Exclusive Interview: ATB
One of the most popular Trance producers, ATB, has been in the music industry longer than we can remember. His tracks such as “9 PM,” “You’re Not Alone,” “Killer 2000” and more, have gained popularity and is some of the most recognized tracks during sets today. We were lucky enough to catch up with ATB and find out more about his view on the EDM industry and his latest album!
- Tell us about yourself and how you got started as a DJ/producer?
My real name is André Tanneberger, most of you guys know me as ATB. But I was making music as Sequential One before the ATB project was born. ATB got started in 1997 when I came up with the 9PM track … in fact I was working on it one evening but I had to go out. I knew I’d hit on something special so I saved the layout and needed a working title for it. I looked up at the clock and the time was 9PM, so that’s how it happened! When the track was completed, it was so different to my Sequential One style that I decided to come up with a new name. ATB.
- Who are some of your musical influences?
At the start of my musical career, I would say Jean Michel Jarre and Michael Cretu from ENIGMA certainly inspired me. I loved those spherical electronic sounds, but in the early 90s i was also into hard techno. My aim was to combine the two. Today, I listen to the radio a lot but I try not to let it have too much of an influence on me. I have found my own typical ATB sound and I’m not interested in fitting in with any current trends. My fans wouldn’t take it seriously anyway if I did.
- You’ve been in the scene for over 20 years, how have you seen EDM evolve as a whole? Do you think it’s a good or bad change?
The electronic music scene has developed so rapidly, particularly in the USA. DJs used to be hidden somewhere on the third floor or hidden behind a wall, they weren’t really a part of pop culture. We had to practically rebuild whole stages when I was on tour back then, I wanted to be closer to the crowd, to let them feel the energy of the music and interact with them, it was kind of groundbreaking to be honest. Then boom, along came EDM, although it’s really just another name for the electronic dance music genre which was already there. Suddenly, festivals starting popping up everywhere and the scene grew and grew incredibly quickly. This gave the whole music style a real boost and dance music has become an integral part of the music scene today, both in niche genres and as one of its main foundations. It’s brilliant to see, although sadly the distance between the DJ and the crowd is often just as big at festivals now as it was in the early days of electronic music. Sometimes it’s hard to see who’s up there on stage, unless their logo is projected on massive LED screens, which is a bit of a shame. Being close to the fans and engaging with them is an extremely important part of our scene and shouldn’t be neglected.
When you think about it, every musical direction goes through changes from time to time. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much.
- What would you say sets you apart from other Trance DJs out there?
People say I’ve created a distinctive ATB sound and you can hear it in my productions (laughs). That’s a really nice compliment. It’s often described as trance, although I’ve never really thought of myself as purely a trance DJ. Anyone who has heard me play will know that I like to shift direction during a set, reading the crowd and taking them on a journey. I love beautiful melodies and trance is not the only place to find them. I’m not bothered about musical categories, either I like a piece of music or I don’t.
- You recently released your album, neXt,how would you describe the tracks on this album to be different from pervious tracks you’ve released?
It is my tenth studio album, hence the X in the name, the Roman numeral for ten. It took a little longer to make than some of my previous albums, but I hope the wait has been worth it! It features a great range of collaborations again, which is important to me. I have different ways of working, so some tracks start out as a layout which I send to a vocalist I like, such as Sean Ryan, or in some case I’ll start writing a song from scratch in the studio, as I did with Jan Löchel.
The sound is very much ATB, but bringing in different artists creates something new and refreshing as well. There’s a more chilled out side to ATB again, which you can find on the tracks which feature on the second CD.
- I feel like the album gravitates more towards a trance, pop music sound compared to your other tracks like “9PM[Till I Come],” or “My Dream.” Is this the direction you plan on going with your music?
9PM and My Dream were released roughly 18 years ago and it would be kind of sad if I hadn’t developed musically since then. I think I released a lot of tracks after 9PM with trance sounds and pop-oriented vocals. Think of songs like Let U Go, Ecstasy, What About Us, Face to Face etc. I love this combination. But I’m not setting any limits on my musical future.
- What’s next that fans can look forward to as far as new music or a tour?
At the moment I’m on my “neXt world tour”, but I’m planniung to get back in the studio in October and work on ideas for the next record. There was a gap of roughly three years between CONTACT and neXt and I don’t want to keep my fans waiting so long this time 😉
- Tell us 3 things we don’t know about you (hobbies, funny stories, fun facts, likes/dislikes…etc…)
I got my pilot’s licence years ago, but as I’m on tour so much I’ve hardly had time to make use of it. So that’s on ice for now. But I do like the flight simulator I have installed on my computer, it’s a great way to wind down and relax.
Funny stories? I was supposed to play the opening of the Olympics in Sydney 2000, but unfortunately had to cancel as I was sick…