We recently spoke to ATB and Topic about the process of re-creating Your Love (9PM) alongside singer A7S, amidst the global pandemic.
The original EDM classic was released by acclaimed German music producer ATB as his debut and lead single from his first album “Movin’ Melodies” in 1999. Not only did it top the country’s music charts as soon as it was released, the song quickly became a hit internationally—where it stayed as the number one song in the UK for two whole weeks, becoming the first trance song to ever make it to the top.
Teaming up with two rather young and well-known producers and songwriters, Topic and A7S to revive the 1999 breakthrough hit. With each of their own distinct sound, the trio were able to successfully gel their musical styles together by adding a modern spin to the remake. Flexing two decades of refined work, ATB’s sequel might even be better than the original—and for a masterpiece as renowned as the original, that’s really saying something.
- With the pandemic and travel restrictions affecting everyone, what do you miss most about traveling?
ATB: It’s officially been a year since I’ve last travelled so that’s 365 days of not being on planes and hotels, which is funny because those used to be part of my everyday life. I remember there were times when I really hated it because it felt like I was stuck in a place far away from home but funnily I really miss it now and I can’t wait to be back on an airplane. But I guess it’s all part of the typical human instinct—where you want what you don’t have. However, I’m not complaining about being able to stay home. Since my wife and I welcomed a new addition to the family during the lockdown period, I was lucky enough to be given the time to see him grow up so that’s definitely one of the plus sides of being stuck at home. But on the flip side, I truly miss traveling and of course being able to stand on stage and play in front of a crowd.
Topic: I actually really really miss traveling and especially performing in music festivals, the rush of adrenaline that comes from the ability to look them in the eye while playing in front of tons of people. Though I did manage to perform in a drive-in festival, which is exactly what it sounds like—people park their cars in front of you while you perform. It’s obviously not the same as performing in front of a live audience, you just don’t have that kind of interaction with people sitting in their cars. I’m actually really looking forward to being on stage again.
- Since ATB, you’ve previously mentioned how traveling around the world has been a huge source of inspiration, how has that affected the both of you?
ATB: Well, good thing memories stay embedded in our heads. Not being on stage certainly means I don’t always feel the rush of being inspired to create more music but on the other hand, I’m able to spend more time in the studio working on new stuff and ideas. Similarly how the concept of the “9pm (Your Love)” remake popped into my head so that’s a good thing as well. This pandemic has given me more time to work on my own self but I definitely prefer to have a balance between being on the road, receiving new inspiration and studio time. To be honest, I love being able to sit in the studio but not 24/7. Thus, I’m more than ready to get back on the road and go on tours.
Topic: I wouldn’t say I prefer either of the two. For me, it’s a 50/50 thing and similar to what André (ATB) has said, it’s hard to only be doing one thing all the time. Imagine if we’re to do the exact opposite—instead of a lockdown, we’re out touring everyday and performing shows endlessly. That would also drive me mad. So I think it’s very important to find the perfect balance between the two.
- You know the saying “don’t mess with perfection” and given how your debut single ‘9pm (Till I Come)’ was already a masterpiece, how did this collaboration for the remake come about?
ATB: I wasn’t actually thinking of doing a remake and even after performing it at every show I was invited to, I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. Unlike the other tunes that I’ve encountered, the melody for “9pm (Your Love)” just never dies. Finally after 22 years, I had the thought to incorporate it into a new song by giving it a modern twist. For the longest time, I was thinking of someone that can help me with it and since I hold this song very dear to my heart, it’s important I get someone who can add something fresh to it. Seeing as how I listen to a lot of Topic stuff myself, I thought he was the right man for the job. A friend of mine connected us and a phone call later, he said yes right away—it was a rather spontaneous decision. Coincidentally, he lived right down the street from my house. Till this day, I’m still really grateful Toby (Topic) decided to give it a go and the results were exactly as I imagined it to be.
Topic: When a videographer friend of mine told me about this opportunity, I was elated to hear how I was handed a chance to work with such a legendary producer and I asked him to connect me to André (ATB) right away. Two days later, we met in the studio and started working on the project immediately.
- Since you’ve both played a huge part in the early days of the EDM scene, how do you think it has come to evolve?
ATB: When it comes to electronic music, people have been constantly asking me about how it has been changing and whether or not I see a future in it. But I always say how change is a good thing in this particular genre of music. No matter how little or small the changes are, it’s constantly evolving. Every year you hear a different kind of sound being integrated into the industry, which is surely a great sign for the electronic music scene. Unlike the early ages of EDM, where only a certain artist or a certain song will adapt a small part of it into their tracks but now it plays such a big role in the production all around the world. Be it pop or rock, they all take elements of it and incorporate it into their music.
Topic: Nowadays, I think there’s just more and more music styles being integrated with EDM. A great example would be how some artists have managed to gel distinct sounds of electronic music with their dark sound—and given how it’s so popular, I think it’s definitely working. Whereas, six years ago EDM only consisted of upbeat and up-lifting songs from DJs like Swedish House Mafia, Alesso, Avicii and many more. I don’t know where it’s coming from but these days there’s this melodic techno sound that you can find in a lot of hit songs now and I can only imagine it’ll stay like this for quite some time.
- We know EDM did not only play a huge part in American music but also other foreign music scenes such a Korean-pop and Japanese-pop. Are there any chances of you working together with any foreign artists?
ATB: Maybe? I really don’t know but from what I’ve noticed from working with Toby, it was really fun and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Working with younger people certainly has its perks and I love the fresh ideas they bring to the table. It inspires me to constantly be on my feet and given the long career that I’ve had in the industry, it’s important to adapt new styles and tunes into my tracks.
- If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
ATB: I would actually advise myself to do the exact same thing. I wouldn’t want to change anything. To be entirely honest with you, I never planned to have this huge success but I know deep down I’ve always wanted my music career to last. I was never addicted to the idea of being a big hit and I remember the time when my debut single first hit number one in the UK charts, people were telling me how I’ll only be a one hit wonder and in my head, I knew I didn’t want that to be true so I had to continuously do something different by keeping up with the times. It’s been 22 years since I’ve kickstarted my music career and I’ve been a rather successful DJ ever since so that’s the reason why I feel like I wouldn’t want to change anything and I’m happy with how everything has turned out.
Topic: For me I feel like I’m pretty satisfied with everything, at least career wise. However, if it’s something I’d like to change then it would be something regarding my youth. I remember really wanting to go abroad when I was around 15 years old and back then I was too lazy to actually find out and research on all the programs that the US was providing at that time. As time went by, I somehow ended up staying in Germany. Sometimes I hear stories of people going on student exchange programs and having a blast, and I think to myself how it would’ve been a great experience for me.
Check out the dynamic trio’s hit song, Your Love (9PM) below.