DJ ATB finding inspiration in Vegas

Here's more proof we are living in a golden age of DJ culture in Vegas: ATB -- one of the top DJ-producers in the world -- not only spins regularly at Marquee nightclub, he filmed a music video near my house.

The German musician (real name: Andre Tanneberger) shot part of the video for his 2011 single "Move On" at Shari's Diner (on North Buffalo Drive near Lake Mead Boulevard), where I go for delicious malts.

ATB loves Vegas so much, he and his lady vacation here, too.

"Last time, we went on a fantastic excursion into the desert," he says. "The landscape is amazing, but what's most impressive was the silence -- a fantastic place to blow the cobwebs away, recharge your battery."

ATB, performing Saturday at Marquee at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, recently earned top, worldwide rankings by DJ Magazine and He's happy about those honors, but he has a Zen attitude about them.

"To be honest, I'm not a (fan) of such rankings and comparisons, but of course I'm very proud," he says by email. (As a rule, I refuse email feature interviews, but we had a language barrier due to his German tongue.)

ATB goes way back in club culture. He grew up on the German scene 20 years ago, recording early in his career on computers when computers sucked, and on synthesizers.

One of his early breakout DJ hits was a very faithful cover version in 2002 of Olive's electro-ambient dance hit "You're Not Alone" from 1997.

ATB's version is great. It still gets publicly spun on occasion a decade later. It remains the only cover song ATB has ever produced.

"That track is awesome," he says. "In general, I'm a huge fan of such kind of ambient music, as you can hear" in his own music.

He kept on producing more trance songs with pop vocals, as in his hit "Ecstasy," and then maybe his splashiest dance-pop hit in the U.S., "Could You Believe" (featuring vocalist Jennifer Karr).

As Karr's frayed but strong vocals indicate on "Could You Believe," ATB seeks singers who aren't just the usual, smooth electro sirens.

"I have to feel this specific, positive feeling, which touches me in my heart when I listen to it," he says. "It isn't important if this voice belongs to a world star or to someone next door."

What's next for ATB is a full slate of DJ dates and two new albums.

On Facebook, where he has 926,000 followers, he posts music-in-progress to get feedback from fans for his next original album and for his next compilation album (a compilation of his favorite songs by other DJs).

"My biggest inspiration are my fans," he says. "When I'm on tour, I experience so much affection from the people I meet, especially from the people dancing and smiling right in front of the DJ booth.

"I'm taking these moments of emotions home with me to the studio and (using) them for new tracks."

So ATB is making videos in Vegas, getting music ideas here, and DJing on the Strip. Excuse the clunky expression, but he's a Vegas FUBU -- for us by us.

Doug Elfman's column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at He blogs at


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