B2B: Martyn and Modeselektor, Part 3
All week long, XLR8R is running segments of a recent conversation we initiated between electronic-music veterans Martyn and Modeselektor, both whom recently dropped new full-length albums. Go back and read part one and part two if you haven't already, and then dig in to the third installment below. This time around, the producers discuss their record labels and life on the road. It also marks the first appearance of Modeselektor's Sebastian "Charlie" Szary, who previously let his bandmate, Gernot Bronsert, do all the talking.
XLR8R: You both have your own imprints, 3024 and Monkeytown. What do you guys see as the goals or the aims of your labels?
Martyn: I just want to release really good music, that's all. Basically, I started 3024 to release my own music because I got fed up with other labels. If you release with other labels, you always have to wait, and everything is always a bit slower. My music is my own priority, so if i assign it to another label, I hope that they take my music as their priority as well. Usually, that doesn't really happen, so after a while I was planning to start my own label so that I can always put out whatever I make, [so that] the day after I finish it, I can start the process of releasing it. That was the main reason, and after a while the label was doing good and people started to recognize the label as being a label where you can do whatever you want, it's sort of like a playground. So people started coming to me and saying, "I have an idea for a 12-inch," or "I have three tunes. What do you think?" and blah, blah, blah. And so the label just moved from a solo label to a label that has many releases by other people.
Gernot Bronsert: How many?
M: I think we're at number 16 or something, or 17. So it's still young. I run it together with a friend, so it's still a very small enterprise, but it's fun. Now, people just come to me so I don't have to go out and scout or A&R and all that crap. I just let people come to me, and if they have a good idea, I'll release it.
XLR8R: But you're putting out your new album with Brainfeeder. What prompted you to go back to a label?
M: With Brainfeeder, it's nothing like any other label I've ever worked with. Flying Lotus is not really a hands-on label manager. He's more like, "Yeah, we should put this album out," and then that's it. So it's a bit different. It's very loose, it's very indie. The nice thing is that because there are very professional people behind it, you can do a lot. It's not like you work with a major label or anything, but it's a decent-sized indie label, so I actually quite liked it. I got all the freedom I wanted to make this album. Flying Lotus said, "Just make your Euro shit." That's what he called it, so that's what I did. I just made a whole album of "Euro shit." He likes it, that "dark Euro shit."
GB: Deep! Deep "Euro shit." Say deep!
M: Deep "Euro shit."
XLR8R: What's the story with Monkeytown?
GB: Charlie and I signed to BPitch Control in 2002 and we left in 2009. We didn't have a contract anymore and wanted to do something different. We started Monkeytown, just because of a friend, Siriusmo. He is a very great musician, we've known him forever. He always released music on so many labels over the past 10 years and we just wanted to work with him properly. We asked him if he could imagine [working with] our label. He's the reason that we founded Monkeytown. Monkeytown is a kind of platform for friends and befriended artists, so it doesn't matter if it's just a musician. It can be a writer or a cook or a painter or an actor or whatever. It's just a platform to make first-class digital shit. That's the idea behind us. We got sick of travelling alone. Martyn, you travel a lot alone, right?
M: Yes, always.
GB: This is one thing I cannot imagine. That is one of the good things about being in a band, that you don't need to travel alone. We had this experience when we had the Moderat project together with Apparat, we were seven people, that was an experience in a group, travelling with a group, and this crew thing was really nice. That was maybe one of the reasons why we thought it would be a good idea to build up our own camp and travel with our friends who are on our label and that's exactly what we're doing now.
M: I don't like travelling alone that much, but the only thing I do like about it is that I can read. I can always sort of concentrate and read and not be distracted by emails or intstant messenger or Skype or whatever. That's the only nice thing. I know what you mean though, the travelling alone gets really difficult after awhile.
GB: Sometimes you have to force yourself to be very social, even if you are very tired and you don't want to talk and you just want to play a show. Then you often have promoters who have been trying to book you for a long time and they're super happy that you've come over, but you're so tired. We just wanted to get out of that situation, and when you're together in a group, it makes it much easier.
M: Yeah, because you can still be tired and then Charlie does all the talking.
Sebastian "Charlie" Szary: Hello, hello. I have to say something. During the Moderat era, we started travelling with a crew because of all that gear and that's one important thing, to set up and take all the stuff from the stage, and to divide the work. The audio guy from the mixing desk came to the stage after the show and took down everything, and then we could go backstage and do some interviews. I don't know how we handled that before, when we traveled alone. In the past, we picked up the money as well. It was hardcore.
M: I once traveled with Caribou. I was part of the crew for two or three days and it was so slow, the travelling, all that equipment and everything has to go through security, and they always have to have one guy standing around the corner with the last bag to bypass restrictions. I'm so happy sometimes when I travel alone, because I'm super fast. I just zip through security with my one bag. But [when I was with a group], I did like the fact that you're at all those airports and at least you have some people to travel with. It's less difficult. You don't make mistakes that much, because when you get really, really tired and you're on your own, you really have to concentrate on going to the right gate and all that sort of stuff. So it's much easier to have a little group of people. So, can I join you?
GB: You know, we did this Modeselektion thing, you played on one in the Netherlands. This vibe you have when you go to the festival and you have your own stage and all your friends are there, [it's worth] paying the price of not being fast at the airport. It's just great, being surrounded by the people you like and the music you like, and it's cool. I like this.
M: It's kind of like your birthday, when you have all your people around you and it's nice. It's just cool, just to have everyone there, I quite like it. Especially for a lonely guy like me. [laughs] Can I join your band for next summer?
GB: Of course! I'll ask you for a Modeselekton track. When you deliver a Modeselektion track, you can come with us on tour. I would love to.
M: I can play the Monotron. Do you know the Monotron?
GB: Of course, I have it.
M: I can do it live, I use it in my live set as well.
GB: Charlie too, he's doing all these lazer drops with it.
SS: We can do it together, we put one on left and one on right and we are stereo.
Click here for part four of B2B: Martyn and Modeselektor.