- You guys have been in the scene for more than three decades now. I wasn’t even born then. How did the music industry change in those years?
Well, if you have another 30 years time we can start to tell you ;). But seriously. Let’s pick some of the most obvious points in the following categories: a) sound carriers b) music production c) bookings/live. There are too many to include them all in the answer to this question so we decided to narrow it down. We started carrying vinyl from gig to gig and our music had a much higher value, our vinyl was precious as usually there was only a limited amount of copies. So what we played was rare and unique at times and people came to listen to the music they had no chance to listen anywhere else or only on a few selected occasions. Now music has no shortage of supply. There is nothing physical left to sell and buy and as the supply of music is high like crazy the decrease of the music value started it’s march destroying many careers. Once a track is out everybody can get its hands on it. Nothing special so people move faster to the next tune than ever before. It ́s like a can of Coke you open it, drinks it and throws it away while buying a new one. From vinyl, we slowly made the transition to playing with CDs which was great as we had to carry way less weight and saved a lot of money on airfares having too much luggage on us or saving money on buying expensive vinyl. At that time we started to miss our weekly interaction on the global network of record stores where we met our heroes, other DJs, where we exchanged experiences, cool track names etc. This has been replaced by the digital progress and the social medium mayhem :-)). CDs prevailed for a much shorter period than vinyl so after we played with CDs for a few years we were very fast to adapt to mp3s. It ́s so easy. Our DJ set now fits into our pockets using in-ear monitors. Time and money saving heaven and who cares if DJs can really mix with vinyl these days? We don’t wanna go and raise the laptop DJ topic. Everybody should have the freedom to play according to his skills 😉 and preferences. Now crossing the bridge towards music productions. It was quite a journey to create great tunes. We had really huge studios with a lot of amazing outboard equipment and now, especially in electronic music, a great laptop, a good keyboard, the essential plug-ins and a good pair of speakers is all you need assuming you have the ear and the talent. It became much easier and cheaper to produce. and the process of production is much faster which at one side empowered a lot of creativity but on the other side lead to a decrease of quality as too many people think that what they do is worth being released so the music market was and is facing a flood of productions that would have never seen the light of a day only 10 years ago. The constant availability on all platforms is becoming a problem as transparency is lacking and more and more algorithms are taking over and we will see if that ́s a good or a bad thing. This topic alone is worth talking for hours. Last but not least how did live performing change? Well, the sky is the limit, everything progressed to new levels so again too much to talk about but one essential thing we feel is worth mentioning. Back in the days, much more people made their livings with royalties from record/CD sales and related income. We actually went on tour to promote our music. We produced to make a living with sales and related income which worked great for many many years. At the beginning of our career bookings were a nice, sometimes a really nice, add-on. Now we only produce and use the production as a marketing tool to get bookings paying for our livings as average sales for an average release won ́t generate enough revenue to even pay for your rent and exactly this equation doesn’t ́t work out for the vast majority of DJs and producers and even artists (singers and bands) anymore. A hit track guarantees gigs with fees beyond believe if you have none, you can be happy to be booked to play for free and they pay for your ticket and hotel. The decrease in royalties is compensated by an increase in fees but the question is how many DJs are getting these amazing fees? Only the ones with hits and/or sometimes being superstars (with hit records) from the past. Of course, this is the general direction and you will always find exceptions. So if your music doesn’t sell you don ́t get gigs and if it sells the revenue is so low that you cannot survive on it and you still don ́t get gigs unless it ́s a real hit record. You ́re working 24/7 to produce, to arrange gigs, grown your network and o social media and you get pretty much no real income for a long time and that was way different back then. If you ́re music sold ok you made enough money to make a living out of it and one of the main compilations in Germany was able to secure a great living for a year sometimes. You had time to focus on generating gigs and producing and that chance is gone due to the shift of the revenue model. We could now move over to the details of the booking scene and the record labels business but that would definitely blow up the frame of this interview and our time. Maybe it ́s good to arrange an open panel about all this. For us, we don ́t care. We were always very independent and just did what we felt is right, leaving everybody its own freedom. We made great decisions amongst some maybe not the best ones but it ́s always a learning process and as you wrote we ́re still here and that feels pretty good.
- What’s the best memory you have of an old gig? Any pinnacles?
This is one of those questions. Having played thousands of gigs in we think over 80 countries it ́s hard to pick just one. We had so many goosebumps moments and situations where we thought it cannot be any better and if it ́s a good moment to die on stage let it be now cause we had it all (and no, we do not wanna die yet, ha ha ha). Just a few quick ones. In the middle of nowhere in Russia about 15 years ago, in a ramshackle huge storage hall, maybe 8000 people, only laser beams and strobe lights and people we ́re just going crazy to our set (no bloody cell phones in the audience). In the middle of our set literally, everybody started to take out lighters or shared matches and put them up in the air worshipping our set in such a spontaneous manner that even the promoter had tears in his eyes. 2005 Sydney at the harbour bridge for NYE. When we started shortly after midnight with our remake of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” we didn’t hear the music for minutes that ́s how crazy the people on this sold festival screamed when they heard the first guitar break. Girls threw hot pants on the stage, people had their own Warp Brothers designed T-Shirts and gear and it took minutes until we actually were able to hear the music again. The crowd went absolutely bazerk to our first tune and continued during our whole set. Last but not we just want to pick a recent one. We played many many festivals from Tomorrowland to Medusa Festival, from Future Music Festival to Love Parade, but there was this little festival in the UK last year. Maybe 4000 people. It ́s called Illuisve Festival. They asked us to play an old-school set with as many of our record and remixes as possible. So we did. The average punter could have easily been our kid. They knew all our songs and remixes and the love and response we received were just overwhelming and the atmosphere was just insane. They were dancing pogo in front of our stage but all with such a peaceful happy vibe but still completely loose and crazy. As we’re very down to earth and love to interact with our fans we started talking to some of them after the gig and we asked this girl who approached us, how it could be possible that at her age (maybe 18+) she knew us and our music? She just answered with a grin that her parents always talked about us and made her listen to our music and know she really understood why her parents love us so much. Bloody thing was, that we actually forgot to ask if her parents were there too ;). Based on this little boutique festival we reconsidered what we actually planned to do and went back producing what we love most, Hard Trance and Psy Trance and we just were proven right with this decision in being signed to Tesseractstudios (on of the best Psy Trance labels worldwide) and since last week being officially signed to Armin Van Buuren’s Armada Records. It feels like coming home to us.
- How is it being a duo? Difficult to arrange a schedule nowadays?
This became much easier compared to back in the days. It ́s all 1-3 clicks away. We haveour priorities set right and the need for physical presence is not needed anymore when it comes to set preparations and productions. We meet at gigs and talk/chat almost daily . This is not difficult at all even though we ́re both very busy with other jobs and projects. But with age comes a certain routine and if you keep an open mind you don ́t turn into a stubborn blockhead with all your experience ;)))
- After all of this years, where do you find still the energy to be inspired and inspire others? Haven’t you seen it all?
If you think you’ve seen it all you’re dead. An open mind and the unbreakable passion andlove for music gives us all this energy. On top knowing that we created something people still love and still want makes us ride on a huge wave of motivation. And of course, we learned to survive in this business the oldschool way (whatever that is, ha ha ha). We’re no whinning sissies being burned out after 5 years of touring. We did the cattle class ride and earned our way up to business class. Hell yeah, we did but if they now put our asses back into economy so what, the plane will bring us to where we wanna to be to party hard with our fans. This is Rock ́n ́Roll and we love it and dont wanna have it any other way.
- There’s always the discussion that before music was better. Across every genre. Do you believe the same?
Refering back to question one it may be the case. But we think that it’s a tricky thing.Maybe it has more to do with the high supply of low quality music so it ́s harder to findgood quality music because it ́s hidden under tons of digital codes and algorithms. If you look you’ll def. find enough gems. The question is if people still have the time and patience for new discoveries these days because everybody is so used to an instant reply and result based on the comfort of Google and likes that the majority obviously lost the passion to actually take the time find something amazing. It ́s a serious dopamine addiction here. I want it all and I want it to know. If I need to wait I get frustrated but if I get an instant response I ́m happy. We always find great music no matter were we look. Wether listening to our promos, going in the darkest corners of Beatport, iTunes or Spotify and likes. One think we feel though is, that hits from the past still have a huge impact today whereas these days it’s sometimes very hard to belive that many of the current hits will have the same impact in the future. So maybe music was a little bit better back then because the music was more special compared to today ,-).