While the vinyl vs digital battle wages on with no foreseeable ceasefire, Tube & Berger are busy applying their peacemaking efforts toward building bridges between worlds of live sets and DJing. And a quick glance at the German duo’s CV will show why they are a capable envoy to join hands between the two.
Having initially found their feet on the punk circuit, Tube & Berger eventually made the transition across to house music, trading perspiration filled mosh pits for euphoria-drenched dancefloors along the way. Now over a decade into their career as selectors and producers, the duo is set to release their second studio album under the Tube & Berger moniker before touching down at Egg London later this month. Ahead of the show we jumped at the chance to quiz them on their punk beginnings, live performances and collaborations.
Tube, Berger - how’re things?
Good thanks, we’re just in the studio producing a remix for our next single ‘Quiet Time (Shadow Of Myself)’ a collaboration with the UK indie band White Lies which is from our forthcoming album We Are All Stars.
As a pairing you have been a feature on the DJ circuit for the best part of the last decade. How do you think your sound as producers and club presence has developed in that time?
In those years we have seen the popular club sound evolve from Electro House through to Minimal Techno, through to EDM, through to the Deep House boom, and now it seems Tech House and Techno reigns supreme. Throughout all of these transitions and scenes we have always tried to sound like 'Tube & Berger' but with one eye on what’s happening. We think this has been successful so far and hopefully it will continue! Of course we have developed as producers too; on our album we have explored beyond club genres and also tried to produce Downtempo Electronica, Indie Rock and Nu Disco tracks too.
As beginnings in electronic music go, you’ve taken a more alternative route than most, in that you used to be part of a punk band. What sparked the transition from hard edged riffs to club friendly grooves?
Raving! We liked listening to and playing rock music but we also liked the club scene for its vibe and energy, and of course in those days the 'party atmospherics’! Eventually the music seeped into our hearts and minds until we found we wanted to make it and be DJs.
We always still listen to rock, and now on our new album we’ve finally tried to bring these two worlds together a little bit.
Despite appearing a million miles apart on the face of things, club culture borrows a lot from punk’s DIY ethos and community attitude. Do you have contrasting experiences of the two scenes?
Quite a lot of the people who are deeply committed to either scene are similar. Outsiders who want to make a new family with people who are into the same things as them – like a lifestyle choice. At that level it is the same DIY spirit and community ethos but as the club scene is larger and more mainstream perhaps, there are more so called 'casual clubbers’ or 'weekend ravers’ who come and go but do not commit to the life. This is not a bad thing of course as each to their own.
We also never saw the top of the punk scene so it was always more rough and ready, but we have been lucky enough on the club side to experience playing the top clubs and festivals which is a big contrast to the band days. Hopefully as our live band evolves we can unite the two experiences. Our most recent single ‘International Corporate Motherfuckers’ is a good example of what we mean by this: we’ve tried to incorporate the punk rebellion with club grooves and our video has a very ‘Fuck You’ attitude towards how modern society is being run.
Your experience as live performers is showcased on your brand new album, We Are All Stars, released on May 19th. Has bringing a more distinguishable live feel to the dancefloor always been an aim for Tube & Berger?
Well as above - it is our roots. So, we always wanted to try to fuse the two sides and become a live electronic band, but do not get us wrong, we love DJing and club culture too! There will always be the balance in Tube & Berger between the two sides.
The album features tracks with the likes of White Lies and Kyle Pearce. How did the collaborations come about?
All the collaborations have been different. Kyle was a singer we knew from a remix we did of his track with Junge Junge. He became a friend and we realised we could make music together. White Lies’ manager is a friend of our manager and we did a remix for them two years ago. It seemed natural to ask them for a collaboration on our album.
RBBTS are a new Indie-tronica duo out of Berlin. As they has just come out of indie bands throughout wanting to make electronica fitted us really well. Kingdom are Australians like Kyle who have an amazing ethereal vocal style, and Richard Judge is already well-known and someone we always like to work with. He’s pretty much part of the family!
Although you have a significant pedigree as live performers, the list of clubs you had the pleasure of DJing at is equally impressive. How do you view DJing in comparison to performing live? Do you think there is a significant performance element to your DJ sets?
Ha! Playing live is a lot more difficult lol. Instruments, sound checks, guitars, mics, visuals etc… It is like two different worlds. Being a live electronic artists is still relatively new to us, so there’s still a lot to learn, but whether DJ or live we hope to give the fans something and try to perform earlier.
This year you had the pleasure of recording your debut essential mix. Where did this rank in your achievements as Tube & Berger?
It is a big one. Everybody in the world knows the Essential Mix and Pete Tong is a legend of the scene. We spent a long time thinking about this mix and the tracks we would play in it. We think it came out good and it seems other people do too as we have had great reactions.
Did you consciously select a tracklist that you felt captured your sound?
For sure, and some surprises too we hope. We also put in a couple of our album tracks to give people a flavour of what to expect.
Alongside the release of your new album you’ll be heading to Egg London on Friday 26th May. Do you have fond memories of clubbing, DJing or performing in the UK capital?
London is one of the key clubbing cities in the world. We actually like all the venues we have played here from the legendary Ministry of Sound to Electric Brixton, which we are proud to have headlined, and of course EGG. The clubbers are always on a good level and we seem to have made a lot of dedicated fans here. We always get a die-hard Tube & Berger and Kittball crew to every show!
Finally, to finish on some music. Is there a particular punk record in your collection that you’ve always wanted to work into one of your sets?
Rage Against The Machine – “Killing In The Name Of”. It will happen!
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