youANDme is deeply engrained in the German electronic music world, especially the international Berlin club scene. Name a label, he is probably involved in it. Pick a club edit, he probably made it. There are few artists that can say they contribute as much quality as well and quantity to the electronic scene as youANDme.
What started as a passion has progressed to become an illustrious career. An international DJ considered by his peers as a flawless professional, you will be hard-pressed to find a more well-respected professional. As part of our Behind The Headphone Series, we pinned youANDme down and discussed the world of edits, imprints and club culture.
You are behind a whole host of labels. Rotary Cocktail Recordings, Polymorph, CUTZ.ME and three other ‘mysterious’ imprints. What is the thinking behind running so many? Is there a benefit musically of having these different imprints?
That was just a natural process without a big business plan. After we finished our social service in Germany we took the final payment from the German government and used it to press the first record. It was just for fun. We wanted to fulfil our dream of releasing just one vinyl. We were a bit lucky because the first release sold well. As we earned money from more releases we had the chance to sign music from other artists.
Creating different labels is just better if you love different styles of music. Most people get confused if you release a deep house record followed by a banging acid techno release. So it’s better to create different brands for different music and separate them.
As someone that is involved in a lot of labels, you must be passed a lot of demos. Do you think the quality of music has increased or decreased since you first started receiving demos and what would your advice to any aspiring artists be for getting your music heard?
I think I am honest when I say that the quality of music has decreased over the years. First of all, it’s really easy to send out a demo. You just have to write an email with your music to the label. I can understand that new producers want to release their music quick but sometimes it’s better to wait a little bit longer, practice your skills and try to develop your own musical signature. It can also help to test your stuff in a club and see the reactions of the crowd.
What has been the hardest moment in your career so far and what did you do to overcome this?
There was not really a hard moment for me. I’m in the lucky position that I can make a living with the stuff I love. I had never the dream to become an A++ superstar DJ because then you will lose your complete artistic freedom. I’m in a solid position that I can do the music which comes from the heart. All my passion goes into it and I have the pleasure to play gigs worldwide for people who love good electronic underground music.
As an artist youANDme is deeply engrained in Berlin club culture. There has been a huge problem with club closures across the electronic world but most recently in Berlin. Do you think more should be done to protect these venues and if so why is it important they stay open?
Of course, clubs should be protected because they are an important part of the culture like operas or theatres. It’s often a safe space for people to discover new things.
I’m always sad if a nice club has to close. Especially in Berlin, there is a lot of big money coming to the real estate market because the city is so trendy and rich people want to make a ton of money with their investment. The people with the money just forget the reason why there is the hype and that club culture is a big part of it. That is the worse part of capitalism and free markets.
We have a good institution called “Club Commission” who fights for the rights of the clubs. If we can win the battle against the big money is another question but I hope for every closed club there will be two new ones. Maybe not in the centre of the city anymore but a little bit more outside.
Edits have become as much a part of youANDme as your original EPs. How do you go about choosing which tracks to edit?
I m a bit obsessed with doing edits just for my DJ sets. It makes your set special and it happens often that people asked which version I played? It’s also nice to learn much about the productions of other artists if you edit it.
Sometimes if an edit is really worth releasing I contact the original artist or the label and asked if it’s possible to license it. The last time it happened with a great 20 years old record of Jesper Dahlbäck. He liked the ideas of my 2 edits and gave me the friendly permission to release it as CUTZ#6 which is out now.
Is there a story or moment in your career that sticks out above any other for being a complete disaster or a pinch yourself how did that just happen moment?
There are a lot of stories about missed flights and travel issues, but a complete disaster is jumping needles during a mix. Most clubs are not well prepared for playing vinyl anymore which is a bit of a shame because I love the vinyl culture so much. For me, it’s still the pure art form of djing, but I’m always prepared if it’s not possible to play with turntables. I record every new vinyl and have a digital copy on my sticks.
Finally, if you could produce a track with anyone past or present who would it be and why?
I really love the voice of Rosin Murphy and it would be a pleasure to produce a track with her. Hopefully one day it will be true.