In the trend-driven universe of electronic dance music, Gregor Tresher is the rare artist who transcends such cycles. His secret? A relentless focus on melody and timbre, timeless musical elements that other producers often undervalue. Just as a painting or a photograph appears to move if one stares at it long enough, close listening to the stratified grooves and melodies in Gregor Tresher’s music reveals an organic universe of shifting sound.
Gregor Tresher has a jam-packed touring schedule and the end of the year is earmarked for another release on Sven Vath’s Cocoon. As such, we thought it was time to sit down with the techno visionary and discuss life behind the headphones.
Sven & Cocoon has been fairly influential in your career. Omen being a club you grew up dancing in & previous releases in 2006, 2012 and now 2020. How do you think Sven Vath & Cocoon have managed to stay so relevant and at the forefront of electronic music?
Because Sven is simply an excellent DJ. There is also the fact that Cocoon are masters of keeping the brand fresh and relevant, both in terms of music and events.
I remember when I first went to Omen to hear Sven play in 1993 – it was a life-changing experience and is one of the reasons why I do what I do today.
Frankfurt, where you grew up was at one point was the leading city in electronic music. Omen & Dorian Gray being influential in the careers of some of dance music biggest DJ’s. In the UK, Germany and across the globe regeneration is killing venues. How important is it to protect cultural hubs and provide places for people to flourish outside of social norms?
It’s vital to our scene. Then again, I wouldn’t say that electronic music is still something outside the norm like it used to be in the beginning. It’s been almost thirty years since it started. The challenge is to keep it exciting I guess, and therefore provide spaces for it to flourish.
Having witnessed your sets on various occasions, one thing that has always impressed us is your ability to make people move, to dance. When creating music do you start with the dance floor in mind or do you take a different approach resulting in this outcome?
Thank you. I separate my two professions, being a DJ and a producer. When producing music, I don’t necessarily have the dancefloor in mind all the time, but when I DJ, of course, that’s my main focus.
I only play music I like, but I try to read the crowd and maybe lean into a certain direction that I think will work. Maybe play a bit harder when it makes sense or try to get them going first and then start to experiment.
Do you read reviews of your DJ sets or tracks? How do they make you feel? Are they useful?
Yeah, I do. I’m not sure if it’s helpful though. Usually, when people write something nice, it’s very nice but doesn’t stick with you for a long time and then someone writes that they didn’t like something and you seem to remember that. It is how it is though.
What has been the most challenging moment of your career to date and how did you overcome this?
That would be writing music in general for sure. I´m very self-critical when it comes to producing and releasing my music and when I´m going through a phase where I’m not able to come up with something good in the studio, it’s always hard to deal with. Thoughts like “I will never come up with something good again” are the worst. But I’ve been going through these phases this since day one and kind of know how to deal with it nowadays.
How hard is it not to repeat yourself in the studio and evolve with each release, but at the same time stay true to your own sound? Do you wrestle with this?
That’s one of the hardest things. Especially in the beginning, when you had a few releases that did well, it would be a pretty easy thing to repeat the formula, but I try to never do it. It is my main motivation to come up with new things.
Finally, if you could produce a track with anyone past or present who would it be and why?
Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), because I´m a huge fan and Robert Smith (The Cure) for the same reason. Apart from these dream collaborations, I´m very happy with my ongoing project with Petar Dundov. We´ve been making music together for a long time now and get along in the studio very well. In general, I find it pretty hard to make music with other people, because when I did I often had the feeling that both sides have to compromise. Petar is pretty much the only person I worked with so far, where I think the result is different from the music we both make on our own and it´s not a compromise at all but unique and special.