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Dance music duo Gabriel & Dresden moves past drama to make a 'vital' record

Dance music duo Gabriel & Dresden moves past drama to make a 'vital' record

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Dance music act Gabriel & Dresden is in a great place these days, and it shows.

The DJ/producer duo of Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden has remixed projects for Annie Lennox, Britney Spears, New Order, Dido, Evanescence, Depeche Mode, Andain and others. They’re back on the scene with a new album, “The Only Road,” and their four-hour set will headline a New Year’s Eve show at Ryse Nightclub at Ameristar Casino.

“This feels amazing because neither of us actually thought we would get here again,” Dresden says. “For many years we did everything wrong. We broke up at the peak of our success, got back together with no plan and signed with a label that didn’t understand who we were.

“But in the last year, we just did everything, right, finally. It’s so rewarding to get it together at this late date.”

He and Gabriel are approaching age 50, when “nobody expects anything vital coming from you,” Dresden says. “But from the reception we’ve gotten from this record, people feel that it’s a vital record, that we did something good.”

The path to a comeback began with addressing why Gabriel & Dresden broke up in 2008 in the first place. Dresden says they were at odds over the duo’s direction.

“We weren’t clicking in the studio, and we were having interpersonal problems,” he says. “I can admit I had a drug problem. That wasn’t helping matters at all.”

During that period, he says, the duo was estranged in the same way he thinks the Rolling Stones are.

“You hear these stories — that they don’t travel together, that they have separate dressing rooms, that Keith doesn’t like Mick. It was like that,” Dresden says.

About a year and a half ago, he says, the pair decided to talk about what went wrong. “We had never addressed that. It was a two-hour conversation, and it started to build that trust in each other again.”

“But we’re like brothers now. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and fill in when apropos. Our relationship is stronger now, and that shows in the music. The one important thing about the music we make is we have to trust each other. This is a marriage.”

Gabriel & Dresden launched a $30,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund the album. They ended up raising more than $70,000.

“We were scared about that,” Dresden says. “That’s admitting to fans you don’t have any money. Being in the public eye, you want people to know you’re larger than life. So we were putting ourselves in a vulnerable place. But we almost funded the whole thing in one day. We didn’t know we had that many people that loved us and were waiting for new music from us. That got us in the right frame of mind.”

“The Only Road,” the proper studio follow-up to 2006’s self-titled album, is about finding one’s home, one’s place in the world, and that’s where the duo is today, he says.

The album is on the Anjunabeats record label, formed by Jono Grant and Paavo Siljamäki of dance group Above & Beyond.

Fans will find the duo “taking five or six different genres and putting it into one” on the album, “a little trance, electro house, techno, indie rock, and there’s a track that creeps into dubstep. We’re just weirdos. We never fit in any genre. That’s our strength and weakness. But there’s a place in dance music where that’s cool again.

“There’s a place for us again. Now people are willing to accept something deeper and more meaningful.”

What New Year’s Eve with Gabriel & Dresden • When 9 p.m. Sunday • Where Ryse Nightclub at Ameristar Casino, 1 Ameristar Boulevard, St. Charles • How much $25-$75 • More info rysenightclub.com

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