youANDme is deeply engrained in the German electronic music world and especially the international Berlin club scene. Not only are they in the heart of the bohemian capital for techno, they also serve a greater role as its artery, pumping blood through its veins with their labels as the valves. This has made them international transplants, playing gigs and festivals around the world in cultural hubs like New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Singapore, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul. They have been in demand by top brands such as Space Ibiza, Sonar Festival in Barcelona, KaZantip Festival in Crimea, Panorama Bar / Berghain in Berlin, D-Edge in Sao Paulo and many more. As the owners of Rotary Cocktail Recordings, Polymorph, CUTZ.ME, and three other mysterious imprints, they provide a steady flow of music and talent from Germany to the rest of the world. As DJs and producers, their music runs inherently deep, with a raw and kicking signature. The ideas of funk and soul serve as its backbone across styles like house, techno, dub, and electronica.
For our readers who may not know, can you explain your name? Specifically, what is the thought process behind the capital “AND”?
We did some bootlegs in the past and called it “youANDme”. We really liked the name and thats why we also used it for our DJ gigs. There is no deeper meaning behind the capital “AND”. If you write the name youANDme it just looks better and you have a visual border between you and me.
Explain your relationship to the city Berlin as artists and as citizens? Aside from the obvious dance music network, how does the city continue to inspire you?
We live in Berlin for more then 12 years and it feels like home now. The city has so much to offer and its always fun to discover something new and get inspiration outside of the music biz. The possibilities are endless especially if you love art, different cultures, nature, good food or to go to concerts and to listen to other music than house and techno. We think everything what surrounds you could stimulate your thoughts and your music. If you keep your mind wide open for new things it will be a great inspiration for your productions.
As Berlin has any number of quality DJs and Producers, who are some names from the capital city that audiences elsewhere in Europe (or around the world) may not know, but definitely should?
Rhauder ( http://www.soundcloud.com/rhauder ) is one of the most talented producers in the current music scene. He has amazing studio skills and his style is a mixture between dub techno & Detroit inspired productions. There are rumors that he will release his first album next year with legends like Paul St. Hilaire aka Tikiman on the microphone. You definitely have to check his stuff!
As multi-purpose figures in dance music, you DJ, Producer, and run a handful of record labels. How do you find time to balance all your duties? How do you split duties between the 2 of you? Is there any specific responsibility you enjoy the most? Is one of you more administrative than the other?
While Daniel is focussing more on his career as architecture Martin is managing the labels and is doing most of the studio works at the moment. It’s time consuming but if you have fun it feels not always like work.
I have read about your love for analog studio equipment in production and remixing. Is there a specific piece of analogue equipment that you cannot live without in the studio? What about on the road, is there a particular piece of equipment you can’t live without while touring?
We play with vinyls and USB sticks. It sounds a bit boring but we would choose the sticks as our particular piece of equipment on the road. The possibility to have your complete music library on a small memory chip is awesome. That gives us the freedom to play creative and unexpected sets in every direction.
It’s hard to choose a favorite studio tool but most of our tracks have at least one element from the Moog Voyager. We really love the sound aesthetic. It’s warm, fat, and a little bit dirty. If you play a loop for example it’s never exact the same sound which makes it more natural. Maybe you could do the same with a computer but the most important fact for us is the interaction with real machines. You can play it, touch it and the results are more interesting.
Speaking of analogue equipment, your latest single, ‘Take Away’, features the Roland Juno Alpha 2 synth quite prominently. What is it about this synthesizer that you find emotive or (according the EP synopsis) “full of feeling”?
The Alpha Juno 2 is another fave of us. We are sure it was used in many Detroit techno records. It has a warm, emotional and responsive sound and it’s not so famous like the Roland Jupiter series or the Juno 106. It’s still affordable and one of the analogue world undiscovered little gems. It’s a synthesizer which you can find in all of our latest productions. The strings are fantastic and it’s used in the Desolat track and also for our new Cocoon Rec. release “Jungle Book”.
As ‘Take Away,’ will be released under the famed Desolat label, what is it about Desolat that complements the sound of youANDme? What is the creative environment like at Desolat for artists such as yourself to keep releasing on the label?
Desolat is a nice label and they work really professional. We like a lot of stuff of their back catalogue. One of our all-time faves is the Moritz von Oswald remix of “Watamu beach”.
The single also features vocals from South African artist Black Soda. South Africa seems to be having something of a dance music renaissance these days, how did your relationship with Black Soda come about? How familiar are you with the dance scene in South Africa?
End of August 2014 Black Soda was the first time in Berlin and we invited her to our Studio to record some vocals for a remix. She came to the studio on Monday morning straight after Panorama Bar and she was really inspired by the magic vibe of this place. We finished the remix session and asked her if she had an idea for the instrumental of “Take Away”. We had been listening to it and a moment later all the energy of her weekend came back for one recording and it was just a perfect take. When she sang, we got goosebumps and we knew this song will be something special.
We never played in South Africa so unfortunately we cannot say more about the scene. We heard good stories about the growing music scene and guys like Black Coffee or Culoe De Song have a worldwide hype at the moment. We hope there will be the possibility to play in South Africa and discover the beautiful country.
Can you speak a little on the remixes of ‘Take Away.’ Featuring Loco Dice and Pablo Bolivar, how do these two artists bring their own flavor to the track?
We are really happy about the remixes. It’s a pleasure to have 2 awesome artists who doing their own interpretation of our song. Dice did a bit more minimal and groovy floor shaker and put the original track into a complete different direction. Pablo did 2 remixes. The first remix is more dreamy and you could feel the sunny vibes of Barcelona. The other one is more deep and dub techno inspired. Thank you Dice and Pablo for your great versions!
Will you guys manage to find some free time to sit back and relax after the summer is over? If so, what kind of activities do youANDme enjoy that are not related to dance music or work, in general?
There is a lot of studio work to do but if we have some free time we enjoy the nature outside of Berlin. There are many beautiful lakes where you could spend a perfect summer day.