'In My Mind': Inside the Complicated Remaking of A Dance Classic

David Higgs
Feenixpawl

With 322 million streams on Spotify alone under its belt and its current status as club playlist staple, "In My Mind" is one of the biggest songs in the world. It's a dance floor jam that has gone gold in countries ranging from Italy to New Zealand and Australia, snagged the No. 1 spot on the charts in Finland, Sweden and Hungary, and made waves in the United States, peaking at No. 10 on the Dance Club Charts. With its global success, the track is a true international affair thanks to Lithuanian and Italian DJs and an English singer who all converged -- thanks to a classic track courtesy of a group of Aussie music makers to boot.

ORIGINS: A DANCE HIT IS BORN

By 2011 the Australian DJ duo Feenixpawl, made up of Aden Forte and Josh Soon, were yearning for a breakthrough. “We had never had a big track and never had a song really connect in any sort of way,” explains Forte who first joined forces with Soon in 2003 and enjoyed respectable, yet middling, success in the underground dance music scene with nary a mainstream hit to their names. That all changed with their supercharged “In My Mind,” a collaboration with fellow Aussie DJ Ivan Gough with vocals courtesy the English crooner Georgi Kay. It was a track Soon calls “simply life-changing.”

The duo realized that their little song that could was the key that would open the door to the next chapter of their career during a set by Swedish House Mafia’s Axwell, whom they had recently sent the track. “I remember streaming his [2011] set at Madison Square Garden in our living room in Melbourne right after we had sent it to him. We said to each other, ‘There is no way they’re going to play it,’ but the moment they did we felt our world turn upside down.” Gough also remembers that MSG gig clearly. “When we first saw a video of Axwell playing the original mix at a gig, the crowd was singing it almost straight away,” he explains. Thanks to Axwell’s reach, the track instantly connected with fans. “We then were looking at comments (about the set online) and everyone was asking what the song was. I said to the Feenixpawl guys that we might have a big track here!” According to Soon, its legend only grew from there. “The day after it became one of the most sought-after IDs on the internet and we knew we were onto something special.” Adds Forte of the track, which would later snag a Grammy nomination for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical, “It was the culmination of so many years of hard work and it legitimately left us in shock.”

A SONG REBORN

Around this time, a fledgling young Lithuanian music producer going by Dynoro (real name: Edvinas Pechovskis) who was active on Soundcloud became enamored with the track. “(I remember) Dynoro had told us he heard the originals song from his friends and (they would always hear it) at festivals,” explains Wolfgang Boss, the Executive Vice President A&R, International at Sony Music of the DJ. “He always liked it and was inspired to make his own version.”

With only 9 posts on his personal Instagram and no presence on Twitter, Dynoro (who’s only 19) prides himself on keeping a low profile, declining to speak to Billboard for this piece. (His biography on Spotify even calls him a mystery.) Only revealing his face in a September Instagram post, the elusive music maker explained in the caption that the original version of “In My Mind” was a big part of his adolescence. “One night, I came back from one of the best parties I had with my friends and felt so excited and inspired,” he wrote. “I decided to create my own version.” According to Dynoro in a second Instagram post, he wanted his take to stand out. “This song was already an anthem and I didn’t want it to be regarded as just another version of ‘In My Mind’... It needed to have a fresh and cool element that would elevate the track to another level. From the very beginning, I was thinking about the idea to use a sample from a big hit, preferably from an iconic dance DJ.” As such, for his spin on the classic, Dynoro decided to include a hook from the 2000 track “L’amour toujours” from the Italian artist Gigi D'Agostino. (Adding another multinational layer is that its title is actual French for “love always”). He calls D’Agostino’s track “the magic ingredient” had been searching for. “When I did the final version and heard it end-to-end for the first time, I knew that I had been right.” From there, he sent it off into the world.

CLEARING THE WAY

For Feenixpawl’s manager Dave Frank, with many trying to secure a license and failing to impress the duo, the idea of reworking the duo’s smash wasn’t new. “There have been thousands of bootlegs of the original but we hadn’t heard anything that really blew us away justifying a re-release,” Frank explains. ”Suddenly, and out of the blue, we were contacted by Sony asking if we were okay with a release of Dynoro’s version. We heard it and all thought the song was a reimagination with massive potential.” Perhaps trickier than the actual multi-layered production was a complicated clearance process involving multiple artists exacerbated by the fact they all lived in different countries and were signed by different labels. “Of course with Ivan Gough and Feenixpawl we needed their approval and publishing clearance for Dynoro’s version, as well another copyright by Gigi D’Agostino,” Boss says. “They liked the version, but first were under the impression it is simply a cover of their song which is not the case. In the end Ivan Gough and Feenixpawl and their representative Smiley Cleary believed us that the song would become huge and cleared it for us, as did Gigi D’Agostino for his part.”

BACK ON THE CHARTS

Despite a drawn-out process that saw the song released in December 2017, then pulled because of further clearance issues, it wasn’t until Dynoro’s “In My Mind” was re-released earlier this year that it began to explode over the summer throughout Europe, quickly rocketing to No. 1 and attaining its perch as club staple. “There's nothing I love more than a fresh and interesting take on one of my records,” says Gough of Dynoro’s unique take. “I love the success it's having, obviously for financial reasons but also because it's totally different than our mix. Plus, ours is almost five years old now so it opens the track up to a new bunch of listeners who will likely go and find the original mix.”

As the song continues to make a global impact, Soon is just as surprised with the success of the remake as he was with the original. “With the remake, we literally had no idea what to expect. For it all to happen again certainly evokes some sense of déjà vu. It definitely makes us proud that we have been able to contribute to pop culture in some way."