Digitalism Interview - crossing musical boundries
From lo-fi guitar riffs to techno kick drums, Digitalism are in with the in-crowd.
Digitalism are the German duo made up of Jence Moelle and Isi Tuefekci. They'd been firm favourites in The End office for a while, but nobody was prepared for quite how good their live show was going to be in The End's main room at Bugged Out! in January '07. That set remains one of the highlights of the year, and the subsequent release of their superb album 'Idealism' cemented their reputation. After confirming them to play at The End's tent at Lovebox festival summer '07, we caught up with Digitalism for an interview.
Endclub.com: Hi guys!
What are your personal highlights on 'Idealism'?
The prime moment is probably 'Moonlight', which is kind of a Digitalism hymn, praising the night time and the now. Isi loves 'Idealistic' for its old skool part in the middle, and we both love 'Pogo' as it is the most personal song on the album.
What's the difference between Isi and Jence?
Jence is the freak and Isi is the control freak having to look after him from time to time. We're both quite tall, but Isi is even taller. Jence is sillier and Isi cares more about stuff.
How do your roles in the Digitalism studio differ?
We both see our studio as our private playground for grown-ups. Jence hammers lots of ideas and melodies into the gear while Isi directs and channelizes everything. It's very complementary.
How does being on a major compare with your time on Kitsune?
Well actually we still work with Kitsune, as they're doing all our vinyls. The major just produces the CD and works the project after all of us - Kitsune and us - have made decisions about music, art and profile. So we're really happy with this way of working. It's a team being indie but with major power. Although we've got a tighter schedule now. But that's due to our album release.
Your music has quite rightly found popularity within the indie crowd as well as the dance music community - why do you think this is, and was it something you set out to achieve when you started?
When we started, we just did it because we were oversaturated by boring vinyls that we had to deal with every week, working in record stores and distributions. So what we wanted to do is create music that'd kick ass ourselves. We didn't think about how it should sound like, we just jammed and found this Digitalism signature sound. This is what kicks us! We like it rough and edgy as well as banging with electronic sounds. So we are indie and electronic, freaking out jumping in the studio to lo-fi guitar riffs as well as techno kick drums. We also prefer doing music that has a face and can be remembered, this is why we work with song structures, even in the more electronic songs. We reckon this is what indie people appreciate. It's not functional club music, it's Digitalism.
You've done a lot of remixing of bands in your time - which bands are you really into right now, and are there any you would you like to remix?
Our faves change daily as we get sent so much music every day. We were just recently listening to old Culture Beat and Snap records amongst the new Chemical Brothers LP, Hadouken!, The Smiths and all that. And Jence's been to a private hip hop party in Dublin recently, which was great fun!
What artists or albums had the biggest effect on you when you were growing up?
Mainly everything silly and punky, which can be from 60's rock via Dr. Dre to the French House records, crudely sampling and not caring about the reception. This is how it should be. And lots of soundtracks - we often think in movies or pictures when making or listening to music. We see our album also as a kind of peoples' soundtrack.
How do you guys adjust the way you perform when playing a big festival as opposed to playing in a club environment?
Actually we don't. It turned out to be not necessary. We rocked indoor rave festivals and had indies freaking out to the same set. But we're just working on a new one with more elements and a bigger show. We're really looking forward to it.
And talking of clubs, did you enjoy your set at Bugged Out in The End's main room earlier this year?
This Bugged Out show was one of the best we ever played. It looked like the room was on fire and people wouldn't stop trying to grab us! Very intense!
How rock & roll are you? Can you give us any anecdotes that certify your rock & roll credentials?
Once, we found ourselves in a surreal Friday 13th-style house surrounded by trees, owned by a friend's auntie in Australia, still having to play another gig a few hours later and not having slept since...can't remember..., we're likely to get "auntiefied" pretty often...Vodka's always our still water.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
We were walking around in Tokyo recently, where our album was very high in the charts and we saw ourselves looking at us on Shibuya Station from thousands of posters.
And finally, who'd win in a royal rumble death match if we threw Digitalism, Simian Mobile Disco, Justice and Daft Punk in a ring together?