Ellie Hewitt, London - United Kingdom - on 21/8/12
Behr aka Elliot and Stephan are two producers from Germany with an extraordinary story. The pair have put together an exclusive mix for Pulse of their own house fused techno productions, check it out below. Having fallen out and then got back in touch and started producing again (after a five year break of not talking to each other) their project Behr is beginning to be quietly bubble in the underground, with Heidi playing their tune on BBCR1 and their limited edition vinyls being sold out repeatedly in Phonica. They chat to Pulse's Ellie Hewitt about milestones, little labels and big passions, German Hip Hop and the 'Ping Pong Principle'.
So tell us about the formation of Behr, it’s quite a story? Yes hi, we are Behr (Elliot and Stephan) and we make electronic music since about 2 and half years ago. A few years ago we were going to school together and both of us were playing drums in several jazz combos. We also started playing together, just percussions. We had a few gigs and everything was working out fine, but for some reason out of this great collaboration rivalry rose. It all ended up in a break up and five years of not talking to each other. Two years ago we found each other on Facebook and started talking again, because both of us were tiered of not being in contact with each other. We discovered that in the meantime both of us took different turns in music. Both of us always kept playing drums, but we also started playing other instrument tried out different styles of music and we also started producing music. Stephan was more into drum n bass stuff, where as I was more into Hip Hop and electronic jazz. While we were talking we constantly exchanged production techniques and several little tips and tricks until we thought "its time to work on an entire track together". The result can be heard on our soundcloud page, the track is called "Love and Happiness". That was our first track and after then we both knew that we just need to continue working together. We founded Behr, and here we are talking to Ellie from Pulseradio. Amazing.
How would you describe your job/productions to someone who knew nothing about music? I wouldn’t call it a job, for us it’s a hobby. But if we had to describe it to someone who has no idea what’s going on I would say our job is to entertain with our productions and sets. Our productions are entirely produced on our home equipment which contains out of laptop, midi controllers, interfaces and two analog drum machines. Because Stephan and I are in different cities most of the time we work over the internet. One of us starts an idea on his computer and uploads it to our server. After that the other one continues the work, we call it the 'Ping Pong Principle'. If would have to describe our style of music I would say we make house music. We think that its quite hard today to separate different styles of house music, because just so many of them just sound the same. I think we are somewhere between deep, tech, detroit, UK house music if that’s specific enough!
Heidi recently played your track Camino on her Radio One residency, how did that make you feel? That was unreal. Honestly unreal. We always listen to most of the stuff that comes from BBC radio 1 and we would have never thought that someday one of our tunes is going to be played on BBC radio one. That was a big milestone for us.
What other milestones would you like to achieve (any particular clubs you would love to play/particular artists you’d like to play your records)? We definitely want to release more music, but both of our daily jobs keep us very busy, but the joy of producing and releasing music together with a good friend is just too good to stop making music. We also want to have more live presence. We haven't really started playing live yet, as Behr. We want to put together an entire live set as soon as possible and then start playing a few gigs. If all that works out we have several locations which we want to play at in our career including Rote Sonne in Munich, Panorama Bar and Kater Holzig in Berlin, Robert Johnson and Cocoon in Frankfurt and a lot more clubs around the world. There are just too many to name them all.
Do you both have day jobs and do they influence your music career? Ultimately what is the goal with Behr? Yes we both have day jobs and often they keep us from producing music. But we both thing that it’s important to have a secure and solid base which enables you to live and produce music without worrying about your life and money. Of course it’s the dream to live from what you love, but today there are just so many good band and artists out there that you need to be very lucky to make it to the top. We want to keep Behr as a hobby, because we are sure that if you apply to much pressure to yourself and to your productions that the outcome will not be as good as it could be. If Behr becomes big one day we would definitely make it our job and therefore our frist priority, but until then we stay relaxed.
Your currently based in Basel /Muenchen, do you have any plans to move to the UK? Whats your set up like over there? What’s the scene/clubbing like over there? We go wherever our jobs or our music may take us, but for now we will probably stay in Germany and Switzerland. The scene here is just great. We have a lot of good clubs around, many cool people that make music. We don't really know the scene in UK but we heard that its crazy and we would love to come to the UK to play shows here. Honestly, for now we only have good thoughts about the UK because the guys from our label Nixwax are from the UK and for now we can’t thing of a better relation that an artist could have to a label than us! Of course we are open to other labels and we are excited to work with people around the globe but the UK seems like a really great and continuously growing scene, which is wonderful.
What did you grow up listening to? Who were the biggest producers/bands/artists that influenced you? For both of us Jazz was a big influence, artist like Charlie Antolini, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington. Also a lot of Hip Hop and Drum n Bass always influenced us, Labels like Hospital or Ninja Tune influenced us alot when we were younger. We also love many German rap artists like Blumentopf or people from the entourage crew. Especially right now there is just so much good music out there, to much to listen to all of it. Right now I would say that most of the music we listen to is electronically based or jazz influenced. We both adore people like Magda, Barem, Ricardo Villalobos, Monkey Safari, Hanne & Lore, Pan Pot, Monika Kruse, Andhim, &ME, Sascha Braemer - the list goes on and on.
Having released on Nixwax, an independent vinyl only record label, what would you say the advantages are to working with a small underground label? For us the close relationship that we have to the boys from Nixwax is worth more than any money you make by selling a record. if you work with people you like its way easier to work productively. I really don't know if this applies to every independent label out there, I really doubt it actually, but I think that a close relation to your label is worth a lot and I don't know if that is possible when you release on a big label where the pressure is probably a lot higher.
You cite one of your influences as Tube & Berger, who had that massive charity compilation, would you ever be interested in doing something similar? Yes, we are absolutely down for everything that is charity orientated.
Tell us about the up and coming release for Behr and your plans for the future. As far as we know our next appearance on a record will be the Nixwax artist compilation. We produced a track for that compilation which is called "shake it down" it can be heard on the mix that we did for you guys. Besides that we are basically just working on new tracks and ideas that we have. Nixwax will always be our home-base because those guys have done so much for us and they keep supporting us in everything we do!
The NIX005 Sampler EP will be out in September, featuring Behr's track 'Shake It Down'.
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