Modeselektor's Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary can't remember exactly how they got into music. Who can blame them really?
When the Modeselektor boys met in 1992, the Berlin Wall had only fallen three years prior and chaos surrounded them.
But from playing underground house parties in Germany to performing at some of Europe’s top festivals, the pair has come a long way. They make their South West Four debut in London later this month and are already enjoying the hype: “There is already a buzz about it and it all looks really nice,” they said.
Bronsert and Szary are, once more, throwing themselves into the festival season. With so many out there, which are their favourites? The answer, it seems, is simple: “The best ones are the ones where we curate our own stage, like Melt! Festival, or the Warehouse Project in Manchester.”
Selecting the line-up for a stage would be a daunting prospect to some, but not to Modeselektor. Having already curated a stage at Germany’s Melt! Festival in 2010, this year they returned and chose some of the hottest international stars around including Nicolas Jaar, Apparat Band and Jamie Woon. For their Modeselektion night at the Warehouse Project in December, they’re headlining a list including Skream and Squarepusher.
At SW4, though, the duo will be performing their own DJ set, playing on the Last.FM arena on Sunday. The hard work of choosing a complementary billing has already been done for them with Richie Hawtin, Sub Focus and Joker playing too. Even without full control, the duo are still keen to play in London, which they say has “its own musical standard.” We’ll take that as a compliment.
Once the festival season is over, they have their third album, ‘Monkeytown’, to promote. Out at the end of September, it’s been four years in the making and is the first to be released on their own label, Monkeytown Records. What sort of things can fans expect from this new release?
“Every one of our albums stood for a certain period in our lives: ‘Hello Mom’ was kind of cutting the cord from home, being on our own. ‘Happy Birthday!’ was about us becoming parents. And ‘Monkeytown’ is again about something new in our lives. But, in the end, it’s a real Modeselektor album.”
It may be cryptic, but it sounds like progression too. Maybe it will lose more of the glitch sound as second offering ‘Happy Birthday!’ did following their debut. There might be a little more bubbling bass too, who knows. Whatever its slant, they’re keeping schtum but those with South West Four tickets can probably expect a glimpse of Modeselektor’s upcoming work.
With such a busy summer, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all work and no play for them. But despite their schedule taking them all over the world, there’s plenty of time to have a laugh. As Bronsert explains: “The funniest thing was when Szary was pulled off the stage by security during a show in L.A. – they thought he’s a freak-out fan!
“You have to know though that Szary left his place behind the stage table and was joking around with the audience at the front of the stage. And it was pretty dark with lots of smog. It was really funny and it took a while until he could come back on stage.”
In 2009, the duo teamed up with German electronic musician Apparat to create Moderat, releasing a successful self-titled album. Who else would they like to make a hit record with? None other than Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, because “it’s just so much fun to make music with him.” Don’t write off collaborations on ‘Monkeytown’ then either.
Modeselektor will play the Last.FM stage at South West Four 2011.
Pendulum and Underworld will headline the festival, which takes place at London’s Clapham Common from 27-28 August.
Only Sunday tickets remain on sale priced at £45 (plus booking fee).
Click to buy South West Four tickets.