booka shade talk
With a new album about to drop and a sold out live show this weekend at FIRE we caught up with the physicalites for a chat about Basic Channel – seem to be popping up a lot recently! – Oh Superman and listening to Nick Cave 20 times in a row…
Hi Arno/Walter. Where are you from, where are you now?
Walter: We live in Berlin / Germany, where we are at the moment, to finish the album and prepare the Live show which well take to stages in Europe and the US throughout Spring and Summer.
Well do some club shows in cities such as Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and London, just to get a feel for the Live stage again.
Then itll be Ultra Festival Miami with some East coast club shows in March (including Irving Plaza in New York!) and Coachella with the West coast in April, which will smoothly lead us into the festival summer.
I always noticed your productions have always incorporated a lot of dubbed out elements – like a more uptempo Basic Channel at times if you'll allow me the compliment. Has dub played an important part in your musical education?
W: Thank you ! We love Basic Channel. We love reggae rhythms with dubby FX as well, we have a lot of that in our music, if you take songs like REGENERATE. therell be more on the new album.
Arno: We had a lot of different musical influences in our lives, Walter coming from a family background with classical music, mine more jazz. The new wave of the early 80s was highly influential, as well as film scores.
What's the best White Noise you've ever heard?
A: Only recently I checked out the works of the German producer Conny Plank again, who was a genius (and sometimes enfant terrible) of studio technology.
He worked with Kraftwerk , for example.
Tell us about the new album and the concept behind it.
W: We wanted to get away from the usual "laptop studio production", and looked for more richness and depth in the sound; so we went to a studio outside of Manchester, called "Eve", and recorded loads of instruments live.
Also we used a lot of analogue and antique outboard equipment, a wide range from vintage compressors and EQs to analogue spring reverbs (a unit so big its positioned outside in the car park) to obscure asian toys …….
Reamping instruments through amplifiers or through recoding rooms was heavily used.
The result sounds much more organic than we ever sounded.
I have to say when I first heard that you had remixed Laurie Anderson's classic Oh Superman I was a little worried. I couldn't begin to think how you or MANDY could've turned one of the most bizarre and beatless No.1s ever into dancefloor fodder but I was amazed at the job you did on it. What prompted you to remix a track such as this?
W: Thank you very much. a mutual friend of ours, Patrik Dechent, who ran the Monza Club in Frankfurt back in the day, came up with the idea.
We did the project Sunsetpeople with him on Get Physical, so check out this name on Beatport: OH SUPERMAN (TRIBUTE TO SUNSETPEOPLE – ORIGINAL IDEA BY PATRIK DECHENT ) Original Mix
What a title !
What was the music of your teenage rebellion?
A: It wasnt so much about rebellion, because our families very much supported our love for music.
Patience was probably rather tested by the sheer quantity of repetition of the loved songs. I could easily listen to the same song again and again for 30-40 times -and that was only in the afternoon after school.
I wish it was possible for me today to listen to music the way I did when I was 13 / 14 years old and EVERYTHING was fresh and exciting.
When I heard A Love Like Blood by Killing Joke for the first time, the power blew me away.
Are you a kick drum, hi hat or a snare? And why?
A: Im the HiHat that keeps the beat together and that can make a 4/4 bass drum swing.
Tell us about the Blackout: White Noise live show. You use a lot of films and visuals in your performances. Are you having something produced especially for these shows?
W: We use the upcoming shows to present some brand new material from the album for the first time in a concert surrounding.
For the new shows, well bring in even more Live elements, well have more options to work with the music, and therell be more things to hit on !
Visually, we have worked on some interesting ways to show the audience in detail what happens on stage.
Complete the sentence: I'm proper techno because…..
A: I dont think of the morning after.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
A: The song "Jubilee Street" from Nick Cave. Its the first song in years that Ive been listening to 20 times in a row, every day.
Should DJs educate or entertain? You're not allowed to say 'both'.
W: Both. Best is when people have a fantastic time and dont actually notice that they are exposed to something unheard.
Never just give the people what they want. They will not want you for long.
Rave related iPhone app they ought to invent….
A: Great question ! Instantly inspires some creative ideas, but they are all either illegal or nasty. or both.
A great subject for discussion on a long drive in the tour bus.
Should clubs and gig venues ban mobiles?
W: Why – I love to have 10 mobiles with flash light right in my face while I perform. Its only surpassed by people standing in the first row texting…
But actually, during our live or DJ shows I never mind, its part of our job and it can be promotion , too.
But I strongly believe that late night clubbing should be a private thing, and I despise people taking photos then.
Whats the best thing you've done so far this year
A: A three week trip through Queensland / Australia.
Strangest Display of Affection from a Fan.
A: A girl standing in the first row at a big festival, watching us in awe — and then throwing up.
What's your answer to everything?
W: A drink.
Where is the strangest place you've woken up naked?
If your sound was a visual thing, what would it look like?
A: It would be something so unrealistically beautiful, that even the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy would not find appropriate words to describe it.
First and last record bought?
A: First: Chic "Le Freak" (no, I wasnt cool. I didnt even know what i was buying at the flea market outside the local supermarket), last: the new Nick Cave album.
Whats your favourite place on earth?
W: A live stage at a professional outdoor festival, preferably in the late evening in a subtropical climate.
Apart from the upcoming live shows what else is in store for Booka Shade this year?
W: the new album, of course ! itll be out in july, and well have EPs leading up to this. the new one is called "Blackout: White Noise" released March 18th.
Finally, big question: Zapp or Zappa?
A: To be honest, Im slightly too young for both. I just remember vividly my older brother laughing his a+# off while im singing Bobby Brown, not having a clue what Im singing about.