Clash Talks To Carhartt's Philipp Maiburg

About their Modeselektor collaboration
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Earlier this week Clash caught up with the brains behind the music at streetwear brand Carhartt, Philipp Maiburg, to find out more about their recent collaboration with Modeselektor, their own radio station, and their musical values.

When did the partnership Modeselektor come about?

“Like many co-operations that we do with bands or labels or agents in general, the relationship with Modeselektor has been ongoing for several years. The connection was always there, and we always said that one day we would go and do something bigger together.

“We’ve been sponsoring their parties in Berlin. It was called The Allianz, which was collected from Berlin organizing parties. We’ve sponsored those parties twice. When the album was about to come out and things were getting ready, we me in Berlin, put our heads together with what we could do.

“Actually, Gernot (Modeselektor) really loves the quality of Carhartt, especially, the hoodies. We made up a little collection of a tour shirt, which is obvious, but also the hoodie and crew jacket. We had this idea to do a photo shoot with Modeselektor with a photographer we work a lot with called Alexander Basile. He’s been shooting our campaigns for the last two years; we respect him as a great artist.

“Then they delivered a radio show. So things came up, one idea after another. In the end, we had a nice package.”

Is everyone in Carhartt, all your staff and designers, are they all dangerously into rave music?

“No, everybody at Carhartt is differently, musically rooted. Of course, for us it’s always a different experience when you come up with an idea and say ‘Hey, we will do a tour with Modeselektor, or Rhymesayers or with Who Made Who’, which we’ve all done in the past.

“I don’t see Modeselektor as rave music, by the way. I think the new album, is mainly about beats and bass. But it has a different approach than usual rave music because of the collaborations with Thom Yorke and Ms. Platinum. It’s a bit more sophisticated than it was when they were just coming out with ‘Hello Mom’ or ‘Happy Birthday’. It combines electronic music with song writing, with hip-hop; it’s a perfect fit for us.

“It’s always interesting to see the reactions of the different people. With Modeselektor, we found out it’s much loved in the company. It’s been a big success in the company, but also outside.”

“Of course we don’t forget our roots and we know where we’re coming from. That’s also the reason, for instance, that next Monday there will be a kick off of the Rhymesayers entertainment tour, which we also present. This is more Carhartt as it’s known from the late ‘80’s, early ‘90’s. We’ve done different things. We’ve had a big feature with Jamie xx in one of our past brand books.

What element of the whole partnership pleased you the most?

“When Carhartt gets involved with a band or a DJ, or whatever project, it’s more the package which is convincing. We really like to work with artists on ideas that we can make happen, that wouldn’t maybe happen without our involvement. Like the little collection we made with Modeselektor, but also the radio show they’ve delivered for us for Carhartt radio.

“The first big tour that we did in 2009 was Stones Throw. Without us the whole package of Mayer Hawthorne performing live for the first time in Europe, James Pants and Peanut Butter Wolf, it would never have happened if this was only financed from ticket sales.

“That’s always what we’re looking for: to bring something to the people that they don’t get usually. It’s something more special.”

What’s the next plan then?

“On Monday the tour of Rhymesayers will kick off in Europe. We have many artists from Rhymesayers who are obviously very big in the US, but not so known in Europe. We have people coming over like Brother Ali, Evidence, Atmosphere and Blue Print, so it’s a full package. Traveling from American to Europe to bring the Rhymesayers live experience wouldn’t have happened hadn’t we stepped in and said ‘let’s do it.’

“So that’s the next big thing starting November 7th in London. The London show is already sold out so it’s going pretty well. We’re coming up with tour shirts obviously, but we’ve also made a nice corporate design with them.

“We did a DJ competition before that on the Rhymesayers’ SoundCloud profile. DJ’s could upload their mixes and the best mix would be able to mix the next Carhartt Radio show, which is online now. That brought us a guy from Austria called Chris Fader and he really did an amazing mix.

“Now the guys are coming to Europe and they all did special videos showing their ideas of the cities that they’ve travelled. You have Brother Ali talking about Amsterdam or London. So every artist gives a little insight those cities.

“It’s, of course, totally different from Modeselektor sound-wise. Nevertheless, somehow I see some red line when it comes to why Carhartt is involved in this project.”

What do you mean a ‘red line’?

“I mean everything we do can differ a lot. If you look at the Carhartt radio shows, there’s a hip-hop show, there’s a Modeselektor show, which is obviously more electronic. Then we have Exit Records with dBridge, which is drum and bass. Then we have a Digikiller show. So it’s all very different genres. In the end what unites the different topics is the authenticity and the background that is behind this.”

Are you going to get Gernot & Szary (Modeselektor), to design any clothes for Carhartt?

“Not yet planned, but who knows? I think they’re really into to overalls because they wear them all the time. Maybe we will develop one together. I would like to do it!”

Will there be any videos of the Rhymetimes tour or anything like that on Carhartt-wip.com?

“Yeah, every day you will find a new interview from an artist participating in the Rhymesayers tour. You will see many things there that we do music-wise. Every month you have a new radio show and you will get information about all music events that Carhartt is involved with in Europe and Asia.”

If you could only save one Modeselektor album from a fire, which would it be and why?

“I really love the first one, ‘Hello Mom’. That was my favorite for years.

“It’s all so different from the French kind of sound. It’s very unique and I really like that fact that Modeselektor are so outstanding and they really do their own thing.

“My favorite album is ‘Hello Mom’ at the moment, but their new album is really getting there. I’m listening to it a lot and it’s getting better and better every time I hear it. So number one is ‘Hello Mom’, number two is ‘Monkeytown’ and number three is ‘Happy Birthday’.”

You can go and check out Carhartt radio here - http://www.carhartt-wip.com/music

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Modeselektor's 'Monkeytown' album was chosen as Clash's Album of 2011, read an interview with the duo on ClashMusic.com HERE.

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