Interview: Booka Shade
Interview: Booka Shade
Booka Shade est un duo formé de Walter Merziger et Arno Kammermeier. Ce sont les producteurs de la plupart des sorties du label Get Physical Music (tous les albums et remixes par M.A.N.D.Y., DJ T., Sunsetpeople, Chelonis R. Jones, Jona, Elektrochemie (composée de Stephan Bodzin entre autres), Lopazz, Djuma Soundsystem et leurs propres compositions). Depuis le milieu des années 1990, Merziger and Kammermeier ont sorti des projets sur différents labels tels que R&S, Harthouse, Touché ou tommy Boy. Leur premier album « Memento » unit leur passé musical commun dans un chemin très contemporain. Leurs constructions 4/4, accompagnées de phrases et d’éléments très techniques et musicaux forment cette musique dansante chaude et expérimentale. Interview exclusive…
TheClubbing.com: What is respectively your role inside Booka Shade?
Booka Shade: Walter plays keyboards and is the main songwriter and producer in the studio. Arno plays drums and looks after the business orientated aspects of the work.
TheClubbing.com: Booka Shade is not your first experience in sound-making. You also composed for pop bands, ads, movies etc. Could you tell us a bit more about this background? In which way does it help you for your present works?
Booka Shade: To cut a long story short: we started out as a pop group in the early 90’s, called Planet Claire. From 1993 onwards we produced a lot of techno / house records for many relevant labels at that time, like R&S, Harthouse, Touché,… In the late 90’s we focussed on soundtrack music and also pop productions. Our label Get Physical was founded in 2002, together with the two guys from M.A.N.D.Y. and DJ T. Find more details at www.bookashade.com or our myspace site. Nowadays we see it as a huge benefit that we had the possibility to work in many different musical genres, especially when producing music for commercials. For example we recorded string orchestras, that’s why we had the idea to do it again for the opening track from our album, a song called Outskirts. We like all kinds of music, we both come from musically very interested families (Walter > classical music, Arno > jazz ). The sound of Booka Shade is quite rich, you find many sound layers in the arrangements. It’s something we learned as producers over the years.
TheClubbing.com: Berlin is definitely « the place to be » for electronic music. What is your feeling about this town?
Booka Shade: We love it, we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else at the moment. In berlin you meet many people from everywhere in the world. Everybody moves there, because it’s such a vibrant city. And good for partying, too !
TheClubbing.com: What is your feeling in clubs, seeing crowd reactions when they hear the first notes of your tracks? What is your best gig’s « souvenir »? The worst one?
Booka Shade: We’re happy to say that we had quite a large number of really good concerts. One to mention is the Pukkelpop show last year (you can see it on our DVD, Movements – The Tour Edition). Also the show at Benicassim/Spain only a couple of days ago was perfect. It’s always a great feeling when the audience hear the first notes of Night Falls, Darko or the bass line of In White Rooms. Crazy. Many times Body Language rips the whole place apart. I love the fact that the people actually sing the bass lines or melodies.
TheClubbing.com: What is your live configuration? Only machines?
Booka Shade: No, we have a big setup on stage, including some synths, a mixing desk, FX units, and an electronic drum set. We have visuals and lights running in sync with the setup. And we do as much as we can live with our four hands. It’s a very physical show on stage; we sweat a lot!
TheClubbing.com: What was your state of mind when you started to compose The Sun & The Neon Light? It sounds smoother, farther from the dancefloor…
Booka Shade: The album was mainly written on the road, during the Movements Tour. It deals with the condemnation and glorification of night life at the same time. All the experiences we had on the last tour went into the production. That’s why it’s partly darker than Movements. But then again you have those hyper-euphoric songs like Charlotte, which is pure sunshine.
TheClubbing.com: In which way is the vinyl edition different from the CD?
Booka Shade: We wanted an album that you can listen to at home, with good song writing. That’s the CD version. The vinyl version is of course directed at DJ, so what you hear on vinyl/Beatport is dancefloor remixes, more suitable for club play.
TheClubbing.com: You are not known to be DJ but you have been solicited for Body Language or the amazing DJ Kicks. How do you explain that? What is your conception of DJing?
Booka Shade: We never actually DJed in clubs, we are producers and songwriters. What we think of though is a DECKS & FX setup, that would allow us to remix our songs (and other peoples songs) live. It’s a bit like DJing, but with the producer background. The DJ Kicks was a perfect concept for us because it allowed us to a create a mix that wasn’t directed at the dancefloor and gave us the opportunity to combine songs from four decades in a good flow. It’s a « producer’s mix », technically you wouldn’t be able to do this mix with two turntables or CD players. A lot of « studio/production magic » was applied…
TheClubbing.com: We can notice some various tracks like Brigitte Bardot or John Carpenter on the DJ Kicks. What are your influences? I guess you have a lot of references as well in pop as in house or techno…
Booka Shade: That’s correct. On the DJ Kicks you can hear where we come from: pop from any decade, techno , soundtracks, good harmonic songwriting.
TheClubbing.com: Is there someone (or something!) you wish to work with?
Booka Shade: Do a soundtrack for a whole length cinema movie.
TheClubbing.com: Are you afraid to be broadcasted on national radios?
Booka Shade: No, why should we? We like it when people hear our music, that’s why we produce it. Many people come to our shows because they heared Karma Car or Numbers on the radio. Both songs have been on campus radio charts in North America and played on national radio in Australia. But it’s always important not to lose control over what is happening. We don’t like crews film a whole show and put it on the internet without asking (I don’t mean the youtube movies, of course!)