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The Body Language mix series is a known quantity. Even though a couple of contributors – Junior Boys, Chateau Flight – have put their own unique spin on things – in the main there’s not been much straying from Get Physical’s preferred tech-house terrain.

That streak of dependability ends on Monday. The eighth installment of Body Language, which was mixed by Modeselektor, is a bizarre and exciting rush through dubstep, American hip-hop, deep house, and minimal techno that pays no attention to genre boundaries at all. To dig deeper into this exciting mix, FACT spoke with Gernot Bronsert, one half of the Berlin-based duo, about some of the disc’s surprises, their new record label, and their long-standing friendship with Siriusmo.

This is only the second official mix you’ve done as Modeselektor. Why haven’t you guys done more of them?

“That’s an interesting question with a very simple answer. [laughs] We’re not really DJs, we are, I don’t know what we are, but we produce our own stuff and it takes loads of time to produce a piece of music. And making a mix CD is very intense for us; it takes a lot of time and energy. And when I say ‘not easy’, I don’t talk about the mix, I talk about the selection. It’s not easy to make a good mix CD, in my opinion, between old stuff and new stuff, between dancefloor and home. It’s hard to do without sounding like a wannabe.”

It’s really quite a unique addition to the Body Language series. Where did you get those creepy, cultish recordings?

“You know who that is?”

No, I have no idea.

“That’s Jim Jones! You know Jim Jones and the Temple People? That’s from his last recorded speech, recorded by the CIA. You’re the first person to recognize that! [laughs] Everybody thinks it’s part of the track, but all the tracks on this mix CD are edited, and totally changed: the tempo, the length, or we added percussion here and there. And this Jim Jones vocal on top of Alex Cortex and the G-Man tune, yeah, he’s just calling all his family members – [laughs] ‘family members’ – to the final come-together. That was the moment when he was serving the coffee, and the CIA was already there, with snipers in the trees…do you know this story?”

Maybe tell it, for the readers who don’t.

“I don’t know the exact story, but you can google it or look on wikipedia. But he had a commune, the German word for it is sektor – where you have a guru? – And he had a few followers, like I do on Twitter [laughs], and yeah. He was living with them in a camp, and he promised them things like, ‘The world is over in a few weeks, and we should have a proper suicide before the world is gone.’ And this [recording] was in the moment before that was going to happen, when he was calling everyone together: ‘Hurry hurry, children, hurry hurry!”

That’s quite a twisted thing to put into a mix CD…

“The first guys to do similar things were a British project called British Murder Boys, d’you know them? That’s Surgeon and Regis, together. They released a few records together, really hard, industrial dark techno, and they released a track called ‘Hate is Such a Strong Word’. You can have a look for it on YouTube. They used Jim Jones too, I think. Or maybe it was Charles Manson. Some really evil person.”

Getting back to the mix, there’s a lot of dubstep on here. And I know that, as a genre, it’s become very hip and very visible in the last couple years, but what appeal does the genre hold for you?

“I mean, we were into it from the first seconds. We always dig for different things, and different beats. And when the first records came out, we were into it.”

So it’s mainly the rhythmic aspect, then?

“It’s a new interpretation of techno, y’know? It’s not drum n bass, it’s not hip-hop, it swings, you know? And I’m not into everything. There’s a lot of spam in music, a lot of music with no soul, but from time to time there are really good tunes. If you were to ask me to name the ten best records of the last two years, it would be 65-70% dubstep tunes for me.”



But to me, what makes the inclusion of dubstep on your mix so much stronger is what it’s mixed with. There are Timbaland beats, there’s Animal Collective, there’s deep house. Dance music has opened up so much more in the last three to five years. How does that compare to the early ’90s, when you and Sebastian first started working together?

“I mean, we’ve done that since always. We never had a special style. But you’re right, there’s an extreme change at the moment, especially for the releases. You have so much good music at the moment, and the producers are getting younger and younger. And, five years ago, when the journalists were talking about cheap computers and cheap software to make music, and they promised us, ‘Everybody can make music now, and nobody’s buying records anymore, and the music industry is dying,’ and all this, and now I think today it’s here. Now you have the 20-year-old guys who made some talking beats on Daddy’s computer. [laughs] And I think it’s because you have the Internet, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, and it’s just a communication thing. You know, everything is going pretty fast…Let’s say, in the last one and a half years, lots of really good tunes, but the quality ratio is the same as it was 15 or 20 years ago. So if you’ve got 20 releases, or 20 tunes, there’s just one which is the one, you know?”

So given the speed of things and the transitional period that the music business finds itself in, what possessed you and Sebastian to start Monkeytown? Why start a label now?

“I think the only reason we did this is to have the freedom to make what we want, and have no one around who is telling us where the border is. Monkeytown is not just a record label, you know. It’s more like Jim Jones’s family! [laughs]

“We’re the gurus! [laughs] I mean, Siriusmo, he’s a really old friend of ours, and he’s one of the main reasons we started Monkeytown, to give him the support he needs. We don’t have the power like other labels, but we will provide him some mental power. We’ve known him so long, and he just needs a camp or a family of people who know and understand him. It’s a very personal friendship we have with him. And I think now, at the moment, we don’t have a contract with BPitch Control any more, and so we will start releasing our stuff on Monkeytown as well.”

I like the idea of you guys as musical mentors! When did you meet Siriusmo anyway?

“We’ve known him since school. It’s a really old friendship. It was high school when we got together for the first time, and he was playing Rhodes in a funk band called Sirius. And his name is Moritz, and everybody just called him Mo. But when the band broke up, he was the only one left, who kept the band, so he just became Sirius Mo.”

“The only problem he has, he can’t be on stage. He’s sick. It’s a huge problem for him, but we’ll change it. He’s working on an album for Monkeytown, and it’s almost finished, and then the deal is that he will do everything in his power to be able to be on stage, and we will support him. We will be part of a band with him maybe,,I don’t know what it will look like, but we will all be on stage together so that he feels safe, and not so alone. This way he’ll have some veterans on stage with him. Because it’s no problem for me to be on stage, I don’t care, but for him, the very idea of being on stage is like the worst thing in the world.”

Oh wow, I had no idea. It’s weird, I feel like there are a lot of dance producers who have similar anxieties about performing or DJing in front of any kind of audience. Alan Braxe used to have a huge problem with that, apparently.

“I know what you’re saying, but I wouldn’t say that Siriusmo is making music for the clubs. It’s something really special, what he’s doing. Not all of his music is my cup of tea, but every song he makes has touched my soul, and shown me some truth inside. It sounds real, you know? It sounds expensive, and it sounds real! [laughs]”

Max Willens

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