Filed under: Interview
Andi and Hannes Teichmann are no ordinary brothers. Most brothers don’t tour the world together driving dancefloors crazy with impressively energetic long DJ sets and compact yet powerful live gigs. But this is something that Andi and Hannes have been doing for a considerable amount of time now and at the same time have even been managing to run their record label Festplatten out of their adopted Berlin home.
The Teichmann brothers first grabbed everyone’s attention back in 2000 when they released four tracks as Gebr. Teichmann on Germany’s flagship label, Kompakt. The brothers returned to Michael Mayer’s lair just four years later when their track ‘Dance And More’ was chosen, alongside a track from DJ Koze’s alias Monaco Schranze, for “Speicher 25”.
Gebr. Teichmann are currently visiting Japan on a massive three week tour, so HigherFrequency chatted to the enthusiastic brothers to find out more about independent labels, technology and life on the road with a sibling.
Interview & Introducion by Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Can you tell us what’s planned for your Japan tour?
Hannes Teichmann : We have a really cool tour, we are going to visit the whole of Japan. We start in Tokyo then we go to Sapporo, Osaka, then we go to Okinawa and come back for the finishing party in Yokohama. So it’s like the whole country from the deepest south to the highest north.
HRFQ : So in Yokohama you’ll be playing live. What’s the difference between tonight when you DJ, and when you play live?
Andi Teichmann : The first difference of course is we play our own music (laughs). We use just analogue stuff so it’s maybe more…
Hannes : …rough.
Andi : Yeah, we once decided that we didn’t want to use a laptop anymore and after that we changed our live set and also the music changed with this.
Hannes : It’s quite fun. When we play live it’s more compressed. We play one and a half hours and it’s a really compressed energy. When we DJ we like to play long sets. Three or four hours and get in the mood.
HRFQ : So you are against computers?
Hannes : We just don’t want to use them because we don’t want to have a screen between us and the people.
Andi : Of course we use a computer in the studio and for nearly everything in our life but we decided we didn’t want to use it for the live sets because of the screen. It’s better to look straight toward the people.
HRFQ : What’s it like working together as brothers?
Andi : I think it’s just different because you have another relationship with your brother. It’s different if you fight than when you are working with someone else.
Hannes : Now we have some stuff that we do separately and that’s really good and really important. The first thing we split was hotel rooms, this is important too. But in other cases it’s really cool for us to work together, we don’t have a problem. That’s why we do so much together, because we aren’t always fighting. Like all brothers we have some fights of course but we have really good teamwork. I’m the younger brother so Andi was always learning things three years earlier but now we are a good team. If we fight it’s different because it’s always sure that we won’t split. That’s the big difference, that we know we belong together.
HRFQ : How did you get Kompakt’s attention when you first released on their label back in 2000?
Andi : Things have changed a lot between Kompakt in 2000 and Kompakt in 2006.
Hannes : I think in 2000 it was more important for people like us to release on Kompakt. Now maybe K2 is like Kompakt was when it started but Kompakt is like a pop label. But it was a funny story because we were searching for someone to distribute our label and we sent them the CD to give them an idea of what sort of music would be on Festplatten. Then they said “We’re not sure if we’ll distribute your label but we really like four of your tracks!”. So we had a deal with Kompakt for a record but not for distribution. After we released the first record on another distributor Kompakt said “Your first record is also cool, we want to distribute your label!”. They bought nearly all the records from the distrubutor and then we had both a record deal and a distribution deal.
HRFQ : What’s it like running an independent label? Is it really tough?
Andi : Yes, it’s really tough! It’s just about keeping it going, it’s not about making money.
Hannes : The first thing to stop it getting too hard is you have to decide that it’s not about making money. If you want to make money then it’s wrong.
HRFQ : Is there a good community of independent labels helping each other out?
Andi : I think the network is really close in Germany. There are lots of German labels and now they come into Germany from other countries. First the French people, Spanish and now the US labels a little bit and James Holden and all this UK stuff. Before that it was all really separated.
Hannes : Especially in Berlin because everyone is living, working and hanging out in Berlin. Sometimes people are brought together that you would never imagine like I never thought Matt John would release on Minus but this is just from hanging out in the same bar. He is always DJing at Bar25 and Richie is always hanging out there.
HRFQ : One thing we noticed was that you have released a compilation of MIDI music on 3.5 inch floppy disk. We wanted to ask you how important you think technology is.
Hannes : This was an idea that we thought of and put a lot of love into. All the artists who made music for this put a lot of love into this project. But in the end we didn’t sell so many because there is no way for different medias. Record shops try to sell records and when you have a floppy disk everybody just says “What?!”. No one is really looking behind the idea, a few shops thought it was cool but other shops only wanted to sell records.
Andi : Some part of the idea was that technology is not so important. You take all the technical studio stuff that people normally use to make music away and give them just the general MIDI sounds and give them the possibility to make music.
Hannes : When we started to think about this idea it was about that in techno music everybody uses all this sample stuff and we wanted to look behind all this stuff and listen to the music and melodies and stuff.
End of the interview
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