Chicago-based label Aathee has reached Year 3, a landmark which lends its name to the title of their latest 11 track compilation.

The lead track is “Stay With Me,” a collaboration between Chicago house stalwarts Change Request (aka Andrew Emil) and DJ Heather.

“I have been making records under the Change Request name since 2012,” Andrew says, “and it’s been quite a journey to get the A&Rs of the world to understand the statements I am trying to make with the project.

“I think I started shopping this track in my archives folder as early as 2017 and Nik, Josh, and Jo [of Aathee] were the first ones to settle on picking it up. I am very happy that it ended up with a hometeam label.”

5 Mag spoke to Andrew about the making of “Stay With Me” for our latest Teardown.

🔴 Listen: Change Request: Stay With Me featuring DJ Heather

What do you typically start with when you make music? Do you start with the drums or with a melody or something different? Was “Stay With Me” any different?

I have been making records now for about twenty years, and it’s changed over time, but when I first started I was more concerned with rhythm section production first — beats & basslines and all that — but now I typically write melodies and harmonic motions first. “Stay With Me” was created this way, by writing the harmonic motions first, and basing the groove around this.

What gear or tools did you use to make this? Was there anything new or unusual for you?

This particular track is from my 2009-era production sessions. Which means, I was using Logic 9 as a DAW, an MPC2000XL, Juno-106, Fender Rhodes, and Gibson Les Paul for the guitar. This was my standard set up for the previous ten years before, but I have consolidated my studio down to a virtualized version of my full hardware rig, as massive improvements in DSP tech have created impressive emulations.

What was DJ Heather’s role in this and how did she become involved?

Heather and I have been friends for a long time and had always wanted to find a project to linkup on. I sent her a bunch of demos, she picked this track and wrote the song to it. We tracked it in 2015 and I mixed it down to its final version around 2016.

What are your essential tools for working remotely? It seems this question may have more relevance now…

Really, the same tools that have always been in play: A good concept, a good idea, a good track, and a quality way to track the parts. I typically like to send out demos to other musicians and have them shoot me back their scratch tracks and then we track at my studio.

Aathee’s Year 3 compilation is out now.