Interview by Chris Tokunaga
Moderat, dubbed the minimal techno supergroup, is currently on their 2014 tour across Europe for their current and second album “||”.
A dear friend of mine got me a ticket and interview for the encore show of Moderat in Berlin which took place last Thursday. I am a big fan of Moderat, as well as their respective projects Apparat, and Modeselektor. I was excited to meet them (and see them perform later) because of their reputation as an amazing live act with an innovative use of heavy beats mixed with airy vocals. Here is what they told me:
ib: How did Moderat come to be? Sascha Ring (Apparat): In the beginning, it was a project for fun. We met at some kind of festival in Berlin and we were pretty much the “aliens” there. It was more about Berlin sound and ”fall to the floor” and stuff. I guess that’s why we got along quite well. We really didn’t fit there for different reasons. Back in those days I had a unique software I programmed which I used to play live and they played with a completely crazy analogue setup.
They (Modeselektor) really wanted my software so I gave them the software and they started playing laptop shows. Once we all had the same software, we hooked up the computers and started playing Moderat shows for fun, in small places with about 80 people and we’d play loops, just jam sessions basically.
We didn’t take it seriously at all until we started producing the first real album. Even before that we said we can just make an album for fun, and we’ll just see what happens.
While we were in the middle of recording we noticed it worked pretty well, and everything started; the business side and the release dates and then we realized now it’s serious, we are making an album, and we have to make a tour, and then it slowly transformed into the band we are today.
ib: Do Berlin crowds differ from other crowds for you? S.R: Crowds are different everywhere, it’s really interesting. I mean if you play an international tour it’s really a big difference. In some countries people are really passionate and dance like crazy, and then some other people just really watch and analyze. So it can really differ, the whole concert experience.
ib: So what kind of crowd is typical for Berlin? S.R: Ah, a little bit somewhere in the middle, normally a German crowd is more the stand and analyse crowd and not so easy to access.
Gernot Bronsert (one half of Modeselektor): I will say the half of the audience here is not from Berlin, they have come from all over Europe, we see that on Facebook. They might say, for example, “We are 6 guys coming from Paris”, there are some Spanish people and even some people from Mexico who fly over just to see the show, Americans too.
ib: Musical influences? S.S: I think for us, we can look back to a long history of music which starts in the late 80’s or early 90‘s. We didn’t listen to every kind of music but still a lot of music. Back in the days it was hiphop, it started with hiphop and techno.
G.B: I think Sascha hates hiphop since always.
S.R: I only listened to techno.
G.B: I think we have pretty much the same musical influences but the main thing we have in common is the reunification of Germany. Because we are all from the East side, and just grew up with the new situation. The wall came down and everything was all chaotic, there was anarchy here, anarchy there, and techno in the middle, and us, lost teenagers with a head full of ecstasy pills and underground resistance records.
ib: I read you had a new approach to recording this latest album ||, is there going to be any change in how you will perform it? S.R: Not so much actually, in the studio it’s good to change the approach to get different results, but live, we wanted to develop the concept but we didn’t want to change it completely. In the studio we don’t have special jobs or roles, everybody does everything. But on stage you need role; you need the beat guy, the guy for fx and synths. Otherwise it would get very messy. So on stage we stick to the concept but in the studio anything is allowed, and it’s even better if you forget what you did last time and even try things that are “forbidden”.
Thank you very much for the interview!