Upon entering Story, it’s easy to see why the mega club is one of SoBe’s biggest draws. Little sister to LIV, the club immediately captivates with long lines of pretty girls in their tightest dresses, bordered by tan gentlemen in shiny button ups. The whole scene — riddled with superstar DJ’s, premium liquor, and expensive tables — screams decadence and glamor.
It’s easy to forget that there’s a quieter side to the bustle of the DJ booth. Filled to the brim with what could easily be the most beautiful girls in the club — possibly the universe — Story's backstage green room is literally a dark shade of olive green. It's where a DJ can sit down, unwind, take an interview or two or have a quiet drink when hopping off what might be his fifth flight in five days.
There are various scribbles on the walls from star DJs. Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Hardwell, Cedric Gervais are just a few of the names that stand out, with a signature close by that reads “Miami loves Dave Grutman." There are two black couches, and a table, which that night happened to be host to a hospitable ice bucket filled with Fiji water, accompanied by various mixers, a bottle of Grey Goose, and a bottle of Patron.
Thomas Gold enters the room, and very enthusiastically greets me, explaining he just got off a very long flight, and is so happy to be in Miami. We chat for a bit about his new music. “It’s definitely my sound," he says. "Very melodic, but I am trying some cool new things.” He elaborates about upcoming releases, explaining that he has five singles in the pipeline, out for release on various high profile dance labels like Armin Van Buuren’s record label Armada, Hardwell’s Revealed, and Protocol — which was founded by fellow dance don Nicky Romero. We talk about how hectic his festival season is, and how many fantastic shows he has lined up, the one he’s most excited for being his Governor’s Island show in New York.
When watching a DJ on a huge lit up stage, or in a club like Story, it’s easy to forget that they’re a mortal human being who (in most cases) is extremely humble and easy to get on with. Though we're just a few hundred feet away from the dance floor he'll soon be commanding, chatting with Gold backstage feels natural. In just a few minutes, Gold will be a demigod behind the DJ booth but — for now — he's just a regular guy talking production.
“I use software synths a lot, but I own a great deal of hardware compressors and EQ’s and do most of my compression and mastering outboard into hardware," he tells us. As we nerd out about some of the more technical aspects of production, it’s nice to see that Thomas Gold is more than just a star DJ who’s turned himself into an international brand. He’s still that excited, music-loving, kid who bought a Yamaha DX-11 at age 15.
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Having seen its quiet inner-workings, Story now seems less like the face it puts on, and more like a well-oiled machine. Employees sprint through halls, coordinating various functions while bartenders slip into wardrobe in a room off to the side.
The backstage scene — seldom witnessed by most — is very humanizing, and quite honestly might be one of the most endearing features of the South Beach monolith.
As the interview draws to a close, we have a drink and Gold thanks me for my time, readying himself for his next interview. We're led back into the fray of Story's dance floor, away from the placid backstage setting, and it all becomes familiar again. That refreshing peace and tranquility we left behind is starting to feel like a mirage. Was it ever even there in the first place?