Musical Discovery: ‘Middle of the Night’ by The Vamps & Martin Jensen

Fresh off the release of his hit, Solo Dance, Danish DJ is back again – this time, with a high-profile collaboration with the British band, The Vamps on the track, Middle of the Night.

Unlike previous singles, Jensen adopts a more trap-like drop for this song. Hi-hat heavy drum beats and whiny synth make for an off-beat, slightly exotic feel. That being said, the producer is aware that The Vamps four-piece want a more emotional, heartfelt release this time as opposed to the club track with Matoma, All Night. At this point, it’s worth pointing out the band’s fondness to have songs with the word ‘night’ in them (All NightMiddle of the Night and Last Night being the three on the list so far). Thankfully, this song does well to stand out when put alongside the other two.

The track’s quiet tone – as previously mentioned – is also no doubt helped by the brooding, mumbling lyrics, with the occasional vocal outburst. The introduction of the complex drum beat in the second verse also allows for a bit more soul, whilst also rushing The Vamps to the next chorus. As much as the track should be about them, it’s Martin Jensen’s producing talents which really take centre stage here. Hot off the back of Solo Dance, the Danish DJ is making waves with this release. A big increase in his fanbase and a huge debut in the future looks likely.

Musical Discovery: ‘Symphony’ by Clean Bandit feat. Zara Larsson

You’d have thought that a song called ‘Symphony’ by the electro-classical band Clean Bandit would involve bursts of violin and cello. Yet, with orchestral flourishes only appearing in the background, it’s another pop song by the trio which has this imbalance between dance and strings.

It’s a track much like Extraordinary and Dust Clears in nature. Bouncy, light synths and snappy drum beats are at the forefront underneath the vocalist’s sound, with the occasional, classical flair. In this case, it’s the artist behind Lush Life – Zara Larsson – and sings with pure, soft vocals reminiscent of her ballad, Uncover.

This track came out on Friday – the same day that Larsson’s debut album, So Good, was released. In that sense, Symphony‘s delicate nature was the perfect track to coincide with the record. It shows Zara in her true form, displaying her vocal talent. For fans of Clean Bandit who have only just been made aware of the Swedish singer, it’s certainly a great way to introduce herself.

As Larsson’s vocals take centre stage (both in the song and literally in terms of the music video), everything else – including Clean Bandit’s contribution – feels somewhat supplementary. There’s even an orchestra in the video, despite the classic elements of Symphony not being at the forefront of the song. Despite the lack of strings and the absence of a move towards the style shown on their debut album (New Eyes), that is not enough to be dismissive of this particular Clean Bandit track.

As with every collaboration, the trio always manage to pick a mood and singer which work well together. In this case, Zara Larsson leads a soulful single complete with impassioned verses and fluttering choruses. It continues the pop vibe of Tears and Rockabye, albeit with a completely different tone this time round.

Ginny Vee talks about her euphoric new single, ‘Give Me Dynamite’

From modelling to acting and TV presenting, Italian singer Ginny Vee has tried her hand at a variety of professions before pursuing her passion for music. Now, she tells Liam O’Dell more about her journey so far – up to the release of her latest single, Give Me Dynamite.

A career in the music industry is something Ginny Vee wanted since she was little – helped by the fact that her grandmother was an opera singer and piano teacher. However, Ginny’s path to her dream job saw her follow a tough road.

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One problem emerged after Ginny talked about her passion to her parents, who wanted her to have a secure life. “The thing was, I didn’t want to disappoint them, of course,” she explains. “So that’s why I went to law school and I went for different jobs at the beginning.

“The thing is, it was so strong inside me – the feeling that it was the right thing to do – that when I really sat down, talked to them and talked through all of my feelings, I explained to them why it was so important that I needed to follow this career. They understood.”

Did they understand immediately? “It took quite a bit,” she admits. “The real change happened when they came to see me singing in a live concert. They saw how happy I was to be on stage – how free I was performing and enjoying the feeling, the connection between me and the people. They saw that it was the right thing for me.”

Ginny’s music career so far has seen her spend seven years working with three other singers in the cover band, Belle Ma Belle, before going solo later. In 2014, she released her EP, Heaven n Back.

“I was experimenting a bit,” Ginny explains. “I was studying my style, trying to figure out which one was the best style for me. So recently, I signed with Subside Records’ Mind the Floor, and they are more into EDM and tropical house.

“I gave it a shot. We looked at several songs together and when I heard this one – Give Me Dynamite – I thought it was a really good song. I thought it was just the right one to go for this year. It felt very actual, very modern, and I really liked the feeling of it, so I wanted to try something different.”

Give Me Dynamite has the sound of a traditional Europop single: punchy chords, tropical synths and a catchy chorus all make up a bubbly single to prepare you for summer. With euphoric instrumentals placed under lyrics such as ‘love to hate you’ and ‘want another black eye’ – it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

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‘Give Me Dynamite’ is out now.

“That’s the first impression you could have – ‘love to hate you’ is something very strong to say,” Ginny says. “Basically, what is underneath is a story. It’s a love story that ended not very well, but actually, the meaning of it is this girl… She still really believes in the fact that the story shouldn’t end, because the great thing in that story with the guy was the fact that they were fighting.

“So actually, it’s a positive thing about that,” Ginny explains.

As well as Vee providing vocals, DJ Steve Manovski also lent a helping hand on the single. The musician co-produced Sigala’s top 10 hit, Give Me Your Love, so it’s no surprise that we hear similar piano stabs on this track.

Despite the two working together on Give Me Dynamite, Ginny is still yet to bump into Manovski in person. “I actually never met the guy, which is a shame,” she laughs. “This is how it goes in the industry right now; most of the time, you don’t meet the people.

“In one day, I recorded the vocals and everything and my producer told me there was some great news – that Manovski agreed to work on the song.

“That was great news because I really like his job and I really like his work. When they told me, I was really enthusiastic about it, but unfortunately I haven’t met the guy yet. I’d love to meet him in the near future.”

Although that is yet to happen, Ginny believes the relationship between them was very good, calling Manovski a ‘very nice’ person.

“I’m really lucky,” she says. “I’ve been working with a very professional and great team – all of them are really nice people, so I can’t complain. I’m really happy about that.”

So what’s next after Give Me Dynamite? “It’s very early,” says Ginny. “The song has been out for a small amount of time and obviously now I really want to focus on the promotion. I’m doing lots of interviews and for this one, I’m doing a lot of radio interviews and performing to promote the song. Of course, in the meantime, I’m working on my future material – more songs, more material – because I’m working on a tour for 2017.”

“In life, I’m a really, extremely shy person. So I don’t really interact well with people – I’m private with everything, but when I’m on stage, I’m really free to be what I want to be. I’m really happy,” Ginny explains.

“I feel like I’m expressing myself completely and I feel free. I’m not afraid, I’m not concerned about being in control or anything, I just feel like I really want to be on the stage forever and never leave.”

Give Me Dynamite is out now and is available on iTunes and Spotify. The single can also be found on Soundcloud and YouTube.

Musical Discovery: ‘Paris’ by The Chainsmokers

Last year was a great year for the DJ duo The Chainsmokers. Their awkward 2014 hit #Selfie has been forgotten and now fans know Drew Taggart and Alex Pall for the tracks Closer and Don’t Let Me Down. 2016 was a year for the artists to develop their dance style – with unique fuzzy synths and vocalists lending themselves to every single the DJs released. Now, 2017 starts with Paris, a track which sees them cement the best bits from their success as they decide the next avenue they wish to take with their music.

It’s clear that the success of Closer had some part to play in the sound of Paris, as the track sees the abandonment of a featured artist and a return to the chill, hazy vocals we see on the former single. Yet, whilst the song does see elements unique to The Chainsmokers’ musical style, there’s that 1975 coastal guitar vibe in the melody which makes you wonder if you’re listening to a variant of Settle Down.

Once again, the vocal rhythm and lyrics are bizarre, but thankfully a repetitive chorus prevents us from worrying too much about learning the words to this top 10 single. Paris is a laid-back single which stands out from the duo’s previous dance releases and may not appear at live performances (unless as the ‘wave your phones in the air’, emotive, mid-show song). It may be described as Closer Part Two, with the poppy coastal vibe being the only thing setting the two songs apart, but there’s no doubt that this will be another successful single for the DJ duo to add to their long list of hits. Paris is the perfect, relaxed track for those not so keen on summer anthems just yet.

Musical Discovery: ‘Something Better’ by Audien feat. Lady Antebellum

There’s always something interesting about DJs collaborating with artists who aren’t fellow producers or pop singers. The task of creating a song which feels like familiar ground for the featured band or musician whilst incorporating electronic dance elements can be quite the challenge. In the case of Something Better, American DJ Audien teams up with the country trio Lady Antebellum to create a track with the band’s soft vocals and a groovy electronic melody.

With Scott, Kelley and Haywood all possessing a relaxed, calm vocal style, there’s a big opportunity in the track’s verses for Audien to experiment with the underlying instruments. In the first verse, we hear gentle synth chords, whilst the second verse involves synths which are more trickling in nature. In both cases, a light drum beat allows the song to move seamlessly into the chorus – one with a bouncy rhythm and a groovy electronic guitar effect.

Here is where Audien is truly able to show off his talents as a musician. The chorus adopts an electronic style which fits perfectly alongside Lady Antebellum’s vocals, whilst still creating a sense of euphoria which successful dance songs can establish. This winning combination of vocals and instrumentals is also shown in the final minute of the track, as the lyrics are combined with the electronic melody we hear in the first two choruses. In a final nod to Lady Antebellum’s original country style, the single ends with an acoustic guitar riff establishing a soothing, mellow tone – creating the right balance between the band and the DJ’s contrasting genres.

Musical Discovery: ‘Feel Right’ by Wolfgang Gartner feat. J Hart

Once again, I have to thank Spotify for its ability to recommend songs which fit in to my music taste perfectly. Their New Music Friday UK playlist always reminds me about the latest releases from artists I like, but a feature which I only recently discovered was the Daily Mix playlists. After giving one of them a listen, I found Feel Right, by Wolfgang Gartner feat. J Hart.

With staccato, hazy synth notes, it’s no surprise that some listeners are describing the song as nostalgic. It’s a style adopted by pop stars in the noughties, with stars such as Pitbull and Cascada adopting club synths in a bid to have the next dance anthem. Thankfully, this song does not revive the cringeworthy feel which accompanied this style at the time. Instead, a soulful and refreshing techno groove brings this type of electronic music up to date.

This is in contrast to the verses, sung by British songwriter J Hart (real name James Abrahart). Impassioned vocals combined with fluttering piano chords achieves the same euphoric feel as the chorus, so as the verse flows into the main melody, it all sounds seamless.

Alongside comparisons to the dance pop we all remember from years ago, a musical interlude two minutes into the song nods towards the techno style of Porter Robinson (particularly his track, Language). With Robinson taking inspiration from Japanese culture and always trying to create emotive and atmospheric music, it’s likely that Gartner’s Feel Right was hoping to go for a similar vibe – and it succeeded.

Musical Rediscovery: ‘Play the Game Boy’ by A*M*E

It was in 2013 that we first heard A*M*E (real name Aminata Kabba) on the No.1 club hit by Duke Dumont, Need U (100%). Her latest appearance was on the track My Love 4 U with Marc Kinchen, but in terms of standalone singles, the 22-year-old singer made her debut with the heavy pop single, Play the Game Boy in 2012.

It’s a track which plays on the theme of gaming throughout, from the album cover showing Kabba in a toy box, to the arcade synth undertones. As the music video starts, Korean text appears in what is no doubt a nod at the artist’s music being influenced by K-pop (as A*M*E references in this interview with Digital Spy). On the whole, whether it’s the K-pop style which will give you flashbacks to PSY’s Gangnam Style, or the video game feel to the track which will remind you of the last time you played Super Mario Bros. 3, it’s certainly a single full of nostalgia.

If that wasn’t enough, the repetitive nature of the lyrics and melodies in both the chorus and verses does a good job of making the track as catchy as possible. This, combined with sassy but soulful lyrics, forms a well-rounded single bursting with creativity and groovy pop vibes. It’s the perfect reminder of what the popular music genre used to be.

So with a few successful collaborations under her belt, what’s next for A*M*E? Last week, she posted on Twitter that it will ‘take another year to finish [her album] properly’, but that ‘there will be singles’ as well. Whilst hit releases with the likes of Duke Dumont and MK leave her name lingering in the minds of music lovers, a debut album in the future will remind them of the singer’s bubbly K-pop style.