Wolfgang Gartner, who was voted No. 5 on DJ Times mag’s poll by readers, headlines a stellar lineup for Revolution’s big “Dancegiving” electronic music event Saturday. No, he’s not a German trance DJ – he’s American, spins electro-house and changed his name from Joey Youngman a few years back (details to follow). Gartner steps behind the decks in support of his debut album, “Weekend In America,” featuring guest vocals from hip-hop stars including Eve, Cam’ron and will.i.am.
What inspired you to create “Weekend in America”?
It’s something that’s been in the works for a couple of years – I just didn’t really realize that I was making an album until I signed with Ultra and signed an album deal. So I had almost half the album done already – I just thought I was writing singles. And then it sort of formed into an album from there. So for the first half of the project it was just me writing without any idea of where it was gonna go.
You ended up having some major hip-hop stars contribute. Why did you go that way?
To be honest, I’ve been wanting to go that way for a while. I mean, hip-hop is the only other music that I listen to, really. And in the realm of putting hip-hop vocals over dance music, I felt like there’s still a lot of ground to be covered. There are only a couple people really doing that right now – David Guetta being one, obviously. But there’s a s—load more artists out there to be worked with. The collaboration with Jim Jones and Cam’ron is kind of a new thing for me, because it’s a very gutter-rap, street-rap track, and I feel like that’s never been done before over dance music. It was kind of breaking new ground, and it’s not really a radio-friendly format, but I felt like it was a new pairing that hasn’t been done before.
Was it difficult for you to make the transition from deep house to electro?
No, that was kind of just like a natural progression of dance music as a whole. I feel like most people in the dance music world switched over around that time, and the music was kind of going that way anyway, so it wasn’t like I snapped my fingers and switched over.
So you feel deep house sounds dated, then?
I mean, it hasn’t really changed since 1996, to be honest. I love it, and I’ll always love it, but it’s all the same vibe, the same feeling, the same sound. I was playing records in my DJ sets that were 10 years old and mixing them with records that were 10 months old, and you couldn’t tell the difference. And that’s not the way music should be. With electro, something that was done two months ago could not have been done two years ago due to advances in technology, and the music advancing so quickly.
Are we gonna hear most of the new album at your show?
Yeah, I usually play almost the whole thing, depending on the crowd and depending on the venue. There’s certain things I will play and certain things I won’t play.
I imagine you have different edits and remixes and extended versions?
Why did you change your name, and how did you end up choosing it?
Wolfgang Gartner was the coach of this Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo, Ca., college soccer team, and I used to go watch these games with my family, and he was just this old German dude who was the coach. And for whatever reason the name was sort of floating around somewhere in the plasma pool of my brain, and I just stole it. No deep meaning or anything.
How often do you get to Miami, and what do you think of the city?
Probably twice a year, generally – for Winter Music Conference every year, and then I’ll usually play once or twice throughout the year. I think I’m back in December for LIV. I love it – it’s a great place to visit for me. I don’t think I could live there because it’s so intense, but for me it’s a great place to relax and unwind.