect me to that track, and the vibe. I find something special about the vibe. Then also the remix of Adele. It was a big challenge but it was very exciting. Should I try this? Do I try to remix this fucking great song? It took me a while to get it right, like 2.5 months or so. I didn’t want to do just anything, I wanted to create the real thing. The real vibe and make it match. Luckily I got it at the end. And got a lot of support.
Make sure to catch Thomas at one of his On Fire Tour dates, and let us know how much you loved it!
Find Thomas Gold here:
Website: Thomas Gold