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Booka Shade - All Night In The Shade

Author: Rezo
Friday, 16 November 2007
The Booka Shade candle is certainly burning very bright at the moment. Their albums have sold countless copies; their productions are played by DJs from genres you’ve never heard of; and their live performances are the stuff dreams are made of. 3D’s Rezo caught up with one half of the German duo, Arno Kammermeier.

“This year, of course, we have had a really big focus on the label,” Kammermeier says of their label Get Physical. “Currently Samim – Heater is such a monster, stand out track – it’s still going to be huge and people are going crazy about it. I agree that in the end it’s a commercial track but the good thing about it is it has all the right roots. It’s being played by Richie Hawtin for example; and it has a good underground backing which we think is healthy. If it would be coming out on a major label without any history it would probably be different, but it is ultimately a very cool piece of work. We also have Lopazz and the Body Language compilation with a lot of the guys working on their artist albums as well. Ours is coming in May, DJ T is in the studio working on his album and 12 Inches with more coming too – so it’s been a very busy time for us and the Get Physical label!”

It is relatively early in the morning when Kammermeier takes the call however he assures me that he is alert and ready to talk. Of course the topic of conversation is the new DJ Kicks release on Berlin’s !K7 imprint.

“I have to say we are very honoured and very flattered to be asked to do the DJ mix. It has a long history and a great reputation with great people mixing it before us,” he says. “That was great and especially given we had the chance to do the compilation as something other than DJs. We focused on a lot of different things – not the latest records out; we wanted stuff that was older or not released as well. We wanted to take all the tracks we’d liked from any genre and we created a mix that had a certain flow. We actually tried to combine songs from different genres and have it work as a complete mix and that was interesting given we took stuff from the 1960s like Brigitte Bardot and other stuff from the ’70s and ’80s. We grew up in the ’80s so that was obvious, but we purposely avoided stuff like Depeche Mode because it’s been done before. You listen to all this cool, old music and all of a sudden you hear these cool bass lines and you realise that it’s 20 years old! It wasn’t easy beat-matching that to the dance stuff but it worked harmoniously and we created something new.”

And how did the process work-

“Well we took all the tracks that we could find and some we had on vinyl and got started with clearing the rights via the record companies,” he says. “In the end, we got clearance for a lot of songs that we didn’t use – there was around fifty in total. We worked on mixing and editing them while we were sitting in a hotel room or at the airport – it was a mix done on the road, like stuff we’d done before, like the whole Movement album for example. There was a lot of trial and error involved too, because we don’t have the experience like a lot of DJs have in taking tracks and playing them one after another. We had to find out and learn about structures! And many of our songs were not really club music, so that’s where it made getting the structure right very important. There were some big fades on top of each other and you had to be certain it would work. The mix was done on Ableton and then mastered on Pro Tools which worked its magic!”

I am assured also, that the live act continues to be energetic and the very life of the tour.

“We’ve just figured out that in 20 months we’ve played over 160 shows!” he boasts. “That’s a lot when you consider what is involved in moving all that equipment around. It’s a good thing but it’s physically tiring and psychologically tiring. It is still very interesting though because we keep changing our arrangements around to suit the type of performance we are giving. Earlier this year we didn’t have tracks like we do now and we both think it’s really great to see people switching to these new songs and recognising them. Now our shows have a really unique stage design and the lights run in sync with the visuals and the music and there is constant change – every second something different is happening!”

Of course such a hectic schedule means that they may not get as much time in the studio as they might like, although they are still writing songs. We all know how difficult they are to satisfy because anything they present can be expected to change the world.

“When you have an album like Movements with five major anthems on it, it’s not easy to make an album with six on there! Of course it has to be something new and not boring and we are always looking for a way to achieve that. Our new album will have a sound that feels more complete; it will be more like Memento, the first album. It will feel dark and have a night-time sort of feel. It will be a bit more grown up – something like a positive melancholy if there is such a thing!”

WHO: Booka Shade
WHAT: Play the Ministry of Sound All Night Warehouse Party at Hordern Pavilion/The Dome / DJ Kicks: Booka Shade through !K7/Inertia
WHEN: Saturday 1 December / Out now