Artist To Artist: Longhair
From the murky depths of Berlin comes a monster, a wicked beast with two heads, a strange penchant for house music and the bizarre. Longhair is the duo made up of Marko and Bene who have begun to amass interest and intrigue as a production outfit. We've been told that there is an unholy amount of musical ammunition ready to be unleased upon the innocent world over the coming months and if it's anything like what we expect then it will be bloody great… Anyway, as well known figures in the Berlin musical community we decided it would be a good time to invite the pair to talk shop and build a foundation upon which they will grow…
Bene: Why Berlin?
Marko: 2 years ago I was just feeling sad in Zagreb, I had the feeling that I did everything I could do in that town, music wise there wasn’t so much going on and Berlin was the best option for me because I knew all you guys at Renate. It was this one phone call when I was sitting super depressed with my ex-girlfriend, drunken in this pizzeria and she called you (Bene) in the middle of the night and you didn’t answer and, she left a message on your voicemail; that I have to leave Zagreb and move to Berlin. Funny enough 5 mins later you actually called me back, and said that I just have to come over here and there will be options, like working at the bar and that I can play at the club. Six weeks later I was in Berlin and I’m still here sooo…
Marko: How did you get here?
Bene: That’s a shorter story, maybe a classic for most of the kids from Bavaria that are here. For me it was very early when I was 16 on a school trip when I snuck out of our youth hostel to go the old Tresor on a Wednesday night and then I decided to move here as soon as possible which I did after my high school diploma. That’s it.
Marko: When did you decide to grow your hair?
Bene: Actually I don’t remember when and why. Maybe I just was lazy. Longhair don’t Care. Hehe. I was always known for weird haircuts and maybe I just thought lets stop haircuts altogether.
Bene: What about you Marko?
Marko: Ahh, I had long hair already in elementary school, cause I was really into metal music and all the metal heads they had long hair, then I cut it in high school. It wasn’t till my late 20’s that I started to grow my hair again, I don’t know for what reason. I also had weird haircuts with colours and blah blah blah… and then I just started to grow my hair and not give a f*ck.
Bene: So what are we doing in the studio Marko?
Marko: Music obviously… mostly.
Marko: How would you describe the sound of Longhair?
Bene: Longhair… it has a lot of influences from all kinds of genres, it can be 80’s influenced with the synth sounds, the beats are more influenced by Italian dream house of the 90’s, but it has its own vibe kind of now. We really developed a sound of our own… I hope.
Bene: What do you think about Longhair’s influences?
Marko: Yeah, I think there are many. I remember when we started doing it I wanted to do a version of house music that will be groovy and danceable but not stressful. We started to pick softer sounds, no aggressive sounds like razor sharp acid bass lines. The sounds are more dreamy and glassy with mellow baselines on a solid groove. I think the Longhair sound is exactly that, it’s a very melodic version of house music, with a progressive approach and a softer attitude.
Bene: Do you remember the time when we did the first tracks together?
Marko: Yeah sure, it was just a couple of weeks after I got here. We went into the studio just for fun with no intention of a project in mind. The first track was kind of trial and error, but we already started to think about the sound there and the second track “Coco Loco” was the first track that we finished and we released it on my label “House is Ok “.
Marko: So how do you think our sound developed from “Coco Loco” to the sound we have now?
Bene: It definitely got a bit faster and we really know what we are aiming for, “Coco Loco” was a happy accident. We finished the track almost in that one session. Now, even if we spend more time finishing a track it’s ok cause now we have a really clear picture of how we want it to sound, which can be more work. It’s intensive, but definitely the workflow in the studio is really good, we get shit done.
Bene: How do you like working with me?
Marko: I have to say this project is the first project where the flow in the studio is just developing naturally. The main thing is I don’t have the feeling there is so much ego, we just make the decisions very quick and we make them together and that is probably why it’s going so fast sometimes. We just say OK, we are both on the same page, this is good – this not and bam! Sometimes when you work with other people its like fighting. I don’t think we have these situations in the studio. It’s mainly trust and we have the same idea of what we want.
Marko: Is this is the first time you have been really intensely in the studio?
Bene: I actually have been owning synthesizers longer than turntables, I also had a little live act with a friend, Niklas, from Munich. We were called “Breekbaar” (fragile in Dutch) when I moved to Berlin. It was very wild, I didn’t have any idea how this shit works. He had an MPC and I had a groove box which we didn’t even sync, we just hit play at the same time and sh*t like that so it was crazy. But after that I was in the studio once a week to mess around but never with a real project in mind to put stuff out on a regular basis and stuff.
Bene: Remember that one time in the studio I brought my Californian vape and how unproductive we had been?
Marko: Oh yeah I remember that. I wouldn’t say we were unproductive; we had just been really mellow and slow. It was after this insane weekend when I had this funny trip at Renate’s Red Room; it was full of smoke there were five friends on the dance floor, and I saw them one by one coming out of the smoke. We did the vape and started with this image in mind and made a really mellow track. I don’t think it’s something we will release now, but it’s those kinds of tracks that we are collecting maybe for an album. You know, those tracks that you don’t put on an EP. We already collected a couple of those that we did in between and actually I see the album already forming by itself.
Marko: Are you nervous about our first live set at the Renate 11 Jahre Birthday?
Bene: I am definitely excited. You know I’m DJing so much with Jan (Peak) and this doesn’t bother me at all, but for the live set I’m leaving my comfort zone. I think so far with the all the preparation it’s going to be fine.
Bene: What about you?
Marko: I’m also super excited about it, because I didn’t play live for pretty much two years now, I was just DJing only. This is the first time after two years setting up a live set again, but now with somebody else. All the things that I was controlling on my own before, I have to give parts away to another person. Of course this leaves me with more space to do other things, but I also have to trust in the other one that everything goes right. That’s also kind of leaving the comfort zone because before that I was always in control of everything. So now I have to give away parts and I’m super nervous about it. I think the rehearsals are going very well and it’s going be good.
Marko: How much would it take us to get to Carnegie Hall now?
Bene: You know my keyboarding skills… a lot of work (laughing) … ah well I don’t know where we are going with this project, I hope it works out well and we get to tour, quite a lot.
Bene: How do you think that our different musical abilities compliment each other?
Marko: This is actually a very interesting question, because I would say I’m more impulsive and random and Bene is super organised. He has a slight OCD thing. Everything has to be like shick shick shick and I’m someone that gets in there and destroys that order and I think this thing in between is what makes the song.
Bene: We’ve DJed a couple of times together. How was that for you?
Marko: The first time we DJed together was upstairs at the Renate backstage. AKA “the room that doesn’t exist “ at NYE two years ago or something like that. That was kind of you know, getting to know each other musically, seeing what the other plays and reacting on that. It was basically playing each other tracks. The second time was when we closed the “House is OK” party at Renate and we played for 6 hours straight I think, not letting the crowd go home and that was so much fun – House music all night long.
Bene: Are you excited about our upcoming releases?
Marko: I’m really happy! The first demo we finished, where we said: OK we wanna put this on a record, got more or less instantly signed by Bordello A Parigi. But we have to wait for the release, which will come out in early 2019. So we already had more material to release and we decided to put it on Renate Schallplatten, the record label run by Wilde Renate.
Marko: Do you think we need to take “stuff” to perform in the studio?
Bene: No not at all, maybe a couple of beers, but we work better sober and no Californian vapes!
Marko: Except for Carnegie Hall what would be your favourite place to perform a Longhair live set?
Bene: I would love to play at one of the festivals in Tisno. It would be really amazing cause I think the vibe of Longhair and the vibe of the festivals there are a total match. Dekmantel are you reading hahaha?
Bene: So Marko what’s your favourite studio food?
Marko: Pad Thai!
Bene: Curry & Wurst!
Catch Longhair at the Renate birthday HERE.
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