DID: You produced Monkeytown entirely together in the studio in one session over the course of ten weeks. What inspired you to produce this album differently that your previous ones?
M: Yes, that’s correct. It’s the first album we 100% produced together in the studio. Over the course of last year, we started recording, broke it off, started again … We didn’t know what direction we wanted to take with that record. We were unhappy with the studio sound …. We then tore down a wall, figured out the right sound for the studio room and stopped thinking too much about everything, we got the break-through and finished the album within 10 weeks. We wen into the studio from 10 a.m. until late at night and only worked on our music. Just went home shortly to put our kids in bed, but then back to work. Very disciplined!
DID: Why did you decide to title this particular album Monkeytown? Was there a reason for naming the album after your own label?
M: The idea to call one of our albums Monkeytown is an older one. Even before we started our label Monkeytown Records we wanted to name our next album Monkeytown. But then the label came first, so we named it like this and almost forgot about the album title. When we were looking for the right name for our new album and had a list with like 50 potential names in front of us, we remembered the old title again and decided to go for Monkeytown. This goes also really well with our hometown Berlin.
DID: What is it like to be working with the same person for 20 years?
M: 20 years already? Let’s say 10 years. Part of it is like what the term Monkeytown describes – in the Berlin circus a lot of things happen, you meet other artists, become friends, run into each other, hang out, exchange ideas … This is how most of our collaborations came to life. Although most of the collaborators come from someplace else and we met them being on tour ….
DID: Have your studio/live roles been switched or changed in any way?
M: Within Modeselektor the roles were set from the very beginning – Gernot plays the drums, Szary the down-tuned guitar. Or better: Gernot turns up the volume, Szary turns that into stereo. Each of us has his own strengths that function really well in the studio or on stage. Maybe that is why we are such a perfect duo – we are totally different as human beings. Except when it comes down to food – we always order the same thing.
DID: How do you feel about the current state of the music industry?
M: We are not the types of persons who with back the good old times. Things change and the world keeps turning – nothing you can do about it .. Maybe that is why we decided to go for DIY and start our own label and have everything in-house in our own hands: label, booking, publishing, management. 5 years ago we would never have thought that our Monkeytown universe would work that well. We make music, our kids like our music and those of our artists. We like to swim against the stream – and you only live onces …
DID: Any thoughts on the bedroom production going on or the fact that you’re now being interviewed by kids with music blogs?
M: We actually think it’s great that you can be a bedroom producer nowadays and spread your music. One upload, sharing this via your networks and the listener decides tune or not tune. Before, you had to mail out 500 white labels with info sheets to the press and maybe get one response. The disadvantage with this digital development is that music became pretty short-lived.
And regarding kids writing about us – in a way we ourselves are still kids ourselves … And if 20 year old blogger or musician in his 30′s – we don’t make a difference. And Siriusmo just said in an interview recently: Modeselektor still look pretty, despite their age. LOL.
DID: We have also developed a serious affinity for Siriusmo over the last few years. How do you feel about his climb?
M: We’ve known Siriusmo since the 90′s. Back then he was still playing in a band, playing keyboard. At the same time he started producing with a sampler and Atari, doing great stuff. Very fascinating. After years of releases all over the label landscape we thought that it’s time for Siriusmo to have a real home, so we found Monkeytown Records. The label was basically started because of Siriusmo – we didn’t think about releasing our own music then. We also took Siriusmo along on tour to rid him of his stage fright. He does pretty well now…
DID: Where do you see him going in the next couple of years?
M: He is working on a new album which will blow everyone away. We really hope that he will turn his DJ set into a live set and go on tour. But we take it easy and don’t put any pressure on him. We just hope that he will feel good about being on Monkeytown. Also, Siriusmo was one of our best consultants for our album production – coffee, chords and good moods…
DID: Aside from the music of your collaborators, what are your favorite new artists/albums to come out in the last couple of years?
M: We never answer that kind of question. We just say that we look around and listen to everything, especially coming from the UK. We don’t know how the UK manages to spit out so many great artists and releases. But in the U.S. and Canada there are also great artists. Actually all around the world … In our Monkeytown / 50WEAPONS universe we’ll have new stuff coming from Anstam, Cosmin TRG, eLan, Lazer Sword … Right now, we are pretty fascinated with the new Zomby album Dedication – we listened to it being on a U.S. tour across the continent – 4 times in a row. The perfect highway soundtrack.
You can still catch them on a couple more tour dates this year, and stream Monkeytown below before it’s out on September 30.
Modeselektor “Monkeytown” (MONKEYTOWN015) OUT BETWEEN SEP27-OCT04 by Modeselektor