Märtini Brös. Interview
THE MB FACTOR
It’s been a full decade now since Berlins famous DJ / production duo Cle and Mike Vamp, apart from their solo efforts known as Märtini Brös., unleashed their first collaborational 12“ on Steve Bug’s now defunct Raw Elements imprint and they’ve been far from being quiet since then. As they’re celebrating their first two digit anniversary with a stunning CD retrospective named „The MB Factor“ it was time for our guest writer baze.djunkiii of Germany’s www.nitestylez.de to get in touch with them to ask what that specific factor is all about.
First of all, congratulations not only on your thrilling CD release but also on your overall success and the ability to work as a collaborational duo throughout all these years. The story might have been told a thousand times before but please introduce the Märtini Brös to those who don’t know you from scratch – who are you, what has been the initial thought behind teaming up as a duo back in the days and how has that changed for you until now?
„Actually we started got to know each other in October 1997 during the work for a German director called Katherina Thalbach. They wanted a Mozart opera partly changed into electronic music. During that work we did a track called “Material Love” which had been released in the beginning of 1998 on Steve Bugs former label “Raw Elements”. Since then we are brothers in mind. In the nineties Cle was a resident DJ at E-Werk and Mike Vamp, who turned into House music later, was more into Drum’n’Bass and did regularly shows for „Oceanclub” on Radio One Berlin. Besides we knew each other from several backstage sessions.
Some people say that we are like in the TV-series “The Odd Couple”, which is actually one of the reasons why our monthly residency at watergate is called that way – and we developed a perfect partnership going through a lots of ups and downs (fyi: in the past long before techno that was called: rock`n´roll). Last year we started to do some little solo projects aside to get new inspiration and to refresh our team spirit.“
Talking „The MB Factor“ – as your sound has changed from more classic House influences in the very beginning via Tech-/ElectroHouse to darker arrangements like your „Tracks From The Lab“-series one thing that has always been a part of your work is the use of Pop-flirty vocals that makes your sound accessible to a non-clubbing audience. Do you regard song writing a basic ingredient of your success and how does that work out during the production process?
„The thing is that we are both DJs and musicians in one person. That really helps to build the tracks. We see songwriting as essential but we are also clubbers and we were always keen to get this bridge full of dancing people between a regular song and a dance track without getting “tacky”. Besides we won´t stop a good idea coming along during a production.“
One track that defo sticks out on your album stylewise is the outro „Der Weg (Restored)“ which seems to be paying respect to acts like Kraftwerk or other more 80s-based German acts like Rheingold or others that used to combine songwriting and electronic beats. How influential are those acts to your work and what is this specific track all about?
„Oh my god. We were raised with that music. That music fitted so well into the shapes of this country: new buildings, cars and autobahn – when we did the track “Der Weg” Germany experienced a kind of “Neue Deutsche Welle” revival. In our old studio we had a organ, I think a farfisa, with a rhythm box. I remember how Cle was sitting at that organ like an organist in church playing that song. I had to find an output to record that organ but could not really find one so we placed a microphone close to the speaker. Sometimes you make tracks which reflect the actual situation. In the new version we replaced that organ with a synth bass. It is a piece of MB history but also a tribute to those german bands you mentioned.“
Listening to the full length CD of „The MB Factor“ the fan and homelistener will enjoy the fact that all tracks, classics as well as six new ones exclusively produced for this album which will be available as 2x12“ vinyl, are seamlessly mixed so one feels like on a trip through the Märtin Brös. universe. What was the basic idea behind that instead of doing a track-by-track retrospective album?
„It’s summer and we wanted to release a CD which people can listen to during their trips to whereever. On the other side we had a couple of new songs but thought the time is right to combine them with our favourite tracks from the past. Technology made it possible. We were a little insecure if that works out the way we wanted to have it. We put all our Maertini Broes spirit and experience into it with the aim to make it sound as timeless as possible.“
You celebrated the release of „The MB Factor“ on the centre stage of Dortmund’s Love Parade 2008 with a very special live performance – please tell us about what you did there and how the crowd reacted on this quite unusual way of playing live?
„We invited our friend and classic director Jan Tilmann-Schade to arrange the outro of “Biggest Fan” and did an exclusive version of “Flash” just with a beatbox, strings and vocals. It was a wonderful stunning experience. As the audience was so big it would’ve been good to flash the word “LIVE” on the LED screens. People at the Love Parade are used to get “music out of cans” because nobody wants to take the risk to perform live. Now we are proud that we had the guts to do it live.
We had a very good response although it was very unusual.“
Can we expect more things like this – a bit of stepping back from the usual club circuit and crossing borders towards other ways of performance or other art forms? Rumours are telling about plans for a film project...
„We will def continue our work with Jan Tilmann-Schade as he knows how to link these two worlds. Most of the people who come from that section give a shit about us as they see electronic music in general more as a “simple toy”. We believe that the next step will come. Film projects? That´s possible, may be …“
Last question for all who have been thinking about this for ages – what does the name of „Märtini Brös.“ mean?
„[mike vamp] Mix it good – chill but don´t shake.“