One of the most talented up-and-coming electronic music collectives of Europe took their time to talk to MEOKO. HardWorkSoftDrink is a group of friends consisting of several young producers, DJ’s, event-organizers, label-owners and graphic designers based around Frankfurt and Offenbach in Germany. They have one thing in common and that is their love for music and partying. We present you this awesome crew, who are on the verge of breaking through in the electronic music scene. They recently released their fifth outstanding EP on their own label, produced by Ewan Jansen.
We had the opportunity to talk to the crew about their work. We also present you an exclusive LIVE mix of two members of this crazy gang: Cédric Dekowski and Felix Reifenberg. Both guys also answer some questions about their collaboration, life and awesome mix.
Hi HardWorkSoftDrink! What are your reasons for starting the HardWorkSoftDrink collective?
At the time some of us had a loft in Offenbach. We hung around and partied together all the time. It was always the same circle of friends with the same attitude towards and understanding of music. Some played, some produced, some did graphics, photo, film, whatever. Our shared interests and the fun we had led to the decision to start HardWorkSoftDrink.
Where does the name come from?
A lot of people ask us this question. Some people think we stay sober and just work hard all day. They take the name literally and think we do as well, but they are wrong. The story behind it is simpler. A friend of ours had a giant hangover and when we called him he answered, ‘last night was hard work and now I’ve only got soft drinks at home.’ The name was born and instantly became part of our common language. When we decided to start the label and had to think of a name HardWorkSoftDrink fitted perfectly. The ambivalence in it reflects the ambivalence of our behavior.
Your latest release on HWSD, ‘Bumerang’, is absolutely stunning. Can you tell me something more about the producer, Ewan Jansen?
Max got in touch with him because he wanted to get some records from Ewan’s label ‘Red Ember’, since he couldn’t get them on the market. Ewan sent him some unreleased tracks that were really interesting, so one thing led to another and now you have the brand new HWSD release destroying your sound system!
HWSD artwork always looks very interesting! Who is responsible for that and what is their inspiration?
Timothy Schaumburg and Karl Becker do all the visual work, which are two of the ‘sorry I am not a DJ’ members of HWSD. The visuals are all analogue like the music we produce. We work a lot with an old VHS recorder and things we find at our mamas’ houses. The picture on our first record for example is of Karl’s Grandma’s curtains.
You guys also organize events. Your latest one was with Francesco Del Garda at Robert Johnson. What does this venue mean to you?
A lot! Robert Johnson is the place we got in touch with techno music. The venue is simply perfect. As functional as a club can be. There is nothing there that distracts you from the reason you came: the music. Just one room with a perfect sound system and behind that a lovely and calming view of the river. There are many opportunities to organise parties here and we are thankful for that. By the way the latest party we held there was this weekend on February the 13th with Onur Özer, Binh, Cedric Dekowski and Felix Reifenberg.
“We love to hang with Miley Cyrus in Offenbach”
“Last night was hard work and now I’ve only got soft drinks at home”
“Robert Johnson is the place we got in touch with techno music”
Is this also your favorite place to go out in the Frankfurt area? Are there any other good venues to go out?
Yes it is. Robert Johnson is the first choice. Frankfurt is not London – the club landscape is limited. The times when Frankfurt was a city for ravers are over. Sometimes off-location venues pop up. Right now there is one called ‘Mosel 45’ in Frankfurt’s red light district where we had some high-quality nights over the last few months.
What is your connection with Freebase Records in Frankfurt?
HardWorkSoftDrink worked hard at the freebase store. Manuel Schatz has been employed there for more than 5 years now, initially with Max Vaahs, then Thilo Dietrich and then Muanda. The store just turned twenty years old last week. We say: happy birthday old lady!
Your website contains some adult content. Humor is obviously very important for HWSD. Do you want to share a funny anecdote with our audience?
Cedric used to be a mermaid.
How do you make music? Have you got a common studio or do you work separately?
Sven (Muanda) and Thilo Dietrich have got their own studio at home. Cedric Dekowski and Felix Reifenberg work together most of the time. They just moved to Offenbach for that reason. They upgraded from producing out of a kitchen to a proper studio complex next door to the Pressure Traxx and Traffic Records boys.
Cedric and Felix, thank you for your MEOKO mix. Can you tell us something about yourself?
We have been good friends for ten years now. Some years after meeting we started DJing and producing together. We love good food especially from ‘Fisch Jakob’ in Mainz, good red and white wine, beautiful ‘gurlz’, holidays and other quality stuff. We are both afraid of sharks. We prefer to be naked during the summer time and love expensive luxury wellness hotels around the globe. Apart from traveling, we love to hang with Miley Cyrus in Offenbach.
How do you work?
We work with different drum machines and synthesizers, mostly analog in nature and we experiment with effects a lot. Nonetheless, we are also open-minded towards any good digital gear or plug-ins and use them a lot as well. Most of the time we work together on different sound projects, but we also have our own projects as individual artists to realize our own ideas.
What’s the story behind the set you did for us?
The set we did is a live session with tracks we made this week especially for MEOKO, mixed with tracks, which were already finished. We hope we arranged them with sexiness. Since we are planning to play more live gigs in the future, this was a nice possibility to show a different side of us.
Do you two have some upcoming releases?
Yes! For 2015, releases are planned on Raum Musik, Sensual and 87 records. The next HWSD will be by Cedric Dekowski.
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