In contrast to the title, love certainly persists for Slander’s’s 2019 single, “Love Is Gone.” Since its release in May of 2019, the Los Angeles-based melodic bass duo has shared 14 versions of the track.
Following the original, the vocals from frequent EDM singer Dylan Matthew — who’s worked with acts including Seven Lions, Tritonal and Kayzo — were laid over a remix package released in January of 2020. This was followed by an acoustic version, an orchestral version and a second remix package out in full this past Friday (October 8) and featuring edits from legends like Kaskade and Armin van Buuren.
For Slander’s Derek Andersen and Scott Land, co-signs from these icons are a big deal, as some of their most cherished memories from the early days of their friendship (and career) include seeing Kaskade at the Hollywood Palladium and watching Van Buuren spin for nine hours at an Armin Only show.
“It’s as full circle as it can be for Derek and I,” says Land. “We’re a direct product of going to these guys’ shows and listening to their music and being inspired by it.”
But there’s a greater reason why Slander has invested so much energy and star-power into a track first released two years ago: the opportunity to extend the life of the song after it suddenly went viral during the pandemic — and the chance of raising their global profile in the process.
Road testing “Love Is Gone” before it dropped in 2019, it seemed Slander was primed to release a substantial hit. They debuted it as an ID at EDC Las Vegas 2018. Upon posting this set to Soundcloud after the festival, the most comments were at the timestamp for “Love Is Gone.”
“That was the main comment we were getting on social media for an entire year,” Andersen says. “People kept asking us when we were releasing ‘Love Is Gone’.”
“We played the song out for over a year before we dropped it, so it came out with a lot of hype,” says Will Runzel, Slander’s manager. “For us, it was a huge initial success, especially being a song that also worked in their live sets.”
“Love Is Gone” hit No. 45 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs in January of 2020 — but bigger chart success were to come when Andersen and Land shared an acoustic version that went viral during the pandemic. During a singular moment in history, when millions people were locked inside and turning to uplifting yet melancholy music for respite, Andersen and Land saw a steady rise in streams of the acoustic version of “Love Is Gone” as the song went viral on Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok — in the later summer of 2020.
The spike crossed over onto other platforms, with the acoustic version getting roughly 60,000-80,000 on demand streams per day at the beginning of the spike, peaking at around 600,000 streams per day in April of 2021. The video of Dylan Matthew playing the song on piano in a low-lit recording studio has clocked nearly 116 million views on YouTube, compared to the 16 million aggregated by the original video.
“What the ‘Love Is Gone,’ acoustic version did,” says Land, “is it showed people that, at its core, it is a very emotional song that a lot of people can attach life experiences to.”
The acoustic version now has nearly 159 million streams on Spotify, roughly triple that of the original. Its success also lead lead to expanded achievements for this original, with the song “Love Is Gone” hitting No. 12 on Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales and No. 22 on Dance/Electronic Streaming Songs in February of 2021, more than a year after its release. “Last I checked it was getting over 300,000 streams a day consistently,” says Runzel. “It’s still got legs, that’s for sure.”
Now, Slander is capitalizing on this viral success via the new remix package, which aims to extend the song’s shelf life even further. Originally released via their own imprint Gud Vibrations in partnership with Insomniac Music Group, the team signed the track to Los Angeles-based distribution and publishing company Create Music Group in April 2021 and began approaching new artists for a second round of remixes.
Initially, Andersen and Land considered getting an A-list vocalist to do a new version, but then opted to reach out to some of their idols, the artists who inspired them to pursue their musical careers in the first place.
“Instead of getting one big pop act,” says Andersen, “We thought, ‘Why don’t we get five or six really huge electronic acts, and stay a little more true to our roots?’”
Given the global popularity of the acoustic version, Andersen and Land reached out to international names for remixes. The final package includes Brazilian phenom ALOK, a huge star in South America, Dutch sensation R3HAB, who has a significant following in Asia, and Kaskade and van Buuren, who have broad international fanbases. While Anderson and Land might never had imagined it as kids in the pit at the Palladium, these latter two artists are both already dropping their remixes in their sets. Another remix by Tiësto is also forthcoming.
“To this day the song does well in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia,” says Runzel. “We’re hoping the Alok, Armin and incoming Tiësto remix will boost its presence in South America.”
“Internationally, we have room to grow,” Andersen says of this strategy, “and that was part of the mentality.”