In the four-plus years that Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden have known each other, they have managed to rack up 13 No. 1 remixes on the Billboard “Hot Dance Music/Club Play” chart. Although the twosome has also produced a number of original tracks, including Motorcycle's “As the Rush Comes” (which hit No. 1 on the Billboard “Dance Radio Airplay” chart), the guys had yet to release a full-length artist album. But June 2006 will bring their first, At the Same Time, on their newly launched label, Organized Nature.
In 2005, Gabriel and Dresden launched their radio program, Gabriel & Dresden Live (syndicated on radio, satellite, cable and the Internet); DJ'd in 19 countries; and collaborated on tracks with Armin Van Buuren and Marcus Schulz. But for their biggest undertaking, At the Same Time, the studio partners recorded peak-hour pop and dancefloor tracks with help from two fairly unknown singers: Atlanta native Molly Bancroft (who G&D discovered when she e-mailed the guys her tracks) and Londoner Jan Burton. “His voice has a David Bowie thing going on,” Dresden says of the vocalist.
For the album's first single, “Tracking Treasure Down,” Gabriel and Dresden processed and chopped up — in Apple Logic — a Korg Electribe synth part that Bancroft had played. From there, Gabriel extracted some words that he'd written for another song (“At the same time, you keep tracking treasure down”) and used them for the hook, which Bancroft sang. “We also recorded harmonies and backing tracks with our own voices and decided to give them an electronic edge by doing some superhard pitch correction,” Gabriel says. “The end result sounds more like a vocoder to people than the typical Cher Auto-Tune thing. The trick to eliminating the wavering that makes it sound ‘bad’ is to set up as many tracks as you have notes in your vocal part. On each track, put a pitch-correction plug-in with only one note selected. Then, edit the audio so that you put each piece on the track of the note you want it to sound like.”
Gabriel & Dresden fans might expect electronic four-on-the-floor fare, but the pair's studio process includes organic instrumentation such as electric bass and guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, a German log drum and other drum and percussion instruments. The result is a fusion of the past 20-plus years with today. “To put it into words, it might be something like U2 produced by Tiefschwarz in 1982,” Dresden says. Speaking of old versus new, the partners also bought a Moog Voyager to inspire new directions. “It is always good to add something new to your setup when starting a new project,” Gabriel says. “New things just happen.”
But new things tend to mix with the tried-and-true. Although Gabriel and Dresden are aware that club hits require insistent, thumping kick drums, the guys don't base their success on a formula or with the motto “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” “What isn't broken today will be tired tomorrow,” Gabriel says. “With technology constantly changing, there is no reason not to make the music evolve, as well.”