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Modeselektor - Fast-Forward, Selektor

Author: Cyclone
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
3D's Cyclone talks to Berlin's Modeselektor, responsible for last year's Happy Birthday! and virtual friends of Thom Yorke.

Modeselektor presented one of 2007's most praised albums in Happy Birthday!, the Berliners pulling off the seemingly impossible. They re-contextualised the more experimental facets of urban pop - and widened the parameters of IDM. Call it Euro-crunk, tech-rap or urban-glitch, Modeselektor out-dangered the maverick Danger Mouse. They've also tapped into dubstep... Radiohead's Thom Yorke, a longtime Modeselektor fan, even put in an appearance on Happy Birthday!, singing The White Flash. (Modeselektor remixed his Skip Divided.)

Gernot Bronsert officially launched Modeselektor with Sebastian Szary back in the mid-'90s. Bronsert had partied at Szary's illegal raves. Soon he, too, was performing live electronica.

The friends cut music together as Fundamental Knowledge before Modeselektor.
In the 2000s the duo linked with Ellen Allien's wonderfully unpredictable BPitch Control. Today Bronsert loves the label's sense of family. And Modeselektor feel an affinity with Allien.

'I like Ellen's craziness,' Bronsert enthuses. 'She's totally crazy. She always has crazy ideas and she tries to bring these crazy ideas into reality - and that's what I like. That's the thing we have in common with her.'

In 2002 Modeselektor disseminated their first EP, In Loving Memory. Then came their debut album, Hello Mom!. In the lead up to Happy Birthday!, Modeselektor, chiefly famed for their live shows, orchestrated the mix comp Boogy Bytes Vol. 3, traversing everything from Carl Craig's Detroit Experiment to Spank Rock to Burial. Happy Birthday! was completed as Bronsert and Szary both contemplated their impending fatherhood.

'This record was made under quite weird circumstances because we got children and we got more and more success and we travelled a lot,' Bronsert says. 'We spent a lot of energy bringing everything together - the family and the music and Modeselektor.'

Modeselektor's partnership has proved enduring - and steadfast. 'Szary is bringing the good coffee and I'll bring the good food,' Bronsert quips. 'We've known each other since school, so we cannot really tell what we each bring to Modeselektor.

'We're just totally different guys - like, totally different characters - but we love the same thing. We are a good team. It's like brothers or something - love and hate in the one moment! But we don't need to talk that much. We spend a lot of time together, we are always travelling and hanging - I really don't have that much time for hanging anymore - but we are just a good team. I think maybe Szary could be the car and I am the driver.'

Much has been written about Modeselektor pioneering a radical electronic hip hop. Yet Bronsert maintains that they're largely oblivious to contemporary hip hop.

'The big hip hop time is over for me, so all the big influences are from a long time ago,' he says. 'We don't like the words 'genre' or 'style'. We just listen to music and we have a good time, so it doesn't matter what kind of music it is. We don't want to focus too much on one idea of music.

'Hip hop is hip hop - in the end a tune is a tune... It doesn't matter what it is - like if it's minimal techno or dubstep or grime or whatever. It's always about the bass and the beat.'

In the middle of the year Modeselektor will open for Radiohead in Barcelona as well as Berlin, the latter the UK band's sole German concert.