The story of Digitalism is about the things that change, those that don’t change and music’s ability to change. It was around 2004 that Jens Moelle and Ismail “Isi” Tuefekçi met at a Hamburg record store. Isi was a regular shopper at Underground Solution, a haven for specialist electronica, and Jens worked there in the afternoons.
Music fans, DJs and producers would spend hours hanging out – sometimes even take a quick nap on the well-worn blue sofa. When the place opened up for parties, staff would lug the racks into the “scary” biker’s shop next door. Before one of those raves, a DJ was taken ill. The owner asked Isi to pair up with Jens to play that night. He didn’t know, but behind-the-scenes, the friends had already begun producing their own material.
Originally, it was purely about having fun. They made songs and mixes to fill the holes in their DJ sets – if they couldn’t find the right track, they’d make the right track. The duo’s ambitions were humble. So when their edit of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ was cut to vinyl and released as a limited run it was a big moment. It sold out instantly.
That’s when they moved into the “bunker” studio in Hamburg they still work from today. It’s a magical space – a room bursting with precious rare rare synthesisers, analogue recorders and boxes of records. Sandwiched between floors of other musicians – from heavy metallers to wedding covers bands – that only adds to the ambience.
At this point, the community was building around them. They’d go to friends’ club nights, and pass their new material to the DJ to get played. “We wanted to get involved – not just play other people’s’ records, but make our own,” recalls Jens. The waves they were creating were soon being felt outside Hamburg’s dance scene. Soon after they were officially invited into the Kitsuné family – a label responsible for so much of that era’s defining electronic music. Digitalism summed up this eclecticism, this energy. But they weren’t alone. Klaxons, Simian Mobile Disco, Justice, Boys Noize, LCD Soundsystem, The Presets and Soulwax – these artists were live bands, they were DJs, they released compilations, albums, mixes, singles. The rules of the traditional linear band didn’t apply.
Moving on to more recently, unveiled their hotly anticipated new single ‘Spektrum’ from their newly announced EP, ‘5KY11GHT’.
The Hamburg duo bring their trademark electro touch to the production, infusing chunky bass stabs with a melodic breakdown, to create a dancefloor ready anthem. The track showcases just one side their bold production skills, and displays diversity when compared to other tracks on the EP, which adopt a range of brooding, ominous tones as well as uplifting melodies.
And it always will be. Digitalism aren’t resting on their laurels anytime soon.
Sum up this podcast in 10 words…
A light, the sky, a planet, a band, a mixtape, you and Christmas
What’s your personal favourite track on it?
Anything by “SanDisk”
What’s the special ingredient in this mix?
A pinch of “SanDisk”
What’s the best gig you’ve played recently?
We only did a few gigs this year, but recently played at XOYO in London again and it was ace to be back. We actually started early and played till the end cause it was so much fun.
What have you got coming up?
With the year being less focused on touring we actually had lots of time at our studio in Hamburg, so just consider our latest EP “5ky11ght” the tip of a huge iceberg. 2018 is “go time” for us again; we’re going back on tour, which is something we’re really looking forward to after a year spent between WWII bunker walls.
And finally, do you have a special message for our readers?
Thanks for your support and have a nice Christmas/Holidays time!
01. Digitalism – 5Ky11ght Intro
02. Kraftwerk – Numbers / Digi Edit
03. SanDisk- SanDisk
04. Daft Punk – OH Yeah
05. Depeche Mode – People are People / Digi Edit
06. The Chemical Brothers – Life is sweet / Daft Punk Remix
07. SanDisk – Digi Tool
08. Radio Slave – Children Of the E / KinK Remix
09. Digitalism – Spektrum 2000
10. Frische Frabe – Oh, Oh Boys / Digi Edit
11. Not Waving ft. Marie Davidson – Not Waving
12. The Human League – Seconds / Antony Toga Unlimited Orchestra Mix
13. Digitalism – Jet
14. Im Kellar – Im Kellar
15. SanDisk – White Walls
16. Ariel Pink – Time To Live / Digi Edit
17. Tanera – What Happened
18. SanDisk – Olympia
19. C J Bolland – Sugar Is Sweeter / Armand van Helden Remix
20. Digitalism – Spektrum
21. Digitalism – Highspeed Sunrise