We sat down with Modeselektor a German electronic legendary music duo consisting of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary. ”Modeselektor have been shaping the electronic music scene since the early 2000s with their flamboyant DJ sets and genre-melding productions. The duo of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary formed in the early 90s while they were involved in the rave scene on the outskirts of Berlin. After moving to the post-wall capital, a close-knit community of artists and friends emerged around them, including multimedia collective Pfadfinderei, who developed the visual concept of the famed Labstyle parties the crew held in various Berlin-Mitte clubs since the late 90s. Amongst other things, they designed Modeselektor’s famous monkey logo and continue to shape their visual identity to this day, be it live shows or record sleeves Modeselektor’s first record „In Loving Memory” was released through Ellen Allien’s BPitch Control in 2001 and many more followed, including the two critically acclaimed and highly influential albums „Hello Mom!” (2005) and „Happy Birthday!” (2007). With their energetic live shows and offbeat productions encom-passing multiple electronic styles, they gained popularity far beyond the techno scene. They started playing some of the biggest festivals in the world and were frequently invited to tour with Radiohead, whose singer Thom Yorke more than once appeared on Modeselektor’s albums, as did artists like reggae singer Paul St. Hilaire, French rap crew TTC, Maxïmo Park, Miss Platnum or Anti Pop Consortium. Modeselektor remixed solo work by Yorke as well as by Radiohead, Björk, Miss Kittin, Boys Noize, Paul Kalkbrenner, Trentemøller and many more.. In 2009, they founded their own imprint Monkeytown Records while also running the more dancefloor focused sublabel 50Weapons. Releases include albums and singles by Mouse on Mars, Siriusmo, Shed, FJAAK, Addison Groove, Cosmin TRG, Benjamin Damage, Otto von Schirach, Redshape, Robot Koch and Dark Sky, and stretch from experimental electronica and bass music to contemporary techno tracks by the likes of Marcel Dettmann, Laurent Garnier, Rødhåd or Paula Temple. The third Modeselektor album was released in 2011, offering further proof of their ability to infuse con-temporary dance music styles with an almost natural appreciation of pop elements. Together with Sascha Ring aka Apparat they also released three albums under the name Moderat, which raised the bar for electronic pop music informed by bass music and club sounds. This joint venture turned into a huge success, selling out concert halls all around the globe. After extensively touring for two years, Bronsert and Szary temporarily retired Moderat and turned their focus back towards Modeselektor. The last record on 50Weapons was released in 2015, but instead their 90s techno label Seilscheibenpfeiler was revived in 2018 with a couple of strong releases. The fourth Modeselektor album „Who Else” continues their trademark adventures into sound, bass and beats, carrying forward one of the most unique stories in modern electronic dance music. In 2021, Modeselektor are finally able to fulfill themselves a dream that goes back to their very early days: „Extended“ sees the light of day, a 27-tracks-mixtape with unreleased and brand new music by the band, bringing the unique, energetic live-experience of a Modeselektor-show as close as possible to the listeners living room. „Extended“ is followed by a series of EPs, each focusing on a track from the mixtape, offering alternative versions, remixes and a vast variety of collaborations.”
我们与Modeselektor坐下来，他们是由Gernot Bronsert和Sebastian Szary组成的德国电子传奇音乐二人组。”Modeselektor “自21世纪初以来，一直以其张扬的DJ组合和流派融合的制作影响着电子音乐界。Gernot Bronsert和Sebastian Szary的二人组在90年代初成立，当时他们参与了柏林郊区的狂欢场景。在搬到后墙之都后，他们周围出现了一个由艺术家和朋友组成的紧密社区，包括多媒体集体Pfadfinderei，他们开发了著名的Labstyle派对的视觉概念，该团队自90年代末在柏林米特的各个俱乐部举行。除其他事项外，他们还设计了Modeselektor的猴子标志，并继续塑造他们的视觉形象，直到今天，无论是现场表演还是唱片发行。 Modeselektor的第一张唱片“InLoving Memory 于2001年通过Ellen Allien’s BPitchControl发行，随后又发行了许多唱片，包括两张广受好评且极具影响力的专辑 “Hello Mom! (2005)和 “生日快乐！”(. 凭借他们充满活力的现场表演和包含多种电子风格的非主流作品，他们获得了远远超出技术派场景的人气。他们开始参加一些世界上最大的音乐节，并经常被邀请与Radiohead一起巡演，Radiohead的主唱ThomYorke不止一次出现在Modeselektor的专辑中，还有雷鬼歌手Paul St. Hilaire、法国说唱组合TTC、Maxïmo Park、Miss Platnum或Anti Pop Consortium等艺术家。Modeselektor为Yorke以及Radiohead、Björk、MissKittin、Boys Noize、PaulKalkbrenner、Trentemøller等人的个人作品进行混音。2009年，他们成立了自己的唱片公司MonkeytownRecords，同时还经营着更注重舞池的子标签50Weapons。他们发行的专辑和单曲包括Mouseon Mars、Siriusmo、Shed、FJAAK、Addison Groove、Cosmin TRG、Benjamin Damage、Otto von Schirach、Redshape、Robot Koch和Dark Sky，并且从实验性电子音乐和贝斯音乐延伸到Marcel Dettmann、Laurent Garnier、Rødhåd或Paula Temple等人的当代技术乐曲。 第三张Modeselektor专辑于2011年发行，进一步证明了他们将当代舞曲风格与对流行元素近乎自然的欣赏相融合的能力。他们还与Sascha Ring（又名Apparat）一起，以Moderat的名义发行了三张专辑，提高了以低音音乐和俱乐部声音为基础的电子流行音乐的标准。这一合作项目取得了巨大的成功，在全球各地的音乐厅都有销售。在进行了两年的广泛巡演之后，Bronsert和Szary暂时退出了Moderat，并将他们的注意力转回了Modeselektor。50Weapons的最后一张唱片是在2015年发行的，相反，他们90年代的技术标签Seilscheibenpfeiler在2018年恢复了几个强大的版本。第四张Modeselektor专辑《Who Else》继续他们在声音、低音和节拍方面的标志性冒险，将现代电子舞曲中最独特的故事之一发扬光大。 2021年，Modeselektor终于能够实现他们早期的一个梦想。”Extended “看到了曙光，这是一盘包含了乐队未发布和全新音乐的27轨混音带，将Modeselektor演出的独特、充满活力的现场体验尽可能地带到听众的客厅。在 “Extended “之后是一系列的EP，每张EP都聚焦于mixtape中的一首歌曲，提供替代版本、混音和大量的合作项目。”
Having a long live performance pause, what are your touring plans once the COVID-19 risk is mostly minimized – and do you have some different ideas up your sleeves?
The break was indeed unusually long. It was also painful in the sense that we experienced loss and vulnerability since we, as many other people as well, were not able to follow our passion and actually do our job. So we just went back to the basics and kept making music in the studio. We developed a lot of ideas and transferred them to our most recent releases, the “Extended”-mixtape and the EPs “Mean Friend”, “Social Distancing” and “Dating is in China”, which are all based on tracks from the mixtape. Since the live situation is still vague right now, we can’t really share any ideas for any upcoming live shows.
休息的时间确实异常长。它也是痛苦的，因为我们经历了失落和脆弱，因为我们和其他许多人一样，无法追随我们的激情，无法真正做我们的工作。所以我们只是回到了基本的东西，继续在工作室里做音乐。我们发展了很多想法，并把它们转移到我们最近的发行中，”Extended”-mixtape和EP“MeanFriend”、”Social Distancing “和 “Dating is in China”，这些都是基于mixtape的曲目。由于现在的现场情况还很模糊，我们不能真正分享任何即将到来的现场表演的想法。
The spectrum of the artists is very impressive and we believe precisely chosen, you recently premiered remixes with DJ Stingray, FJAAK or track featuring Catnapp. What was your criteria and idea of selecting those artists ?
Most of the artists we have worked with on these releases are from our inner-circle. For example FJAAK, we know them for a very long time and we even released their first album and a few EPs on our labels Monkeytown Records and 50Weapons. Catnapp is signed to Monkeytown Records and a close friend. Then there is DJ Stingray, who is a legend re Detroit and Elektro and we run into him in our studio by accident. There is a story to tell about almost all the artists who have contributed to „Extended” and the subsequent EPs.
与我们合作发行这些唱片的大多数艺术家都来自我们的内部圈子。例如FJAAK，我们认识他们很长时间了，我们甚至在我们的厂牌Monkeytown Records和50Weapons上发行了他们的第一张专辑和几张EP。Catnapp是Monkeytown Records的签约者，也是我们的亲密朋友。然后是DJ Stingray，他是底特律和Elektro的传奇人物，我们在我们的工作室偶然碰到他。几乎所有为 “Extended “和随后的EP做出贡献的艺术家都有一个故事要讲。
Performing live with synths, samplers and sequencers is often a delicate balance between improvisation and automation. Where are you today on this spectrum? Does it change from tour to tour?
That’s completely right. The set-up gets constantly changed and optimized. Looking back more than 20 years now, the computer as a generator, sample player, administrator, interface was and still is in the center of the set-up. Lots of different hardware got assembled around the computer, sometimes more, sometimes less. We stepped away from playing the music from a software on stage, since the music got more and more complex over the years. So instead we deconstruct the music in its essential components in order to generate more options to edit the tracks live on stage.
As touring artists, do you consciously think about the ways in which you’d like to connect with your audiences? Which flavours of Modeslektor could you imagine resonating with Asian dancefloors?
To play shows in Asia was and is always big fun for us. There is a difference how people celebrate music in Europe and Asia. But there are also big differences within Asia as well. The audiences in Japan, China, Korea, Singapore or India are very different to each other, each of them have their own style to celebrate music. But there is one thing everyone can agree to: Bass!
Definitely Bass connects everyone, especially with Chinese audience, they love it! if you could come back with touring and consider playing in China. What would be your dream tour there besides standard cites. Would you consider playing on the Great Wall or other heritage cultural places ? or how would you like to make it remarkable ?
We would definitely bring the true spirit of Modeselektor and Berlin. It is important to us to not just perform in the obvious business techno environment. Although most of the time we have very little influence on the surrounding conditions for a good rave, it’s in our hands to create a vibe that is different from the usual standard. Therefore it’s exciting for us to play in China, doesn’t really matter in what city.
Do you remember any funny moments during your tour which you didn’t expect?
There are enough of these moments to fill books! Just off the top of my head, we once forgot our VJ at a motorway restaurant in the middle of the Mojave desert. We were just on the way to Coachella Festival on our tour bus and left the restaurant after a short break without even noticing that he was gone. He was very lucky that another band who was also on the way to Coachella picked him up and gave him a lift to the festival. They even borrowed him a phone so he was able to reach out to us since we left him without any belongings. Thankfully enough in the end, it was a Happy End.
With all the downtime, have you been tempted to make any big changes to your studio setup in the last year and a half?
To be honest no big differences have been made, we just optimized bits and pieces, such as software, system performance and storage capacities. We added some smaller gadgets, but generally speaking we already had everything we needed. We are also careful to not spend too much money for new tools or hardware unless we feel it can really add to the set-up and our approach to create music. Although we bought some new headphones, a sofa and a chair for the studio. But we mainly spent the unexpected free time to work on music.
You’ve probably met hundreds, even thousands of Berliner musicians over the years. Other than the obvious factors like higher rent costs, can you imagine any ways that being a musician in Berlin now is different from say 2000?
So many things happened or changed so you can’t compare the year 2000 with 2021. Even the year 2010 was already totally different from 2000. And Berlin is not an individual case, but one of many cities that has changed substantially in the last 20 years. The main difference in Berlin is, that the “revolutionary” vibe of the year 1989 was still perceptible until the early 2000s. And from then on, a lot of things changed until now.
发生了这么多事情，或者发生了变化，所以你不能把2000年和2021年相比。即使是2010年，也已经与2000年完全不同。柏林不是一个单独的例子，而是在过去20年里发生了巨大变化的许多城市之一。柏林的主要区别在于，1989年的 “革命 “氛围直到2000年代初仍可感知。而从那时起，很多事情都改变了，直到现在。
Have bigger responsibilities like kids/family changed your musical approach? You know, is studio time more precious than before?
There is only one very clear answer to this question: YES, studio time is more precious than before and we spend it very carefully and much more focused than before we had families..
While arranging and mixing your new album Extended, did you have any secret weapons for getting all these wildly different tracks from over decade to flow together so seamlessly?
Actually that was quite a complicated process. Stylistically it wasn’t such a big problem, but during the mixing process it was very obvious that tracks from different eras sounded different. We even felt to hear the different studio locations. On top of that, we also faced technical challenges since it was sometimes impossible to open and convert the old arrangement and project files. It felt a bit like old coins that no one wants to exchange anymore. So we had to look for software to help with adaptation and restauration and fortunately enough, there is very good software available for these processes.
In WORK, Corey Scott-Gilbert uses your latest album Extended as psychedelic rocket fuel on a visceral trip that evokes feelings of BLM, I can’t breathe, oil dependence/consumption, oil wars, modern slavery, radical self-expression, bodily freedom… even mummenschanz! There are so many thoughts, feelings and ideas to decipher and unpack. For us this juxtaposition gives your music quite an avant-garde soundtrack vibe. Did it transform your own perception of your album, especially compared to what you had in mind when making all those tracks over the years?
Both the “Extended”-mix as well as the performance piece “Work” do actually work on different layers. Both take you on a journey, which can be very comfortable, but also very stressful. It’s probably more obvious when you watch “Work” while listening to the music. The physical exertion that drives Corey Scott-Gilberts performance takes you to a new starting point or maybe back to the origin. In-between there are a lot of things happening, changes, defeats and victories. We are extremely happy with the result, with the choreography, dramaturgy and the cinematic conversion by Corey, Krsn Brasko and Tobias Staab.
扩展“混音和表演作品“工作“实际上都是在不同层次上工作。两者都把你带到一个旅程中，这可能是非常舒适的，但也是非常紧张的。当你边听音乐边看工作“时，这可能更明显。推动Corey Scott-Gilberts表演的体力消耗将你带到一个新的起点，或者也许回到原点。在这之间，有很多事情发生，变化，失败和胜利。我们对这个结果非常满意，对科里、Krsn Brasko和Tobias Staab的舞蹈编排、戏剧性和电影化的转换都非常满意。
Did you always secretly wish to create avant-garde soundtracks?
I guess the question is, what is avantgarde? It’s always our intention to fathom and experience the unknown, to explore new territories. That’s what drives us forward. I even think it is part of our DNA, probably not only as a musician, but as a human being in general. We were always fascinated by the impossible and to try things out and find a way to make it possible.
If you would organise the last event on planet Earth before the final apocalypse where would it be and who would you invite to share on the stage/dance floor with?
That’s actually a very interesting question. I think we would ask Jeff Mills and Aphex Twin to play a b2b set with Drake and Popcaan.
Interview 作者: Involucija
Introduction Bio Source
Fashion: Tobias Birk Nielsen, ZL_BY_ZLISM, Studio183 Berlin, Achat
Translation 翻译: Emi
Photos照片: Keyi Studio www.keyi.eu
Grzegorz Bacinski & Izabella Chrobok
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