Friday's Mixtape Rewind festical in Dubai on Friday will see several artists preforming their 1990s hits. The night is set to relive memories both fond and – for some – best forgotten. We talk to the headliners.
Take a trip down memory lane at the Mixtape Rewind festival
Biggest hit song: King of Wishful Thinking
Album: Pretty Woman soundtrack (1990) and Indian Summer (1992)
Chart performance: No 8 in the US; No 6 in Australia
The guitarist Richard Drummie says the song was the first written for the group’s Indian Summer album. His enthusiasm for the track initially diminished when the record company asked the duo to contribute it to the film Pretty Woman, starring the up-and-comer Julia Roberts.
“I was dead against it. I didn’t know who Julia Roberts was and Richard Gere’s career was kind of over by then and it just sounded like another Valley Girl film to me,” recalls Drummie. “We did meet Julia Roberts eventually and she did say: ‘Hey, you guys have a song in my film.’ And we said: ‘Yes we do,’ and then Keifer Sutherland appeared and whisked her away pretty quickly. I think he thought one of us was trying to take a run at her or something.”
Jenny Berggren of Ace of Base
Biggest hit song: All That She Wants
Album: Happy Nation/The Sign (1992)
Chart performance: No 1 in at least 10 territories including the US, the UK, Australia and Germany
The former Ace of Base singer, now performing solo, says the song sounded initially upbeat before her sister and fellow Ace of Base bandmate Linn Berggren suggested a change to a darker sound.
“The story is about a woman who is always leaving and that is because the woman is not whole in herself,” she says. “I think by changing to minor [chords] people can hear that sadness and relate to that song.
“I really believe the most beautiful songs are sad sounding. The album Happy Nation was actually built from the material of All That She Wants – that’s why the album is darker as well. It all fed from each other.”
Biggest hit song: What Is Love?
Album: Haddaway (1993)
Chart performance: A big success in Europe, topping the charts in nine countries including Spain, Italy and France
The Trinidadian-German singer, real name Nestor Alexander Haddaway, explains the chart-buster arrived in the middle of the night during a recording session.
“We just used ideas that were fresh at that time and tried to make something that nobody else had,” he says. “The song came really fast. I had the idea for the melodies in about 45 minutes and the total structure of the song was done in a day and a half.”
Biggest hit song: Where Do You Go
Album: No Mercy (1996)
Chart performance: No 1 in Ireland, Denmark and Canada; No 2 in the UK; No 3 in the US
The singer Marty Cintron, who is performing solo under the No Mercy tag, explains that Where Do You Go was born from the leftover production work from the group’s previous single, a cover of Everything But the Girl’s Missing.
“The song was written around the formula of Missing,” he says. “We got a team together, a couple of German authors wrote the lyrics and it was my idea to put Spanish guitars on it.”
Cintron, who is based in Miami, says he still gets a thrill when hearing Where Do You Go on the radio. “I was driving in Poland the other day and the song came on, like, three times in the car,” he says. “In Miami people still play the Spanish version of it. It’s amazing.”
The four headlining artists
will be joined by a trio of German-based groups
Helmed by the German producers Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti, Snap! reached their peak when their hard dance beats were matched with the American rapper Turbo B. Their collaboration resulted in the hits I Got the Power (1990) and Rhythm Is a Dancer (1992). Turbo B quit in 1992 before rejoining the group for another limited spell in 2000.
The dance group scored hits with Sweet Dreams (1994) and Be My Lover (1995). The group were an international operation with the Americans Melanie Thornton and Lance McRay contributing vocals over beats by the German producer Frank Farian of Boney M fame. Thornton tragically died in 2001 in a plane crash. McRay still tours under the name La Bouche with another female vocalist.
Despite none of the original performers – the singer Tania Evans and the rapper Jay Supreme – remaining, the group still tour on the back of their 1993 hit album Serenity, home to the monster singles Mr Vain and Got to Get It.
Mixtape Rewind is at Dubai’s Emirates Golf Club on Friday. Tickets are Dh275. Doors open at 5pm and the concert begins at 8pm. For details, visit www.timeouttickets.com