Berlin’s brightest pair of messers, Modeselektor, were two-thirds of the bass-heavy force that gave technoheads their Electric Picnic highlight this year (the other third being long-time comrade-in-synths Apparat), the portmanteau fan’s favourite Moderat. The year previous their less measured brand of Eurocrunk (the best dig at genre-purists since Bitpop) blew up the Bodytonic tent. With a new Body Language mix showing the world that Busta Rhymes and Animal Collective can co-exist, and an arsenal of style-slutty techno tracks to draw on, DEAF might not make it through ‘til the next morning. Hold on to your monkey-masks, Dublin.
Hey Gernot! How is your Friday?
Very busy. We’re having a party tonight at WMF with Coldcut and lots of other UK acts, and TRG, these guys from Bucharest, who are sitting with me now [jaunty Romanian greeting in background]. It’s called Die Allianz, we’re on our fourth edition.
If you listen very closely you can hear your new Body Language mix playing in the background in our office. I suppose a mix CD is a good opportunity to find new inspirations and ideas for your own music… What did you learn from making it?
That is it exactly. It was the best thing we could do after Moderat. We’d spent 7 months working on that album and then playing it live, and we needed new inspiration. We’re not DJs, you know, but a live act, so we didn’t pay too much attention to that side of it. We wanted to make something that was NOT annoying. Going to the outskirts of Berlin, spending lots of time in record shops, it was like going for a swim in the sea with our friends.
So you’ve gone back to working on Modeselektor music since?
Yes, though we are always really making Modeselektor music. We’ve been making remixes, like the Boyz Noize single. We’ve been doing remixes for other people too but we’re not talking about those until we’re finished!
Will your DEAF set be mainly classics?
People are expecting bangers, but we’ll be playing some new tracks too. We’re redefining the live set right now.
You guys came to techno through acid house and the whole illegal rave scene in post-Wall Germany… Do you think that energy is still in the Berlin electro scene today?
I think that it was never to do with the music, but the spirit. We couldn’t get this music with our little East German brains. Kids all over the world grew up with Nirvana in the 90s but for us it was techno. It’s a very Berlin experience, and it’s never really died. The scene is very innovative, but you know, innovation is happening in places all over the world. The scene is so different now anyway, it’s not all about techno. The people still take a lot of drugs, the big thing is to stay awake for 3 days. When I was a teenager, if you told your friends ‘I went out on Friday night, came home, went to sleep, and went back out on Saturday’ you were out of the game. I’m not friends with you anymore! Now though, that’s become a tourist thing.
You know all about opening hours in Dublin! Sometimes though, you play this small, tight, hard set and everybody will have the same headache in the morning as the people who have been going for 48 hours. And you can still remember some of it on Monday!
You mentioned innovation in music happening in different pockets around the world. Are there any scenes or movements you’re finding particularly innovative lately?
We’re enjoying London things, especially the Hessle Audio label. We really like the attitude of that label, it’s our cup of tea right now. Almost all of their acts are playing our party tonight. And, of course, we are always hip-hop.
You’re playing a week before Halloween, should people get in the spirit early and wear Modeselektor monkey masks to the show?
We’d appreciate that. We’d like to say if you wear a monkey mask you get in for free, but I don’t think that’s so good for the promoter. Perhaps we will just bring our own masks.
Modeselektor’s Body Language mix is out on Get Physical now.