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Friday 27th, December 2002
Dave Dresden

It’s finally here! From electroclash to The Clash, Moby to Depeche Mode and a Starry-Eyed Surprise about Oakey, Dave dishes his past and present. And what’s with the “Dave The Wave” nickname anyway? Read on!

Before he could even multiply twelve times twelve, Dave Dresden was bopping around to his father’s disco 12”s in the 70s. Raised in a conservative Connecticut town full of “ultra-rich” people, he accidentally discovered NY-based radio station called 92.7 WLIR in 1981, right next to the other station he listened to regularly, 92 WKTU. “They played disco music that had electronics in it. I was hooked.” Dave was 12 years old. “I remember the first song I heard was ‘This Is Radio Clash’ by The Clash; It sounded like disco, but it had a weirdness to it I liked.” So that’s where he sharpened his scholarly knowledge of all that is dance, including his current influences— Depeche Mode, Visage, and the like. In fact, he just finished a remix of a Cure cover song, ‘Let’s Go To Bed’, by a band called Ivy.

Even as a kid, he recalled that no one listened to the music he listened to. So what? In all its cliché-ness, it really is all about the music with Dave, not about a certain style. “I liked goth music, I didn't like the scene. I never was interested in advertising what my tastes or beliefs are in the way I dress. The goth scene is funny because as much as these kids are trying to be different they're still subscribing to a code of dress.” That’s not to say that he didn’t eventually find his niche though. He learned about disco, new wave (then called “new romantic”) and he even learned a few things from Moby, too. Almost every other week during his senior year in high school, he was listening to “This geeky dude and it was strange that he could make you dance so much. Plus, hearing weird music like this in a church with a graveyard out back, it certainly was odd.” Well, I bet the old school DHS - House of God tune must have a whole other perspective through Dave’s eyes. Oh, and that geeky dude? That was Moby.

At 18, Dave learned the art of DJing. He still claims he’s a far better DJ than he is a producer. His first production was a remix with DJ Maa of Hartford, CT in 1999 of a song called Superpower “In The Midnight Hour” and was released on Jonathan Peters’ Deeper Rekords imprint. As Dave describes it, it’s “Hard as fuck but still sounds rather fresh today.” Little did we know that worldly Dave’s favorite DJ was New York City’s provincially stigmatized Jonathan Peters. “Too bad he doesn't leave his shell and go off and show the world; he's wasting his time at the Sound Factory now,” Dave urged. “It was his spinning that opened my eyes and ears to the possibilities,” he reflected. The first time Dave heard him DJ was in 1997 at, of course, Peters’ long time home, Sound Factory in NYC, now infamous for their steroid-injected bridge & tunnel attempting their best ape imitations and nearly naked girls awaiting their butts to be sniffed like overly-pampered poodles.

Dave is now 33 years old. No longer a newbie to studio work and definitely not a newbie to dance music. And he no longer goes under his “Dave The Wave” nickname. But the question begged to be asked. What was behind the “Dave The Wave” nickname anyway? “Nothing,” he affirmed. Fair enough I retorted. “It was a name that followed me around for years and it was easy to remember - that's why I held onto it,” Dave further persuaded. Before he moved onto GrooveRadio in 2000, Dave hosted his radio show Hartford, ‘Electro Circus’, for four years and was busy making a name for himself at clubs like Bar in New Haven and Club Velvet. However, he didn’t start to produce seriously until he met Mr. Josh Gabriel in March 2001. Dave had been working as a talent scout for Pete Tong at the time and was, like all true industry heads (and all who know where a party’s really at) attending the Winter Music Conference in Miami. Josh handed him “Wave 3.” With Dave’s ideas and Josh’s studio expertise, they began to work together and soon landed remixes that professional producers could only drool over. So how did they get to do productions for the likes of Oakenfold?

Dave got to know Oakey personally “From writing – I did several interviews with him over the years in DJ Times and Dance Music Authority magazine,” Dave explained, “And he was interested in Grooveradio.com, where I used to work as the music director, so that gave us a dialogue.” Fast forward to 2002. The story behind the Gabriel & Dresden remix of Southern Sun goes a little something like this: “Oakenfold called me up on new year's eve last year and asked me if I wanted to come down to hear him play on Hollywood Boulevard. So when I started producing, I would send him CD-R's of my work. He liked it enough to ask me if we wanted to have a go at Southern Sun. When I heard the vocal, I was like, are you kidding me? Of course I'll remix your song!” And out came one huge anthem for the summer of 2002. I can remember hearing it at Godskitchen Global Gathering now…

And how bout the remix of Tiesto’s ‘In My Memory’? Before Dave met Josh Gabriel, he worked with Pablo La Rosa remixing Groove Armada’s “Superstylin” then handed it over to George Maniatis at Nettwerk Records. George absolutely loved it. “He immediately offered us the Tiesto mix but Pablo was adamant about not having a partner for production - even though we did such a bang-up job on the Groove Armada mix. So I took the project with me to Josh Gabriel.”

After having done remixes with Josh for the untouchables (DJ Tiesto and Paul Oakenfold), you’d think Dave’s head would be the size of an air balloon. And whose wouldn’t, really? But that’s just not Dave. He still runs errands, still drinks his morning coffee, still has his feet on the floor, (most likely under his keyboard while he’s producing some tunes with Logic software.) Dave can’t even imagine working with BT-- he says he’s not worthy! “I can’t imagine making a record that sells 10 million units though I’d love to reach that many people with my musical ideas...Something so personal speaking to so many. That's what it's about,” he explained. “But I'm not aiming that high,” the pragmatic side of Dave added.

And he still tells it how he sees it, no frosting or glaze: “I think that most people in the dance scene don't think with their own minds and are following the bullshit conservative ideas that were brought forth with the rave scene which came from the punk scene. i.e. don’t ‘Sell out.’ I have no problem making #1 hit records. However, I don’t sit there saying ‘I’m gonna make a #1 hit record.’ It's about making something that is the best you can make, and hopefully people identify with it Starry-Eyed Surprise is a callous attempt at getting on the radio.” But don’t be misled. “I still respect Oakenfold for what he has done with the dance scene. The scene needs more Oakenfolds-- more leaders, less followers.”

So what’s in Dave’s DJ box today? “Tracks that are memorable,” he quipped. Come on, Dave, give a little! “Scumfrog's new song called ‘Music Revolution’. I love the sentiment of this tune-- it has an angry yet euphoric feel to it. It's basically saying ‘Everything sucks, lets bind together and make great music,’” he enlightened. “I want to make a record like this which can explain the slightly demented ways of my brain that when you hear it makes you feel okay with those feelings,” he expressed, “If that makes any sense. I like to think that the music I'm involved with has these three things going on: 1. sexy, 2. euphoric, 3. sad. I want people to have a "moment" with the music I make, whatever that ‘moment’ may be.”

So what would be Dave’s moment? “Being in the DJ booth when [Ferry’s remix of] Barber's Adagio For Strings kicks in and I'm the DJ.”

Favorite Food? Chicken Soup
Favorite Drink? Coffee
Favorite Film? Spinal Tap
Pets? A cat named Kitty (she’s 11 months old!)

Many thanks to Dave and Victor Dinaire for this wonderful interview!

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