There is really no need for introduction when it comes to the unstoppable fun trio that is Wareika. For the past decade Florian Schirmacher, Henrik Raabe and Jakob Seidensticker have been at the forefront of electronic music, consistently developing and pushing their signature sound in every corner of the world with great success. Their finger work is finesse itself and has been universally appreciated, also and foremost by Visionquest, Perlon and all the labels they have charted on. Wareika are more a band that has fun experimenting with electronic music, but has a musical culture that goes well beyond it. Listen to any of their productions and you will discover atmospheres which refer to their own world and personalities.
From London’s iCAN Studios where I first met them 4 years ago, to Funkhaus in Berlin (for the 20 years celebration of Perlon), to London again at Ministry Of Sound and back to Panorama Bar in Berlin this August (for Get Perlonized) – I’ve been travelling between cities in order to get to know them better and witness them perform live. Trust me when I tell you this; I have rarely come across such masterful artists. However, I believe the main thing about them is that despite all their fame and success, despite all the collaborations and all the world class labels they have released their music on, despite everything that comes with it – these three individuals are genuine, humble and down to earth. Their love for music is fundamental, a sacred value that leaves no space for anything pretentious. To my eyes this is a rare quality, especially nowadays..!
As we say farewell to 2018 we had a proper catch up with Wareika in order to find out what they’ve been up to lately! In addition to the interview the trio teamed up with Meoko to deliver a “goodie bag” of exclusive audio & visual material for our readers, just in time for Christmas and New Year (well almost…)!
Afternoon mighty Wareika! It’s a great pleasure to welcome you back to Meoko! So, you guys toured South America recently for a duration of two weeks. How did it go?
Florian: We played in lovely Colombia and Mexico. Colombia is one one of our favourite countries. From the first time we were booked to perform there few years ago we fell in love with the people and their mood. Since then we go back regularly and always have a great time.
And what about Mexico? How was it there?
Jakob: It was a fantastic short trip to Papaya Playa Project in Tulum. This spot is like a paradise and at this time with not so many tourists. The dance floor is open air and just 30 meters from the sea. It was a full-moon Party with lots of people and we played very well. As our gigs are always different and not always perfect, I can say that it was a special one and we really want to go back asap, especially as it is fucking freezing here in Europe for the next months.
What do you think of the club scene in South America? Is it any similar compared to the club scene in Europe?
Henrik: It’s different for sure and it’s way smaller. The positive effect of this is that you have a very intimate feeling when you are clubbing there. Everybody knows each other. There is competition too but way less if you compare it with Berlin e.g.
You have travelled quite a lot these past years, is there any specific country that you would like to visit / perform and haven’t done so yet?
Florian: The electronic music scene is still young just like many countries in the world. For example Estonia had its hundredth birthday this year. Good reason to celebrate there. Cuba, Peru, Ethiopia, Ruanda, Armenia would also be interesting for me.
2018 marks 11 years (more or less) since the three of you formed the band. How has this journey been so far?
Henrik: First of all, AMAZING! It feels very special to share such an intense experience (like touring the world with your music) together with such good friends. I think I couldn’t do this on my own, like many DJs do it. I am so grateful to have… a BAND! Of course it is often not so easy, especially when you play mostly in smaller clubs, where even doing a proper soundcheck is nothing usual. Beside that, if you work together you have to find solutions together, you have to discuss things… It’s a family thing and that’s not always easy, but it is so beautiful!! From a musical perspective I could say, that none of us would have done what we could have done on our own. It has been possible because we did it together.
Did you expect back then that things will develop the way they have?
Jakob: When the three of us met about 10 years ago in Hamburg we had no idea of what was going to happen. We first experimented with different drums and percussions and recorded everything. The result was our debut single „Men Village“ on Connaisseur. Shortly after this release we met regularly in the studio of Henrik and mine. We were also trying out vocals with Florian for the first time. This mixture of different kinds of instruments and styles has probably brought us where we are today.
Henrik: Honestly, in the beginning all of us were really keen on making it out there and touring the planet. When that started to happen it was still very exciting, but also felt very natural in a way, because it was just what we wanted and what we worked very hard for. Everytime when we have the chance to go somewhere, and play our music for the people, it feels like part of the dream becoming reality, and that’s what life is worth living for, isn’t it?
If you could go back in time 11 years ago, what would be the one main advice you would give to yourselves?
Henrik: On a band level I have nothing to admit, we did exactly what we had to do together. Maybe for myself I could say that I started a bit late the process of going in depth with learning certain musical basics, so I still struggle to really play what I want to play, because I cannot play it yet. But I am on it!!!
On your set-up there is always some sort of little custom-made modular boxes that you build yourself Henrik. How do you do that? You’ve even built a custom-made lute, now that’s even more impressive! Do you find it easy building your own instruments? looks so difficult to me!
Henrik: Playing electronic music LIVE simply calls for very special needs in the field of instrumentation. You want to have lots of control about many musical as well as mixing aspects in real time. That led me to spend a lot of time experimenting with hundreds of different devices and their possible combinations, and even building things myself, because I could not find what I needed out there. But after all that process I have to say, that music comes first and foremost from your heart. We had some gigs where parts of the machinery decided not work with us, and we felt pretty naked on stage. But then we played the best music ever with very little technical stuff.
Back in February you released your 5th album “Water Sky Sun Wood” on Japanese imprint Mule Musiq. Could you give us a bit of an insight?
Jakob: We recorded a long session of about 1-2 hours at Henrik’s Studio in Bingen/Rhein (near Frankfurt). First I wanted to delete it because it had some crackle sounds in it but Florian insisted to keep it and this was a good idea.
Florian: Yes, I took the whole project to Berlin and worked on it for quite a long time. It was a bit like Chinese whispers, so Henrik got it back! (Henrik laughs)
Henrik: I took the whole Opus with more than 50 channels and bounced them in about 3-4 Stereo Channels and started to add new elements from zero. In the end I sent it to Jakob who speeded the track about 10 bpm up, added some more elements and did the mixdown. That was it! The album sounds like a 60min jam but it was lots of work (even though it was a 60min jam)! (Henrik laughs)
Also this year you have released many EP’s with the most recent being the Shamania EP on Sleep Is Commercial, expected out very soon. How did that come along?
Jakob: Not too sure how it happened, like I remember Henrik and I played together on his piano in his studio, the rhythm was so strange that we had no idea of how to loop it… in the end it was a 5/7 bar measure as far as I remember.
Henrik: Or was it 4/11??
Jakob: Maybe it was. Once we figured out what loop and bar measure it was we slowly started to build the structure around this first piano idea.
Henrik: Usually Jakob and Florian have strict ideas about what labels are suitable for our music but this time it was me that thought of Francesco Assenza from Sleep is Commercial. We have known each other for years and as you can see he was into it.
It’s not the first time we see Ricardo Villalobos remixing one of your tracks. This time he teamed up with Thomas Melchior and delivered two remixes. Whose idea was this?
Jakob: Mine (laughs).
Henrik: The guys from Sleep Is Commercial asked Thomas Melchior for one Remix. After a while the information came that he did two remixes together with Ricardo Villalobos. We don’t know what happened in between! 🙂
Do you have more releases coming out this year?
Florian: The year is almost finished, yet there are so many things coming up for Wareika it feels like spring-time. The Ricardo Villalobos & Thomas Melchior Remixes are for sure upfront and we are happy to release this double 12” as this was a process of about two years (to make this release with all the remixes happen).
A beautiful Remix will come out this month also: Its for our friend Sary called „Hear & Hakim Murphy – Motion Currents („Wareika’s Moon Aligned Remix“). Its a link between different worlds as well…
Jakob: The whole bunch of releases will come straight early 2019.
Is there anything particular you would like to see Wareika getting more into in the future?
Henrik: Taking over the groove from those machines. I love all kind of electronic music devices and my studio is full of them, but still I find the best grooves are played by humans, not by machines. Somehow we left the groove to the machines and sometimes we become slaves of the machines, without realizing it. Let’s free ourselves from that!
Last time I saw you perform live was back in August at Panorama Bar for Get Perlonized. That was an insane live set and the vibe was so special! From your perspective how does it feel when you perform there?
Jakob: Oh my god that one was fantastic! Everybody was sweating to the fullest, three o’clock in the morning it was still 34 or so degrees outside. So you can imagine the vibe inside. Insane. For me it was one of the best gigs we ever played! We also played about one hour longer. The people were just too hungry (laughs). Playing for Get Perlonized is always special though. It’s just a guarantee for a good party. Thanks to Tomo and Sammy for keeping it up for such a long time now!
I also remember the day I came across Florian randomly at Panorama Bar in January. How often do you go out clubbing?
Florian: I like to go out and experience new things! For example I also enjoy dancing to Salsa.
Jakob: I try to keep it low between the gigs, but it doesn’t always work as I like to visit my friends in clubs and dancing to good music. Henrik is rather in his family thing, less clubbing, more music production and making music with his refugee friends from Syria.
For someone who doesn’t live in Berlin what would be the top 3 places you’d recommend them visiting while in the city?
Florian: The Philharmonic Orchestra has a special sound. I also like the Teufelsberg, it’s such a cool venue and it has open doors for visitors. Also the Loop Gallery! It opens randomly but it is very special.
Jakob: For clubbing there are obviously way too many venues one could recommend. I like Club der Visionäre in summer best.
Henrik: For food there is also loads of good options. We often stay at Michelberger Hotel, Warschauerstraße when in Berlin. As I almost always ran out of time, I end up at the Haloumi place next door. That’s a good one too (laughs)!
As we speak of Berlin, Jakob when are you moving there (laughs)? Jokes aside this year you’ve been playing music in Berlin almost on a weekly basis, would you consider relocating or you’d rather stay in Hamburg?
Jakob: Yes! 2018 was intense. I was DJing as Jakob Seidensticker a lot besides our live gigs as Wareika and Silky Raven. I love Berlin but I also like to leave Berlin once the work is done (laughs). I love the city but it’s also too grey and dangerous for me. Coming back to Hamburg from all over the world has always given me a feeling of relief. I was born here and i will die here hopefully – (everybody laughing)!
What shall your fans expect from Wareika this coming year?
Jakob: As we are making music as Wareika for more than 10 ye
rs now, w
are celebrating this with a huge collaborative double album with loads of brilliant musicians, friends and other inspiring people, such as Sonja Moonear, Maayan Nidam, Shonky, Radio Slave, Kalabrese, just to name a few…
That sounds brilliant! We’re definitely looking forward to that! Anything else you would like to share with the world before we wrap up?
Jakob: Merry Christmas! Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones. In case you don’t celebrate Christmas, just have a wine on me 😉
Henrik: See you somewhere on this lovely planet at the weirdest dance floors.
Thank you so much for your time and pressies Wareika! It’s been fantastic having you back! Merry Christmas from Meoko!
Words by Denny Kem