Interview: Wolfgang Gartner

14 August 2012 - - - The DJ List


Wolfgang Gartner has been gaining popularity left and right, playing at some of the biggest venues, this year we managed to catch up with a very busy Joey at Outside Lands 2012 in San Francisco to see what WOLFGANG GARTNER has been upto! Read all about what he rocks in the studio, what to expect at his upcoming tour and the inspiration for his latest EP!

The DJ List: When someone would go to a Wolfgang Gartner show, what can they expect to hear?

I can’t be defined by one particular sub genre, I go through too many styles to be an electro artist or just a progressive house artist. It’s all just forms of house music. If you come to my show and listen to my music that is what you will get. You do not get one very specific sub genre of music, it is going to be all across the board

The DJ List: When composing your tracks, do you keep in mind these huge venues that you’ve been playing lately?

Not necessarily, I think of good shows and try to remember what they were like and what the hype was and how the crowd reacted. Then I just start playing and what comes out, comes out. The last couple of shows I did were big festival shows. So when I go home now and make a track, because I just played at these festivals, I will probably make a more festival type of track.

The DJ List: Technically in the studio, what do you see as your personal strong points or strengths as a producer?

The fact that I have been doing it for 20 years. Some of the people around me have been producing as long as I have, so I have gone through a lot of phases and learned from people around me along the way.

The DJ List: Can you describe your current studio setup?

I use Ableton live with most of the common plug ins. Genelec 10 something monitors. I have a lot of hardware, but most of that stuff I don’t use any more. The only hardware I really use is the Poly Evolver, but most of the other stuff gets done in Ableton with 3rd party plug-ins. Inside Ableton I do really like to use Waves a lot for most of my songs, as well as song single processing EQ’s.

The DJ List: How would you describe your sound?

I do have a distinctive sound that people associated with Wolfgang Gartner. I have certain songs that I have written along those lines, Shrunken Heads is one of those that really has written Wolfgang all over it. Even when I branch out from that on progressive house, there is still a really distinctive sound that I do. Little tricks that I like to do in my tracks that hopefully people can still tell it is a Wolfgang Gartner track and identify my tracks along the way.

The DJ List: What are your influences?

I don’t really know what my influences are, because whenever I am not playing i'll listen to a lot of rap on the radio on my car. I don’t think that influences my music at all, so I don’t know where my influences come from. Probably when I shop on Beatport for new tracks in my set and mixes and demos that people send me, as well as new kids putting out tracks. All that stuff has an influence on me I guess. But in my free time I just listen to rap and maybe that does influence me and give me a more urban sound. Something like circus freaks had a lot of hip hop collaborations on their last album.

The DJ List: Will we ever see you move back towards Deep House?

To me it’s all the same and has not changed since 1996. That’s why I got out of it, I love deep house, I will always love it, but it would not work in any of my sets. It would not really rock any of these crowds, but I don’t mind it in the car. Everybody says that I used to do deep house, but really what I did was Chicago House like Derrick Carter was probably my biggest influence. Disco house like disco samples, Carter, Farina and Sneak were all big influences for me and those were my DJ hero’s.

The DJ List: You just put out a new EP, Casual Encounters of The Third kind. What do you think this EP reflects?

That actually is just a lot of my old influences and try to kind of let me guard down and just get on going. Girl on Girl basically straight up disco house, but when I play it, it works. It works to the crowd I’m playing to and I can play it right in between two really hard electro tracks and people still go off to it. Somehow I managed to make a disco house track that really works in the current environment. Then Girl on Boy was a take on that track, obviously it’s a different track, but it’s still a more electro take on Girl on Girl.

The DJ List: At a festival like Outside Lands where acts range across a wide variety of genres (even comedy routines), how do you go about tweaking your set for a crowd that doesn’t necessarily listen to electronic music or are hearing a live electronic set for the first time?

From my experience with festivals that are not really dance music orientated, is often the best crowd for dance music. It might sound strange but when I play like Osheaga Jazz Festival or Sasquatch Music Festival, these are all festivals that have one dance stage that is like really small. But people who come to the dance stage regardless if they are fans of me or not, those are the best festivals that I play. There is just something about the open-mindedness of people, as far as how I would cater my set, I don’t really have to. I can play what I think is a really good set and give people a good representation of my sound, universally it will work. I do not like to plan everything super specific, but I do have a good idea of what I will play before I go on stage. Europe really is the only place where I feel that I have to go with the flow and read the crowd, but over here I kind of know what will work and maybe I will need to switch up a couple of songs in the middle.

The DJ List: For aspiring producers what is the most valuable piece of advice you can give?
Make hits and make a name for yourself as a producer and you will have a career no matter how good of a DJ you are. That’s what the scene has come to, sad but true and I am not a big supporter or this but that just what it is. Make hits and people will start booking you before they have even heard you play.

The DJ List: Any upcoming productions/shows you can talk about? What does the rest of 2012 hold for Wolfgang?

Yes, I am doing a North-America bus tour this starting September 20th for 5 weeks. 35 shows in 5 weeks all across America. I have brand new setup for this tour, I only have the blue prints right now but it is going to be medusa times 5. Like every aspect of visually stimulation you can possibly have will be in this setup. Lasers, smoke machines and it’s not just arena’s, small random clubs, mid size venues, this tour is really going to be all over the place. It's all about bringing my music to people who normally would not get exposed to dance music. That’s the biggest thing coming up right now. I also have a lot of unreleased music that I am sitting on. In the next 6 months or so I will decide what to do with it, maybe another EP or album.

The DJ List: Any upcoming shows you really looking forward to?

I actually just got done playing the Identity shows; I played 7 shows in the last two weeks. But that was a full on festival tour and pretty intense. My idol ERIC PRYDZ squirted me with a water gun and I never met him before and turned out to be a really awesome guy. I have a two week tour in Europe coming up, doing Creamfields again, I played there last year and it was huge so I am really looking forward to that. Other then that the bus tour

The DJ List: Any final words?

Shout out to my cat Mr. Bigglesworth back at home holding it down.

About the Author

Sean Daleweij
eric prydz wolfgang gartner