What makes a party memorable? Which sound system is the heaviest in the world? Which track is sure to get the crowds going? What is the planet’s best club? We put these questions, and others, to some of the world’s best DJs, getting a firsthand account of what life in the DJ lane feels like. Here is the second part of the feature, today with Booka Shade, Brodinski, Alexander Waldron and many more.
Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier aka Booka Shade are true veterans of Germany’s electronic music scene. Pitchfork pay their respects by calling them “a duo responsible for some of techno’s best 21st century tracks”, while the BBC have labelled them creators of “era-defining records”. They’re currently working on their fifth album, planned to be released next spring. We met the pair shortly before their insane set at Les Ardentes this summer.
It’s always bad when the promoters do something just for the money and without love and enthusiasm, just to cash up. That happened a lot in the 90s when techno was still really young. Two or three years ago we arrived at a party and the promoter had no clue who we were or what kind of music we were doing. He just booked us because he knew the name and we were on everyone’s lips at the time. And once we were booked for a hip hop party in Düsseldorf – very interesting when two worlds collide like that. Of course it can also be a good thing, but it has to be done on purpose, like in Portugal where we recently played at a hip hop meets electronica party. The song that really always works is our track “Body Language”. That’s our safe shot so to speak. But first of all you need a good sound system, that’s just essential. Other than that there should be enough (alcoholic) drinks and a nice atmosphere. You can deal with everything, but if the sound is bad it gets very difficult. One of our craziest party experiences was on tour in Australia. We played at the Future Festival and Sven Väth got into this habit of doing after parties in private apartments. Besides him there were Dubfire, John Digweed and a few other high-profile DJs – the people were quite surprised whom they suddenly found in their living room! And in the morning we all took a plane together to go to the next festival. The most amazing location we ever played at is the Red Rocks in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains. Disco Biscuits which are not that known here, a jam band from the US, played there. They always do four hour long sets with a break in the middle, and that was when we took the stage. 12 000 people were there in this natural amphitheater. Very impressive. We have to admit that we are very privileged. We get to play in so many beautiful locations. On the beach at the ocean, in the Canadian mountains just outside of Vancouver… in quite a lot of amazing natural settings. And also in these insane old hangars for example or at various cultural landmarks. It’s really great. But don’t get us wrong, we haven’t seen everything yet. We’d love to play in Australia or New Zealand again, it’s always very exotic there. And we actually never did the Hurricane festival in Germany, that’s something that’s still on our list. Burning Man would be great too or Fujirock in Japan. And, even though we’ve done everything from Lollapalooza to Glastonbury, we’re not done yet! For the last party ever on this planet we’d invite Sven Väth, our friends M.A.N.D.Y from Get Physical, and definitely a pretty girl. Who could that be… maybe this incredible pretty Scandinavian DJ…what’s her name? Anyway, a beautiful woman has to be there!bookashade.com
Only 21 years old but already touring the whole world, Henry Laufer aka Shlohmo – whom Resident Advisor observe is “nothing if not prolific” – is one of those boy-wonders on every industry head’s lips of late. Pitchfork describe the aesthetic of his 2011 release, “Bad Vibes”, as “jaggedly delicate, filled with melodic beauty but jostled by abrasive percussive hitches, undercut with sandpapery patches of ambient fuzz.” We caught up with the LA-based DJ and producer right after his energetic set at this year’s Dour Festival.
The craziest parties are always the hippie festivals taking place in forests and stuff. There was this one recently in the desert in Nevada called Symbiosis festival. It’s right where “Burning Man” is, but on the lake. It’s just so not my scene, so it’s always weird and funny. All the hippies love drugs and base music. The tracks that always gets a crowd on its feet are all RL Grime tracks. Literally every single one of them works. But if I had to name only one track it would be the “Mercy Remix”, the RL Grime remix of that Kanye song. The worst party I ever played at was probably at some kid’s house where I got only paid in weed and there were only 10 people. No, wait, I can actually think of a worse one, it was in Urbana, Illinois where I played for only one guy. We were on tour and it was just a filler, really spontaneous, to be able to pay for gas and stuff. The crowd is really important. At my last party on earth I wouldn’t let any DJs play. I’d want Sleep, Explosions in the Sky, Drake and M83 there.shlohmo.tumblr.com
The Berlin-based deep house producer stirred up quite a bit of attention with her 2011 debut album “Music Watching Over Me”. Her new record “The Way We Live” is out now on Wolf+Lamb Records, and is, according to Resident Adviser, “a connoisseur’s distillation of house music history.”
The craziest place I ever played at was without a doubt Burning Man. It was just so extreme. I was supposed to play at like six in the morning but couldn’t find my friends who had the key to the car where all my equipment was stored. So I took a bicycle and drove through the desert in the dark for about two hours to look for them – in vain. In the end my show was moved to the next day and it was magical. My worst experience I had last year when my mom came to see one of my gigs for the very first time. It was in Geneva and I was super nervous. No one was there, the club was empty and it was just depressing. So my mom got a completely wrong impression of my work. I convinced her to come see me in Paris where I had an amazing time and she could see the real thing. But that’s the industry: You never know how it’s going to turn out. The song that always works is “The L Word”, my most popular one. It’s the safest one and I don’t really like to play it anymore. But people still want to hear it. I enjoy to play stuff that I am excited about, that I want to share with people. If you start trying to please people too much it doesn’t work. What’s most important to have a good party though is the sound system. It’s hard to get into the mood if the sound is not right. I don’t care about the venue, if it’s underground or posh. But it’s important to have a good crowd. For the last party ever on earth I’d hire Wolf+Lamb, Soul Clap and Ross Tanner.denizkurtel.com
Alexander Waldron, based in Berlin, is not only a DJ but also the founder of Greco-Roman party collective and record label – “a smorgasbord of jarring musical styles“ – which counts releases by the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Joe “Hot Chip” Goddard, Drums of Death and many more among its achievements. In a recent interview with Alexander, Dazed introduce the label as having brought “eclectic pop-influenced electronic music to the fore.”
“Erotic City” from Prince even gets the laziest crowd on its feet. But in the end good parties are all about being with interesting people who don’t have anything important to do the next day. Good music and an interesting location are just details. The most insane place I’ve ever played at was in the deep end of a disused swimming pool in Berlin. The craziest party I remember was the Greco-Roman night in Manchester: I’ll only say stage invasions, power cuts and Drums of Death’s debut show. The worst one was in a fake warehouse in London where undercover policemen showed up. For the last party on earth I’d put the Swedish House Mafia behind the decks, of course.greco-roman.net
French DJ Joakim, based between Paris and New York, produced Belgian band Montevideo’s new album before embarking on a tour through Asia in October. His latest record “Nothing Gold” – a “potent brew of melancholic, synth-driven downtempo disco” – was released on his Tigersushi label. Mixmag recently remarked that the label has been “pushing boundaries of electronic music” for over a decade.
I’ve played quite a few parties, hard to say which ones were the very best ones because memories fade. Lately I played two amazing parties. One was an outdoor daytime party in Sao Paulo, in the courtyard of a museum. I love playing in Brazil because those Brazilians just love music. 3000 people dancing on slow mo disco with a smile on their face – that’s pretty unbeatable. I also loved this party called “A club called Rhonda” in Los Angeles this year. It’s a rather gay party, girls get all dressed up, and everyone goes really wild. The line-ups are always top notch, no cheesy superstar DJs, although the party has become super famous (apparently after Dita Von Teese said it was the best one in LA!) and everyone is begging to play there now. The craziest location I ever played at was definitely the Cathedral of Carthage in Tunisia. Although now you may have the feeling that every party is amazing, especially if you look at DJs’ Twitter feeds, there’s always a good proportion of bad parties. The track that always gets a crowd on its feet is the extended 12” mix of “Carly Simon – Why”. The most important conditions for a good party are a good mix of people, a good balance of girls and boys, or even better, girls and gays, who are open-minded and willing to have a good time. A good sound system is also important. But after 15 years of doing this it is still really hard for me to predict if a party is going to be good or not. For the last one on earth I’d hire the following, if I have to choose alive ones: Harvey, Marc Pinol and Gilb’r.soundcloud.com/joakimbouaziz
In 2007, Brodinski rose to sudden DJ stardom with his debut single “Bad Runner”. Going back and forth between Paris and LA, the Frenchman just released a new EP on Bromance Records. Known for his experimental approach, Pitchfork praise his “ear for vocal melodies and a healthy lack of tunnelvision when it comes to genres” in their review of his fabriclive mix, while elsewhere he is described as “a compulsive consumer of everything from hip-hop to minimal techno, acid, bass and house music.”
One of my craziest souvenirs ever is the Bromance Coachella second weekend party 2012 that took place in a ranch with Pipes, Nick Hook, Louisahhh, Thee Mike B, Busy P & Snoop Dogg. It was a proper rap rave! Playing Ben Klock and Juicy J at the same time. When it comes to locations I especially liked Capetown city hall for Sonar in South Africa this year. The place was so amazing… It was difficult to play usual dance music but people were pretty crazy! In general pre-requisites for a really good party are a good soundsystem, 80 percent girls, a lot of green, no neighbours and a cocktail bar – because cocktails get people drunk even if they don’t want to. The bad parties I don’t even remember, but oh boy, I had several of those. When it’s not going well there are two tracks that always get the crowd moving: “Welcome to my hood” from DJ Khaled and “Depravity” from Gesaffelstein. For the last party on earth I would pick Andrew Weatherall, Dj Slow & Thee Mike B.brodinski.net
Juergen von Knoblauch is part of Berlin- based DJ and producer collective Jazzanova, “a collective renowned the world over for their mixing rather than studio skills with first class guests onboard, travelling across genres.” They’ve been skillfully blending together chillout, nu-jazz and various jazz house styles since 1995.
My craziest party ever? The Summersound DJ Picknick in Dortmund 2010 where I played for a crowd of two and three year old kids. An insane location was definitely the Malaga castle Alcazaba in Spain, I played there in 2007. The worst that can happen is when the feedback of the record players and the jog wheels of the cd players are overused and shaky. But a track like “Make it good” from The White Lamp always gets the crowd on its feet. The most important pre-requisite for a good party though is a great record shop with a good selection of new and second hand stuff. For the last party on this planet I’d pick Hunee, Dego and Jazzanova’s Alex as DJs.jazzanova.com