HigherFrequency  DJ Interview

JAPANESE INTERVIEW

Ame Interview

We certainly thought Rej could be a hit, but only on the scale that weíd already achieved in the underground scene weíre in. We never thought that this track would have such a crossover effect to a lot of people.Ē

As core members of highly respected eclectic house-fusion experimentalists Sonar Kolletiv, German duo Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann previously enjoyed a comfortable if relatively modest portion of critical acclaim and peer group recognition until a chance studio fuck-up led them to create Rej.

ďWe were working on a completely different track for two months called Rain and weíd almost finished it when we realized it was a shitty track because weíd worked on it too much and had put too many ideas in it,Ē Kristian laughs.

ďWe decided to throw the track away but I had a last listen and thought we could use the arpeggio in another track. So we stripped out the main melody, then everything happened really quickly and within three days weíd finished what became called Rej.Ē

12 months on the track has already sold 20,000 vinyl copies via their own independent label and won the approval of key tastemakers including Pete Tong (who told Skrufff last week itís his defining track of the last year) while more importantly, and more recently was signed by UK house label Defected for full worldwide release. That Defected, a label best known for soulful house and garage, has picked it up, demonstrates the trackís amazing crossover appeal with has seen DJs including Louis Vegas, Francois Kevorkian and Timmy Regisford supporting it, while on the minimal scene itís been hailed as an anthem, much to Kristianís dismay.

ďWeíve never made minimal music and I donít like minimal music at all,Ē he insists.

ďWe come from a more traditional house and techno music background.Ē

> Interview & Introduction : Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

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Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff) : Rej has been around for a long time and been on many compilations. How do you feel about it now itís actually coming out?

Ame (Kristian) : It is already out and has been for one year, Defected are licensing from our own label and weíve already sold 20 000 copies of this record. So itís not our release but I think Defected can bring it to a wider audience.

Skrufff : Are you still massively enthusiastic about it, 12 months on?

Kristian : Iím still not tired of playing it, weíve done many tracks over the years but this was the breakthrough one to a bigger audience. I like this track, it has a timeless feeling, I hope; thatís why Iím not tired of playing it.

Skrufff : Having had this crossover success, has it changed your life?

Kristian : We both are DJs too, and we play quite a lot already, but now weíre play at really big festivals and big clubs, thatís whatís changed. But we didnít change as people, Iím still feeling the same.

Skrufff : Do you feel more pressure playing bigger clubs and festivals?

Kristian : No, not at all. Iím still playing the same kind of music, maybe a little different, because if you are playing at a festival in front of 4,000 people, you play maybe more Detroit techno, but I still only play music I like, thatís why I donít feel any pressure.

Skrufff : How has it affected the Sonar Kollektiv?

Kristian : I think they never expected this tune would be a mega-seller. They are feeling fine, but actually we split up with them, not because we have any troubles with them, but we started our own sub label Innervisions and now itís our own company.

Skrufff : Are you one of those DJs who likes to stay up for two or three days at a time?

Kristian : Iím more moderate. I like to play for maybe eight hours, but Iím not a raver.

Skrufff : Did you used to be a raver?

Kristian : Yes, ten years ago, I would say, but I think itís a natural process you go through, so it stopped at a certain point.

Ame Interview

Skrufff : You live in Karlsruhe, were you born and raised there?

Kristian : Iím from Manheim, which is not far away, but Frank- the other guy in Ame- is from Karlsruhe.

Skrufff : Have you been tempted to move to Berlin?

Kristian : A lot of friends wanted us to move there. I like Berlin, but only for a couple of days at a time, then I have to go back, there are too much parties, nightlife, whatever. You can go out for a party every day if you want. Everything is really going fast. We try to avoid all this kind of stuff. Itís better to live here and all my friends are living here too.

Skrufff : Are you a local celebrity?

Kristian : If there is a local celebrity, then maybe, yeah, but I also have a record shop here and am also working as a journalist but only for local magazines. People know me here, but I wouldnít use the word celebrity.

Skrufff : How are you seeing the vinyl situation these days from your shopís perspective?

Kristian : I would say today itís more like a speciality record shop for collectors and guys like this. We have a proper DJ culture in this area for years, so we still have a lot of people who are buying vinyl, and I only order records I really like. I still want to do this because I am still a vinyl addict and still buying records.

Skrufff : How many records do you have?

Kristian : Over 10,000 I would say.

Skrufff : Do you have them filed by genre or alphabetically?

Kristian : Iím always collecting the records in cities or areas, like Detroit, New York, UK, France or whatever, then I can find them.

Skrufff : Is it really important for you to crack the UK?

Kristian : This was always the best market for our music. I would say since two years ago Iíve been a regular guest playing two or three time a month across the UK. In the beginning I played at smaller clubs, now more in bigger clubs, but Iím still in the clubs I played in the beginning, because you build up friendships with promoters or club owners, so you always like to come back to smaller places. I donít know why, but itís happened that the UK has turned out to be the best market for our music. I especially like Scotland and Ireland.

Skrufff : Are you keen to crack America?

Kristian : I think there is no real scene there. I played there a couple of times, I will be back in New York in December, but I think there is no club scene in the United States. The American guys are playing more often in Europe or Japan or Australia or Asia than in America, because there is no culture there anymore. Music is coming from America but they donít have any clubs.

Skrufff : Have you been tempted to move to Berlin?

Kristian : A lot of friends wanted us to move there. I like Berlin, but only for a couple of days at a time, then I have to go back, there are too much parties, nightlife, whatever. You can go out for a party every day if you want. Everything is really going fast. We try to avoid all this kind of stuff. Itís better to live here and all my friends are living here too.

Skrufff : Is minimal a scene you align yourself with?

Kristian : No, not at all, We came from more traditional house and techno music but maybe the sound of Rej is modern. This track is a big hit with the American guys like Louis Vegas, Francois Kevorkian, Timmy Regisford and itís a big hit with the minimal guys like Richie Hawtin but weíve never made minimal music and I donít like minimal music at all.

Skrufff : Why do think itís so popular?

Kristian : I donít know why, we think itís because itís the best music to accompany the drugs people do these days. Iíve played at lots of minimal parties and maybe Iíve played some Luciano tracks because I like Luciano more than what Ricardo does, but I never play more than two so-called minimal tracks at these parties and it works. I stayed at a party once with Villalobos for four or five hours once and nothing happened. But people were still dancing. In Germany we call it ketamine music.

Skrufff : Do you think there is any particular German connection with minimal? I know Berlin has been central to its development. . .

Kristian : Even in Berlin people are starting to get bored of this music. I know a lot of people on the scene, Steve Bug for example is a good friend of mine, as are the guys doing the Perlon label, who are famous for minimal and theyíre bored of it. Berlinís where it started and the fact the people there are bored of it, to me means there will be a big effect on it in a couple of months and minimal will down and something new will emerge. I donít know what style, maybe house? I think this kind of genre will die within two or three years and then only the best of the genre will still exist- thatís how it is. People like Luciano and Richie Hawtin have been there already for years. Five years ago no-one was interested in minimal music whereas now everyone is playing it. I donít why but I think it will pass by soon.

End of the interview


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