Edmonton, Alberta-based Audio Playground is the latest collaboration between Canadian producers Rubix & DRC and singer Anthony Gitto. The trio came together in June of 2009 and immediately burned up the music charts and the dance floor with its first single “(A Little) Respect”, a remake of the new-wave hit by British synthpop duo Erasure.
Their debut song topped the Canadian singles sales charts, remaining in the #1 spot for six consecutive weeks while being trailed by international stars Lady Gaga, Madonna, The Black Eyed Peas and U2. After briefly dropping to third place, the song did something seldom accomplished in the music world: it jumped back up to reach #1 on the charts once again. It also has proven to be a best seller on iTunes and been included in popular dance music compilations such as Universal Music Canada’s “Clubland”–the equivalent of the popular British CD series. Not bad for a new act.
Originally, Audio Playground was a dance music project. But artistic and business ingenuity helped the band accomplish an unexpected crossover into pop.
The secret of Audio Playground’s success may be its unconventional strategy: the simultaneous release of a song in different versions. Many different versions. “We want to hit every radio and club format possible”, says Rubix. “Strong branding and a management strategy focused on developing a motivated fan base are key in this aggressive and very competitive industry”.
The band’s first maxi-single consisted of seven versions of the same title–including dance, electro, hard house, Latin hip-hop and urban cuts, all remixed by renowned DJs including U.S.-based Dan Matthews, Lenny Douglas, Randy Taylor-Weber and Carlos Berrios.
The EP also included a romantic ballad version. “Anthony wanted a vocal challenge that could demonstrate his vocal abilities, like his falsetto,” says DRC. “We had a blast mapping and recording the various concepts”.
Having gained much more than just a little respect in the music industry with a super-catchy, chart smashing debut, Audio Playground hopes to continue going global with a similar strategy.
In September 2010, The group released their second single “Shadows,” which came in an EP with seven various pop, rhythmic and club versions. The trio again surrounded itself with some of the world’s top remixers to generate a broad array of “Shadows” for different audiences. Versions by Digital Dog and Bimbo Jones from the U.K. and Tracy Young from the U.S. are featured alongside Latin influenced rhythms by initial contributors Berrios, Douglas and Taylor-Weber.
“Shadows was meant to be our first release”, says Gitto. He adds that there was even an earlier music video for it. But after a change of plans and in light of the success enjoyed by their debut single, the band retooled “Shadows” and even reshot the song’s video on 16mm film with a full production crew.
“Shadows” achieved many sales milestones and reached #77 on the USA Billboard top 100 digital song sales chart and #8 on the USA Bilboard Dance/elctronic single sales chart .
The trio has just launched their third single “Famous”, that features Canada’s biggest hip hop export Kardinal Offishall. “Famous” has quickly become a nationwide Canadian mega hit as the single has wowed the band’s fans and has become a major top40 staple on the airwaves.
Audio Playground also has an album in the works and the band spends its time commuting between Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and their label’s Western Canadian home base. They are also collaborating with other chart topping singers in some of their penned releases while spicing up the lyrics to their songs with lines in Spanish and French. Get ready for more Audio Playground!
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