Events Interviews

Armada Night Triad: Ben Gold, David Gravell, and Craig Connelly


Armada Night made its stop at the world-famous Avalon in the heart of Hollywood, with a lineup that held some of Trance music’s elite: Ben Gold, David Gravell, and Craig Connelly. As the Trance family showed their full support to the artists lined up for the night, we had the opportunity to sit down with all three artists and chat about how the year of 2015 is treating them and what it is they do in order to prepare for a show.

Armada Night at Avalon Hollywood – Ben Gold

Thank you very much for joining us. How are you feeling this evening? How is Hollywood treating you so far?
Hi, thank you so much for having me. I’m happy to be here; this is one of my favorite venues. I actually had the day off yesterday. I went to the beach with Kristina Sky, and she’s been showing me around town. I was able to watch my first ever Hollywood beach sunset yesterday, and I had dinner at a nice Italian place. It’s been a great experience. Today, I was able to stop in early at the venue to get my sound check done and put my tracks and special productions together. And now, I’m here ready to rock for tonight’s crowd.

What do you do in order to get into that creative process to create your tracks and special productions?
I have had various portable studios at my disposal; too many of ‘em really. One important thing this year was getting a permanent studio set up. It was all about creating an environment where I could not only feel good, but where I could also tune out. I tried producing on the move, but I just gave up on that eventually because it was never really productive for me, even though I had a lot of spare time while travelling. All in all, I’m most productive when I am in my own environment. I can just sit back and nothing feels rushed. I’m a one-man band, actually. I might get a tour manager on bigger shows, but I go solo most of the time. Therefore, I find it easier to just work at the studio.

How is Gold Rush radio doing? Are you pleased with the reaction you have received with the radio show?
The idea behind Gold Rush radio is to always feature fifteen new records every week. I very rarely repeat records. I finish the show on Tuesday, upload it on Sirius XM, and broadcast on Sundays. Once I finish that show on Tuesday, I start prepping for next week’s show. At the moment, I’m excited to reach episode 100, as I have a couple of special productions in store. I really enjoy doing the show.

You have the Garuda compilation that has just been released. How did you select the music for that?
So this is how my track selection came about… Gareth Emery wanted to format in a way that allowed for releases to be split into three categories, and I was happy with getting the first two selections. I joined about a year after Garuda was started and there were some great records around that time.

Is there something you would like to say to the Electronic Music community and your fans?
Well, I would like to say to the fans that I appreciate your support and love for my tracks and productions, as well as the support that I get at all my shows. I strongly believe in this scene and I am glad and happy to be able to bring you tracks that have their own meaning to you in your own different ways. I ask that all of you enjoy yourselves and never stop believing in music!

Ben, thank you so much for having the time to sit with me real quick before your set. Wishing you great success in the remainder of 2015 and a great 2016 for you! Thank you and hope you have a great set!
Thanks mate. Cheers everyone!

Armada Night at Avalon Hollywood – David Gravell

Well, We’re sitting here with Armada’s hot and up-and-coming artist David Gravell. David, thank you so much for sitting down with us right after your opening set of Armada Night. How are you feeling after such a great opening set?
It’s amazing to be here, I feel really good. I saw a lot of familiar faces who were here at the venue last time. During my set, I was watching them every now and then, and they went completely crazy. Pretty epic. I love to see people coming back for me as much as I love it when they go crazy on my set.

How is 2015 treating you?
It’s actually really good. It started off with me playing at ‘In A State Of Trance’ in Melbourne, Australia. It was my first show together with Armin van Buuren on the main stage and it was a big highlight for me. Musically, I’ve been doing a lot more shows and I have been getting a lot more into prepping my own nights. I am focusing on every show that I perform at now, because I want to bring something unique and something different to the table. I have also been working hard on producing vocal tracks this year. My first vocal track, ‘It’s in Your Heart’, was made in collaboration with CHRISTON, who has previously worked with Dash Berlin. I wanted to do something different, something that you haven’t heard anywhere else. And I am really happy with how it went down.

You are responsible for one of the biggest reworks of Dash Berlin’s ‘Man On The Run’. How did Dash Berlin react when he finally heard that track?
There is actually a really funny story to that. I had asked for the vocals about a year ago, because I really wanted to remix that track. I just enjoyed everything about the track, especially the vocals. I made the remix of ‘Man On The Run’ for myself personally and for my sets and I didn’t have the intention to release it. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even thinking of a release.

But as it happened, I was playing the track for about half a year until Dash Berlin and myself eventually started getting tweets asking when we were going to release this track. Dash Berlin then reached out to me through Twitter and we talked about releasing the track. We made plans for Dash Berlin to debut the track at his EDC Las Vegas set and the track would be released that Sunday of EDC Las Vegas. The rest is history and I’m really happy to have released it.

For tonight’s show, what did you do to prepare?
I always do push-ups before my shows, because it gets my blood pumping! I had prepared tonight’s show on the airplane on the way to Los Angeles, since I didn’t have a lot of time. But I did prepare a lot of special tracks and special edits. I made a track with Husman called ‘Valor’ and it got some great feedback when I played it at my live sets. Needless to say, I also played the track tonight.

As a fan of electronic dance music, who did you listen to and who was your inspiration?
When I just started to get into the trance scene, I think it was Ørjan Nilsen who inspired me most. He was playing this unique and really dark sounding trance music that I really enjoyed hearing. I wanted to take that into consideration when I made my tracks. Now, in 2015, I try to stay in between those sounds, bringing out really powerful melodies with even more powerful drops.

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you tons of success in all of your future endeavors and hope you’ll be back for more soon! Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Thanks for having me, guys. Always a pleasure! To my fans, I say: “Be yourself. Everywhere, anywhere, anytime!”

Armada Night at Avalon Hollywood – Craig Connelly

Craig! First of all, welcome to California and welcome to Los Angeles.
Hello, it’s good to be here, back at one of my favorite night clubs. This place is rocking; it looks great and sounds great. It’s always good times here.

How is 2015 treating you?
Absolutely brilliantly at the moment. I have been working hard in the studio. I’ve been taking a lot of time to sit down and make a lot more music, which is why I’m churning tunes out non-stop right now. I’ve also changed my sound this year. It’s become a bit different, more mid-range uplifting.

How does it feel to be in A&R for Garuda?
It’s great! It’s probably my favorite part of the job. It’s not like I know everything about production, but being a producer yourself helps you be good in A&R. There are not a lot of trance producers who work in A&R on the side, so it’s good to be able to give back to these artists and kind of help them grow as well. That’s my favorite part of the job really.

We know you’re coming up with your radio show. What can we expect?
I didn’t even really know what to expect myself. It has exceeded my expectations. Every time I do a show, there’s more listeners and more comments. A lot of people will let me know what episodes they liked. It’s not a Beatport-top-10 show; I don’t just sit there and play the hottest trance tracks. I start with progressive or slow house and things I’m really into myself that I’m not able to play in my sets. I even put techno in there. Occasionally, in a two-or-three-hour show, I’ll play a good hour of good house music such as the tunes from the Anjunabeats labels. People really like that. It’s a good opportunity for me to show the other type of music that I like.

Where can people find your radio show?
It’s on iTunes as a podcast called Decibels Radio. It’s also on Soundcloud. I make it easily accessible for people; those are the two biggest portals.

For 2016, what are you looking forward to next?
I needed a year of consistency, and I think 2015 has been that. But now that 2016 is near, I want to start pulling some bigger moves. Maybe to focus on getting the biggest vocalist I can or maybe to try something a bit more out of the box. I’ve even toyed with the idea of doing an album.

What are your highlights of visiting Los Angeles?
Going up to the Griffith Observatory has definitely been one of the highlights of visiting Los Angeles. I did a lot of thinking and picture taking, and I got to watch the sunset. I had never realized how big the city was, until I stood at the edge of the observatory. You couldn’t even see the edge of LA and you’re just like “Oh, my God.” I used to live in Manchester and you could walk across the whole city in 25 minutes. And to me, that’s a big city. But LA is huge, and walking through it would result in seeing houses for days.

We love that you’re here and we wish you the best in your career. Can we expect to see you here in Los Angeles more often?
Yes, of course! I have a good relationship with Avalon and like I said, it’s one of my favorite places to play. I’ve got a lot more music coming out, so maybe I’ll be coming back early next year.

Is there something you would like to say to your fans?
Just thanks to all the new fans. I think seeing all the new people come on board is great. I know there are the fans that have been there since day one and stood by, but there’s just been such an influx recently of new people saying “I can’t believe this is the kind of sound you like”. It’s like re-educating people. It makes me feel like I am doing my job just because I sat down and changed the sound a bit. I changed things up, put a new sound out there, and people are noticing.

We appreciate the fact that you’re so loving to the trance community. Thank you very much, and we wish you great success in your career and have a great show tonight.
Thank you very much. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here.

Written by RobRoyLA

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