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Modeselector: Berlin, sausage and all the rest



I don’t know much about it, but psychology should deal with the “good German in the interview” syndrome. DNNW syndrome is manifested by exceptional openness, kind disposition and indulgence for the far from perfect English of the interlocutor. A perfect example of DNNW is Alec Empire, but Gernot and Gray also fit perfectly into this theme. Interview at Electronic Beats 2013 for Radiofonia. 

My colleague said that at concerts you sound so German that he can smell German sausage in the air. Do you feel that your music is German in some way? Do you play wursttechno?

Grey: But what is wursttechno (laughs)?

I don’t know, I just invented them.

Gernot: Actually, I’m very happy that someone perceives our music in such a way. We usually don’t get these types of comments. People like to see inspirations from the British scene or hip-hop. So if someone notices the German element in our country, I’m very proud of it.

Grey: And we like sausage very much.

You have been active on the dynamic scene for many years. What has changed over the years? A few people I’ve talked to recently have complained that it’s the quantity that counts right now, not the quality. 

Gernot: I guess it depends on who you ask. There are many weekend tourists who come to Berlin just to party, but do not have time to get to know the scene. There are still great places, but they are not big, it’s the underground. It always has been. It is very fortunate that we still have many communities that are doing great things.

What about sponsorship and commercialization of the scene? You are now playing at an event sponsored by Deutsche Telekom. 

Gernot: I think not much has changed since the 90s, people were already complaining about the commercialization of the scene. It was said that corporations would start “producing” events. I think that it works to the disadvantage of the underground that you have to adapt to the rules, legal regulations, besides, everything is becoming more and more expensive. The culture of the underworld may seem fading on the surface, but I think that it is only looking for a new form and paths to follow. Here in Berlin you can also see more and more tourists who appeared together with low-cost airlines, which also greatly affects what you see in the clubs.

Grey: On the other hand, it is easier for us, because everything can be promoted more easily on the Internet, in social networks. We used to have to rely on paper leaflets.

Going to your last album, “Monkeytown,” I think you wanted to change a lot in your music. 

Grey: The main difference is that we wrote and produced this album in one session, all the while composing together. We used to use songs on albums that we wrote separately.

Gernot: We’re always trying to do something completely different, and that was the case this time. I think it’s more coherent, not so diverse.

It’s also lighter. With regard to “Evil Twin,” did you get rid of your evil twins? 

Gernot: A bit like that. I mean, writing songs like “Evil Twin” takes a lot of energy. And then you have to work hard to place them sensibly on the album. In our opinion, it definitely needs to stand out from the rest. In the past, there weren’t so many artists who created really aggressive, strong electronics, so we had more of it – “Kill Bill vol. 4” in 2005, “Black Bloc” in 2007. But now all the kids want to play EDM, they outdo each other in making bangers. But in doing so, they lose valuable ideas and soul along the way. We don’t want to fill records with bangers, even though we could, but that way the magic would disappear from our music.

So you’re not the biggest EDM fan?

Gernot: And who is over 25? (laughs) I mean, I respect that, that’s how young people discover electronics, but it’s nothing that interests me.

However, in the times of EDM, you have to take care of the setting and management, you also have two labels. It’s doing quite a big deal, isn’t it beyond you?

Gernot: We have quite a large group of people who help us. We are surrounded by very creative people who help us realize our ideas. And nowadays, with our experience, it’s good to be a bit of a teacher, speaking of EDM. That’s why we have a label that allows us to reach people, especially younger people, lesser-known artists. But yes, our second job is to organize our time, because we have a real life off stage and off the boards.

So you’re not tired? 

Gernot: No, we’ve always worked with friends and we’re still surrounded by friends, so there’s no room for fatigue.

As far as I know, have you finished the album Moderata?

Gernot: Yes, the album is ready and will be released in August. It was hard work, it cost us a lot of nerves, health, blood and sweat (laughs). But it was amazing again to be in the studio with Apparat.

Can you reveal anything to us? What does the new Moderat sound like?

Gernot: I think when you hear the first 10 seconds of the new album, you’ll know that this is it, this is Moderat. And that’s probably enough.

I can imagine it’s hot in the studio. Although in both cases you do electronic music, you probably have to argue a lot with a completely different approach to music.

Gernot: Working with Sascha is one big clash, a whole studio session. But we always want to find a place where our musical worlds meet and create a completely new one. We have very strong personalities and we all have to be happy with the result.

Grey: The name says it all. “Moderate”. We have to average everything, find a common path between Modeselector and Apparat. And it works.

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