This week, we spoke with Houston DJ Athenz; Dave Audé, who splits his time between homes in Nashville and Los Angeles; and Chicago’s Steve Smooth.
Athenz (real name Athena Armylagos) has been enjoying the latest from UK producers Gorgon City and DRAMA, “Nobody” (Terrace dub). “This is one of those songs you hear once and you’re instantly in love with,” Athenz tells Billboard. “I’m a big fan of Gorgon City and the vocals of DRAMA. This has been on repeat since it came out.”
Gorgon City has crowned Dance Club Songs with three hits: “Go All Night,” featuring Jennifer Hudson (January 2015); “Go Slow,” with Kaskade and featuring Romeo (August 2019); and “There for You,” with MK (October 2019).
Athenz, who regularly plays at Houston’s Ouzo Bay, Boheme and Lawless, has also been enthralled with the latest from UK DJ duo CamelPhat, “Freak,” featuring Cari Golden. “Loving this one,” she says. “It’s hard to not like anything these guys release. It has a very groovy, yet underground, sound and I can’t wait to play this out in the clubs.”
In February, CamelPhat earned its second Dance Club Songs No. 1 with “Rabbit Hole,” featuring Jem Cooke, after first topping the list with “Cola,” with Elderbook, in November 2017.
Additionally, Athenz, who also acts as a mix show DJ on pop stations KROI (92.1 Radio Now) Houston and WNOW (100.9 Radio N0w) Indianapolis, has been appreciating 220 KID and GRACEY’s “Don’t Need Love.” “I first heard this on SiriusXM radio about four months ago and knew it was one to add to the library,” Athenz says of the track, which soars 22-10 on the May 16-dated Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart. “I had never heard of 220 KID or GRACEY. Definitely one that will be played through the summer.”
Dave Audé, who has 14 No. 1s as a credited artist on Dance Club Songs, a sum that ties him with David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull for the most among solo males in the chart’s 43-year history, recently put his stamp on The Police’s classic “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” The original hit No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981 and resurfaced last month on Rock Digital Song Sales, no doubt boosted as social distancing is being practiced amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve been working with Sting for some time,” Audé explains. “When I suggested remixing this recently, Sting said, ‘I’m not gonna ‘Stand’ in your way, Dave.’ It had to be done really, as it’s a perfect song for the moment.”
Sting, in large part due to Aude’s remixes, scored his fourth No. 1 on Dance Club Songs last September with “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free 2019.”
Another track by Audé, who livestreams on Friday nights since he can’t be at his many customary venues nationwide, including Roscoe’s in Chicago, Lizard Lounge in Dallas and Ten in Atlanta, has been jamming to is “Superstar DJ,” from David Guetta’s alias, Jack Back.
The song serves as a reinterpretation of The Chemical Brothers’ “Hey Boy Hey Girl,” which hit No. 12 on the (now-defunct) Dance Singles Sales chart in 1999. The DJ/producer muses, “The original Chemical Brothers track always blows up the party. Jack Back’s new version keeps much of the original intact, with just the right amount of new stuff to pump it up.”
Audé, whose official remix of Lindsay Lohan’s “Back to Me” was released May 8, has also been liking Black V Neck’s “Them Girls,” saying, “This track has been out a few months and rocks. It makes my wife and kids dance around the house. ‘Nuff said.”
Steve Smooth (real name Steven Stanula), has been into CID’s latest, “Dolce.” The DJ/producer comments, “CID always has great productions,” he says. “Big fan of the funky bassline and hip-hop sample on this track.”
Smooth, who would normally be playing weekly at such Chicago nightclubs as Tao and El Hefe, among others, has also been into DJ Kuba and Neitan’s “Feel the Vibe” (Keanu Silva remix). “I just love the future house vibe mixed with an old school disco sample,” he gushes. “The production on this song is just amazing.”
Additionally, the DJ, half of the Dirty Werk remixer/production duo (with DJ Bam Bam), which has two No. 1 Dance Club Songs to its credit (“Stand Up” in 2018 and “No Letting Go” in 2019), has been loving Swedish production trio BROHUG’s rendition of “Children.” The track is a cover of the late Robert Miles’ landmark trance instrumental, which topped Dance Club Songs in June 1996. “I’m a big fan of all of BROHUG’s songs,” Smooth says. “They took a classic song and gave it their dirty bass house twist. The breakdown is very musical, followed by an aggressive drop.”