We look back at the mysterious white label that contained last decade's best romantic house smash.
During a sunny open-air in Paris eight years ago, Virginia had the microphone. Steffi was on the decks to her left, spinning a pumping house instrumental laced with a cheery melody. Prosumer, another DJ, was sitting nearby, smartphone in hand, filming their live rendition of "Yours," a track that had been lighting up dance floors for over a year. Big, positive and emotional, it was a peak-time smash, a sure-shot in any club floor where house was played. Sure enough, the crowd at that Paris open-air was heaving, cheering so loud that they overpowered Virginia's voice.
Initially put out as a low-key white-label EP in November 2010, "Yours" received a proper release as part of Steffi's first album, Yours & Mine, the following February. After that, it got even bigger. But while its chorus ("treat me right") had been ringing out across dance floors since around 2,000 copies of the white label landed, few initially knew who was behind the track. Some early rumours suggested the white-label had resurrected a lost production from the classic Detroit house and techno label, KMS. Like much of KMS, "Yours" is dance music in the original mould, just a rolling 909 beat, sunny synth lines and vocals, a time-tested combination that still creates magic. It's also romantic, kind of.
"It's about fucking," Steffi said over the phone this week. "But fucking can also be romantic, especially when you're in love or falling for someone."
What appeared to be a straight-up love song was actually rather blunt ("Do me now and I'll be yours" / "Do me right"). It also felt tongue-in-cheek. (The sub-label set up to release the white-label was called Domeright.) But everything else about the track was pure, classic house, including the way it came about. "Some hits are created through a very spontaneous process," Steffi said. "That was the case with this. It was half a day's work."
The version we know today began with Virginia skimming through Steffi's abandoned sketches. Virginia, already an established producer and vocalist, heard a snippet of the track that became "Yours." But that version, which Steffi had binned, was different to what would eventually get released. Where the finished version takes its percussion from a TR-909 Steffi picked up in Japan, the original sketch's drums were sampled. It also only had a snippet of melody, drawn from a Moog. Steffi added the second synth, which enters further into the track, with a MicroKorg later. "There were only two takes of the second synth line," Steffi said. "There was no MIDI, so I did all the tweaking and modulation on the fly."
Its unfussy production, direct lyrics and hands-in-the-air positivity meant that, other than the white-label it was released on, not much about "Yours" felt mysterious. It will go down as last decade's biggest romantic house hit, an energetic, party rocking tune that still gets dance floors moving.Channeling the best of classic house, "Yours" is a modern update on an established sound, laid-back and distinctly unpretentious. But what about the unnamed crush in the lyrics? "Maybe I fell for someone," Virginia said. "There's the mystery for you."