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Âme - J'Âme

Author: Cyclone
Friday, 21 September 2007
Âme are making some of today’s most soulful house and techno music. However, they aren’t a mysterious Detroit act. And while the word Äme is french for soul, they’re not from Paris either. Instead Âme – Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer – hail from Karlsruhe in Germany’s Southwest. In theory, they should be called Die Seele. Yet Âme are bona-fide Francophiles. Interview by 3D’s Cyclone.

“We live near the French border here in Germany and we both love the French way of living and French food,” Wiedemann explains.
Âme, who started the Innervisions label with Dixon, have already created a classic record in Rej, which was subsequently licensed by Defected.

The pair met years ago. Beyer was involved in a local record store and Wiedemann, a graphic designer, had produced as Soul FC. They began crafting music influenced by Moodymann, Blaze and Herbie Hancock. To Wiedemann’s amusement, because they DJ independently, industry figures occasionally assume that Âme is the one guy. Nevertheless, most are familiar with the pair’s aesthetic. Aside from a singles collection on Sonar Kollektiv three years ago, they’ve disseminated quality mix-CDs – their latest is in NRK’s Coast2Coast series.

“The mix-CDs that we do should be like a perfect night in a club so we play a lot of stuff in this style,” Wiedemann says. “Coast2Coast is a more soulful or housey style. In our DJ sets, we always offer some more techno and also some minimal tracks – it all depends on the night.

“If you compare the Coast2Coast CD and Rej, you’ll understand why we have to do this, because everybody thinks we are only producing tracks like Rej and we are doing minimal stuff, but that’s not our main path. The Coast2Coast CD shows a bit of our spectrum.”

Detroit techno innovator Derrick May has cited Âme as a contemporary favourite. As it happens, Âme unearthed an ultra-rare Mayday remix of Funtopia’s Do You Wanna Know (DYWK) for last year’s …Mixing. Given that May has aired a scarcity of material since the early ’90s, that’s exciting.

Âme themselves continue to present new music. They have just reworked DJ Gregory’s enduring Elle in addition to an Underworld remix with Dixon and Henrik Schwarz. In fact, the four click so well that they intend to develop a live vehicle, performing their collective and individual productions.

“We really like to work together, Henrik, Dixon and us,” Wiedemann says,  “so we decided to do the Innervisions Orchestra next year – put four laptops on stage and maybe one singer.”

With friends in Berlin, Âme might be tempted to relocate, but they have no such desire. Why-

“Because everyone else is going there!” he laughs. “Neither of us is the type of guy who likes to live in a really huge city. We prefer this smaller city atmosphere [in Karlsruhe] where you can relax. We always talk about this ‘techno bubble’ in Berlin. There [are] just too many things around for us in Berlin – too many things that lead you away from doing your work. We are in big cities every weekend because we are travelling a lot at the moment, so we are both happy to come back and relax.”

WHO: Âme
WHAT: Plays A Mad Classic Fuss at the Metro Theatre
WHEN: Sunday 30 September