Ahead of playing the nofitstate New Years Day party, we caught up with Thugfucker for a brief chewing of the fat….
Hi guys, first off how did the two of you meet and was it love at first sight or did you both play it cool to start off with?
Well, we're always playing it cool but we also love everyone (at first sight or sight unseen) so that's a tricky question to answer. Not to mention we first met in a dark nightclub in a quite distorted state of mind so who knows how well we could see by that time anyways. But certainly we felt a strong bond right away.
It was quite some years ago and we met at a party Holmar was throwing above an old abandoned brothel in Chinatown and we quickly got into a heated discussion about the plight of the genetically rhythmblind. It's something we feel strongly about and we've even since formed a charitable organization on their behalf. We're slowly working to raise awareness of their condition.
You’re playing at Nofitstate’s New Years Day party in London alongside Tale of Us, Ame, Maxxi Soundsystem et al , a better start to the year would seem impossible. With that in mind, what are your plans for 2013 and what have been the highlights of 2012?
We can safely say that there is no better to start the year. With friends and artists we respect deeply, in a city we love and at a party being thrown and attended by people who are well known to be party instigators of the highest nature. What else could we possibly ask for?
As for our plans for the year ahead, we've spent a good part of the last year up to no good and will likely spend much of the year ahead in the same vein. We've been incredibly lucky to be able to travel around the world doing what we love and sharing it with so many people. If we can just continue to do the same it's already a victory. But of course we always shoot to take things to the next level and we hope that this year will be no different than the last in that respect.
With any luck our ability to balance all the gigs and fitting in some proper studio time will get better so we can bring more of the music we've been working on out to the world and not just playing it in our sets. We've got more things in the works for Life and Death as well as a few remixes that we've spent a more than normal amount of time working on trying to make them really something special. We're just finishing a remix of our friends Crazy P where we've recorded live cellos to add to what we'd already done and so when you do things like that squeezed between pretty much never being home it does tend to slow the process. But quality over quantity is kind of our motto there…
You said in a previous interview that ‘it’s hard to have a bad time in London’. I’m assuming you’ve never been to Poplar or Cricklewood?! Seriously, though, how well do you know the city and what are your favourite things to do when you’re over here?
We haven't been there yet but according to Facebook, 37% of all of our fans come from Poplar. And I wouldn't say anything bad about Cricklewood because those motherfuckers are tough as nails. Hard core.
Our main favourite thing to do in London is to not get into fights with people from Cricklewood. We love you Cricklewood!
Disco Gnome has been a massive hit, both the original ad the Tale of Us remix. Two things: 1. Why’s it called ‘Disco Gnome’ and 2. Are you sick of playing it yet?
Well the name came about because Holmar found an old garden gnome and decided to spray paint it silver after which it found a comfortable refuge in our studio in Brooklyn. Somewhere along the line it got dubbed the Disco Gnome and this song became a dedication to him.
As for playing it out, we're rather appreciative of all the doors it's opened for us and especially as it was the catalyst for the joining together of Manfredi and Greg to start Life and Death and was also how we first got to know Matteo and Karm of Tale of Us and started working with them — so we couldn't ever get sick of it..
Having said that, as DJ's we wouldn't like to play the same of anything out every night for 4 years straight (which is how long ago we wrote Disco Gnome) so sometimes it's great to play but every night of any thing would surely be too much…
Life & Death is going from strength to strength garnering a lot of love from various corners of the electronic music spectrum. What would you say are the defining characteristics of the label?
More than anything, it's a mixture of only working with people we like and genuinely enjoy spending time with and working on music that we genuinely feel passionate about in our hearts. Stylistically that will surely evolve over time but with the right combination of people and intention it's our belief that we can consistently release music that will stand the test of time.
You’ve spoken before about the two of you having a very close relationship and how you’ve developed a kind of ‘hive mind’ when it comes to working together. A lot of duo’s seem to thrive off creative tension but it appears you’re different in that respect?
Well, we don't really feel competition between us and we're just very good friends so any tension that might arise is usually dispelled pretty quick. Otherwise it would probably be exhausting to travel around everywhere together, no? Not sure how other people could do it if they didn't genuinely enjoy being with the people they're working with. It'd feel a lot more like a day job than the dream job it is and I think the secret to doing this well is to genuinely enjoy what you're doing so much that others feel like they want to jump along on the crazy ride with you. I mean, if the DJ's aren't having fun, why should anyone else be?
Holmar was tipped as a potential political leader of Iceland, can we expect Thugfucker to become a political force in the future, the electronic equivalent of Billy Bragg?
We are already a strong political force, but we're more like puppet masters in the background. We're not going to come out and say that Holmar was the main reason for Iceland's economic recovery but if you say it we're not going to deny it either…
What was the first point, for each of you, that you really fell in love with electronic music – did it come in the form of a sudden epiphany or was it more of a slow burn affair?
I think we've both managed to have epiphanies on the dancefloor at various moments in our lives and that kind of experience has definitely driven both of us to do what we do. They're the kind of moments that, amazingly, open your mind to a new way of seeing the world and change your life for the better in one strangely big cathartic moment. If you haven't had one, they're hard to describe and if you have had one, it's unforgettable and unnecessary to put into words. And we're proud to say that sometimes we'll get people reach out to us who have had those kinds of moments on the dancefloor when we've been behind the decks and that is probably the most gratifying thing you can hear as a DJ. If we can make that happen, even sometimes, then we can sleep well at night that's for sure.. Or sleep well during the day, depending on how our night's gone..
What were the biggest breaks in your careers, the defining moments that pushed things onto the next level and really made you believe that you had a future in music?
It's going to sound cheesy but it's true. Meeting first each other and then later the rest of the Life and Death crew have been the biggest defining moments of our careers. We've managed to inspire each other and push each other to take things to another level and it's no small thing to find such a strong family to make music and spread the love with. We appreciate it every single day. Having a bit of a hit record probably didn't hurt either but that's not anything compared to the friendships that have been the backbone of our careers.
Finally, could you give us your top 5 tracks of 2012, the surefire dance-floor destroyers?
Sure. Hard to narrow it down to just a few but here's 5 that have been killing it for us all year…
"Noom" – FTC
"The Real Thing" – Pillowtalk vs Marvin Gaye
"Sol" – Uner&
"Sun (Bowski Remix)" – Caribou
"Shine (Light The Sun)" – Clarian North
"Für Die Liebe "- Mathew Dekay & Lee Burridge
"Fresh Water" – Tale of Us featuring The/Das
Actually that's 7 tracks..
Oh is it? Huh, how about that..
Thanks guys, much appreciated.
Our pleasure! Looking forward to party time on New Year's Day!
Thugfucker play the nofitstate New Years Day party alongside Tale of Us, Ame, Maxxi Soundsystem and more. Tickets/ info here.