Italy’s Gai Barone has rightfully earned his place leading figures in the progressive house and trance scene. His passion for all kinds of music has seen him score hits across progressive, techno, and trance supported by industry giants like Apparat, Above & Beyond, Nick Warren, Armin Van Buuren, Solarstone, Gabriel and Dresden, Paul Van Dyk and Max Graham.
DJing since the 90’s, Barone’s sound has moved with the times, yet firmly stayed within the underground. First hitting the big time with ‘Lilith’ on Afterglow in 2008, he’s made appearances on some of the world’s biggest imprints, including Coldharbour, Hope Recordings, Perfecto, Armada and remixing the likes of Markus Schultz, Jim Rivers, Andy Moor, Cid Inc and Evren Ulusoy.
Hey Gai, thanks for joining us at Decoded Magazine. I’m gonna be straight with you! I think you must be a Cyborg. Your output of music is next to none! How are you maintaining that work rate of production?
Thank you for having me. I’m not a kind of Cyborg, only a human being with a huge passion for music in general, who tries to do everything to spend his everyday life with it. My whole day is made of music production or DJing so I have so many influences from it and I love different genres, and probably that’s the best way to keep the fire burning! Listening and Playing, what else…
You are unashamedly and effortlessly crossing the boundaries between Progressive House, Techno, and Trance. Was this a conscious decision to break the boundaries?
I’m not sure this a conscious process, actually I’m not a big fan of categories, so when I start a track I don’t have a pre-programmed genre. I let it flow and let other people decide what the track will be; many musicians, producers or DJs believe that music can be classified into 2 different ways, good or bad, I’m with them but, what is terrible for somebody can be a real gem for others!
There are levels of delicate texture, ultra-melodic composition, a cinematic almost operatic arrangement in your music! Where did you learn your musical crafting?
I come from the classic Academy, I started to play piano when I was very young, and probably so many years spent with Chopin or Schubert influenced me a lot; Sometimes, I’m almost obsessed by melodies, in the end they will let a track live longer or maybe forever. I know melodies can be a sort of a cage, but if they are good, they can make the difference!
Here in the UK, I can’t see artists forming musical relationships between artists who are prominent in differing genres, yet across Europe, whether it be through label releases or remixes on singles, it seems apparent that the crossover between let’s say, “progressive house” and “trance” is hugely apparent. Why do you think this is the case?
As I wrote before, I’m not a big fan of genres, I mean I’m not that kind of DJ who doesn’t play a track only for the reason why it’s labelled as house music, indie, disco, techno, or whatever; this attitude is really wrong, if I feel a track I play it, simple as that, and trust me this is a great opportunity to give people, listeners or clubbers a big chance to push those boundaries. I know many ‘posh’ DJs who don’t play a track because it’s labelled as a trance track, but I think they’re missing a lot of good music out there!
I got the promo of the remix you did of “Push – Universal Nation” (which Sasha played at Fabric earlier this year) and then I also bought your reinterpretation of Love Stimulation! Amazing work! Given the time and free access to any 90’s classic Prog/Trance tracks… What 5 tracks would you like to remix?
Now, there are so many tracks I’d love to remix! By the way that’s my top 5, and I promise you I’ll remix some of them in the future!
Transformer 2 – Pacific Symphony
Get Decor – Passion
LFO – LFO
Golden Girls – Kinetic
Your dub remix of Movement Machina – Soul Muse is quite possibly one of the most beautiful tracks I have ever listened to. It has those key change moments I’d normally associate with Sasha. What kind of audience do you feel is attracted to your style of electronica?
I really appreciate it, so happy you like it! It’s a really meditative track actually. It won’t work on the peak time, but it’s something that I usually play at the end of a session, a late night/early morning mood track!
I think people who like my style is strictly connected with feelings, they want to feel music, not only dance to it. I suppose many of my tracks are not ‘easy tracks’ to play because they don’t have a proper DJ intro mix or a longer outro, but that’s the beauty, there are no rules, and that’s how it should be. Music is not made of rules or bars or numbers.
I had a chat with a producer last year at Luminosity and he asked me why my intros are not in 16 bars, or why do I add a bassline after one minute? these questions don’t make any sense to me, and they have nothing to do with music, in my opinion!
There’s so much listen-ability in your Electronica productions! Can you see a location or setting to present this music that isn’t a club or radio show?
It depends on the track, for example if I think of the remix of Movement Machina, I can easily imagine listeners enjoying it even on the bed, or in front of an immense sunset in a Mediterranean Island!
Your Patterns mix series is on 239 shows now? And you also openly encourage people or labels to send you promos for inclusion in the mix! How do you go about programming the set? Is it on the fly mixing or carefully pre-programmed?
It’s one of the best part of the game, I spent many hours a week on the track selection! On digital stores and of course on promos, and believe me, I love it, but the guideline is always the same. If I feel it… that’s on Patterns :)
I’ve only just found your “When Doves Cry” Tribute! It’s very subtle use of the Prince classic, you’re not relying on the hook at all! We’ve asked you about the 90’s classic Prog/Trance tracks you’d like to remix… what about personal classics outside of the Dance genre? I supposed what I am basically asking, any chance you could remix Pink Floyds “Keep Talking” for me? please?
Haha, I’d love to remix it. It’s definitely one of my favorite songs ever. Not an easy busy actually, and I don’t want to be disrespectful to a beauty like that! I love Depeche Mode old and new ones, Genesis and many rock bands from the 80’s like Def Leppard or Kiss, and I’m also addicted to Pat Metheny, such a ALIEN!!!!!
Let’s talk Progressive House. For a moment a few years ago Beatport got it completely wrong… and lot of us felt that we’d been “Guetta’d” out of our musical taste. What’s your take on the Progressive House scene now? Are we in full recovery?
Haha, I know the feeling of been Guetta’d and I still remember it, but thank God that nightmare’s gone. We have the progressive house back and I’m so happy about that. I can feel the right mood of progressive music now when I scroll down the chart and I finally see the names of real progressive heroes doing their job in the right place!
When all the remix work is done, what can we expect from Gai Barone in original format? Any sign of an album or EP?
There are so many things happening right now, I’m starting to collect some tracks for a compilation that I’ll mix in the near future, but this is still a secret. You’ll have 3/4 originals in the next months and many remixes as well, but I promise you I’ll work on a second album to be released in 2018!
There’s a little snippet of an instrumental/beatless section of Lilith on your Soundcloud. Could you see yourself producing a leftfield album or ambient or downtempo works?
Why not, but I can’t even imagine to do an album full of ambient tracks or downtempo tracks, that Lilith version was part of a tale, I’m a ‘progressive-man’ and there must be a tempo and sound evolution in an album, it helps me to tell a story which has a beginning, a development and the end.
When you look at the list of labels you have released through, Armada, Black Hole, Bonzai, Cold Habour, J00F K7, microCastle, Perfecto, Platypus, does it make you want to spend more time working on Afterglow?
Of course, Afterglow was my first love and I still work with them very well; there’s a strong collaboration and friendly connection with it, which is really important in the this world. It’s not only about releasing a track to get money, it’s something deeper and truly genuine!
Luminosity…. As good as everyone is saying? Looking at photo’s on peoples profiles and Instagram accounts, it seemed a lot more like regular people have a great time rather than hipster trendsetters neouveau vogue-ing?
Luminosity is an awesome experience, everyone does his/her job properly! everything is perfect and the people you meet at Lumi! OMG they are there to dive into 4 days of pure Music, they seem to forget everything outside the stages, it’s almost MAGIC.
My girlfriend is going to have a fit when she checks our joint bank account and see’s I’ve downloaded more music. I’m going to blame you! What’s being released before now and the end of the year that might possibly cause a rift between me and “she who must be obeyed”?
Hahaha I really appreciate it. By the way, tell her that music is one of your best parts and she loves you for this reason too. You’re just buying food for your soul not wasting money on something useless, you’re getting a better man for the best woman on earth, that’s an investment for your couple… this may help ;)
Catch Gai’s weekly show ‘Patterns’ Wednesday’s @ 17.00 CET on di.fm
01. Jos & Eli , Sean Doron & Jenia Tarsol – Amore (Solee Remix)
02. Experimental Feelings ft. Gizella – Can We Try (Gai Barone in Depth Remix)
03. Alex Vidal – Electric Night (Espen Remix)
04. Clyde Rouge – Connected
05. Movement Machina – Soul Muse (Gai Barone Dub Mix)
06. Subconscious Tales – Colibri
07. Stan Kolev – Unravel Me (Gai Barone Remix)
08. Art Of Trance – Curve Bender (Gai Barone’s Light Bender Remix)
09. Saraga feat. Ofra Haza – Love Song (Graziano Raffa Remix)
10. Uncode – Hate But Love (Drafted Deconstruction Remix)