Brueder Selke – The ‘Monday Is OK’ Mixtape

10Minute Read
Brueder Selke – Live by Libor Galia_c_PRINT_3

“Think of it as a double-sided cassette with earlier & more recent, from established & emerging, at least seemingly like-minded colleagues & friends.”

The award-winning, East Berlin-born, Potsdam-based, polyinstrumental composer duo Brueder Selke aka Sebastian Selke on the cello and his piano-wielding younger brother, Daniel Selke, are not your average siblings fighting over the TV remote.

An easy-to-understand bilateral approach, a musical tango where the notes lead and follow simultaneously. It’s like watching a well-choreographed sibling rivalry on stage, but with instruments instead of snarky comments. All while moonlighting as independent curators.


Their performances blend divergent styles through improvisation, creating a musical rollercoaster that takes us through classical to contemporary, and from intimate to expansive. A balance between the yin and yang of instruments, a symphony of contradiction, childhood memories from the time of the Wende in East Berlin infuse their work, adding a touch of nostalgia to the avant-garde. It’s like they raided the music pantry and decided to throw a little bit of avant-garde, pop, and everything in between, creating a musical potluck where minimalism and a dash of free jazz mingle.

The Selke brothers have also gathered a pack of like-minded friends and artists, creating cozy musical happenings that have become legendary. Read our review of Q3A 2023 here

Two new releases take the form of “Go East,” an album on Aimée Portioli’s One Instrument label, featuring meditative improvised drones on restored socialist-era keyboard instruments and “Belka & Strelka,” an album and concert film on the boutique label Oscarson, where they take you on a journey with visuals inspired by GDR mosaics.

With that in mind we’ve invited them to take control of today’s ‘Monday Is OK’ mix.

An open-minded start to the week, buckle up, hit play, and let the Selke brothers be your musical co-pilots through this week’s adventure.

Listen and read the interview below:

Who/Where/What are you?

We are the brothers Sebastian & Daniel Selke. Mostly on rainy days like today we love to develop ideas for new projects, albums, collaborations and concert formats – to discuss and share in a permanent exchange. This happens at the new standing studio desk in our Klingenthal Studio in the UNESCO Creative City of Film Potsdam in geographic and historic proximity to our birthplace. We were born in the former socialist German Democratic Republic in East Berlin as the Wall was already beginning to totter.

While Sebastian works as acting principal cellist in the Babelsberg Film Orchestra, Daniel holds a chair in piano chamber music at the State Music School and leads several choirs. Only recently did we found our first chamber orchestra, named simply Hausorchester, and regularly perform mostly choral symphonic works like, for example, the Carmina Burana. It’s just the beginning though.

Sebastian has a four-year-old daughter, the cellist-to-be Alma Lucia.

Together we compose, play, record and publish pieces as we expand the repertoire of our long-standing cello-piano duo collaboration. We also curate and produce cosy happenings to meet other like-minded people and to exchange ideas with these creative colleagues on and off the stage.

Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us.

Think of it as a double-sided MC with earlier & more recent, traditional & contemporary, acoustic & electronic, organic & synthetic music, from established & emerging, at least seemingly like-minded colleagues & friends.

If it were to be drawn what would it look like?

How beautiful dynamic waveforms should look. A finely nuanced landscape of mountains & valleys, maybe a river or a stream 😉



Image Credit Dan Miller – Cult of the Sun

If it were a food what would it be?

Possibly an original and freshly tossed bowl full of A for Aubergine to Z for Zucchini, or maybe a colourful, appetising Japanese meal rolled in small creatively formed bundles.




What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

When we’re curating our events, we always try to create a comfortable atmosphere, complete with nice cushions, blankets or oriental carpets. Our suggestion for your individual listening experience: find a trusted, intimate corner of your flat – yeah (laughs) – be it in the bathtub or on the toilet. Choose your personal comfort zone. If you’re using headphones, go to the park and find a duck pond.

We love discovering abandoned concrete ruins in the city. It has to do with our nostalgic memories and feelings. As children, we grew up among these Plattenbaus, at home and in school.

What should we be wearing?

Wear at least something, and always what you choose. Above all, be comfortable.

Where was it recorded?

In our Klingenthal Studio we make everything music related. Besides the sounds, we also enjoy the smell of our freshly painted and finished wooden furniture.

How do you feel about Mondays in general, excited… or?

One of our concert series was called KOSMOSKONZERTE and always took place on Mondays. We love to start the week with inspiration and have always tried to see Mondays as the last day of the weekend and at the same time as a blank page.

Who got you hooked on electronic music?

In the former GDR, music from the Western hemisphere was for us quasi unreachable. We listened to old and contemporary masters and today still love especially the works of the classic Russian composers, particularly for their complex rhythm and cinematic epic. We also loved playing the music of Debussy, above all his chamber music.

But especially smooth music from Japan, for example with the sax notes from Sadao Watanabe on Morning Island, was every time like music from another star. It was with extra care that our loving parents too handled each and every record with new music. And so we discovered their record collection not only passively as listeners but from very early on actively, developing our own fine feeling for these gems.

Early on, the timeless soundtracks from Vangelis and his Short Stories with Jon Anderson played for us a profoundly moving role, and also the multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, yeah, we were very excited about his guitar playing and how he adopted a wide range of musical styles from classical to ambient back then. In the early 1990s, cassettes with electronic dance music were being passed around in school daily and so became, alongside our first classical attempts on the cello and piano, the precursor to our second musical passion: our enthusiasm for synthesisers.

Only later did we discover GDR electronic music veterans such as Frank Bretschneider and Carsten Nicolai as Alva Noto. And we are still captivated fans of both of them today.

We were surprised when we found out about the electronic music experiments of Reinhard Lakomy who we until then only knew as the prominent creator of the magnificently visionary and subtly composed storytelling songs for children in the former GDR. (Alma Lucia already sings along to them with gusto.)

Who would you say are your biggest influences and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?

Ultimately, we received a pivotal push from Radiohead and Jonny Greenwood’s scores, one which turned our whole production approach on its head.

This dynamic mix of past and present and at the same time a sustained flow of inspiration through encounters and exchanges with like-minded people inspired and inspires our play with acoustic and electronic compositions. In the end, it made sense to seek out old GDR synthesisers, to rebuild them anew, and similarly to work anew with them compositionally, as we’re currently doing with the album “Go East”.

We poke around in all kinds of genres, whereby above all it was the minimalist compositions and the slower pad-based types of electronic music that moved and still moves us.

Inspired by the sheer infinite variations, we’ve once again immersed ourselves in our classically trained instruments and continue searching, as we’ve always done, for alternative playing techniques to transfer the textures and pulses one knows from electronic music to our acoustic companions and to recreate them mechanically. At the same time, the socialist stringmachines and E-pianos should be playable without pre-set sequences and so be immediately tangible.

Such dual interplays interest us in our work as a duo. And the levels seem also somehow to melt together: cello and piano, classic and modern, past and present, encounter and exchange, artist and audience. You can keep going, for example, the mixtape as a whole, but also as a product of phenomenal individual performances.

Altogether, it seems to be about nothing less than the balance in our lives as a whole – mountains and valleys, micro- and macrocosmos as a balanced waveform of ups and downs.

The answers to our questions, our search for them, are unfortunately or fortunately never so concrete – nor should it be. Instead we get from our neverending search more and more a feeling of and between certainty and uncertainty, and with it at least an idea of what the creation of our world and that which holds it together could mean.

What were your original aspirations as musicians and how do you think you’re shaping up?

In the beginning, we were above all classically trained musicians on cello and piano. We were for a time happy to be able to study and play these instruments, each for himself. But we realised already early on that solo careers were not for us. Rather, from the beginning, it was about chamber music. Alongside competitions in the traditional sense, in the end it was occasional musical gigs, from birthday parties to funerals, that showed us a financial perspective. Alongside this understandable approach, there appeared in the daily rehearsals moments that soon went beyond the familiar repertoire. Soon we were improvising freely with each other, even at these predominantly small church concerts.

We wanted to hold on to that. So we developed an interest in recording techniques and studio work in general. After our musical studies – Sebastian in Berlin, Daniel in Leipzig – and our first engagements in orchestras, we quickly found our way back together. Now we play only our own music, and then from 2016 also with our small boutique Q3Ambientfest.

We now understand the music and all its surrounding elements from recording to organising our own events as the universal key to the hearts of like-minded friends and companions.



Some self help questions for a Monday:
Am I excited to dive into the challenges that I have lined up for the week?

Nowadays we look forward to every coming week and divide our tasks fairly between us and over the days. During the week as well, we try for a balance between work and free time, deadlines and extended jam sessions. Right now we are working on our upcoming releases, “Go East” and “Belka & Strelka”.

Am I looking forward to engaging with the people I am meeting or working with?

That depends on what “people” you mean. Colleagues, always, because something exciting always develops from that. Our favourite is meeting people in person, although even with that there are different levels, and we’re not even talking about the Tax Office… (laughs).

Am I going to my dream job?

We made sure early on that our day jobs also at least have something to do with music, with our instruments. So we’re at least speaking the same language. In that respect even when we’re working with students we can still think about our personal projects as Brueder Selke, in this context, for example, on our planned music books. In collaborations between the film orchestra and other artists we are constantly learning interesting aspects of the interactions between the group and soloists.

Am I being compensated fairly for the value I bring to my job?

Fortunately, we’re able to support each other too on this sensitive aspect of a musician’s life. We simply stick together, and our thoughts, tasks and goals unite us through the joint concerts and events. These days, as event organisers with high standards, you can be happy just to break even financially. Of course it’s also fun, but still rent and utilities, clothing, food and drinks have to be paid like everywhere else. So we share the load – and the joy – across both our shoulders, and bank accounts.

Do I feel energised, rested, and confident?

We think so. But the breaks are important – not only in the music, but in life in general. They should be regular, in small, short instalments, so not too long, but commensurate with the workload.

If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose? How long would it be before you eat them?

Well, the two of us are already there, so we’re just missing the cellist-to-be Alma Lucia, Sebastian’s daughter, Daniel’s niece – that’s a nice trio for the island… “Hiddensee”, that’s it (laughs).

We love having each other for dinner. Classic.

Your doctor says you need more exercise… what do you take up for exercise?

This just in: We’re starting regular swimming lessons with Alma Lucia.

If you could travel in time… where in time would you go? Why?

Not too far back. But we would love to experience our first years again. At the same time, with Alma we’re living through everything again in a way. So really no reason for too much nostalgia and definitely no “ostalgia”. There’s a time for everything, and we feel pretty comfortable with where we are.

What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?

Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” – interpreted by Isao Tomita. Classical music was, is and remains a constant element in our work. But we’ll never forget the moment when classical elements became electronic variables. A completely new perspective, a perspective that led us to new ideas.

How does your brain work when making music? How does it work when you aren’t?

In the different work phases, rehearsal is of course unavoidable. But now we try to structure the rehearsals as openly as possible. Which means we look for a “carefree state”, beyond ideas of perfection, instead with a perfect permeation of our musical ideas, until our improvisation is only controlled by action and reaction and not pre-determined structures that must be followed.

What were the first and last records you bought?

We were constantly surrounded by music. In the beginning records, then cassettes, finally CDs. And there were always more being added. It continues to this day. Against the trend, we still see the CD format also as a haptic Gesamtkunstwerk. Almost every day there’s a new album. Now, not always in physical form, but ideally yes, on stage at our boutique happenings to which artists intensively dedicate themselves and their creative approaches.

What are you obsessed with at the moment?

We have the good fortune to be able to look forward to and get excited about our own projects again and again. It just still means the world to us to be able to present our own statement with a recording and artwork, and with it to stimulate colleagues and friends to enter again into conversation with us and exchange experiences. Right now, we are quite proud and happy about our two new albums “Go East” and “Belka & Strelka”. “Go East” is for us a small pearl of a record on Aimée Portioli’s brilliant One-Instrument and a really successful minimalistically subtle and mystical, almost retro-futuristic visualisation of a GDR mosaic with the title “Man Conquers the Cosmos”. Marco Ciceri created the visualisation based on photos from our “house and court photographer” Roman Koblov. The mosaics themselves are from the grandfather of Paul Kalkbrenner and can still be visited in Potsdam. “Belka & Strelka” is our first attempt to record and capture a concert on film.

What’s your answer to everything?


Anything else we need to discuss?

Keep your senses and especially your ears open. Stay in time. Drop us a line if you’re interested in a collaboration with us or want to introduce us to an artist with an exciting project in Potsdam. We are lost in Potsdam and it is only an hour away with the car from the centre of Berlin and easy to reach on the S-Bahn or the Regio. Write us, or just come by!

Alles Liebe
Sebastian & Daniel

Brueder Selke – Portrait by Roman Koblov_WEB (16)

Keep your senses and especially your ears open.


Cees Bandcamp