Janik and I caught up with KoweSix of the OG Hamburg duo commonly known as Moonbootica. We got deeper on how the scene has changed in the last twenty years of Moonbootica, looking at the early days and cultural differences between the United States and Europe, and staying true to yourself, the music, and cutting out all the bullshit.
Odin: Hey Kowe, so you have a new EP coming out, what can you tell us about it?
Moonbootica: Which one? We have a new EP every four weeks right now!
Janik: The most recent one, Snatch.
Moonbootica: Well after a couple years, we were basically just focusing on album work. We decided a couple months ago, before we work with the album which we almost finished, we just wanted to do more clubby stuff. You know, no album production just…
Janik: More like raw techno music?
Moonbootica: Yeah, well techno…it’s probably not techno, it’s more house. I mean just getting stuff out. Doing it on a Thursday or on a Wednesday and just sending it out next week. So then we started with an EP on Incorrect some months ago. Snatch, now Bunny Tiger. There’s something coming up on Amada Deep. And some other stuff. Basically when we work like that, we can have like one song a week.
The thing with Tobi and I, we like to just do things. We just do it. Sometimes we have a lack of concept. Like when you see other brands who will do the next most likely step. We don’t work like that. That means in a way we limit ourselves, but we always stay authentic.
Odin: Hows the creative process when you two work together?
Moonbootica: Well, you know, we have known each other for over twenty years. We’ve been working with Moonbootica for I think sixteen years. And yeah, in the beginning it’s always easy. Your mind is free. You don’t have any expectations. Nobody expects anything from you. You can just let it go.
Then comes the part where everyone has expectations, and you have to reach a certain level, and all that shit. We kind of left this part behind. It was a conscious decision to leave this part and go back to the basics.
Janik: Was this pretty much after one of the more hyped things produced by Moonbootica, the “Iconic” music video? That was a huge production obviously.
Moonbootica: Yes, but we didn’t feel like that. The thing with Tobi and I, we like to just do things. We just do it. Sometimes we have a lack of concept. Like when you see other brands who will do the next most likely step. We don’t work like that. That means in a way we limit ourselves, but we always stay authentic.
Odin: More of an organic process, instead of forcing it?
Moonbootica: Exactly, so after this “Iconic” thing, we did this video for this song with Redman, “I’m on Vacation.” I wouldn’t do that song again now. I wouldn’t do it. You know at the time it was so funny because we had the instrumental released on Cheap Thrills, which was a pretty cool dance label at that time from Britain. They vanished a bit, but it was a total underground kind of instrumental, and then Redman rapped on it and it became more or less a commercial song. We didn’t really intend it to be. It was just like, okay we have to do something with this track because it’s so good, everyone likes the track and then we had the video. Everybody expected so much because we had this “Iconic” video. It was just like, “Hey man, you know, don’t.. fuck it.”
But you’re right, I mean we released two albums on Forum Music, which is a pretty big label in Germany, a sub-label from Sony. The next album will be really good too, but we just need a pause. We just needed some rough easy material. That’s what’s happening right now.
Janik: So what are we to expect genre-wise? Are you gonna stick to the roots and continuing working with Moonbootica since you’ve been with it for sixteen years already? Or you know, especially in recent times, there’s been a huge increase in DJs and producers. Young people hitting the market being supplied by Soundcloud and everything. Huge amounts of new genre’s coming out like trap, hip-hop, future bass, and all that flumey type music coming. Are you still sticking to your genre?
Moonbootica: Well you know the thing is when we started, sixteen to seventeen years ago with deejaying. That was just because of one thing. There were many small scenes and every scene was totally isolated. There was vocal house, there was house, gay house basically, there was techno, drum and bass. There was hip hop. There was the Mojo club in Hamburg. This new jazz kind of thing. We really disliked that because we love and still love all sorts of music.
I like the world as bright and colorful as it can be. And you know, I always felt, or we always felt, that if you limit yourself to one thing, you miss out on a lot. So when we started we just said fuck all these genre borders and everything, we just do what we feel like. Today we do this. Tomorrow we do like that. That’s not easy to follow for a lot of people, because humans work like things have to be labeled. That’s how they orient in life. I don’t like that, but I can understand that.
The world is big, the world is confusing. Your own emotions are confusing. People need directions. I need to have direction in other parts of my life, but when it comes to music, when it comes to art, when it comes to all these good and easy things in life, I just want to have everything. I want to embrace everything. I want to see new stuff. I want to be taken away by all sorts of new things.
To sum it up, what we did became electro. Not because of us, but it was a zeitgeist kind of thing. And it became electro, from that it became electro house. And from there it was becoming strange and commercialized.
Janik: Yeah and it moved towards EDM music.
Moonbootica: Exactly. Electro house and then it was some EDM.
I like Flumey. I like lots of music. You know, its not a threat if a seventeen year old guy comes and blows my mind. It’s awesome man. It’s what makes life so great.
Janik: And then you got Justin Bieber singing on 130 BPM..
Moonbootica: Exactly. This was the moment we were like, “Man, this isn’t what we want, right?” So what happened when EDM and house, like Robin Schulz house or David Guetta or whatever, became so commercially successful that the scene started again to isolate itself. And now you have all these isolated scenes. And…I don’t give a fuck.
I like Flumey. I like lots of music. You know, its not a threat if a seventeen-year-old guy comes and blows my mind. It’s awesome man. It’s what makes life so great. It enhances everything. We take all that and do our thing with it, and that’s how we work in the studio. It’s not that we go there to the studio and think, “What do we do today?” We could be working in the studio everyday. Of course it doesn’t work with the traveling, but there’s so much music in me, or in us, that wants out. Like I said, its so many things to express.
Odin: With your set today, how would you express what you’re going to play? Just gonna go with the flow?
Moonbootica: Yeah, totally. I mean, if we play in the daytime, its always different than at night time. Outside different than inside. Sunday different than Saturday. I don’t really totally know what Extrawelt is going to do. What kind of vibe they’re creating. But we’re going to start right there and then take the people somewhere else. I can’t tell you man.
Odin: How did you and the artists here today get in touch?
Moonbootica: Basically they’re all friends. This is kind of our party and I was thinking, “Who do I want to hear?” and “Who do I want to see?” I’ve know Arne from Extrawelt since 1993. He moved to Zurich a couple years ago. We used to play squash and shit. And now I don’t see him anymore, except for some festivals.
Janik: That’s like a decent family reunion.
Moonbootica: Totally man, and that’s why I invited him. Or Format B, Franz, we just released an EP on Formatik Records. I forgot that one. A couple of weeks ago. He’s a really nice guy. And since he lives in Berlin and I live in Hamburg, you need to create chances to meet.
Odin: That’s what’s cool. You have a highly respected following in Hamburg, and with what you bring here with your friends, that authenticity, feeling it. That comes across in the music as well.
Moonbootica: We started with 50 people. That’s just how it is. For ten years we did parties in off locations. We never earned a fucking Euro. We never had all the big sponsors, we never did that. Because this is for us and our friends. I’m traveling so much I don’t see all these guys all the time. I love my job, and I love my life. I’m really blessed and I would never ever complain about it, but I don’t take part in all my friend’s lives. I’m always gone. So you have to create these moments where you have time together. And yeah, I don’t like politics in music. Politics are politics and music is music.
Odin: Would you say that it’s also that way with the Moonbootica label? Is that all hand selected friends who got together?
Moonbootica: Well, I wanted it to be like that, but in the end it’s always hard because a good friend doesn’t necessarily make good music. You know. In the first years, we handled it like that, we had our friends doing music there, but the quality differences were just too big, and you have to have a certain level of quality. So yeah, but we always have a very fair dealing with everybody. We always say it has to be fair for everybody. Then everyone’s happy. You don’t get into trouble if you’re honest, and say this is how it is. We can share it fairly. If you don’t like it then you can leave it. I can name at least like five labels that never paid us the money they owed us. They never did it. I don’t give a shit, but it’s just like, “Why?”
Have you ever seen, sorry I have to tell this story, have you ever seen the movie Tales from the Bronx? Robert DeNiro’s debut in directing. There’s this guy across the street. This young guy, and his friend screaming, “‘Hey, hey, hey! What do you want from this guy?” And he says, “He owes me ten dollars.” I hate this guy and he’s always running away. Robert say’s, “Well, you know this guy owes you ten dollars, and for these ten dollars you get all the freedom in the world from this guy. Why do you want to change that?” That’s what I’m thinking. Don’t leave anything, just make proper business, be fair and correct. Leave all the bullshit out of your life. It’s fucking up your life.
Well you know there was this mini-scene of this techno music, and it all imploded because this pre-EDM, nu-disco maximal kind of thing, the “OMG It’s Techno Music” thing. It was a small scene, but they had a big impact.
Janik: Yeah…just a random question: Do you know what happpend to the Neidklub? I remember you were playing a dope show in 2011.
Moonbootica: The thing is, you know it’s always the same story. Too many partners. One is an asshole. Business goes down. Well, they sold the club in 2012 or something. A very good friend of mine who was one of the owners. One of the guys is doing the PAL Club. It was a nice club, though.
Janik: Yeah, I loved it. They used to have really dope shows. Always authentic, electronic shows like Steve Aoki, before he became a stage born pastry chef.
Moonbootica: Well you know there was this mini-scene of techno music, and it all imploded because this pre-EDM, nu-disco maximal kind of thing, the “OMG It’s Techno Music” thing. It was a small scene, but they had a big impact. But it all imploded because one moved away, one joined Scooter, and then a third one, I don’t know. And then it vanished. That’s the thing with hype. When things don’t grow organically, you get a certain size and things implode.
Odin: So you’re doing a lot of shows in Germany. You have have an upcoming show in Croatia. Do you have any other summer tours played?
Moonbootica: Well I’m playing in Budapest next Friday. We played in Barcelona last week. The thing is we don’t play too many shows outside of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. I don’t really know why that is.
Janik: It’s just like the management does what it does?
Moonbootica: (Laughs…) Nah, we don’t do it like that. The management does what we want. The thing is, I can’t answer that question. There are brands that work in the whole world. I have friends, you wouldn’t know them. No one knows them. They’re big in Brazil. They never play in Germany. They always go to Brazil.
Janik: What style are they playing?
Moonbootica: Well right now, in Brazil, this G-house kind of thing is really big.
Janik: Jersey club and shit.
Moonbootica: Yeah, and I really don’t know. It’s just like that. Everybody knows us. Wherever we go, people will always know us, but we are just not strong in other markets. I think one day. Of course you want to go to New York and Tokyo, and fucking I don’t know, Oslo. The global touring is…there are so many cities in the world. There are so many cities.
Janik: So you’d rather stay more in Germany?
Moonbootica: Well, you know, it’s been a great time in Germany. The prices aren’t so high. Like, compared to London or Ibiza. If Ibiza wouldn’t be a destination for going on vacation and people would watch their money, it wouldn’t work. Or in London, where you never get drunk because you cant afford to. Germany is basically a really great country for clubbing, but of course, there are still some cities on my map I have to see or play in.
Odin: Yeah? Like what cities?
Moonbootica: Well I’d really love to go to Tokyo. I’d like to play in the States, for instance. One of the big festivals. I mean my dream was always Coachella since I like to travel to California a lot, and I’d love to play there. Plus some clubs. We played some tours in Australia, we played in South America. You know, I played a show in Bogota once. That was…although I don’t do drugs, it was fantastic. The whole club was full of women. It was crazy. I loved it.
But yeah, I mean it’s happening. I’m going to Bali, I’m going to Bangkok, and I think I’m going to Singapore in September. So there are shows coming up, but it’s not like other acts that would travel all the time.
Odin: Are there any artist’s in particular nowadays that you’d like to play or collaborate with?
Moonbootica: Well of course, lots. But it’s not that I have the urge to work with them, it’s just I really enjoy what they do. Because like I said, you guys are 25, you will see things in your surroundings when people get older, they lose the feeling for music. Because it’s like something of priorities. You get older, you get a job. You get kids, a family. Music steps backwards and backwards. And there is research, psychological research that shows from a certain age, in Germany that age is 27 or 28, people don’t discover new music. They stick with their golden times, their youth. And that’s why oldie parties work and people will always listen to the same party because their brain is psychologically connected to the time when they didn’t have all the pressure, all the responsibility, and that’s why people will always stay in their time of musical socialization. But that’s like almost anything in life, that’s a matter of decision. You have so much power and I needed to grow up to understand that. The weapon of choice is not just the same things. You can decide everything. You can decide every morning how you feel when you get out of bed. I mean, if you had an okay sleep, you can decide, I’m going to go into this day with a smile on my face, or you can be grumpy instead. And it’s the same thing with music. You decide what you see, what you read, what you eat, and what you listen to. That’s why I like to discover new music.
Odin: That’s tight. I think we’ve covered a lot interesting points. It’s been a real pleasure to listen and get to know you.
Moonbootica: And would could keep talking forever about this, but that’s maybe why we should get outside and dance.
Photos: Felix Hohagen