Digitalism Talks New DJ-Kicks Album and the Sound of the Future

In 2007, electro house and indie dance music blew up clubland. And one of the era's landmark albums was Idealism, the debut long player of German production duo Digitalism on Kitsuné.

Standouts like "Pogo" and "Zdarlight" cemented the act's massive crossover appeal, blending equal parts electro and indie rock.

Fast-forward to 2012 and Digitalism is going stronger than ever. And for proof, you need look no further than the twosome's new mix album for the prestigious DJ-Kicks series on !K7 Records.

With choice cuts from the likes of The Rapture, Vitalic, and WhoMadeWho, plus exclusive Digitalism originals on the record, the duo continues to defy genres and expectations while never falling short of the dancefloor momentum that made them famous.

Crossfade caught up with Digitalism ahead of a performance at Grand Central on Saturday to talk about the new album and their decade-long journey from record store clerks to international dance music sensations.

Crossfade: Is there a concept or theme running through your new DJ-Kicks album? How did you go about selecting the material? 

Digitalism: This DJ-Kicks is very special, as it kind of marks the closing of a cycle for us. We started Digitalism about ten years ago, after we'd met in a record store where we were working at the time. The store was selling house and techno records, so it was for DJs only. Hanging out there every day after school, that's how we got into DJing and eventually starting the band.

Back then we made quick new tracks and edits that we could play in our DJ sets, because we wanted to bring something very unique to the table. That's also the origin of our first album. So this compilation is a DJ mix, and again we included new music from us on it, just like back in the day -- five new tracks plus two new exclusive remixes.

Regarding the tracklist, we wanted to present our sonic world and the kind of sound that we grew up with when we started DJing and collecting vinyl. It's a bit of a historic approach. We wanted to include material by artists and labels that we used to love, and tracks that we used to play nearly every night, whether it was new or old material. Some of the stuff on the DJ-Kicks is very old, you know. But there's so much to discover, and even old songs are very new to you when you've never heard of them. The next thing was that we wanted to make sure that our different aspects genre-wise are on this compilation too. That's why you'll find a lot of variety, from electro, techno, new wave to indie music on it. We then mixed the tracklist up with our own new music.

You guys are joining a group of highly celebrated artists who have mixed the DJ-Kicks series. What does this career milestone mean to you?

It's a great honor to be asked to do this. We used to sell these compilations and took many of them back home with us. Coming from a DJ background, this is a bit like getting the knighthood. It's crazy when you think about it. Back then, we were big fans of lots of the artists who did a DJ-Kicks, and now we're good friends with a bunch of them.

Electro and indie dance is not as big today as it was back in the late 2000s, when Digitalism first blew up. But it's the sound you guys continue to push. What do you feel you're offering to the electronic music scene that perhaps is lacking from the trendy house and techno sound that's big at the moment?

We see ourselves as something that is more constant in these fast-paced times. At the end, we're making electronic music and we always will. And we want to bring something more than just club tracks.

On the last album, we explored songwriting a bit further, and we pushed our horizon. So now after two albums, we feel like we're absolutely free to do anything sound-wise. People might forget about 90 percent of club tunes after a while. But well-crafted songs (or song-enhanced tracks) that can also be played on just a guitar near a bonfire, that's something that lasts forever.

We're not big fans of jumping on certain trend-wagons. But of course, every artist should keep on pushing the limit and explore and reinvent as much as possible. And that's something we're really excited about too.

So what's in store for Digitalism?

The sound of the future.

Digitalism. Saturday, June 16. Grand Central. 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 11 p.m. Call 305-377-2277 and visit grandcentralmiami.com.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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