DAVID MAYER ON KEINEMUSIK, BPM FESTIVAL & MORE

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By Afra Naushad

David Mayer’s musical portfolio straddled various roles like ghost /co-producer and audio engineer, before his solid alliance with electronic music collective, Keinemusik, in 2009 which also includes fellow crew members Rampa, &ME, Adam Port and Reznik. 

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Since then, David Mayer as part of the Keinemusik collective has played at BPM Festival along his own solo pursuits as House and Deep Tech DJ/producer, and has been slowly and steadily making waves in the electronic music scene in Europe and beyond. Here’s a few concise excerpts of catching up with him to talk about where he finds himself, in the now and future.

How’s things going with you?

Well…up and down…

What’s been your gig schedule like?

We’ve been to Italy…

I hear people in Italy are getting BIG into Techno…?

Yeah it’s like they’ve got a need and urge to party. They’re very emotional about their music. They’re now big into House and Techno. It seems these days playing heavy bass and drums is making a lot of people happy, not just Italians.

You grew up in Norway, right? What was the music scene like for you there?

I moved there when I was 4. I listened to a lot of Rap and Hip-hop as a teenager and I still listen to a lot of modern black music.

Who are your favourite modern artists?

People like Eryka Badu…

Let’s talk more about your sound. Where is it at the moment?

I like tracks which are rooted somewhere in a warm place. I need it to have soul. Maybe it’s going back to black music…It needs that soulful feeling and some funky features to make you dance. It needs to all come together. For me, it’s a journey between House and Techno.

How has the electronic music scene changed since you moved to Berlin?

The city as a whole has changed so much. One sentence will not be enough to capture the feeling because I’m developing and changing so much. Because I’m touring i don’t have the weekends to see Berlin that much like i used to before. But when i did back then, i had that feeling for that raw scene. My perception about the city has changed now, but that doesn’t mean that someone who is new to the city won’t be blown away like i did when i came here.

Can you party for yourself today?

Sure. I’m a party animal for myself. I love it. I like the night. I like to experience the night. I love the city. And that’s why i moved to the city. I grew up in the woods with a lot of space. You had to walk a long distance to visit someone on the other side. I grew up in something like the country side, but i then felt attracted to the raw city life. I don’t like every city, you know…i wouldn’t move to a city with just skyscrapers, but here in Berlin there are a lot of old buildings which has a history, an honourable feeling and atmosphere. If i had the opportunity to move elsewhere i would move. Just thinking about stuff is important. I think moving into the sun would be a start, to move into a warm place.

What else are you inspired by other than music?

I’m actually inspired by old structures. Nature itself, which is a very old structure. Old walls are very important to me. It breathes life. It’s a different kind of feeling. 

Tell us a little bit about your label Keinemusik. What does it mean?

We’re 5 musically active people running it and we have someone who does the artwork and make sure the label looks a certain way. In German it means ‘No Music’. I have a very clear explanation while each would have their own interpretation. Rampa would play some really loud distorted Electro House and his mother would come screaming saying ‘it’s not music!’. And then we just stuck with it. It was important from the start to have fashion and art associated with the label.

Why was that important?

It’s always been important. We’re all connected to a certain lifestyle and come from the same generation listening to similar styles of music. Clothing has been important like that for everyone of us. It allowed us to put ourselves out in a certain light. It’s like a tool to create a community. Like having something in common.

What’s your personal style like?

Just jeans and t-shirt really. I don’t like to think too much about it. I end up wearing colours or no colours. But that’s just me. And that’s exactly what you would find in our shop, like plain white t-shirts, reduced designs.

How did the development with BPM festival happen for Keinemusik?

It was natural. BPM came along because people were paying attention to what we were doing. And 2016 has been the 2nd time. Doing it as a group was a logical thing because we’ve been a group form the start. We’ve only been releasing music at the label from the 4 of us, so we also play as a group.

How was the experience?

I was just excited being in a warmer environment. Leaving Germany behind covered in snow to the tropical heat made it so much more enjoyable. I didn’t even care about food or drinks, the heat was just enough to make me happy. The party and the experience means a lot to me. It was so good.

What’s your personal vision for the label?

Now we’ve got certain structures like when to release new music, and everyone is getting more experience releasing on other labels, so why not include other artists coming over. Things like that are on the map. Rampa dropped out to take time to recover from last June. He was just exhausted physically and mentally and needed a break. Maybe you could say a burnout and it happens all the time. Now he is just relaxing. So we have to make plans without him. So the process of making bigger plans has slowed down to give him time to come back. We don’t want it to be a pressurising situation.

What are your personal plans as a solo DJ/producer?

I feel like I’ve finally arrived. This year has been good and the progress too, career-wise. It’s all been coming together to something i feel comfortable with. I just want to not forget where I’m coming from and just do my best. I’m trying to be more playful.

Any advice for DJs just starting out?

My development has not been very individual, because I was lucky to have people around me and we were doing things together. Maybe, i’d say not to get distracted too much by what people expect but find what you want and focus on whatever is inside. That’s the most important thing. Because I’ve been in a situation trying to make someone else happy but finally i got a glimpse of the idea that that’s not the right thing and since then I’ve been trying to get rid of great structures and move more freely, just going to the studio and make things for myself, not to make the perfect tune for this or that purpose. This is the advice i can give from my own experience, get rid of the pressure and go back to yourself and people will like you more than for doing something that’s not authentic.

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