03/02/2005: "cologne revisited."
Here's the massive Jukebox Jury (the equivalent of the Wire's Invisible Jukebox) that I did with Michael Mayer in Cologne, published (finally!) in this week's Seattle Weekly. I'll post the entire 7,000-word transcript at some point for the technoids out there who want more. More!
Here's some backstory behind the interview (which took place in August). I went to Berlin, and then to Cologne, and was bleary-eyed and barely together after three solid days of total Cologne mayhem, what with the Kompakt 100 Festival on Friday (here's my rundown in case you missed it), Schaeben & Voss ft. Schad Privat plus the Areal party featuring Ada and the Wighnomy Bros. on Saturday, and an all-day outdoor gig featuring Ricardo Villalobos and Richie Hawtin on Sunday. I know, I know; woe is me, boo hoo, so many amazing gigs, so little time. But I was so mindblowingly exhausted that all I wanted at this point was to be home, back in New York, and in bed with a cup of tea, going "Ow, my head!" a lot.
On Monday, feeling totally wrecked, I started to panic because I remembered I still didn't have two of the tunes I wanted to play for the jukebox jury. I rushed over to an internet cafe, hooked my laptop into their network, and downloaded them from the iTunes music store. Or tried to, anyway, but the network kept cutting out. Agh! After thirty minutes of wrangling, I finally got the mp3s, picked up my trusty map, grabbed some coffee and my iPod loaded with the songs, and stumbled to Werderstrasse--home of Kompakt headquarters, store, and distribution, and also to the Traum/Trapez offices (across the street). I was totally lost for a bit, but I had some time before the interview. Those Germans, though, they're always so punctual. I didn't want to be late. Then, finally, I saw the telltale sign:
Aha! I walked in the door:
And hey presto, I was in the Kompakt record store. I have never seen a record store this glossy and sparkling in my life. Seriously, this place made Other Music look like a total pigsty in comparison; dig the obsessive attention to order, the cool brushed steel. I felt too uncool to shop here:
You could probably eat off the floor in this place, no joke. Big leafy plants everywhere, palm fronds dangling over records:
They have CDs, too:
I hung out here for a bit--it's a great record store--and then wandered into the offices next door for the interview.
This is what the offices look like. The woman at the computer is the lovely Jeannine. You may remember her from the cover of DJ Koze's "Late Night Check Out":
The room feels like a cross between a yoga retreat and an advertisement for Apple computers, doesn't it?
Then I went upstairs to do the jukebox jury with Michael Mayer. I was really nervous. I'd never met the guy prior to the Areal party two days earlier, and we didn't talk about music, really--we talked about cooking, and vegetarianism, and things like that (Neither of us eat meat, and we both like to cook.) Oh yeah, I mentioned Brian Eno at one point, but it was in relation to cooking, and theories about cooking. Right, so the interview!
I hooked up the iPod to the stereo, and had problems getting it to sound right--it sounded very distorted. I tested it by playing a sample mp3, and chose one of Mayer's own tunes, "Amanda," and asked him if he recognized it, to loosen him up a bit.
It took him til the vocal sample kicked in, but suddenly there was a flicker of recognition on his face, and he grinned.
"Er, I think I know this one..."
The interview went really well; it lasted nearly three hours. He's a really sweet guy, of course, funny, smart, and as much of a record nerd as you could possibly imagine a professional DJ and label owner would be ("You're from New York?" he says breathlessly at one point. "Do you know Nu Groove? I have every Nu Groove record ever released on earth!")
Here he is, trying to figure out what I just played--"Are you sure that was Mouse on Mars?"
Okay, all done! On my way out, I met the Kompakt chef, who comes in every day to make lunch for all 17 people who work at Kompakt. Here he is, demonstrating his stir fry skills for Wolfgang Voigt and Superpitcher, between glugs of water: