So talk to us a bit about your latest EP on Exploited. How did you end up working with Lizzie Paige? When did you realise her sound would make a good fit for your productions?
I was looking for some fresh voices for the new Munk album at home in Berlin as I had worked with singers from all over the world, but not from Germany. Strangely I couldn’t find a German singer that fits, but I met Lizzie who came from New York and Mona Lazette from London who both were living in Berlin for the past 2 years. Both are great, so it made sense to do the whole upcoming album together. Lizzie has a background as a classic trained pianist and has been living in Austin/ USA – so she has been following the Austin scene and festival for years and has a wide range of musical skills.
And have you been a fan of Exploited for some time? Was it a pretty natural place for you to release music?
I’ve known Shir Khan, the DJ and mastermind behind Exploited, for over 10 years and I’ve always liked the approach of his label. Doing dance music that also appeals to a pop market, but always having had a strong identity isn’t easy but something they do brilliantly. And they’re always trying to explore different ways of house music. Sometimes they’re very brave, they are rarely cheesy, mostly unexpected and always effective!
And he has been a key figure of the Berlin scene long before he started his label. We always wanted to do something together once. When I played him the new album tracks he loved them and so we thought why not ?
It’s also always a bit shitty to release your own music on your own label and so I found it very cool to do these singles on another label.
Obviously Exploited has had huge success recently too – why do you think that is? Did they sort of do something that hasn’t been done before?
I think they work very well on their releases, and they’re always looking to bring something new to house music. I don’t like everything they do, but many of the Exploited singles are musically much more interesting that many of the other things happening in the ‘Beatport House Camp’. And: they are always willing to develop their sound. That’s different to most of the house labels these days who often have a trademark sound that gets boring quickly. For sure Exploited will be here in 5 years time and they will probably have a different sound again. I don’t know where many other labels of today’s house scene will be then.
And is Southern Moon a pretty fitting representation of your sound? Did the track end up exactly as you imagined it would before you got to the studio?
I never knew what it would come out like. For the new album I did like 40 backing tracks. I would do like 5 – 7 songs in one night. I have a beat and then I play some spontaneous basslines, keyboards and small melodies and then do a raw musical structure. Then I give it to the girls who choose the tracks they like most. And then we start to work, then I exchange sounds, and parts. And so .. Let’s say: a song like ’The Beat’, for example, that was initially a totally live played song and ended up being 85% electronic.
So where did the idea for the EP come from then? And who/what influenced it?
In the past my music was inspired by weirdo music from the 70s and early 80s. Underground Disco, psychedelic funk, Italian Pop like Battisti or Goblin. Mixed with house, disco and rock rhythms.
But some time ago I started to fall in love with the great pop producers from the 80s. People who came from Jazz or Dance music and dropped into Pop. Trevor Horn or Arthur Baker and Rod Temperton. I also listened a lot to Frank Zappa and Burt Bacherach – both did amazing ‘Pop“ songs based on ‘dance music’ rhythms.
And about the remixes, how did you settle on guys such as Darius Syrossian and HNNY?
I like their music. Both have a relegation ship with my music. HNNY is obviously extremely near the Gomma music universe and Darius used to have a record shop where he sold “tons of Gomma vinyl“ – as he told us once.
Going back a bit, when did you first become involved in music? Was it through guitar or electronic music?
My dad is a composer of contemporary classical music so I was taught to play piano by the age of 4. I had to listen to “serious“ contemporary music all my childhood and youth. Later I learned some other instruments, before I fell in love with 1) listening to as much different music as possible 2) DJing 3) electronic music production.
A night with Kenny Dope and Little Louie Vega around 1998 changed everything in my life!
What’s next on the agenda for Munk?
Second single Happiness Juice drops in summer on Exploited. Then an album in September. Then DJing every weekend till I’l die.
Southern Moon by Munk & Lizzie Paige is out now on Exploited Records. Check it out below!
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