Dance music legend ATB, recently released the new single “Your Love (9pm)” alongside two musical talents, Topic, and A7S. This smash hit is a modernised version of ATB’s debut hit classic “9pm (Till I Come)” back in 1998.
It’s been just 5 weeks and the song has already garnered a lot of attention from music lovers, especially dance music fans. Remakes with some modifications and alterations can not only pull in newer and younger fans but also bring back the nostalgia for the 90s kids.
ATB is a DJ, producer, and songwriter famously known across the world as Andre Tanneberger. The German musical artist already has 2 decades’ worth of success in the international music scene and is still thriving.
It all started when his debut single “9pm (Till I Come)” in the 1990s became a huge hit, ranking high in the UK charts and won global appeal in many countries, which lead to ATB rising to stardom. He went on creating hits such as “Don’t Stop”, “Let U Go”, “You’re Not Alone”, “I Don’t Wanna Stop”, and many more. In addition, ATB has won numerous gold and platinum awards and is one of the few German musicians from the country’s club scene to become well-known worldwide.
Collaborating with ATB is the German and Croatian musician Topic, who began his career producing songs for numerous artists. He released his first single “Light It Up” at the end of 2014 on his YouTube channel, which garnered over a million views, and charted almost immediately. That basically kick-started his journey as a successful musician.
Topic’s first album “Miles” not only made it to the German charts but also entered the Austrian charts. Not only that, the German slash Croatian musician’s sophomore single “Home” made its way to platinum status in Germany as well as double platinum in Australia. Topic has also collaborated with other artists such as Dutch artist Jake Reese and Ally Brooke of the famous girl group Fifth Harmony.
1. What led to the decision in creating the remake for ‘Your Love (9pm)’ with A7S? Was there any significance in doing so?
ATB: Oh yes, doing the track after 22 or 23 years was not an easy decision because I know that a lot of people are like, don’t touch the anthem, leave it like it is. And I thought about this, the same you know, over a long time but right now I noticed that the melody is still so strong that I thought we have to bring this melody into 2021.
So we had the pandemic, and during the lockdowns, I was sitting in a studio and I thought, now it’s the time for it but I wanted to have the right guy to work on it because if I would have done it alone, it would never sound like it is right now because after listening to this track millions of times, it’s hard to be really creative on it so I needed the right partner for the trick.
Last year I listened to a lot of Topic’s stuff and I immediately noticed that he’s the right guy to work with for “9pm”. The tricky part was figuring how to get in contact with him. Coincidently, I worked with a video guy for a show I did in a planetarium, and I remember that he told us that a friend of him is Toby. I just had in mind, “Okay, we call him, and maybe he can get us in contact to shorten it up”. He gave us the telephone number. I called Topic, and he was like, “Oh yeah that’s a nice idea, let’s meet” and so it was really fast. After two days, we talked about it on the phone, we then went to the studio and started working, so it was amazing. Now, the result in the end is great, because Toby is not a fan of cover versions as well and so we had the same mindset that we have to do the song from scratch. We decided to redo the song and that’s the reason we have a new name as well.
2. ATB, you have passed down many requests for collaborations, remakes, and cover versions for your debut song. So what made you choose Topic and A75 to form a collaboration for the remake? How are they different from the requests you’ve turned down?
ATB: You know it’s the sound. First of all, I’m a DJ and a producer, and of course when I’m doing tracks, I always have the ID before in my head and I just have to rework it out of my head. When I listened to Topic and A7S’ sound, I already could build it in my head how it sounds with the guitar sound and A7S’ voice and Topic’s elements. I already had it in my head and so, it sounded good even before we started working on it. The result in the end was exactly how I wanted it, so it was amazing working with these two guys.
3. Topic, I heard you were a huge fan of “9pm (Till I Come)” ever since you were little. What was it like collaborating with ATB on the remake of the song?
Topic: Yeah, I really grew up with this song and in general it was probably my first introduction to dance music, like when I was six-seven years old. And, to be honest, my first reaction was that I don’t want to do covers and I don’t want to take old songs like how many people are doing it right now. They’d just take a song from the 90s and remake a different production and release it. But, Andre also didn’t want to do just a cover and so we just did a sample and I’m also really happy that we created something new. The collaboration was very fun and it was also very intuitive, I would say. Like we just met a few times in the studio and I think it felt like almost every step we did, we were on the same page and we had the same vibe, and we were really happy it all worked out.
4. Were there any challenges in recreating the song?
Topic: No, not really. Usually, I would say when you are making a song you always have problems, like sometimes you don’t know what are the perfect arrangements, what are the perfect sounds, and sometimes you’re stuck in the mixing process. With this track, it helped that we never changed the arrangement. Usually, we’d play around with an arrangement for weeks and sometimes end up changing so much stuff. We never did any of that. It was very quick.
5. It was very easy in general. Right?
ATB: Yeah. It was fun you know. I had a lot of collaborations in the past as well but as Toby said, it was crazy. We were just sitting there and we just produced it and there was never a situation where we said, “Oh, I don’t like this” and we never hung. Everything worked out and that’s the reason why it was really fast. And I think that’s why the result, in the end, was really fast and it was really good work. Maybe we will do some more in the future.
6. Do you guys have any plans on recreating any more music in the future?
ATB: Let’s see, we don’t have any plans but, in the music scene, it’s good to not plan. But who knows what would happen in the future.
7. In “Your Love (9pm)”, there are clearly some added words to this song compared to “9pm (Till I Come)”. How was the writing process? What meaning can be conveyed from the song itself?
Topic: So for the writing process we hooked up with A7S. He is like my closest collaboration partner in terms of songwriting, and we were working together now for several years and got really close. When Andre and I started the instrumental, we thought it’ll be best to send the instrumental to him, so he can just freestyle some of his melodies. Then we just joined on another on zoom call with him and started writing. He recorded his stuff in Sweden and sent it to us after he was done.
7. What do you enjoy most about working with A75? What’s unique about his artistry?
Topic: I really love it. He’s very versatile. He’s not very monotone. He’s always open for new vibes and all of his stuff are very unique and high quality. That’s what I really like.
ATB: His voice is really fitting to the whole thing. That’s what I think. When you listen to the song, it’s like his voice and the guitar sound and the whole production is really cohesive. You feel like it’s not just a voice being put into a song. There are a lot of songs out there where somebody’s just singing on it. With our track, it’s all glued together and his voice blends well with guitar sound and the production. It’s a 100% perfect fit.
8. Because of the current Covid-19 pandemic, what were your biggest challenge to overcome?
ATB: The big challenge during the pandemic is missing so many people; not just professionals or people you’re traveling with. Right now we are in lockdown in Germany. That means you can’t meet your friends, the shops are closed so you can’t even go into restaurants. I miss that so much. It’s physically and psychologically hard. So I hope that we will get rid of this very soon. My hopes are really high but it will probably take a couple of months before things improved, to be honest.
9. You guys hardly leave your houses?
ATB: We can leave our house, but you’re not allowed to meet other people or have parties or whatever. You can go out and walk around, do sports and things like that but you can’t meet other people. But as humans, we long for human contact.
10. If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Topic: Oh, that’s a tough question.
A7S: If you would have asked me this question some time ago, I was not liking streaming platforms like Spotify. But right now, I think it’s necessary in this music business. I don’t want to change it anymore because when I release music now, way more people can listen to your stuff compared to before when you just had the CDs and the physical collection.
So I think it’s a really good time right now and I don’t want to change the music business because everything is good as it is now. A couple of years back, there were a lot of pirate music with MP3 but right now, I think the music scene or business has found the right channels to present music to the whole world. That’s a good thing. Through Spotify, Apple Music, and all these outlets.
11. It’s more convenient than before?
ATB: Yeah, it’s good for young and creative people. You can bring out your music so easily these days. On the other hand, there are so many people doing music, so it’s hard to find the good stuff. But you have the opportunity to put it out on YouTube whenever you want it. It’s so easy. Of course, you have to produce really good stuff to get attention from the world.
12. How do you think live concerts would be like in the near future?
Topic: I think there will be a big hype when it’s over. Maybe for the first week or two weeks, people will be a little bit scared, but I think it’s gonna be back to normal fast and it feels like so many people are waiting to go to clubs or festivals again. I think 2022 will be really crazy.
13. Would you guys love to come to Malaysia one day if you had the chance to?
Topic: Of course I would really love to go to Malaysia. I’ve never been to Malaysia actually, and I heard great stories of friends who visited.
ATB: I’ve been a couple of times in Malaysia. I remember playing at the Formula One a few times. So yeah, it’s a beautiful country and I hope to be back very soon.
ATB, Topic, and A7S’s collaborated single “Your Love (9pm)” came out on 15th January on ATB’s YouTube channel. The song is a remake of ATB’s smash-hit debut single 9pm (Till I Come)”. You can listen to both here:
A big shoutout to Universal Music Malaysia for giving us the chance to have a conversation with these amazing and talented musical artists virtually.