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Gareth Emery

To borrow from football parlance, 2010 has been a year of two halves for Gareth Emery. Crucially, it was the year that he finally pulled his finger out, knuckled down and got cracking on his very first artist album, 'Northern Lights', after producing tracks and remixes for some of the leading imprints in trance for the past eight or so years. About time, you might say. But the reason it's been such a long time in the inception is, oddly, testament to both his dedication and rapid rise to prominence.
"I first said that I was going to finish it in the next year during my first interview with DJmag," he says. "And that was back in 2006. Every year since then, I've said the same and never managed to do it. But somehow this year, in spite of having the busiest year or two I've ever had, I managed to do it in the first six months. From January to July, I finished it. I got so fed up with trying to do it and failing."

Emery's idea of failing is clearly at odds with that of many artists. Because trance moves so quickly - both in terms of beats-per-minute and sonic development - he feels that music can date rapidly, something he is acutely aware of and desperately keen to avoid. And it's his desire to keep this all-important debut super fresh that he decided to get it done, once and for all, and as quickly as possible. No mean feat considering he also found the time to tour (much of the album was written on the road), as well as maintaining his fledgling Garuda label and its corresponding club night at Sankey's in Manchester.
"For the first half of the year, I didn't have much of a life. Anything I could do on the road I did, and the rest was spent in the studio. Doing an artist album is always going to be one of the most difficult things to do. Before, I'd have four or five tracks and be working on them for five months. Then all of a sudden the tracks from the beginning of the project start to sound less current. I'd end up releasing them, but realised that if I was going to do it, I was going to have to work massively hard and make it in a short, intense period of time.
"There's always this pressure to constantly be doing stuff, to constantly have music out there. The reason you do that is you want to keep your gig diary busy. This was the first time I had the freedom to do it. And I'm so glad I did."

None of the vocalists he's used on the album had ever done dance music before. Emery even recruited his sister Roxanne, a folk singer with her own burgeoning career in the music business, as well as sometime model and singer Lucy Saunders. His plans post the album are hardly pedestrian either. He wants to take it properly live, on the road and see how it pans out. By the time you read this, he'll have done his first show at the O2 Academy in Leeds. The classically trained pianist will be picking up a synth (and possibly the guitar too) bringing all the vocalists in to sing their tracks live, as well as co-ordinating live strings and live drums. It's ambitious, but nothing he can't handle.
"It's a complete shot in the dark. If it's a success, we may take it on the road," he says. A Northern Lights remix album will follow in time for Miami next year, and also another mix, 'The Sound of Garuda II', bringing together tracks from the label. No rest for the wicked, then.