RS: You worked with a hip-hop artist Mr. Man. Has there been any
resistance from the hip-hop world to having a gay guy working with a
Ari Gold: I haven't come up against any resistance with that. All the people that I have come across, as far as in the R&B community or hip-hop community, they're totally cool with what I do, they love what I do. Mr. Man is a typical hetero hip-hopper, and there's just those few artists that get a lot of attention, who have homophobia in their lyrics. Of course I believe in freedom of speech, but if we have freedom of speech and if we're promoting and putting all this attention on these artists who have these negative messages, then we also really have to have some balance, and give the other side, about people who are pro-women, pro-gay, you know, anti-hate type messages.
RS: When you're writing, do you usually write to a track or do
you write an idea down, and then make music around that? How do you
normally write songs?
Ari Gold: There really is not one way that I do it. For this album and for all of my albums, I've done both. There were some songs, when I got the track from some people I was working with, and that inspired a melody or a lyric. Or sometimes, I'll already have the melody and the lyric and then I'll get a track, and I see that this melody that I've written will fit with this track. Other times, a song like Love Wasn't Built in a Day was really fun to write because it was written in a way that I really love, my favorite way to write – working with someone who's really great on keyboards, and lead them in the direction of chord progressions, fool around with chord progressions, and allow the melody to come out of whatever we were playing with. It was really collaborative and spontaneous.
RS: A lot of the tracks on here have a very poppy R&B feel.
Would you consider that to be your definitive sound or your signature
Ari Gold: I definitely would say that R&B is my favorite genre of music, or it's the one that I listen to mostly. But, you know, we get so fixed on categories and genres and put everything in a box. I'm a huge fan of dance music. I'm a huge fan of house music. I love electronic elements and electronic sounds. You look at some of the albums that were done in the 90s, they definitely had an array of genres. You could have a house track along with a ballad, along with an R&B hip-hop thing. We had that ability. These days, there are still some artists doing that – Timbaland is experimenting more with four on the floor dance grooves within the R&B hip-hop genre, which is cool, but we've gotten very fixated on different categories. To me it's like there's a soul that is behind music, and you can put a form of four dance beat, cue something, and then all of a sudden it's a dance song. You just switch it up and turn it, give it a midtempo groove, then it's an R&B song, but really at the core of it, there's still a soulfulness. That's really what matters to me.
RS: Yes, and like your track Ride to Heaven. It's a very
current-sounding electro/tech record?
Ari Gold: Yes, I do love a lot of electro stuff. I go out to the clubs and I listen to that stuff, and so I definitely like a lot of that. I think for my next project I probably will want to explore that even more. To me that one (Ride to Heaven) definitely has some very current electro sounds to it. But to me it also has a kind of 90s house thing to it as well. I wanted to tip my hat to that era and that genre as well, because I do have so many gay fans and there are so many gay people who love house music. I definitely wanted to make sure that was represented, especially since I have become known for a lot of my remixes as opposed to some of my original compositions. I definitely wanted to give the fans something that even the album version had – a remixed electronic, electro house feel.
RS: The remixes of Love Will Take Over was a club hit. How
involved were you with choosing the remixers for that project?
Ari Gold: Actually with that project I was very involved with choosing the remixers. You know, I'm an independent artist who runs his own record label, so I'm the one making all the decisions. In fact, a lot of those people were just really great friends of mine, people who I knew throughout the years, who were remixers and producers. It really was sort of a friends-type project, where I reached out to the people I knew to get that stuff done. I wasn't really interested in or looking to go with certain names because they had name brands. It was more about a vibe thing, and it was a family thing.
RS: In addition to the music, you definitely have a strong visual
element to you. Wave of You is a very popular video. What inspired
you to use Herb Ritts' "Cherish"?
Ari Gold: Well, the video is inspired by all of the work from Herb Ritts, both his videography and his photography, not just Cherish that he did for Madonna. But it was a collaboration between me and the director, Guy Glito, because we had certain budgetary restrictions, once again doing this on indie level. So we thought that going to the beaches is such a classic and beautiful environment, and it doesn't cost that much money, and there's a certain beauty to black and white images. Both Guy and I were big fans of Herb Ritts. It was really Guy's idea to go with it, and honor this man who died, a gay man who gave us all these amazing videos and this amazing photography. It was Guy's idea to re-imagine (Ritts') work, and maybe even what he would have been like if he was still working. (What we did) was even less mainstream, in a way, than the stuff that he did, because he always had homoerotic stuff. But (what we did) was to push this even further and make it not just homoerotic, but downright homosexual.