Songs, or music for that matter, have, time and again, been proven to be such a powerful thing. In colloquial conversations, the notion of the last song syndrome, or being stuck on the last song you heard as it replays over and over in your head has always persisted. For Hamburg-based German music producer David Bay, this rings to be true as his first jab as a recording artist in the industry fittingly comes from a song he just couldn’t get out of his head.
Dropping his first solo single to the world, transitioning from music producer to recording artist and performer, we’re sure this will ring true for all of us, with a song that’s fondly familiar, yet undeniably distinct in modern-day music platforms. To mark this official launch of his solo music career, Rank Magazine sits down with David Bay to discuss all things music.
Having done music for more than half of his life, Bay is an artist through and through. At 13 years old, he formed a band with his childhood friends, and up to this day, they’re still going strong, doing shows, and making music together as pools. In wanting to establish and strengthen the band’s identity and sound, he took on producing their tracks, which eventually led to him producing for other artists, he shared with us.
Aside from these artistic ventures, as a DJ, he was able to experiment more with existing popular songs, add his personal twist to them, and see how listeners would react in real time. Constantly surrounded by music and artistry throughout his life, it was that much harder for him when the pandemic struck and live shows were wiped out of existence for a time.
“In the beginning it was really tough because I DJ a lot. We couldn’t do that [anymore], and I really missed the connections with people. But I started working remote. I started working with artists, communicating [through Zoom]. I was in the studio so much. I worked on music more than ever before. So I kind of found a solution for myself that was super okay,” he expressed.
It was only a matter of time that he gets to pour all his energy and creative juices into making music. Writing songs, remixing tracks, and just continuously exploring and discovering his sound as an individual artist, he then found great comfort and confidence in having absolute freedom to make music for himself for once, with no one to judge and dictate his direction in the studio. Throughout this process began his journey to releasing his debut single to the world, a reimagined version of an iconic track in music history.
Originally released in 1980 as a rock classic by legendary British band Joy Division, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is an icon in itself. Having been named the “greatest single of all time” by NME in 2002, and “one of the 500 best songs ever” by Rolling Stone in 2004 and 2011, it’s no small feat to release it as your own over 40 years later.
However, Bay and his entire team were confident that a cover of this legendary song would be the perfect way to introduce him to the industry as his own artist, attributed to the fact that his rendition perfectly embodies the “David Bay Vibe” that is bound to take over our playlists in the months to come.
“I have done a lot of music already for my project, and I think it’s super important that you do a lot so you really find your own sound, and what kind of vibe your project is about,” he explained.
The debut artist continued, “There’s many people that helped me, and we all thought that this cover version of the song is a really cool introduction to ‘the vibe’. We thought it was great to start with it, because it felt good to everyone. There’s no tactics involved, it was really just ‘oh my god, we want to put this out.'”
The strong hold that the song had over Bay was already well established, way before he even thought of it as his own. He told us the story of summer of 2017, where he couldn’t get his mind off “Love Will Tear Us Apart” after hearing a snippet of it from a movie. On a particularly difficult day in the studio with no inspiration hitting him, he started playing with the track—experimenting with it to fit his dreamy and dance-y vibe.
Fast forward to 2021, in planning for his solo debut, he immediately thought of the original cover he’s been working on and editing for years.
“I’m so happy that we can release it now, but it actually has taken a long time. And right now, I’m super happy because during that time, I can still make more music and be aware of what I want to do. I still learned so much, and I think I improved the track a hundred times,” he mused.
Upon getting the green light from Stephen Morris, Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook—the remaining members of Joy Division—everything was all set for Bay’s long time coming solo career.
“We got the official approval from Joy Division, and that was so crazy. I mean, everybody grew up listening to their music. And that they heard my version was so crazy and of course, I wanted to share it,” he enthused.
Bay’s rendition is worlds away from the original, in the best way possible. With the classic synths and addictive bass line of chill dance tracks, the David Bay version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is an easy listen for a new generation of music fans around the world. And although there’s great pressure in debuting with a song a lot of people already know and have an impression of, he’s more excited to just share it with everyone.
“There’s always going to be an inner critic, but I’m trying really hard not to be like that. I think it’s really important to try keeping that away from what you do because if you only do stuff to be liked by other people, at some point it’s bad for your own work. Any artist should really just do the best he or she can, and let [them] talk. I really try not to think about that at all,” Bay remarked.
Now that the single is officially out for the world to enjoy, the singer-songwriter and producer is all the more excited to share what else he has in store. He admitted to having worked on so many songs over the years, and especially during the pandemic, that now he’s just ready to let the world hear them.
Original songs are definitely next in the agenda of tracks to be released, and he’s looking forward to see how else he can grow as an artist now that he’s officially opened his solo career.
One thing he’s sure of, though, listeners can expect him to keep on going and keep on making music for a very long time ahead. His version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is just the tip of the iceberg on what he has to offer, and he teases that there’s still so much in the vault for him to share with the world.