If you put together a classic sounding melody plus a familiar voice and emotional lyrics, you get the formula for an everlasting record. That is what Saad Ayub + Fenja put into practice this time.
After ‘Move On’ (ft. Jennifer René), it was just a matter of time until Saad Ayub would end up surprising us with a new future classic. For this record, he teamed up with Jaren -under her alter ego Fenja– to deliver ‘Ever After’, an absolute masterpiece that lives up to the classical trance that more than one nostalgic fan still longs for.
The first thing you notice about ‘Ever After’ , a classical sounding 138-bpm track, is that it somehow sounds familiar. And that’s certainly a good thing. Its powerful kick drums, fusioned with the magnificent vocals delivered by Jaren, create a track that moves you emotionally while carrying you along with an epic and euphoric melody.
The track starts with a massive amount of energy, which only leaves room for excitement. The moment when the melody lets the breakdown in, you feel nothing else but goosebumps. If you close your eyes, you can even visualize the smiles on the faces of an imaginary crowd.
We’ve seen many producers drifting away and many vocalists embarking towards other musical directions, but with a track like ‘Ever After’, there is no doubt about when producers and DJs want to make a bold statement: trance won’t be dead as long as there are fans to support it.
This track aspires to recover everything that is good and everything that used to be part of Trance. And it surely achieves its goal.
I had the chance to talk about this track with the creative minds behind and here in exclusive, our interview to Saad Ayub and Jaren:
Hello Saad, ‘Ever After’ left us speechless. How did the track come to life?
Saad: Ooh, I love telling this story. Right after my track with Jennifer Rene was released, one of my biggest fans reached out to me asking if I would ever do a collaboration with Jaren. For me, just getting that request was a huge compliment, as I adore Jaren’s voice and have a great deal of respect for her as a prominent vocalist in the trance scene. It didn’t stop there: he went beyond asking me, meeting with her at Bal En Blanc in Montreal to ask if she would be interested. Right after that, I approached Matt Cerf, who is her musical partner, and we agreed to work on the project together. I will always be thankful for the opportunity they gave me.
An interesting fact I learned during the shoot for the music video (which is out now), was that the top line was originally written for Armin van Buuren, 7 years ago. Armin was presented with two ideas by Jaren and the one he chose became his track ‘Unforgivable’. I am really honored that Jaren thought I was capable of making something out of it with my studio partner Anderson Luis (Sunset). You can be the judge of how well we did.
What was the process behind the writing of this song? Where did the inspiration come from?
Jaren: As Saad said, this was actually a top line I wrote for Armin that was rejected. It’s not a bad thing – it happens all the time. It just wasn’t the right fit back then. My sound was probably a little avant-garde for the time and the top line itself was waiting to find the right collaborator. Saad and I were at the right place at the right time!
How long did it take to produce it -including the vocals- and what was the method to work on it, was there an idea behind?
Saad: All in all, it was about a four-month process from initial brainstorming to final output for Ever After. To give you an idea of the process, my studio partner Sunset and I start by brainstorming ideas for the melody and playing around with different sounds. Once we have something that gets us excited, we move toward finalizing a draft mix, and then send it to the prospective vocalist. She then either will send a pre-written and recorded top line, or she will write and record a track around it. Once it’s approved by us, we take the studio-recorded acapella and process the vocal to finalize the track. Sometimes we do change the melody to compliment vocals as well, since, at the end of the day, the vocal always comes first for me.
How would you describe the style and what would you say about the result and the huge acclamation by the fans and support by other DJs?
Saad: Euphoric, vocal trance. Feedback from my fans also tells me it has a very nostalgic feeling – especially for the die-hard trance fans that have been supporting the genre for many years. As for the acclamation, all I can really say is wow. I am humbled beyond belief, and want to thank all of my fans and colleagues for supporting me. Without them I would definitely not be where I am today.
So Jaren, how was it to work with Saad, specially to create a record at 138 when you recently have been more focused into something really different that was your folk album -7 Year Itch (2016)-?
J: Saad was introduced to me by one of our dear fans who goes by the name MomoTrance. He put us in touch earlier this year so he deserves a bit of credit. Saad is a great guy! So easy to work with. He’s got an incredible team of people surrounding him so it was an enjoyable experience all the way around. This top line was one of my final trance top lines years ago -maybe 2009 or 2010?- and Saad knew it worked well with his style and sound. So it was a perfect home.
Saad mentioned that according to some die-hard fans, this track has to some extent a nostalgic vibe. Does trance music have a special place in your heart? Like a place you can always go back and you know you will be welcome there?
J: Of course it has. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with trance. So many of my biggest moments in life were tied to trance: gigs, tours, Matt Cerf, successes. I also had a lot of failures in trance. Producers stopped taking my top lines because my sound changed, I went through a separation and couldn’t listen to it for awhile – also the industry itself is not especially woman friendly – but I keep kicking. The one thing that has always had me coming back are the fans. I’ve made some lifelong connections with people across the world because of trance. And for that I’m forever grateful.
To wrap up, what can we expect next from you? Anything else you want to tell the fans?
S: More big vocal tracks are on the way, including follow-ups to some of my fans’ favorite releases from me. Thank you for your continued support!!
J: I believe there are a few collaborations coming up – maybe not with Fenja. Perhaps under Jaren. I have a project with LeskoCerf in the works… Super secret!
Photo credits: Circuit-8