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Love and Idealism: Digitalism

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While we’re talking about the past — your most recent EP came out on Kitsuné, with whom you have quite a rich history. Idealism was a big step for you – being your first album – but it was also a landmark for Kitsuné as the second studio album released by the label. Are you proud of the success Digitalism & Kitsuné have continued to enjoy, whether together or in each other’s absence?

Connections are really important. I always say you should never forget where you’re coming from. Kitsuné did an amazing job for us with Idealism. We hooked up as well in 2010 for Blitz, and I guess it feels like we’ve never been away. Kitsuné still have a different feel, being one of the last labels to combine fashion & music. I just say always fashion and music will always stay working together, because I don’t know why…but it will… 

I remember going to Urban Outfitters in 2007, and they sold your album Idealism, Boyz Noize’s Oi Oi Oi and Justice’s Cross. I never really knew clothes stores to sell music like that, certainly not the high-street chains, but now more and more businesses are diversifying and paying attention to electronic music. So fashion, for you probably more than most DJs, was a big thing. You mention Kitsuné in the terms of being a musical family, do your personal friends and family influence your work too?

It’s really funny. My parents are from Turkey and very traditional, and I think they still don’t really realise what I’m doing. I guess one day I’ll have to take them to a concert! My brothers and sisters just said ‘ok, do whatever you want’ but they never really listened to my tracks. Initially we had more success around the world than in Germany. Then we toured a lot in Germany and our standing gradually changed. Sometimes record labels don’t do all that much, so its really important as a band that you tour as much as you can to create something and at the end everyone recognised us. The German press started asking questions, and my family noticed us in the papers and on the television. Then my brothers & sisters came to a concert. To be fair, I still don’t play them my music. Because why should I? I feel comfortable and if they don’t like it then that is how it is.

You’re approaching 10 years working together as Digitalism: there are some artists, some big artists, that don’t stay in the spotlight for more than two or three years. They’ll rise and fall like comets. You’ve likened your production process to writing a book: do you ever have periods of ‘writers block’?

That’s a really good question…there are periods when there are so many creative ideas and we have all these amazing loops in the studio. We have to constantly produce tracks and then at the end, once we’ve produced like 40 or 50 tracks, we chose the ones we think are best and put more energy into the work. I think it’s important to go out of your normal routine to keep life interesting. Jence has a solo project called Palermo Disko Machine. I also have some secret projects, in which I am more behind the scenes. I did something in 2009 that was played out widely and no-one knew who was behind the track as it was very different from the usual Digitalism sound. But when me and Jence do Digitalism we’re always talking the same language. 

Sometimes we have a time out from each other, but it’s like any relationship. We’ve never had a situation where we sleep in different hotels or don’t go out together for dinner. It’s hard sometimes but that’s how it is. The most important thing is trust, and that the respect is there; you know what each other is doing and there is already enough respect. We’ve never allowed egos to get in the way.

You can catch Digitalism at London’s XOYO on Saturday November 16th complete with their hard hitting bass lines and transfixing synths, taking you on a journey through an array of genres with support from Russ Chimes, In Flagranti, Glitches and Ghost Culture. For more information and tickets click here

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