If rock 'n' roll was invented in America and then adopted by the Brits, who sold it back to us via the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc., then Germany did the same for deep house.
Much of the EDM landscape of the last decade has been shaped by German nostalgia for the soulful sounds of old-school Chicago house and Detroit techno. And at the helm of this movement is the esteemed Berlin-based Innervisions imprint and sister label Sonar Kollektiv, home to renowned producers like Âme, Dixon, Henrik Schwarz, and Marcus Worgull.
As Innervisions co-founders, Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann of production duo Âme have been crafting their own Teutonic take on African-American soul since the early 2000s. Not ones to dwell on old-school house nostalgia, though, they continue to push the sonic envelope with more experimental melodic techno forays.
We caught up with Kristian Beyer ahead of his Friday performance at the Electric Pickle to talk Berlin, Innervisions, and the similarity between German and African tribal roots.
Crossfade: What do you think makes the Innervisions label so beloved among international listeners?
Kristian Beyer: It's hard to say for me what makes us special as others have to judge that. I think we are a great team of friends who on the other hand are able to discuss quite hard between each other.
Between Innervisions and Sonar Kollektiv, your crowd in Berlin does seem like a big extended creative family. How have your relationships with fellow artists inside and outside the studio shaped your sound and outlook?
Berlin had attracted so many creative people in the last 15 years and that's what makes it special for us. With Jazzanova and the Sonar Kollektiv, we had a good start. But for a couple of years, we don't work together with them. We are now on our own. And here in Berlin, we only work with Henrik Schwarz. But, of course, we meet a lot of people who also might have an influence on our later work.
You guys have been on the deep house tip since long before it became the sound du jour on the international EDM scene. What do you think marked this recent scene-wide return to deeper, more melodic sounds?
Actually, I think, here in Germany, this whole movement towards the deep house thing is coming to an end, as there is so much stuff coming out and everybody tends to play the same. So the crowd is getting fed up with the so-called house thing. For us it was never a question, as it's our sound but we always opened up for a techno sound too.
Your sound, however, has become more experimental over the years, moving from traditional house towards techno, progressive, ambient, and beyond. What marked this innovative streak? And where do you see your sound headed in the future?
As individuals, we like to move forward and learn something new everyday. So in the end that definitely has an effect on our music too. I don't know where to head in the future. But we will always make some dance music. Besides that, everything is possible.
Why do you think that Germans, despite their reputation for being analytical left-brain people, have a general affinity for warm, soulful black music?
I think if you leave aside personal roots, the African rhythm is in all of us as we all come form there. And also, German tribal roots music is not far away from that.
What have you been up to in 2011? And what do you have in store next?
We already released a new single which will be followed up by another Âme 12-inch at the end of the year. Remixes for Radio Slave, Osunlade, Popol Vuh, and hopefully Massive Attack are coming out soon. And as a highlight for us, there will be an Âme live CD released on Innervisions in November too.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Âme with residents. Friday, June 10. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami
Ave., Miami. The party starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.