MEMENTO intw* with Walter Merziger, Arno Kammermeier and Dax DJ (Year 2004)
– Let’s start at the beginning: how did Booka Shade start?
After producing 12″s with synesthasia for sven väth`s label harthouse or Degeneration`s “una musica senza ritmo” for R&S and others, we had the feeling that it was time for our own project, where we can follow our vision without doing compromises. So we started producing trax under the name BOOKA SHADE for the then quite new dutch label Touché records in `94. Especially the track “kind of good” was played by a lot of dJ`s around the world. – Talk about Physical-music. get physical is our first recordlabel, which we founded in 2002 together with DJ T., patrick and philipp from M.A.N.D.Y and Peter Hayo, our longtime production partner. Since 15 years we thought about setting up our own label but never had the time, money, chance or whatever to fulfill this dream. M.A.N.D.Y. and DJ T. had the same vision of building something up, where we could release the music we want to hear in a club. So we combined forces and formed this record label called “GET PHYSICAL MUSIC”. we are all very pleased with the success in such a short time. to see and hear that people around the world are dancing to get physical music is really exiting for us
– The dance scene’s changing a lot right now, of course the music approach and styles
.. after approx 5 fantastic years, we became very frustated by the dance scene in general in the late nineties. everthing sounded the same, boring and calculated. the spirit of ´techno´ and ´house´ was gone we felt. so we decided to concentrate on other things and stopped with booka shade and the other projects we worked on. finally, in the beginning of 2001, patrick and philipp, friends we know for a long time, played us a bunch of really great new records which fascinated us, so this was actually the start of the project M.A.N.D.Y. At the moment there are so many stimulating, intersting acts, parties, producers, labels around that you really have a problem to get out of the studio, office or club to have something like a private life.
– What were seminal records for you as DJs/Producer?
many eye-Q tracks from the early 90´s were a big inpiration because we lived in frankfurt where it all happened; tracks like “synfonica” from brainchild or “wonderer” from vernon (does anybody remember these songs ???) will always remind us of the OMEN, a legendary club in frankfurt. soundtracks for films like ´lost in translation´ or the musical works of john carpenter and david holmes were also influencial.
– Berlin now and in the past.
we can´t tell u so much about berlin in the past because we just moved to berlin in 2002 from the other big capital of german club music, frankfurt. but what we can say is, that for electronic musicians, labels, bookers etc it is at the moment definetly THE place to be. every night u can meet producers or DJ´s from anywhere in the world or get inspired by parties. you can visit vernissages or just hang out in studios with interesting people.
– What do you think about the glory of Disco era and first Italo productions?
there are a lot of danceproductions from the italo disco era that we hear today with a nostalgic feeling. these tracks give us back this ´innocent´ and fresh feeling that we had in the eighties, when we first entered the ´disco zone´ and produced music. many italo tracks sound almost like demos, like they are recorded at home, which is nice. but when it comes to the musical ´essence´, most of the stuff in fact is too cheesy for today`s ears. DJ T. is a true fan and devotée of disco, italo, breakdance, and the whole electro thing. He used to breakdance to these 80ies old scool electro records in his teenage times. before we`re starting to produce a new DJ T. record we listen to many of his old records from the 80ies and 70ies and try to find the right samples for a new track. we think you can hear his love for italo in his tracks….. – and the Kraftwerk? Of course, we have all the books, records, cd`s, even posters from kraftwerk. it is unbelievable how upfront they were in the mid seventies until the late eighties. also their live concerts are an amazing experience. their latest album was a disappointment though, it didn´t have at all the uniqueness that all the privious records had. it would have been better for kraftwerk to go a more experimental route instead of that oldskool techno stuff which you can hear in almost any ´magix music maker´. but they are legends and they will stay forever.
– Your evolution on equipment: what do you think about the frenetic use of software, plugins and the difference on 808/909 analog vintage?
we started with music in the early 80´s, so you can imagine that it was not as easy and cheap as today to get the right equipment. our first sequencer software was ´jellinghaus´, running on a commodore 64, a korg dw 8000, poly 800 , later a sequential circuits studio 440 and a midiverb II. for that we paid around 5.000 euros ! nowadays you get a complete studio in a laptop for less money, without sync problems and with zillions of prerecorded samples and loops. there are so many really good plug ins on the market; we´re practically not using any of our old gear anymore, although we have a cute little synth museum in a room of our studio. we actually never owned a 808 or 909 ourselves because when we wanted one the price was so ridiculously high that we borrowed one from a friend and sampled the sounds in all possible variations. our album ´memento´ is the first artist album on get physical and also the first booka shade album. after producing so many 12″es for the GPM acts DJ T., M.A.N.D.Y., Chelonis R. Jones and Sunsetpeople, we needed to create something on our own without doing compromises.
– Plans and talk about the coming album!
our album ´memento´ is the first artist album on get physical and also the first booka shade album. after producing so many 12″es for the GPM acts DJ T., M.A.N.D.Y., Chelonis R. Jones and Sunsetpeople, we needed to create something on our own without doing compromises.
– What do you think about digital cheap-downloads? or use of CDs?
we´re not very much into these p2p platform things, but we use iTunes a lot because it works and it´s easy to use. and we like mp3´s for practical reasons, for example to quickly send a song around the world if you work with somebody on a record. you can´t deny that this way of using music is the future. the next generation of mobiles will perhaps already be the only entertainment system you need. but it´s sad that, at least at the moment, the sound quality is still poor. and we would of course miss the artwork, packaging and physicality of vinyl or cd. we want something to hold in our hands and look at.
– Are you preparing a live set?
yes we´re playing live, the first gig took palce in berlin, on oct 22nd we plying amsterdam at the ADE, a GPM night. we set up a very visual show together with the swedish visual artist fubbi karlsson and his partner bobby good. we produced 45 minutes of film to accompany the music.
– Your fav synth!? Moog?
although we have an original moog source in our little museum, we´re using the aturia minimoog plug in. it´s an amazing machine with superb sounds. even if it may not sound a 100% like the original minimoog, it has everything we need from pumping basses, 80´s sequences to phasing pads.
– Leave us a message (to the electronic-disco fans!)
get physical !