HigherFrequency


Ame Interview (Oct 2006)
May 7, 2007, 10:27 am
Filed under: Interview

We certainly thought Rej could be a hit, but only on the scale that we’d already achieved in the underground scene we’re in. We never thought that this track would have such a crossover effect to a lot of people.”

As core members of highly respected eclectic house-fusion experimentalists Sonar Kolletiv, German duo Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann previously enjoyed a comfortable if relatively modest portion of critical acclaim and peer group recognition until a chance studio fuck-up led them to create Rej.

“We were working on a completely different track for two months called Rain and we’d almost finished it when we realized it was a shitty track because we’d worked on it too much and had put too many ideas in it,” Kristian laughs.

“We decided to throw the track away but I had a last listen and thought we could use the arpeggio in another track. So we stripped out the main melody, then everything happened really quickly and within three days we’d finished what became called Rej.”

12 months on the track has already sold 20,000 vinyl copies via their own independent label and won the approval of key tastemakers including Pete Tong (who told Skrufff last week it’s his defining track of the last year) while more importantly, and more recently was signed by UK house label Defected for full worldwide release. That Defected, a label best known for soulful house and garage, has picked it up, demonstrates the track’s amazing crossover appeal with has seen DJs including Louis Vegas, Francois Kevorkian and Timmy Regisford supporting it, while on the minimal scene it’s been hailed as an anthem, much to Kristian’s dismay.

“We’ve never made minimal music and I don’t like minimal music at all,” he insists.

“We come from a more traditional house and techno music background.”

Interview & Introduction by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)
————————————————————————————————————————————————

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff) : Rej has been around for a long time and been on many compilations. How do you feel about it now it’s actually coming out?

Ame (Kristian) : It is already out and has been for one year, Defected are licensing from our own label and we’ve already sold 20 000 copies of this record. So it’s not our release but I think Defected can bring it to a wider audience.

Skrufff : Are you still massively enthusiastic about it, 12 months on?

Kristian : I’m still not tired of playing it, we’ve done many tracks over the years but this was the breakthrough one to a bigger audience. I like this track, it has a timeless feeling, I hope; that’s why I’m not tired of playing it.

Skrufff : Having had this crossover success, has it changed your life?

Kristian : We both are DJs too, and we play quite a lot already, but now we’re play at really big festivals and big clubs, that’s what’s changed. But we didn’t change as people, I’m still feeling the same.

Skrufff : Do you feel more pressure playing bigger clubs and festivals?

Kristian : No, not at all. I’m still playing the same kind of music, maybe a little different, because if you are playing at a festival in front of 4,000 people, you play maybe more Detroit techno, but I still only play music I like, that’s why I don’t feel any pressure.

Skrufff : How has it affected the Sonar Kollektiv?

Kristian : I think they never expected this tune would be a mega-seller. They are feeling fine, but actually we split up with them, not because we have any troubles with them, but we started our own sub label Innervisions and now it’s our own company.

Skrufff : Are you one of those DJs who likes to stay up for two or three days at a time?

Kristian : I’m more moderate. I like to play for maybe eight hours, but I’m not a raver.

Skrufff : Did you used to be a raver?

Kristian : Yes, ten years ago, I would say, but I think it’s a natural process you go through, so it stopped at a certain point.

Skrufff : You live in Karlsruhe, were you born and raised there?

Kristian : I’m from Manheim, which is not far away, but Frank- the other guy in Ame- is from Karlsruhe.

Skrufff : Have you been tempted to move to Berlin?

Kristian : A lot of friends wanted us to move there. I like Berlin, but only for a couple of days at a time, then I have to go back, there are too much parties, nightlife, whatever. You can go out for a party every day if you want. Everything is really going fast. We try to avoid all this kind of stuff. It’s better to live here and all my friends are living here too.

Skrufff : Are you a local celebrity?

Kristian : If there is a local celebrity, then maybe, yeah, but I also have a record shop here and am also working as a journalist but only for local magazines. People know me here, but I wouldn’t use the word celebrity.

Skrufff : How are you seeing the vinyl situation these days from your shop’s perspective?

Kristian : I would say today it’s more like a speciality record shop for collectors and guys like this. We have a proper DJ culture in this area for years, so we still have a lot of people who are buying vinyl, and I only order records I really like. I still want to do this because I am still a vinyl addict and still buying records.

Skrufff : How many records do you have?

Kristian : Over 10,000 I would say.

Skrufff : Do you have them filed by genre or alphabetically?

Kristian : I’m always collecting the records in cities or areas, like Detroit, New York, UK, France or whatever, then I can find them.

Skrufff : Is it really important for you to crack the UK?

Kristian : This was always the best market for our music. I would say since two years ago I’ve been a regular guest playing two or three time a month across the UK. In the beginning I played at smaller clubs, now more in bigger clubs, but I’m still in the clubs I played in the beginning, because you build up friendships with promoters or club owners, so you always like to come back to smaller places. I don’t know why, but it’s happened that the UK has turned out to be the best market for our music. I especially like Scotland and Ireland.

Skrufff : Are you keen to crack America?

Kristian : I think there is no real scene there. I played there a couple of times, I will be back in New York in December, but I think there is no club scene in the United States. The American guys are playing more often in Europe or Japan or Australia or Asia than in America, because there is no culture there anymore. Music is coming from America but they don’t have any clubs.

Skrufff : Have you been tempted to move to Berlin?

Kristian : A lot of friends wanted us to move there. I like Berlin, but only for a couple of days at a time, then I have to go back, there are too much parties, nightlife, whatever. You can go out for a party every day if you want. Everything is really going fast. We try to avoid all this kind of stuff. It’s better to live here and all my friends are living here too.

Skrufff : Is minimal a scene you align yourself with?

Kristian : No, not at all, We came from more traditional house and techno music but maybe the sound of Rej is modern. This track is a big hit with the American guys like Louis Vegas, Francois Kevorkian, Timmy Regisford and it’s a big hit with the minimal guys like Richie Hawtin but we’ve never made minimal music and I don’t like minimal music at all.

Skrufff : Why do think it’s so popular?

Kristian : I don’t know why, we think it’s because it’s the best music to accompany the drugs people do these days. I’ve played at lots of minimal parties and maybe I’ve played some Luciano tracks because I like Luciano more than what Ricardo does, but I never play more than two so-called minimal tracks at these parties and it works. I stayed at a party once with Villalobos for four or five hours once and nothing happened. But people were still dancing. In Germany we call it ketamine music.

Skrufff : Do you think there is any particular German connection with minimal? I know Berlin has been central to its development. . .

Kristian : Even in Berlin people are starting to get bored of this music. I know a lot of people on the scene, Steve Bug for example is a good friend of mine, as are the guys doing the Perlon label, who are famous for minimal and they’re bored of it. Berlin’s where it started and the fact the people there are bored of it, to me means there will be a big effect on it in a couple of months and minimal will down and something new will emerge. I don’t know what style, maybe house? I think this kind of genre will die within two or three years and then only the best of the genre will still exist- that’s how it is. People like Luciano and Richie Hawtin have been there already for years. Five years ago no-one was interested in minimal music whereas now everyone is playing it. I don’t why but I think it will pass by soon.

End of the interview

Listen to Ame on hrfq.com
Listen to Sonar Kollektiv on hrfq.com
Listen to Innervisions on hrfq.com
Innervisions Official Site

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