The Digitalism member breaks down their rock/dance sound and more
Ahead of their DJ set at Lantern on Friday 28, Digitalism’s Jens Moelle talks to Time Out.
How’s everything in camp Digitalism?
Very good, thank you. We’ve just finished a big European festival run, where we played live, and the good weather was following us around. The DJ-Kicks compilation that we released this summer has had a great reception, and we’re about to switch over to playing DJ sets, which is always great. That’s where we usually test out new stuff.
What can we expect from your DJ set? Will you be throwing in some exclusive Digitalism material as you did in your recent DJ-Kicks release?
It’s gonna be great! We’ll do it a bit Sichuan style and spice it up. You can always expect us to drop new ideas and tracks in – that’s how we’ve always done it since we started as DJs a decade ago. It’s easier to throw in new material when DJing because you don’t have to rehearse, and it’s great for gathering new ideas too. The clubs and DJ scene are vital to the evolution of music. And yes, the same thing is reflected in DJ-Kicks, which has eight new Digitalism productions on it.
Your music obviously melds elements of both rock and dance. In your opinion, what’s the perfect rock riff and best dance track of all time? How would they sound together?
That’s hard to choose but I just have this one riff from Les Savy Fav – ‘We’ll Make A Lover Out of You’ – in my head at the moment. It might not be the best of all time but it’s great! An amazing dance track for us is still Daft Punk’s ‘Rollin’ and Scratchin’’. Mix those two up, add a bit of [Blade Runner composer] Vangelis from the ’80s and you have a good idea of what Digitalism sound like. It’s soundtrack-garage-techno.
Do you find yourself listening to more new music when you’re DJing? What artists do you rate at the moment?
We constantly keep on listening to new stuff, even when we’re touring live. It’s always interesting to see what’s new out there. You need a good filter though, and moments of silence too, because now that anyone can release their own music with the help of the internet, there’s not enough A&Rs left in the world to separate the good from the bad. At the moment we’re listening to the new Presets stuff, Junior, Bloc Party, Three 6 Mafia, Hudson Mohawke, Alex Metric – a pretty mixed bag.
You guys met while both working in a record store, so you must know a thing or two about the joy of digging deep to find brilliant but little-known tracks. Do you still get that buzz when you discover a new track that you love? Or does the buzz of writing your own stuff eclipse that now?
No, we still get that buzz! Every now and then there’s this one track that you would spend a lot of money on just to get it, and that’s the best sign. Over 90% of music is pretty disposable and you certainly wouldn’t buy the vinyl – even if it still existed. Whenever we can’t find something that we really like, we come up with something ourselves. We started making music out of this frustration – because there was nothing that would move us, we just decided to make it ourselves.
What’s the meaning behind the title of your most recent album, I Love You Dude? Is it about your friendship with (band mate) Isi or about the power of music to bring people together?
The title is meant in an abstract way but it’s mostly about friendship. You can hear it around the globe when people are having a good time, and they express it. The title doesn’t address anyone in particular, it’s more like a motto; for the world and for the album. We came up with it in Australia at the end of 2010. We were in a bit of a ‘sundowner’ mood and had this phrase stuck in our heads. As we love surprises and random silliness sometimes, we just picked it as the album’s title. It was a shocker for everyone, including fans and the press – we liked that.
Any plans to return to China with a live show anytime soon?
We have to! But nothing’s scheduled yet.
See Digitalism Fri 28 at Lantern.