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CEBIT News

Interview with Digitalism

"Digitalism" have been making music together for 14 years now. Life never stands still for the two musicians. We met Ismail "Isi" Tüfekçi and Jens "Jence" Moelle for an interview. (Dont miss: The band plays at CEBIT Thursday at 8:30 pm)

4 days ago
Source: Maria Luceiro
Source: Maria Luceiro

The more you see, the more you learn

We catch up with Ismail "Isi" Tüfekçi and Jens "Jence" Moelle alias "Digitalism" for an interview in their Hamburg Bunker-Studio. Lucky break! For normally the duo are jetting through world history. Yesterday London, tomorrow Rome, next week Shanghai – life never stands still for the two musicians. "Digitalism" have been making music together for 14 years now. However the pair first met well away from the digital world - in a Hamburg record shop in fact.

You met each other for the first time over vinyl - but you make music with your computer. Why?

Jence: "It's quite simple: That was the only option for us. The computer was just there. We would have had to buy everything else. But we had no money. That's why we had to make music on the computer. And that was quite OK."

And how! You’ve been inspiring crowds all round the world at festivals and clubs for 18 years now. You’re always on the road. Does that not bother you sometimes?

Isi: "That's just our thing. Of course, we're delighted when we're at home. But after a while, we just want to head off again."

So you get bored if you stand still?

Isi: "Exactly. It's like this: The more you see, the more you learn. There are so many beautiful cities, so many cultures. Travelling, meeting new people, that broadens your horizons. You can only read so many books. Or bring the world to you online. Seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing something yourself is something else."

So you let all these different impressions flow into your music, don't you?

Jence: "Definitely. Because we keep developing all the time. But at the heart of it all, it's important that we don't get deflected. Our music always bears our mark. It just sounds deeper. Or a bit more Indie - or techno-ish. But it's not like we're following any trends."”

And how does it look with technical development? Do you just travel around the world with a USB stick with your music on it?

Jence: "Unfortunately not, we still have to drag a lot of gear around with us. Nothing has really changed for us. Maybe the computers are a bit quicker. But we do everything ourselves from the ground up and we don't just press an automatic button. That's why it doesn't really matter to us whether we're sitting at a brand new machine or one from the 80's. We record everything on the computer, and then edit. And that’s the same as more than ten years ago."

How have you otherwise experienced the change caused by increasing digitalisation?

Isi: "We still grew up with TV. The kids of TV see the internet as a basic human right. So times have changed. The next few years will become really interesting. There are already some things which we thought would never exist. For example - self-driving cars."

And how does it look when it comes to music?

Isi: "Music equipment is getting lighter and lighter. And music is also much easier to distribute - over the internet. For example, nobody knows when there will be a viral hit. That will just happen. What will happen tomorrow? Nobody can say. Nobody knows what direction the digital world will go in."

Does that worry you?

Isi: "No. But I think lots of people are worried because they don't know what’s coming their way. If you don't understand something, then you're always worried about it at first.
Jence: "There are always people who say: Everything was better in the old days. But it's just different now. We don't go around on horses anymore these days, but in cars. Times change. And that's absolutely OK."

Info Digitalism

"Digitalism" was founded in 2004 in Hamburg with Jens "Jence" Moelle and Ismail "Isi" Tüfekçi. They have been pioneers in the electronic indie scene for some time now with hits such as "Pogo", "Blitz" and "Utopia". In the solitude of their Hamburg studio housed in a second world war bunker, they bring together their demanding taste for the perfect balance of bass and pop feel, by creating short soundtracks for endless, long club nights.

The band plays at CEBIT Thursday at 8:30 pm