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I Love You Dude (really) // The 405 meets Digitalism

June 24, 2011

Originally posted on The 405

Digitalism interview 2011

It’s a big day for Digitalism; for it is precisely one week before the release of 2nd album I Love You, Dude, and tonight is the night when the duo kick-start their European tour. Jens “Jence” Moelle and İsmail “Isi” Tüfekçi seem in relaxed and jovial mood though despite of this, prior to the gig at a sultry XOYO where we caught up with them in the empty Room 2 at the venue.

The German duo from Hamburg formed Digitalism when they met at a record store they were working at over a decade ago, and even from the first bit of conversation indulged in it becomes apparent how they have survived so long in each others company; finishing off sentences, exchanging knowing looks and a general calm, easy-going ethos.

For a band that essentially make good-time party music, it seems a tad odd to experience this set on what is a Monday night in the capital; this turns out to be an erroneous train of thought as they destroyed the concept of a weekday, the word Monday is just a pointless semantic. The highlights were numerous, pace frenetic, audience a kinetic blur and the tracks behemothic.

Here are the results of our chat before the euphoric glee, where they articulate their thoughts and influences on the album, 50 metre cranes and WWII bunkers.

So, you guys must be pretty excited to get the new album out there into the real world and let your fans hear it and such – I assume it’s been in your possession for while?

Jens: Yea, it puts an end to everything. But we already felt like that since we finished the album, and now we’re just waiting for it to be released which is next week (today).

People already do know some of the music already though because we offered some stuff for free and the 2 Hearts single has been on radio already… but yeah, everyone’s really excited about it. It’s good!

So it’s not nerve-racking at all – do you worry about people’s reactions… or are you so confident in it’s quality…

I: We are relaxed because… well, there will be some people outside will say ‘I don’t like it’ but there will still be a lot of people who’ll like it definitely so – no, it’s always like this. People are moving, and people are staying – so its quite normal if you are getting critics in a bad way or a good way – and that’s a positive thing as well.

J: Yea if no-one were to talk about it it’d be boring.

Absolutely

We’ve had some really good feedback so far as well.

So you must have played some songs from it live I take it then, sneaked some into sets?

I: Yeah… three try-out shows about three/four weeks ago. One was in Berlin in front of 1600 people – a big one for the Melt warm-up weekend there, and a couple more smaller try-out shows in Denmark

J: They were also broadcast live on radio and stuff

I: Yeah we just played a lot of new stuff

J: We didn’t really care if people knew it already or not

I: (laughs) Yeah and the reaction was good as a lot of people are enjoying it – it’s quite interesting to see when we play a song live… and they might be going nuts or crazy at times… even at some new songs, so in the future…

I just want to talk a little about the concept of the album – as the 1st album was quite optimistic, where you described it as a journey, into other realms. Is there a similar concept to here, could you expand on that?

J: We think that the first one was a bit ‘spaced-out’, and this one’s more down to Earth. It’s more… it’s a bit more day-to-day this time. It’s more of a day album than a night album as well – although it’s very mixed up again. But you kinda feel it’s a pretty sunny album… (loud noises in Room 2 at xoyo)… and I’ve lost my train of thought, aaahhhh what was I going to say!

I: No, well it’s like the second album is extremer, like the melody stuff has stronger melodies, the slow stuff is slower, the harder stuff is harder

Yeah, more disparities, roller-coaster style..

J: Hmmm yeah spread-out…

I: Yeah, but it’s still like… well if you like the 1st album you’ll definitely like this one – but in an extremer way. Soo..

So what about the recording process of the album – and I understand the 1st was created in a WWII bunker?

J: Oh yea yea we did it again in that bunker…

Oh really?

J: …(nods) still in the same studio, we improved it a bit and bought some new gear and stuff. Ummm but it’s still the same kind of production vibe there. We’re not as limited computing power wise as we were. We kept that way of producing, we like keeping everything really simple and very tidied up – we don’t need 50 tracks mixed-down and stuff, it’s not our cup of tea. So it still has that DIY vibe going on.

We took it a bit more seriously this time so for example that’s why we went to London to a friends studio to record the vocals, as we don’t have the stuff to record good vocals. We didn’t care about that so much on the 1st album but we thought ‘this time we’ll give it a try’ and get some good vocals out there. Yeah, that’s that.

It’s interesting about the vocals, I’ve had a brief chance to listen to it all (and enjoying it thus far!) – but it is more vocal – you’re voice seems to come through more. Was that a conscious effort to…

J: Yeah, we just felt like it! We closed the 1st album with Pogo – as well as being the last song we made for it – and since then, all this playing live, we really got into all this song stuff, and now we have the chance to create some new songs we thought. So we just took over where we started last time. Lots of fun for us.

Would you say that you have a favourite track on the album, or is it like choosing a favourite child, you shouldn’t do it?

(pause, look at each other)

I: ..For me at the minute no, because I don’t have that mindset yet of saying ‘Yes, this is my favourite’. I think I like the album as a whole because it is so different in an extreme way, and we’re showing the same side as from the 1st album but just more of it… we have everything! From indie to techno. That’s us.

You can’t say we’re like a typical electronic duo. We are in the middle between cross-over and electronic and.. we like it to be honest in that field. Otherwise it gets boring to do one kind of genre music. And what we realised previously for example is that both genres went together, and it was like one kind of guys in a club – either electro or indie, without the crossover. And we wanted to bring it back, as its the most exciting thing.

So going from that, did you have any more musical influences on this album – did you have different listening habits?

J: I think we listened to a bit more indie stuff from the first album (which was a bit more dj/dance influenced) And this is a bit more… ya know, ‘song’ influenced I think…

Any particular artists that spring to mind in this regard?

J: Well, we do reference early Simple Minds a lot, but definitely early stuff, so when everything was really interesting and raw. I dunno, there’s almost some 90’s hip-hop in there, like Digital Underground and also Rage Against the Machine. But there’s lots of 80’s stuff in there, we kind of have that 21st century/80’s sound – it’s that hybrid, that New Order stuff that soundtracked us, that had light bass lines, sequenced drum machines, and that’s when everything became really interesting I think.

Oo yes I was going to mention the New Order thing but have beaten me to it. You touched upon Melt Festival (In Germany) just before – I’m asking this from a selfish standpoint – it’s next month by the way?

I: Yes, it’s in 4/5 weeks I believe

What’s it like? I hear amazing things about it… are you excited about it?

I: The good thing about this festival is that it’s limited, people-wise? About 20,000. It’s on this amazing site – an industrial site in East Germany. You have… a crane?..

J: …Yeah some of these huge coal-digging machines I guess, about 50 metres high – it’s an old brown-coal mine…

I: …Every year they have some new lights on it and it looks a bit different – and I think that’s important if you’re going to the festival that you see something new is happening. I have to say the aesthetic is very cool, almost like a feminist thing… the most cool thing about Melt is you’ll be seeing bands that you didn’t hear before, and its a really good mixture – you have EVERYTHING there, proper techno djs like DJ Koze, or bands, electronic people – and everything that is there is really cool, the vibe’s really cool, everybody’s dancing together, everybody’s partying –

Sounds like a good atmosphere…

I: Yea great atmosphere, so, if you have really good weather it’s a really really really really really nice festival. I think it’s getting more and more popular

Hmmm it really seems like word of mouth is getting around…

I: It’s a good thing

J: Yeah it’s a magical place

Can’t wait, will probably be the highlight of my summer

I’m pretty sure it will be! It’s just… something else.

So you must have a busy touring schedule over the summer?

I: Yeah I think we have a proper schedule. It’s getting more and more, we’re playing til I think…

J: …Christmas…

I: Yes until Christmas…

J: We’re doing lots of festivals in Europe then go overseas, come back and do more overseas tours and

I: A little more than 90 shows…we haven’t done a tour in two years now, so it’s exciting.

And you’re excited about tonight – I assume you must have played in London quite a lot in the past, is it a good city to play particularly?

Simultaneously: Yea!

J: Of course it’s been fun. The last times were only DJ sets. I think the last live show was at the Astoria..

Oh yea, may it rest in piece…

(laughs) Yeah before it was knocked down. That must have been ’08 or something?

I: We also played once at Wireless in 2010, so looking forward to this.

Thanks guys for your time, enjoy tonight and indeed your hectic summer..

Thanks we will.. and Melt, enjoy that too!

I Love You Dude is out now

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