Booka Shade Interview

Dance titans chat ahead of Get Loaded

For a nation not known for bringing the funk, Germany has produced more than its fair share of dancefloor icons.

Take Booka Shade for example. Formed by two school friends the electro-house duo have gone on to become one of the hottest names in the dance world. Three albums down, Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier are sitting on top of a massive stockpile of clubland explosives.

ClashMusic recently tracked down the elusive German duo to produce an exclusive mix for our podcast series – click HERE to grab it now!

With the festival season in full swing Booka Shade are set to hit these palatial shores for a live show at Get Loaded In The Park. Playing alongside such electronic giants as Orbital the band are up against some tough competition, but as Clash finds out they’ve got no intentions of going down quietly…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

How / when did you first meet?
We met in a school band at the age of 13.

Which bands influenced you when you first got together?
The Cure, New Order, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode.

You’ve won a lot of awards over the years, are there any in particular you’d like to get under your belt?
We’re not particularly keen on awards, but we like all kinds of audience awards because they show the appreciation of the fans. We’re very thankful for that.

2008 was one of your busiest years yet, is 2009 set to be the same?
We try and take it a bit easier this year and prepare for a big world tour to promote our next album which will be released early 2010. But to keep us busy, we started to DJ, which is very exciting and inspiring at the moment.

With your extremely busy schedule when do you have the time to write new material? Do you write a lot on tour?
The last two albums and the DJ Kicks compilation we did last year were all produced on the road. There’s just no other way, and nowadays there’s so much you can do with the laptop. When we returned to our studio in Berlin we did recordings such as vocals, analog synths or the classical orchestra you hear on two songs.

You’ve worked together for a long time, what would you say are the key things in making a music duo work?
Mutual respect, same vision, and it seems we complement each other pretty well.

Which do you prefer the production side or performing live?
We love both, really. They became integral parts of our life, and we couldn’t live without it. Working quietly in our isolated studio is wonderful, and absorbing the energy of the raving audience is overwhelming. We have such wonderful and enthusiastic fans!

What are the key elements that make up your set?
Walter’s keyboards and Arno’s drums. People love to see us work hard on our instruments and sweat. The audience sees that we give a lot of energy and they return it.

Do you plan a festival set differently to a club set?
Not really. We take the freedom and play a slow song like ‘Outskirts’ even on the main stage with 30,000 people that want to rave. And our audience respects that. I believe they are even thankful and appreciate that the groove changes.

What’s the best thing about playing at a music festival?
When it´s outside: the fresh air! The production normally is on a very high standard and we can share our music with a lot of people.

Favourite festival memory?
We played a festival in Andalucia, Spain. We arrived in the night and wondered why the promoters set up a festival in the middle of nowhere, 2 hours away from the closest airport. During our set the sun came up and we realised that we and an audience of 20,000+ people were right by the beach of the Mediterrean Sea. It sent goosebumps down my spine.

Favourite festival drink?
The same as everywhere else: a lot of still water and a good whisky.

So many bands these days are reforming and doing comeback tours, is there any chance Planet Claire will reform?
As if the world didn´t have enough problems…

Are you looking forward to unleashing your live show during the festival season?
For the festival summer we work on a new and bigger production – more instruments, more lights… more everything! We can´t wait to present it to our fans!! See you soon!

Booka Shade are set to play Get Loaded In The Park on August 30th.

Words by Paul Stix

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.