Digitalism Interview

I Love You Digitalism…I mean, Dude

If you haven’t already listened to Digitalism’s new album, I Love You, Dude, you immediately need to do so.  Several remixes of their songs have already been made, and the album has received high appraisals within the blogosphere.  Their single “Forrest Gump” featuring Julian Casablancas has already been added to my Favorites playlist.  It’s one of the many great tunes on their album. 

In terms of music, what’s a good and a bad thing about coming from Germany?

For us and our music, it was good growing up in Germany.  We’ve always been surrounded by techno and electronic music since we were born. There is a long tradition for electronic music, it’s a very technical country and well-known for its engineering and precision.  Just look at Kraftwerk: They started many things but never really saw themselves as musicians, more as “audio engineers.” That is probably the downside: People are too cold or uptight sometimes, or over think things instead of going crazy.

Just curious, in your new album title, I Love You, Dude, were you influenced by the title of the film, I Love You Man? Where did the name of the album stem from?

We came up with the title while we were on a forced break from the album process end of last year in Australia. Lots of people use that phrase there, and it got stuck in our heads.  Just out of a mood we decided to use that as the album title instead of something like “Digital Universe” or “The Return …”, any of that epic stuff. “I Love You, Dude” was meant completely void of any context, and we knew that people would have huge question marks on their faces. We like doing daft things, and we also like to surprise people and not maintain any clichés about us. Looking back now that the album is finished, the title even kind of makes sense because this record is much friendlier than the first one and it’s more about relationships and friendships. The title hasn’t got anything to do with the film though.

What do you think the biggest changes in the electronic industry have been since you have first started? 

The biggest change is the explosion of electronic music in the U.S.  Nearly everything’s electronic now, even Hip-Hop, and DJs and producers like David Guetta are massive.  Artists are lining up to work with them. Look at Skrillex, who is now working with a metal band. It’s great to see that our type of music is now generally accepted “as music” by the people. You would have never heard any electronic music in the charts a few years ago.  Dance labels that have been closed down are re-opening, and there’s more and more electronic festivals and parties popping up everywhere.  It’s all become more “mainstream,” which of course can be a sell-out thing too.

It seems most of your tracks have a heavy indie rock influence to them, do you ever find both yourselves gravitating more towards rock or more towards electronic influences?

We always try to keep the balance in our music and on our albums. Originally, we come from a techno, dance and electronic background, but over the years we really got into indie and punk. You know, we started the band because as DJs we were bored from the records everyone bought and played back then. We wanted to do something different; thus, started making our own edits and shifting our sound spectrum more towards an alternative side, so we included lots of guitar stuff in our DJ-sets.  Since then, we’re hooked up. This mix also means that we can add more song structure and have more choice in terms of the direction of our music.  Whenever we get too excited about one side of the spectrum, there’s a contra-reaction that drags us back towards the other one. For instance, we just finished a remix for our friends from Who Made Who that’s totally epic 90’s dance, as opposed to our album, which is really song-heavy.

When remixing a song, what are some of the elements in a song that you look for? (i.e. pitch, BPM, etc)

Usually we look for the pitch, the rest doesn’t really matter. We’ve changed the BPM of original track loads in our remixes. BPM has to be our choice so we can fit everything around our idea. It has to make sense though of course and should not sound funny. When we do a remix we only take very little of the original and then build a new Digitalism song or track around it.  The approach is kind of the same as when we make an own new song.

What’s your favorite remix you have done?

At the moment, it is probably the one we’ve done for our own single “Circles.” We love them all, it’s just because it’s new. Legendary was the one we’ve done for Depeche Mode’s “Never Let me Down Again,” because we changed it into a heavy, distorted thing from a ballad… And they loved it!

How do you choose what songs have lyrics and what one’s don’t? With the songs without lyrics, do you ever question whether they should have them?

Once we start questioning, we know that it’s time to add a vocal melody and lyrics. It’s always gut-decisions. Some songs are complete because they might have a prominent element that would replace a vocal layer, but then others just scream for something to complete them. It’s hard to say really.

Do either of you have a favorite song in I Love You, Dude?

That’s a rotation.

If you guys could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

We don’t know, our favorites change daily. We don’t have the one idol or something.

Don’t miss out on Digitalism when they come New York City Friday, December 2nd to Webster Hall!

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