With their US tour over and their European one about to begin, when does this duo ever have time to rest? In the midst of all of this madness I got the chance to sit down with Jens “Jence” Moelle and İsmail “Isi” Tüfekçi of Digitalism, where we talked tours, festivals, Daft Punk and more. It seems these guys are always on the go or making music, but hey, who ever said that was a bad thing?
YourEDM: It’s great to have you guys in Chicago, hows the city treating you so far?
Jence: Oh, well we just got in today. It’s been really nice! We had to have a nap because we’ve been flying every day and getting up early and stuff but, yeah its really nice, you can walk around in t-shirt’s. And apparently it wasn’t like that the last few days.
YourEDM: So you guys are on your US tour right now, hows that going and whats been the best part?
Jence:Thats hard *laughs* I don’t know!
Isi: I think this one is quite an intense tour because in 10 days we have like 2 off days and we’ve had our 2 off days already.
Jence: Yeah, usually we have more like 2 weeks and do it by bus but this time we’re flying everyday, playing a different city everyday. Um, so it’s very compressed and because we’re flying we can’t bring so much production with us so it’s a bit more striped down and I guess that for me, the best part of this tour to see that that works as well. Because apparently we don’t need to bring festival production or something in order to have a really nice gig. So thats good!
YourEDM: I know the last time you guys came over here like 2 years ago you brought a drummer and everything. How does playing with a live band setup differ from djing.
Jence: Um, well djing is easy. Like tonight we are playing live as well. Like this year we started this new show were we use software controllers and all that stuff to keep it really versatile. We can change the set very easily and we don’t have to rehearse for weeks like with the drummer and everything. We only need to bring like two more people with us. It’s very easy to come and play. It’s more back to our roots, more clubby this time because after the “I Love You Dude” album we had the drummer, it was almost like a live band or something. Then we did the DJ Kicks last year which was a bit more back to our DJ roots so this tour probably represents that a bit more.
YourEDM: I know you guys came out with “I Love You Dude” in 2011 and it had been 4 years in-between that and your first album. Are we going to have to wait again another 4 years?
Jence: What year is it now? It’s only been 2 years now, yeah we had the DJ Kicks last year with a couple new tracks. But yeah it’s not going to be another 4 years. We’ve got so many ideas, we just need to finish touring, its never ending. As soon as we get some time off we’ll be in the studio. We’re already working on new stuff, its not album related.
YourEDM: I know one of our writers just covered your new remix of Truth, so I was wondering what kind of influences and direction did you have when making it?
Isi: Actually we never have a direction to make songs, we just start. Doing sessions and with making a remix its the same thing, we’re just starting to do something.
Jence: Yeah, yeah, you mean the Bloc Party remix. Well, we heard the album we were just like “Oh that track… it sounds a bit like us”, so thats how the whole idea came about and we asked them to send the stems over. We did what we usually do which is like translate non club music into club music. Thats probably what we do with a remix and turn it into something thats like a Digitalism track. But we never know what we’ll come up with.
YourEDM: So the process is random, what ever you’re feeling?
Jence: Yeah, exactly. *Laughs*
YourEDM: I know that you guys have said before that Daft Punk is one of your influences and as you probably know their album got leaked a few days ago. Have you listened to it? Is it what you thought it would be?
Jence: Yes, I think it’s a good album but it’s not the best. It’s a good solid album and it’s something that you need to listen to in one go because thats how I think it’s meant to be. If you pick out individual tracks it doesn’t really translate as much and theres a lot of stuff to discover. I listened to it a bit more on the plane today and there’s a lot of things going on. It’s really creative but it’s probably hard to access it as as one who only listens to like Daft Punk hits or something. Obviously it’s not dance floor killers on there, you’ll have to remix it which will probably be the next step for them.
YouEDM: I know a lot of people have been criticizing them, saying it’s not up to what everyone was thinking it was going to be.
Isi: I think it is kind of up to what people were thinking. Like it’s not the millennium album but I think inside it’s a really good solid album. They’re so clever that they did it on purpose. That my opinion because if you’re looking to like Discovery and to Homework, they can’t sample. They are so clever, they are such genius guys. What i’m thinking is that they are going back to roots, the 70’s and just saying ‘Hey, this stuff, what we did actually you can sample. Like this is what we’re doing”. I think it’s a good movement to that place were they actually start.
Jence: It’s something I really like. It has the atmosphere like they’ve been describing, like the great 70’s studios, all these huge mixing decks. All these musicians in there making this big record . I think it’s cool.
YourEDM: Looking at that album and looking at the general progression of electronic music, especially your album that came out in ’07, how do you think from then to now how has electronic music progressed?
Isi: Oh in a good way and in a bad way. *Laughs* that was kind of a diplomatic answer, you know when we start to sell records in the stores to some people you realize
there is always a circle about music. Like some stuff is coming up and then the next thing is coming up and it’s always the circle of development and its pretty normal that after certain time the whole music period is changing. We had that in the 90’s, all of a sudden everything was about DJ’s, raves, drum n’ bass, and all that kind of stuff. Then it got sticked and techno and trance was there. Then separate stuff, then house music came up, deep house, minimal, tech house, all of that. I think we are again in the same period were some music is there, like big dubstep, huge dance-y almost trance-y songs. I mean, right now if you’re a producer it’s so easy to put music out because the people are ready for everything because it’s a good time. So many different things going on and I think it’s a good movement.
YourEDM: So, do you think its easier now to find people to like your music rather then a few years ago when people weren’t really exposed to as much?
Isi: Actually, it’s a bit harder because you have to see whats going on on the radio, like band’s music getting less played, it’s all about dance music. So, it’s kind of really hard but I think to discover new music it’s much much easier than before.
YourEDM: I agree, it’s way easier to go somewhere and see what your friends are listening to then before.
Jence: Yeah! Thats a good tool but of course nowadays everyone can make music. Back then you had to spend a few thousand dollars to get equipment and everything. There’s a lot of good stuff but there’s also a lot of bad stuff out there. There’s no filter anymore because people publish themselves. Back then the record label would pick it up or not, so that was the first barrier and then the shops would have it in stock or not. Now there’s no filter, everything is out there. I think now, the last year has been a bit weird because it’s been just about one sound but now it’s diversifying again. It’s breaking up to a lot of new sounds and genres so it’s very open and creative at the moment.
YourEDM: No doubt, like I know a few years ago when dubstep was really becoming big, at least in the US thats what everyone was listening to, you could not escape it. But now a lot more people are venturing off into other genres.
Jence: It paved the way for a lot of new things. Um… hang on hang on. Uh, I don’t know *laughs*.
YourEDM: So a little off topic, but I know you guys have been featured in quite a few video games. Which was the coolest game for you guys to be in?
Jence: Oh, for like our music on there? I don’t know probably…. ah, I don’t play video games as much anymore but Isi play’s FIFA everyday, so that was probably one of the best things that ever happened.
YourEDM: You guys were in FIFA ’08 and ’12 right?
Isi: Thats rights, every four years.
YourEDM: I play Xbox myself but never got into sports games like FIFA but I know so many people play them.
Isi: Yeah, we just say its a new way-
Jence: It’s like the new radio! People don’t really listen to radio anymore, most of the stations are really bad but people play all the time. It’s like listening to radio.
Isi: You play and even like can add your own music. So actually its really like your own radio program. It’s a good thing to have guys sitting there picking up our songs.
YourEDM: I ended up asking some of the people I work with if they had any questions for you guys and got one interesting one in particular. If you had to pick one to be which would it be, a Real Housewife or Dance Mom?
Jence: Is that a another program, Dance Moms?
YourEDM: It’s this crazy lady that teaches these young children dance and their moms are always there. All about the fights that go on between them and the drama.
Jence: I watch the housewives sometimes, and since I don’t know Dance Moms i’d probably opt for the housewives cause they’re really bitchy. I like the New York ones.
Isi: I’m not into that stuff but I think i’d like housewives
jence: They can go out for martini’s and just like bitch about other people. It looks like having fun.
YourEDM: I’d pick to be a housewife myself *laughs*. So after this tour what are your plans for 2013?
Isi: Everybody’s talking about what they’re doing but we’re just kind of like let the music speak ya’know. We’re really creative at the minute, we’ll be in the studio.There’s defiantly some stuff coming up but to say this summer, this and that, we want to keep it a bit interesting that people are watching now and listening again. This summer is pretty full.
Jence: With music and touring, we go back to Europe for more DJ gigs and festivals. It’s never ending but there’s a lot of new stuff coming out and everyone should watch out.
YourEDM: Thats awesome okay, what festivals will you guys be playing this year?
Isi: So far in the states, nothing. But in Europe we’re playing big festivals. We’ll be playing this new festival in London, the lineup is pretty good, it’s called
playground festival, Tomorrowland too.
Jence:It’s a lot of stuff
Isi: Europe is like the same in the states, you have so many festivals.
YourEDM: How can you compare playing in Europe to the US? Do you prefer one or the other?
Jence: Nooo. It’s kind of the same. People here are really excited about electronic stuff obviously. So are people in Europe but they’ve had it for such a long time
already that sometimes they might opt for a cool deep vinyl only disco party, like deep house is getting really big. Sometimes people are a bit too cool while as people here are really open minded. We always have a good time here. It’s a global thing at the moment, isn’t it?
YourEDM: I feel like electronic music is a lot more accepted in Europe, especially looking at some of the festivals they have there.
Isi: There’s this festival in Germany, thats similar music wise. You never know who’s playing, they never have big names.
Jence: Fusion, yeah. But thats like everything music wise. It’s full of hippies, like everything is allowed on the grounds because it’s private. Like, everything.
YourEDM: Nothing like that could really happen here *Laughs*, everything is so regulated now. But I think either way festivals are a great way to expose people to different music. Especially the one you’re talking about it it doesn’t have big names.
Jence: Yeah, they only find out who’s playing on the day of. Which is pretty cool.
YourEDM: It’s kind of like here, how festivals will sell out before the lineup is even released. Thats what happened with Lollaplooza here in Chicago.
Jence: Wow! Yeah, it’s a really good festival. We had fun there when we played, like 2 years ago.
YourEDM: Lolla is so big now, it was the original festival here in Chicago and now we have so many.
Isi: Northcoast last year we played, yeah last year.
Jence:Northcoast is really cool!
YourEDM: I love Northcoast, it’s a great festival. I like how they’ve kept it so small, especially with the growth of EDM and all these other fests getting so big.
Jence: Yeah, I agree. It’s good though.
If you get the chance to see these two perform live, take it. They fill the room with energy, and have a lot of fun doing it. Keep a look out and hope to catch them the next time they hit the US.