Being in a production duo with your brother seems like it could potentially be a recipe for conflict, but for Germany’s Monkey Safari this couldn’t be further from the truth. For these two siblings there isn’t time for bickering, their name an easy clue into their sunny disposition. Even their bio states that ‘their mandate remains the same, sending sunny vibes to make even the darkest dance floors smile.’ And that they do with ease…
They can’t be locked down into one sound either, their discography feature a wide variety of labels from Minus to Bedrock to Solar Distance. (And don’t forget their own imprint Homage who recently signed tracks from Blond:ish and John Tejada). On the collaboration front they can count studio sessions with the likes of Moby, Guy Gerber, Josh Wink and more, the demand by artists to collaborate with them getting stronger by the day. And for good reason too, they currently seem to have the midas touch (their recent release ‘Oxy’ featured as part of John Digweed’s ‘Bedrock Frequencies’ compilation reached #2 in Beatport’s Progressive House chart.) They also have a brand new album Odyssee which just got released on their own Hommage label after a consuming production effort: ’It was a very long process for us, hence the title.’
Monkey Safari will be heading to Australia late in November for a weekend’s worth of dates which once again includes Strawberry Fields festival (check last week’s Balance Selections with Tim Engelhardt for another Strawberry Fields featured act): ‘We’re playing Ricardo’s in Sydney on Friday, Strawberry Fields Festival and XE54 in Melbourne on Saturday, and a secret garden party in Perth on Sunday.’ And just in time they have delivered a fresh Balance Selections mix. Forget about what you think you know of Monkey Safari, with tracks from Ben Klock, Recondite, Tale of Us and more, they once again prove with this mix that they are brilliantly illusive to pin down.
Halle/Saale / Germany
Labels affiliated with:
Hommage / Bedrock
My last 3 releases:
What music did you listen too as a child?
As kids both of us listened to different kinds of music. That’s probably the main reason for the wide variety of our musical taste today. Two albums we remember our father playing often are Michael Jackson‘s Thriller and Highway to Hell by AC/DC. We listened to them a lot on vinyl when we were children and I think the first time trying to “scratch” was with one of these records.
When was the first time that you realized that you liked electronic music?
Sven had a cassette tape of the original soundtrack from Das Boot, a German movie from the 80s. This soundtrack was influenced by dark synth patterns and electronica elements with a typical 80s touch. I believe it was the very first contact with electronic music. In the 90s, Eurodance and Techno were really big in Germany, and yes, we were a part of it… ;)
When was the first time you saw a DJ in a club?
I don’t remember this exactly, because there were so many parties back then. One memorable club night for us was a party in a student-club in our hometown. Matthias Tanzmann was playing and we wanted to go. It was summer and Sven was wearing flip-flops and pretty drunk. He fell on the stairway in my apartment and (unknowingly) broke his toe. Apparently he was so drunk that regardless of his broken toe we went to the party and danced all night long. The next day, we went to the hospital and were informed the toe was definitely broken.
Which producers/artists/acts inspire you?
I’m a huge fan of Nils Frahm and every time we’re on tour on a plane and there is heavy turbulence I put his music on the headphones. It totally relaxes me. In general I must say that we get our inspiration from any kind of music. It’s hard to pick only one, because there is simply too much good and inspiring music out there.
What was the last album that you downloaded/bought?
I think it was IO from Rival Consoles. It is a great album and is highly recommended. It’s from 2009 and it is proof that it can be a good idea to dig into the back catalog of labels such as Erased Tapes!
What is your current production and DJ set up like?
We use Ableton as the main hub in our studio. It’s where we arrange and record all of our tracks. We mostly work with analog gear and record it in Ableton. Our main synths are the Clavia Nord Lead 4, Roland JP-8000, Nord Drum 3p, Moog Little Phatty and some others. We use the Focusrite Clarett 8 PreX interface and Mackie HR8MK2 for monitoring. For our DJ sets we only use USB sticks and CDJ2000s. We prefer to play without a laptop, because you are more focused on the crowd instead of the display.
What releases do you have on the horizon?
Our new album Odyssey comes out today (October 27th)! It was a very long process for us, hence the title. In December we will release a remix for a very talented act called Avidus, who we signed on our label recently. At the beginning of next year we will release a 3 track EP on Bedrock Records and after that we will release a remix package for the album with a lot of artists that we personally like a lot.
Where can we hear you perform?
We are playing a big album tour at the moment, including a short stint to Australia (November 17th to 19th). We’re playing Ricardo’s in Sydney on Friday, Strawberry Fields Festival and XE54 in Melbourne on Saturday and a secret garden party in Perth on Sunday. For everyone who cannot be there, we have a monthly podcast series called “Sessions” which is available on our Soundcloud profile ;)
Tell us more about the podcast you made for Balance?
We created the mix whilst we were travelling in Spain. We mixed some great tracks from some outstanding artists we like. Some love, some darkness, plus our favourite album track: Boulogne Billancourt.
The top track in my DJ wallet currently is:
Avidus – “Revenge Of The Whales (Monkey Safari Remix)”
If I could recommend only one of my tracks for you to listen to it would be:
Monkey Safari – “Obscura” …still unreleased… stay tuned! ;)
If I could recommend only one track for you to listen to it would be:
…just listen and listen and listen and repeat ;)
My favourite Balance compilation is:
The last movie I watched that I really liked:
Beverly Hills Cop 1/2/3 …the soundtrack of our lives
My favourite TV show/series:
If I could choose anyone to compile a Balance comp it would be:
There are these two brothers from Germany who love music and Australia… They would be perfect! ;) Another hot contender for a Balance compilation would be Henrik Schwarz.
1. Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann – Phanton Studies [Ostgut Ton] 2. The Cyclist – Pressing Matters (Robag’s Pinvoldex Sull NB) [Hypercolour] 3. Recondite – Felicity [Acid Test] 4. Reset Robot – Bark Orders [Ovum Recordings] 5. Monkey Safari – From The Purple Sky [Hommage] 6. Tale Of Us, Vaal – Monument (Barnt Remix) [Afterlife] 7. Hot City Orchestra – The Nine [aras] 8. Lake People – Subsurface [Mule Musiq] 9. Monkey Safari – Kingdom [Hommage] 10. Bastinov – Telesterion (Alex Niggemann Re-Shape) [Aeon] 11. Monkey Safari – Boulogne Billancourt [Hommage] 12. John Monkman – HARMONIX1 [Crosstown Rebels]