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Booka Shade Gets Physical

Author: Patricia Escalon
Tuesday, 13 March 2007
As electronic music mixers and producers, Berlin music producers Arno Kammermeier and Walter Metziger, better known as Booka Shade, have come a long way from the synth pop act of the '90s. Their music label Get Physical boasts DJ outfit M.A.N.D.Y., Sunsetpeople, DJ T, Lopazz, Zoo Brazil, Electrochemie, Fuckpony and other strong European electronic acts.

Easter 2007 will see Booka Shade take Australia's East Coast by storm with their live acts.

As a teaser to their Australian trip, Arno Kammermeier spoke to TranZfusion about their Memento tour, named after their hit album of 2005. While travelling through the Mediterranean promoting Memento, Kammermeier and Metziger could not resist writing more music and sophomore album Movement was borne in sunny places like Ibiza and Summer Island. States Kammermeier, "Meeting all those lovely people gave us a different energy and is a lot more open than Memento."

Tenacious workhorses, Booka Shade did most of their work on the road, in hotel rooms, between shows and in airports. Wherever they had their laptop, they continually played with ideas and music until Movement emerged from its chrysalis.

Kammermeier explains they rely on the records M.A.N.D.Y. and DJ T play, because they are not really DJs. They pick only the best of what they hear and claim to only hear the essence of what is out there in dance music, which they consider really challenging because it is the best available. This raises the bar for their song-writing, making them competitive with the best producers in the business.

Kammermeier also credits the other acts on their label with influencing their music. Initially, they had to do most of the mixing and promotion themselves, but as they became better known to the music world, artists started sending them demos. Kammermeier believes the artists are only getting better, citing Elektrochemie and Jona as two examples of this new trend. Being a label gives Booka Shade the freedom to release those artists whose music touches them as well as bring out their own records. If they hear a novel sound, they notice it as fresh and release it simply because they want to continue to change and stay open to new developments in music.

Their remixes of Moby and Depeche Mode created waves in the electronic music scene, with Kammermeier describing the process as something that begins with a new recording of vocals through to instrumental pieces that they listen to in a raw manner (before modifying them electronically), so that the sounds will suit each other and feel natural. One example is their remix for T Dub, a track called Three Weeks. T Dub was cautious about who remixed the track, as it was something that was personal (and related to the death of his mother). He wanted someone who would understand the depth of emotion underpinning the song. Booka Shade interpreted the song by relying on the lyrics and their meaning.

Relatively new to Australia, Kammermeier acknowledges the role MySpace plays in their popularity. An established act in Europe, drawing crowds of 2000-strong, they are curious to see their reception on the East Coast. They enjoy doing intimate club gigs, because they will be able to gauge their listeners' reactions to the live show.

The tracks are all unreleased, especially for the live tour. This keeps them and their audience on their toes.

"With tracks like Body Language or Mandarin Girl, we always like to surprise them and us", explains Kammermeier. "We play them a hundred times and if we always play them in the same way, we get bored with them. So we change them every few shows." For their Australian tour, they will mainly be focussing on the tracks in their album Movement.

Although some of their<
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