Gai Barone: The World of Progressive is Changing

Our latest artist interview showcases Gai Barone who has two new remixes out this week on Slideways Music.

Gai Barone

1. Hello Gai, thanks very much for joining us here! This is the first time we’ve interviewed you so let’s give our readers and your fans some background info. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?

Hello, I thank  you so much for this amazing interview!! well, people usually want to know how I make music more than anything about me, so here we go : I’m 39, but I look like a teen ager, living in Bologna, Italy, producing since 2008 and djing since…….1991!!

2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”

I started to play piano when I was 4 years old, studying classics like Chopin and Schubert, but my real passion was for Pink Floyd and the old Genesis! As I grew up started to play keyboards and singing  in a band, doing  original tracks and a lot of covers from Marillion, Kiss, just to name a few!! And a huge love for Depeche Mode and Martin Gore above all!! Such a genius!!

3. There is certainly some great electronic music being made in Italy at the moment, tell us a bit about where you’re from and do you ever get a chance to play there or do most of your gigs come from outside the country?

Actually I don’t follow a lot the Italian electronic music, even though there are so a lot of underground artists I really love atm! I used to play a lot in Italy as a techno and house Dj, but not now!

4. You definitely seem to be in an amazing headspace production wise at the moment, your recent remix for Tim Penner & Amber Long is beautiful. What is it that inspires such great emotion in your music? and what other producers give you constant inspiration?

Thank you very much indeed, glad you like it; actually I didn’t expect it; I think the original track is amazing and the Amber Voice is a sort of Godsend! I did that remix simply trying to do something different, a sort of b side, and the only way to improve the original track was finding another perspective! that’s why  I used a vocoder and a lot  of strings  😉 my idea was to offer an alternative to the original! and it was!! 😉

5. You’ve got two new remixes out this week on Slideways Music, both for Rich Curtis & Dark Soul Project ‘Synesthesia’. Tell us a bit about that those and how did the project evolve into two interpretations?

It was strange cause I did the Venus remix in 4 hours, just looping one of the main lead and adding some pads,  but I felt something was missing; that’s why  I did another version, and finally it evolved in another  way! I had the chance to use a real Sh 101 to build the main baseline…and the track ’s done!!! I ‘m having a lot of great feedbacks for the Son of Duke remix!! The main arp comes from FM8…a lot of asked me  😉

6. As far as I can see you’ve never released an album, given how accomplished you are I’d say that’s a bit surprising, is there one in the works? And if not is this something you think is important?

I promise you I’ll do it asap, I have a lot of ideas for it; I don’t want an album filled of progressive house tracks; I imagine a sort of collection  of  different moods and atmospheres, just like a mirror of what I am, right now! I’ll put some techno ideas and electronic sounds together and see what it will be!!

7.  Talk a bit about your relationship with Afterglow Records, the German label has released a lot of your music over the last 5 years, It all started with remixes for Jerome Isma-Ae and Cid Inc. in 2009, is it safe to say you feel at home there?

Afterglow is a real family for me, not only a great label! we feel what we do, day by day! Such a special combo, we are just a good kick and great bass mixed together, properly, talented people doing what they like most !!!

8. All great producers seem to eventually carve out their own distinctive sound and you’ve definitely done that. How would you say it’s changed over the years? I can look back over your discography and hear some pretty menacing productions, have you outgrown the darkness to an extent?

Honestly,  I think sound designing is one of the most exciting part of production! I spent a lot of time on it, it helps me to recharge my batteries after an original track or a remix! I don’t like putting too much of myself on mixing or mastering, ideas and sounds are the most important part of music itself, in my opinion; I mean,  if a crappy track sounds good,  nobody will play it or listen to it again; this is what I have in my mind, producing something people want to listen again, and remember!

9. What do you think about the current state of progressive or melodic house music at the moment?

I ‘m surprised atm!!  Just had a look at Beatport progressive house chart and found some great tunes among Hardwell and Co., so, the world of progressive is changing and coming back to the essential and deep sound of real Progressive House! And even happier  listening to a lot of  good Trance Djs playing real progressive stuff!!! simply awesome!!

10. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?

I think I’m still learning and I will never stop, love learning stuff from other producers or on youtube, I’m always curious about this or that sound;I’m not a big fan of  those Templates for Logic or Ableton, yes they are cool but every producer should find his own way to create music or djing!!  I’ve never took any audio engineering program, only self taught! I love getting feedbacks from anyone, that’s a good way to improve  and see what people think of  my music, what they like or they dislikes!!

11. What does your current studio consist of and what are some of your favourite programs / tools to use?

I’m always between Ableton and Cubase,!! I usually create a track on Ableton and after,  export all the single tracks to mix them all in Cubase; maybe a long process but it works for me! Ableton live is a perfect tool to create a track in few hours, but I’ll be stuck to Cubase till the end, my first Daw and always in love with it! I use a lot plugins, Reaktor, Kore, my super Virus Ti, Absynth, Maschine, Synplant and Arturia are my favorite !! Traktor and a couple of Kontrol X1 are my perfect tools when Djing!

12. What’s a normal day like for Gai Barone? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?

Family, Listening, Running, Producing, Djing, Producing..Family!! that’s it !! Electronic music is my job now, I know I’m really lucky but I worked hard for it!! I’ve always been a musician and I can’t do anything else!!  also, I love running when I’m not working, it’s one of the most important part of my day!!

13. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effort on your own productions?

Rock,  alternative Rock is  my fav music outside electronic! but absolutely in love with Pat Metheny, Toto, Kiss and many more! Yes of course, they have a great influence in my life and in music I do!

14. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?

There are no difficult parts in what I do, it’s a strange process, it never happens in the same way; sometimes everything comes from a sound, or a loop! or sometimes I spend some minutes to build a structure with the Arranger track on Cubase and work on the main idea after ! The best workaround when I hit a creative block is spending time on another track, switching off and running, listening to other people music!! It always works for me!!

15. What are you currently working on? What can we expect to hear from you for the remainder of 2015?

Just finishing a couple remixes for one of my favorite electronic producer and another remix to do; after that I’d love to spend some time on original tracks and who knows, on some raw sounds for the album!!!

16. So you’ve been producing for seven years, how has your studio changed in that time?

It became a vst studio with a 2 Huge Dynaudio and 2 couples of  tiny nearfileds!! No more hardwares for me, except for a Roland System 1 and a Virus Ti; unfortunately I don’t have too much time to spend on real time exporting or weird hardware behavior, even though I still master my own tracks with real Api and SSL compressors !!

17. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?

People think all the Italian boys are addicted to Soccer….well, I hate it !! or better, I don’t care about it!

18. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?

I think they should focus on what they really like, listening to their tastes and not what is best for the others!! Also try to find different genres,  being open minded!

19. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?

December from George Winston!!!

thank you very much indeed for the interview!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gai’s remixes of Rich Curtis & Dark Soul Project ‘Synesthesia’ are out now on Slideways Music, you can purchase the release: here

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