Dos es mejor que uno Two’s better than one. Definitely, we can say, especially if we are talking about the happy ever after duo Monkey Safari. The coldness of Halle, eastern Germany, is just a ghost when you’re listening to their hot, up-beat tunes. From 2009, Monkey Safari are sharing this warm blood with the rest of Halle, in their club, the Charls Bronson, which has hosted some of the most alternative and extravagant Dj’s of the electronic scene: MEOKO’s favourite Catz’n’Dogz and Kollective Turmstrasse, plus Andhim, Acid Pauli, Rampa, Adana Twins, Super Flu and many more. So many that the club has become the main tourist attraction in town at least for electronic lovers. Each Monkey Safari track is an overload of joy, exotic tunes and rolling drums which bring instant happiness. No wonder they’ve released, amongst others, on Super-Flu forward thinking imprint Monaberry and their own newcomer Hommage. On the eve of the so awaited summer, MEOKO sat down with this ‘bestial’ duo to discover holiday plans & future projects.
First of all thanks for having this chat with MEOKO. Have I mentioned we’re all big fan of yours? Your Facebook page and music first of all shows a love for summer and hot weather. Surely London is not as cold as Halle, but I can quite understand the disappointment an endless winter brings. What is it like in your city?
Thanks for the props! At the moment it´s grey, it’s 11 degrees Celsius and rainy all day. Not exactly the kind of summer we like….. but it’s perfect weather for working in the studio and doing interviews
Compared to Cologne small town, yes, but kingpin of the German electronic scene and head-quarter of Kompakt – how would you say the atmosphere in Halle is like?
The development of Halle over the past few years was great. The electronic music scene has been really strong for years now. Currently everything becomes more professional. More and more artists from Halle are playing internationally and are working hard for their career. The people here feel that there is no need to move to bigger cities, such as Berlin, to become successful artists. It´s a homely feeling, working in your hometown together with friends.
In 2009 you opened the Charles Bronson Club. Was it your Dj’ing activity that led to the opening of the club or the other way around?
Since over 14 years now, we’ve always played different kinds of music ….it all started through DJing! In 2008/2009 we started Monkey Safari, as well as our first record label “What! What!” and had the idea for the club Charles Bronson.
Since the opening you collaborated with many great artists. What is the philosophy of the club? What do you look at when selecting performers?
It´s really easy….a fat soundsystem, great artists who play great music, a nice ambience with friendly people who leave their problems outside of the club. Selecting performers is simple… if we like them and their music we book them.
At Sonar Off 2014 you are playing on a boat for the Monaberry showcase. Is it your first time at Sonar? What do you expect from this experience?
Yo it´s our first time at Sonar. We´ll bring lots of friends, sunshine and great music. So everyone is gonna have a good time!
Back to 2013 you played at Fusion Festival delivering a great mix. Can you describe the atmosphere of this secretive festival in Lärz, Northern Germany?
Fusion is really special….it´s rather a city than a festival. There are thousands of people and it´s really peaceful. Everyone is on a mission that takes them outside of their normal life.Last year when we arrived at the festival site it was very windy and rainy, only clouds, no sunshine. The promoter told us, the weather was like this during the entire festival weekend. When we started to play the rain stopped and we thought: ”Ok cool…. better than nothing”. Suddenly, after 30mins playtime, the crowd was screaming and we were wondering what might have happend, because the music was on and there was no break or anything. Then we saw how a sunbeam went down on the crowd about 40-50 meters in front of the stage. It the first tim the sun was shining since a few days and it happened during the Monkey Safari set. That was fun, impressive and of course really awesome to see the crowd even happier!
You flew all around the globe to Australia. How different is the electronic scene down there?
When we had our first tour across Australia in 2011, the scene was really different from what we have here in Europe. They loved the harder stuff a lot. Since a few years though, the Australian electronic music scene is embracing house music more and more. One of the biggest difficulties is the geographical conditions of Australia. There are only a handful large cities, all of them far away from each other and various smaller cities where a scene can grow and eventually become big.
Last March, you were in Bangkok, playing at Thaibreak. There are some lovely images and a super energetic podcast as a result...
Where are Monkey Safari’s summer vibes coming from? Your surroundings at home can hardly be inspirational. Is it the lack of sunny, hot days that makes you recreate such an atmosphere through your original mixes or there is more behind them?
We just love music. We grew up having a huge garden and as a child we played a lot outside… maybe that´s a reason why we love festivals and open air stages so much!
Also your name: Monkey Safari. Where did it come from? All I can think about is ‘Living on my Own’ by The Queen, but maybe there is not a connection..
Straight from the deep dark corners of our minds…
Other than being exotic, your music sounds also a lot of fun and expresses positivity. My animal instinct tells me you have quite a sense of humour, as I can see from your cracking graphics. Do you create them on your own?
No no… all our artworks are made by a friend of us who studied at the University of Art in Halle.
You also release your tracks on Hommage, which is going to showcase at Sonar as well. From what I understood this is your very own label, correct me if I am wrong. Can you tell us a bit about it? What reasons brought you to its creation, who’s involved and what plans have you got for the future?
Hommage is our new baby that we started last summer. Over the years we made many new experiences in the music scene and felt is was time to rethink our record labels. We shut down What! What! and Mambo and focused entirely on Hommage. The entire artwork for Hommage is done by another friend of ours, Diskorobot–part of Berlin’s artist collective KLUB7. We want to push and promote young, newcomer artists from our hometown and also create a homebase for our own musical future.
You also have a new monkey release coming up soon. What can we expect?
In London, German electronic music is regarded with admiration and your country is top rated in the field. How do you feel about this? Is there any country you’d really like to work in or you think boosts a promising music environment?
With regards to “working”, Germany is pretty perfect… with regards to “living & relaxing” it’s often not 😉 Germans grow up in a competitive and serious environment. Apparently this makes them very ambitious, but sometimes they forget to “live”.
Which passions occupy Monkey Safari’s spare time? Apart from climbing trees, I mean.
Trying to live
After the big wave of summer festivals, are you planning on a real holiday? Just to chill, somewhere…
At the moment our entire life is one big vacation…
More about Monkey Safari