Nov 29th 2016 by OkGOBand • 29 Questions • 332 Points
Gabriel & Dresden are a California-based electronic music duo. With over 25 Billboard-charting tracks & remixes including the smash hits “As the Rush Comes,” “Beautiful Things,” “Tracking Treasure Down,” “Dangerous Power“ and “No One On Earth.” They are currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of their first artist album in ten years.
To hear our music and hundreds of hours of live DJ sets, check out our Soundcloud: http://bit.ly/redditgd
Thanks everyone for participating in our first-ever AMA!! We really enjoyed spending the time with you and answering your questions and seeing your stories. This will not be the last one we ever do. So stay tuned!!
Hello OK Go! In The One Moment video, I’m curious to know how exactly you got the flip books timed so well – how did Tim flip and how did Andy turn the crank at the precise speed needed to play Damian’s singing in sync? Also, how did Tim and Andy lip sync in the seconds they did? From your BTS videos, I gathered that you were simply singing really fast, but I can’t wrap my brain around how fast you must have had to mouth the lyrics in order for your movements to line up as perfectly as they did.
The whole thing was captivating and I’m floored by the degree of precision involved in making this video. Really, truly amazing.
Hey, thanks for doing this. You guys have been one of my long-term favorite acts. Not a lot of EDM groups that make music people fall in love to and you guys have always been great about giving back to fans.
I will probably have a few questions if possible, but my first is regarding the structure some of the aesthetics your music / dynamic has. It has always seemed to me that your project is very much like two parts of a whole. When you were apart, listening to you separately was exactly like listening to one half of G&D. I think this comes from each of your background's and how you came up in the scene to some extend, Dave coming from playing clubs and Josh being more formally trained. Even the name "Gabriel & Dresden" has conveyed a sense of almost binary aesthetics. Gabriel has always made me think of the archangel an Dresden of the firebombing of the German city. Can you speak a little to how willfully structured this is, or how organic this all is? Is it just a circumstance of how it came together or is there something intentional and conscious behind this?
Tim and Andy both lip sync'ed at triple speed, and we timed those sections out as if we were shooting at 90 FPS (with a base rate of 29.97 for the whole video). We were actually shooting much faster frame rates than that, and then we sped that footage up afterwards.
Syncing the flip book and the kinetoscope (the thing andy is driving):
Tim had to practice (a lot) getting the flip book to flip at an even speed, and then once he got that right, he had to begin his move within about one tenth of a second of the right moment. That sounds very fast, but think of it as if he were playing bass. If his notes were off by a full tenth of a second, you'd be like "what is the matter with that bassist -- is he drunk?" Once he's within a tenth of a second of the target moment, we could vari-speed the playback to make sure he was right on (notice that there are no synced events happening behind him to "give away" any time nudging we had to do).
Andy's kinetoscope had a governor on it, so it would run the right speed no matter what, and we sent it a digital start command to start spinning at the right time. Basically all andy had to do was crank it to provide the extra force to get those flaps moving at the insane speed we needed.
We don't think anyone has nailed our dynamic better than this post. Your reddit screen name says it all! Bravo!
This IS just the way we are. We came together organically and that's how the project has always been.
Hi guys. I've been a huge fan since I was young and it's been great seeing you do well over the years. I'm studying math at university right now, and I'm always inspired by your ability to use engineering to enhance your art, most notably in the recent video. I mostly want to thank you guys for being a source of inspiration in that sense.
Since I have to ask a question though: What are the backgrounds of the team that you work with to create videos? I assume many of them are engineers, but I imagine that it takes a special kind of person to be able to consider things from both an aesthetic and scientific point of view. I'd love to hear a little bit about who the behind-the-scenes people are and how you find them.
Hey Josh & Dave,
I had the honour of playing before you in Canberra, Australia a few years back and that's still one of the most memorable DJ experiences I've had, as you guys have always been a massive inspiration and I've got so many favourites from your discography. I wanted to ask if Ryeland Allison was a chance for a collab on the album (or otherwise) as the Attention Deficit stuff was always awesome, and was there a remix of Superstyling under the name, or was it a wrongly named mp3 that I grabbed many years ago?
Cheers and hope to see you guys back out here!
Usually we find people who are great at something, and we ask them to look at it from a slightly different angle than normal. For the RGM for This Too Shall Pass, for instance, it took a lot of back and forth to get everyone on the same page about what makes a Rube Goldberg machine feel like a Rube Goldberg machine. Engineers normally prioritize making things that ALWAYS WORK and DON'T FAIL. But things that can't fail (and look like they can't fail), aren't all that interesting to watch, at least if you're thinking in the RGM mode. The engine in your car is more complicated than any given part of our RGM, but you probably don't pop the hood just to gaze in wonder very often. The spirit of an RGM is (in part) precariousness, so we were asking the engineers to come at their normal process from the side. Design for aesthetics (in that case, precariousness), rather than what they'd normally do (consistency)
Basically, it's usually our job to do the aesthetic thinking, and we try to find talented people whose specialized knowledge we can apply that aesthetic thinking to.
It helps that we're kind of generalists, ourselves. Like for T1M: my fluency with math and physics is enough that I could plan out what we wanted to have happen. It took a little trigonometry, a little algebra, and remembering a few things from high school physics (like the fact that the period of a pendulum a function of the length of the string and has almost nothing to do with the mass of the pendulum). But beyond that, I was relying on specialized knowledge that lives in bigger brains than my own. I knew enough to figure out that if we wanted the water balloons to pop on 16th notes, they had to be exactly 4 milliseconds apart. But Arnie, who built the solid-state timer that actually triggered them, is dealing with vastly more complicated math, computer science, and electrical engineering than I could even begin to describe.
A shorter answer to your question: Our projects usually attract the weirdest and most adventurous people within whatever field we are dabbling in. And if they don't come to us, we go looking for them.
We remember that night, in the side room of that venue on an off night of the Creamfields Australia tour. Glad you had a great time!!
And also, great idea about Ryeland!! He's very talented and we will for give him a call and see if he wants to collaborate on the album.
Damian - your Wikipedia page describes your formal education as having a specialty in "Art Semiotics." I've long been fascinated with that description and really curious what it meant in terms of practical study. What did you read? What projects did you work on?
Now as a professional rock star do you find that experience was formative or challenged the work you really wanted to be doing?
Sounds like this >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu1tywrohyg
I read a lot of post structuralists, and I remember very little of what they actually said. There was a lot of Foucault, Derrida, and Barthes. What I learned was mostly just a more... suspicious way of thinking. I was going to say "critical," but it wasn't exactly that the curriculum of "critical" theory sunk in -- it was more that I started questioning more of what I'd always thought was obvious and self evident. We live in very temporary and arbitrary circumstances and very little of the world and culture around us is the way it is because of some innate natural laws.
So that was the academic part (about half) and the other half was making art. I didn't love the visual arts department at my school, so I spent more of my time in the campus music studio and I started turning in recordings to visual arts professors, which they loved. Usually re-interpetting the fundamental rules of the assignment was a good thing.
My final thesis for my BA in visual art was an album of Elvis covers. They still come up on ebay every once in a while.
THAT'S IT!!! :)
Hi Ok Go! Have you ever considered that you're tellitubbies for grown ups? Four basic colors, four musicians, eye catching visuals - exactly like tellitubbies (or the wiggles). Also, what or who would you say is your greatest inspiration both in your music and your videos?
What was the inspiration for As the Rush Comes??? ;)
After this past Thanksgiving I certainly feel like a grown up tellitubby.
The verses were inspired by the experiences a friend had during a car accident. The chorus is an ode to the special feelings one can have on a dancefloor.
Do you ever become disheartened doing all those takes for your videos or do you stay pumped all the way until the end take?
What albums do you find yourself listening to when looking for inspiration? Or who'se sets do you usually trust to get the creative gears grinding? Are creative blocks something you still run into or have the many years of experience helped you build a system for you to avoid this in your process. What are some other non music related activities that help you feel/be creative? Whats your favorite natural phenomena?
Dan here.. We kinda go through every feeling out there. At some point nearly every video shoot we all get a feeling of "oh shoot, we aren't gonna pull this off are we?" But then we do..
Wow that's a hard question to answer, because we own so many albums and we listen to a lot of them to try and find that almighty inspiration. Some that have recently been listened to, Depeche Mode - Violator, The XX's debut album, Yazoo - You and Me Both, The Cure - Pornography, Massive Attack - Blue Lines, The Postal Service - Give Up, Red Hot Chili Peppers - BloodSugarSexMagic.
Creative blocks happen all the time. There's really no magic formula to get out of them, but one we've found that helps for us is to try and find other music that's inspiring. Whether it be something current, something old, maybe it could even be as simple as going out to hear someone else DJ. For us to get where we're at now and ready to make a new album, it was listening to our vast collection of older trance music just to remember how good dance music can be.
We love to go out and explore nature when we're stressed or feeling uninspired. The further away from civilization, the better. Get lost in the woods with the birds and other animals. Flowers, trees and the smell of the grass. Gets us out of a funk every time.
Our favorite natural phenomena are thunderstorms. We don't get to see them often in California, but when we're out on the road, we never miss the chance to have the windows open or be outside (but not under a tree) when there's one happening.
What was the moment when you realized you we're famous?
Congrats on reaching (and exceeding) your goal on Kickstarter already! What got the ball rolling for you both to start on a new album after a decade-long hiatus?
Dan here: I remember the moment I realized Tim was famous.. We were at an airport and all these girls came running up to him and asked for his autograph.. I walked right by unnoticed.. Ahhh. I remember that lovely day.
We were feeling inspired to make more than just singles. We've been experimenting with so many different sounds and tempos in the two years we've taken off from releasing music. And we finally feel like we're to a place where we can stretch out and do this over the course of a full length album.
Andy allways looks uncomfortable in the videos. It he having as much fun as everybody else or do they stress him out somehow?
What is trance for you? :)
I would say I'm having as much as fun as everybody else, which is to say: at certain points we're having a lot of fun and certain points, we're not. I found the zero gravity video to be particularly challenging. By the end of the shoot I was starting to get tunnel vision and dizziness during the parabolas and really wanted it to be finished.
Trance to us is music that takes you somewhere and let's you feel many emotions.
Do you guys need any new friends?
Dan here: I really want all the stuff my kid wants. If he gets the cool stuff that's out there I know I'll have a blast with them too. I'll make sure Santa knows it's two for one on xmas AM.
We are always looking for friends. ;)
How was the marching band "This Too Shall Pass" video shot? (Specifically the ending when the camera just pans upwards and out)
Also, my name is also Damian! So Damian, what's your favorite food?
Hey guys, saw your classics OTC at Ruby Skye a year ago and it was a major influence in my exploration of trance- thanks for being awesome!
2 questions- 1st off, have you looked into Neptune Project's Amplifyd Music project / will you be looking to use a platform like that to push your new album over the conventional systems?
2nd, a lot of trance artists have been incorporating more and more classic songs in their sets the last few years- do you anticipate your album continuing that trend of pursuing older types of sounds? Specifically, do you anticipate looking to remix older tracks to bring them back to the forefront of people's minds, or are you expecting to try to create new tracks that incorporate the fundamental elements of the classics?
Side note, any chance at another classics OTC in the Bay? Maybe some NYE shenanigans? Are you both still based in Oakland?
We shot the end by attaching the camera to rope that went though a pulley attached to a crane and was literally tied around a burly dude who walked away from us when we needed the camera to go up. After about four consecutive takes where the camera swung wildly out of control on the ascent, I asked our director Brian Perkins what plan-B was. His response: "there is no plan-B." Luckily, the wind cooperated for a few takes.
Glad you had a great time at our 7 hour show at Ruby Skye last year!!
We have not really given much thought to the distribution of our album outside of the Kickstarter project yet. Amplifyd Music does look like an interesting platform. We are going to consider many avenues before choosing one.
As for the recording of the new album, we plan on writing and producing new original songs and not do updated versions of classics. That being said, we've been inspired by listening to a lot of the classics from the 90's and 00's and that sort of influence will more than likely find it's place with us.
I've been a big fan for a long time! When "Oh No" came out, my friend and I made matching Ok Go t-shirts to wear to the record store to go buy the album. I'm sure my creative efforts are weak compared to many of your other fans. What's the most creative or interesting tribute you've ever received from a fan? Any cool videos or songs that were inspired by what you do?
How did you guys manage to stay together for so long? What does each of you bring to the table?
We once were given busts of our heads made out of candy. That was impressive and delicious. -Tim
The key to any relationship is being flexible and having an open mind and also to never forget to communicate.
It’s difficult sometimes to know exactly what each of us brings to the table at any specific moment because things are always unpredictable in the music process. In general it goes something like this: Josh: Music training, sound design and engineering skills Dave:DJ-ing since the 1980s, A&R and radio programming.
But just like our DJing, we've both learned so many tricks from one another over the years the lines have gotten so blurry as to who does what. And that's what makes it fun for us now.
Was there anything you wanted to try on the airplane (for UDIO) that you were not allowed to do?
Hey guys, massive fan here from Australia. Really excited about this kickstarter campaign!
Really hoping to see you guys in Australia in 2017, any plans? :)
What current trance tracks are you digging atm?
You guys seem to have a good relationship with the folks at Anjunabeats, through No On on Earth (fave), radioshow appearances, and appearing in a few of their pool parties, and Anjunabeats worldwide shows. What's your relationship really like with the Anjuna crew, and what're they like to work with? Any stories?
Dan here: I was kind of hoping we wouldve been able to display super human strength like lifting a piano with one hand or playing catch with volkswagon bug.
We'd always LOVE to come to Australia, but it somehow just never works out. We plan to tour the world for this album so hopefully we make it there in 2017.
What we've been doing to get inspired for this album is listening to OLD trance tracks. The ones that still make us feel something. Oliver Lieb, Rank 1, MIKE Push, Sasha, Airwave, Caspar Pound, Three 'n One, Paul Van Dyk, Matt Darey. The original trance from the 1990's. We really want to bring THAT feeling back.
We love the Anjuna/Above & Beyond dudes. We go back a long way with them and we have always been friends. We have nothing but nice words to say about Jono, Tony & Paavo and of course James. The people who work for the label and management are also very lovely. Even the people whom they sign. We are incredibly proud of them for what they have achieved in music. There are not many dance acts who have sold out Madison Square Garden. They have. It's quite phenomenal.
Oh, we have stories...but what happens in Vegas...
How often do you guys on average end up scrapping a song or melody, and why?
Just wanted to say thanks for the AMA guys. As the rush comes is still one of my all time favourite trance songs
Could you rephrase the question? We are not sure what you mean by "scrapping"
aross: In the One Moment video, were you standing behind bullet proof glass or a really big splash guard?
Also, do you have a warm hoodie? Seems hell froze over on November 2nd with a sweet World Series win.
uhm, if I may, the same two songs that got me on the G&D brand, Arcadia and Southern Sun? :)
Yes, I was standing behind bullet-proof glass. I am delicate flower and don't need any shards of glass in my eye-holes.
I've always said I'd be happy if the Cubs won the World Series!!
you're in luck. provide your email address. :)
Are the as the rush comes stems be included in the kickstarter classics package?, also are the lyrics about the journey on mdma?
Dan here: Gosh darn, I hope so! Those girls are amazing, so sweet..
We'd rather not comment on the contents of Classics Only, but trust us when we tell you, you won't be disappointed. :)
Hey guys! If you could fill a pool with anything what would it be?
There must be thousands of remixes and bootlegs of As The Rush Comes. What is your favorite "recent" remix/bootleg of this track. Say, from 2013 to present?
Dan here: I'd like to see a pool filled with skateboarders.. Up to the brim with rad skaters... and their boards.. sleeping...
It's because we gave away the acappella on our Soundcloud two years ago. We kinda knew that we opened the floodgates when we gave it out, but frankly we were curious what people would come up with.
The best remix that has come from that is the Solid Stone remix. His version does the song some justice and works on both progressive house and trance dance floors.
Listen to a radio rip of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1epDJ1GdBYY
There was also this version by Cream and Deep Fog that's really well done.
You can hear it right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw1mHf5FXDM
Why did you guys choose Notre Dame's band and shooting the video in South Bend for This Too Shall Pass?
One Saturday afternoon while recording our album Of The Blue Colour of the Sky we saw the Notre Dame marching band perform our song Here It Goes Again for their halftime show. We didn't know they'd be doing that and it got us really excited. So we reached out to their band leader at the time and told them we'd love to collaborate with them on something. They were really excited to link up and we enlisted our friend Brian Perkins to come in and help direct the marching band version of This Too Shall Pass. They were awesome to work with! -Tim