We caught up with the mysterious Africaine 808, to understand a little more about who they are, where they’re coming from and where they’re at..
Hello Gentlemen how’s it going?
Both : Good. We´re in the studio and almost done for today. Another track ready to be mastered.
What are your musical backgrounds?
Dirk: I started playing instruments at an early age (guitar and piano) Big thanks to my parents who spent there money on the lessons I could take.
When I was 14 I played electric guitar in local rock&funk bands, got writing and composing lessons and got more and more interested in Jazz music.
Being 18 years old I moved to cologne and got deeply interested in electronic music. I was working for Groove Attack distribution back than and would spend more money on records than actually earning money at the end of the month. Returning some records filled up the fridge.
A few years later I met Matias Aguayo with whom I formed the group Closer Musik.
We released 2 12″‘s and an Album on Kompakt. After our time in South America we closed the chapter Closer Musik and I moved to Berlin where I did lots of collaborations with Nerk, Khan, Justus Kohncke, Eric D. Clark, Satch Hoyt and many more. Nowadays my main focus is on Africaine 808 alongside Nomad.
There are other more techno and house oriented projects alongside Mirko Hecktor under the moniker Project01 and Markus Wegner as STNH. I am also working for the public radio since 15 years, being in involved in radio features and radio play productions.
Nomad : I started collecting dance music very early on, taping top of the pops together with my Sister every Friday. Got my first vinyl LP (Blondie -Parallel lines) at my tenth Birthday and fell in love with collecting records. Making music started in my parents Basement in the mid 80’s with glueing Tape loops and doing Industrial, Avantgarde stuff. In that phase i discovered Brian Eno and David Byrne’s work when they where messing with African music, which was the first memory i have on getting into polyrhythms and african percussion .
Also Skateboarding influenced my musical taste through my entire youth because i got to hang out with a lot of other subcultures like punk , Hip Hop ,Rave and Psychedelic Rock stuff and didn’t have to stick to only one scene. This also got me into the Cosmic music and Breakbeat scene of the early nineties- late eighties. I got to see Beppe (Loda) , Mozart and Baldelli play at some Afro/Cosmic Parties in the Alpes which really inspired me to become a DJ.Later when i got into Jungle and Drum* Bass i would still be mainly dig/ produce more Percussive/ African grooves.
After that came a phase where i produced more abstract electronic beat stuff as a part of ” White Dolemite” (Bpitch Control) and started mixing West London Broken Beat Styles with classic Blockparty and Afro Sounds with Hunee as Triple A Soundsystem. After some years it was evident that i would go more into the Afro Direction and i started VULKANDANCE as a partyseries for Afro and Tropical music.
Could you tell us about Africaine 808, how and why it came into being?
Dirk: Because of me getting on Nomads nerves to start making music together.
Nomad: True. We knew each other since the time we worked for competing labels – Dirk for Kompakt and me for BPitch Control , and we had a lot of mutual respect for our Sound design , i guess. Dirk always asked me when we would start something together – and after ten years i finally gave in and we started working on some remixes of Afro and Islands tunes. It was really just more of an Experiment. And it still is.
What is message of the band?
Dirk : “broken glass everywhere…”
Nomad : If there is any message than its ” Freedom ” . A Freedom you can reach , by breaking barriers, combining different cultural backgrounds , musical inspirations, production methods and relying on willpower, hard work and the laws of harmony and rhythm. We are a Transcultural listening music project that likes to make people dance.
What music is really doing it for you at the moment, old or new?
Dirk: It doesn´t matter. It´s got to be good music.
Nomad: Same here. I am a mean music collector when it comes to African and Tropical music. The stuff i spend most time looking for comes from the 70’s and 80’s … but that is mainly because that stuff is disappearing right now and i need to spend a lot of time digging for those records. The modern stuff is much easier to get by via download or record stores or mail order. I don’t dig as much Disco and Modern Soul as i used to , but that’s ok , because i am still not done with digitizing what i have at home.
So you have a new EP coming up on Golf Channel, then an album next year. What was your process for recording this new work?
Dirk: Recording Arranging EQing Mixing!
Nomad : Most of the stuff you are going to hear is all music we, or some friends played
(Dodo NKishi plays Drums on some tracks, Eric Owusu plays Percussion, Ofrin, Nova Campanelli and Alex Voices added vocals) and that we recorded, engineered and arranged.
The use of Samples is reduced to a minimum on the Album and is mostly just novelty samples, pet sounds, ambiance, field recordings or spoken words. How we start the process is different each time. Sometimes I come to the studio and Dirk has already laid down some harmonies and I start putting a beat over it. Sometimes we find an idea for a drum pattern or a certain instrumentation together and we start with that. It’s always a growing experiment.
We never know where the journey will take us until we have almost arrived.
New LP coming early 2016 – get in touch for bookings….