Techno Tuesday: Booka Shade on change and reinvention
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
If there’s any act to evoke a sense of magic in dance music, it’s Booka Shade. The German duo have been releasing their productions for over two decades now, and touring the world for nearly just as long with an ever-evolving live show. They’ve been a paramount force in house music for the last decade in particular, influencing the scene through five studio albums and their renowned imprint Get Physical which they they co-founded with DJ T, M.A.N.D.Y and Peter Hayo.
Nowadays, Booka Shade have embarked on a techier tip. They recently released an EP as Yaruba, representing the “dark and more clubby side of Booka Shade” in their own words. On top of that, they’ve unveiled their newest single, “Wildest Thing,” a funkier cut for the duo that will see its release later this week on August 28.
We’re proud to host Booka Shade on Techno Tuesday, where they’ve shared a piece “about change and reinvention, and about the keys and the drums.”
“We have a long history in music, dating back to when we first started in a school band and later on had our first record deal with a pop group. We fell in love with techno in the early ’90s, later on explored music for film and commercials. We went through a lot of phases in our musical life and we´re safe to say that we have pretty much worked in every genre of music.
Around 2001 many important changes happened in our private and business lives. We’d had enough of the music we produced around that time, we had enough of music with the aim to fit the charts and follow a certain formula. Our production company Perky Park was one of the biggest in Germany with millions of records sold and very successful music productions for all kind of TV commercials. But it didn’t feel right anymore.
We stopped this business routine more or less overnight and started from scratch with a small independent record label called Get Physical, together with DJ T, M.A.N.D.Y and Peter Hayo. We worked night and day for minimum 3 years, reanimated our project Booka Shade (which we had started in the ’90s) and put tons of love, sweat and tears in our first Booka Shade live show which was a pretty unique thing in the electronic music circuit.
We’ve never had the aim to earn money with this, it was pure passion. The fees in the beginning were around 800€ a night with costs of a few thousand euros for crew and travel. After a while the show became bigger and bigger and before we knew it we travelled with 10 people and 1.3 tons of equipment in two big trucks with the ridiculously expensive “bad boy” lights of U2 and 32 giant illuminated balls hanging over us in a rig, while our DJ colleagues (EDM became huge around that time) arrived with an USB stick and a tour manager. It felt great.
After a South America tour though, with overwhelming costs for the cargo jet for our equipment, we had to face the fact that it would be commercial suicide to continue like that. Around this time, we had started to DJ, at first out of fun and for inspiration, and to be able to play at difficult to reach places in the world, but also to ´cross finance´ the live show.
Financially a great decision BUT… as much as we tried and as good as the DJ shows many times went, we never felt really happy with it and missed our instruments a lot. Being musicians, it felt like being naked on a stage without a show.
True DJ’s love to find THE track somewhere that gives the people a special moment, a moment of joy that they won’t forget. That´s the art and the beauty of DJing.
What we always wanted is to be the musicians who compose and produce that song and play that song in combination with a great show on a stage. The first song we’ve written as teenagers in the ’80s was called ‘standing on stage’ not ‘standing in a DJ booth.’ ;-)
In the beginning of 2015 we had to find a solution because we realized that there is no space for our previous live show on many dance festival stages anymore. Again – it was time for a change. We went back to our studio, reworked every song of our catalogue that we want to play, wrote some unreleased tracks
and designed two sizes of our new live setup.
Booka Shade was and is always about the keys and the drums and we finally found a way to present these two key elements in small venues, bigger DJ booths and on big festival stages. The first few test shows in Europe went down really well and we’re excited again and we can’t wait to tour in America soon.
From time to time you have to dare and change things and as long as it is real and comes from your heart, the rest will follow. You can’t fail if you find out what you’re best at and optimize this to the max.”
Booka Shade Tour Dates
August 3 -Windtalkers Night At Vista Club, Ibiza, Spain
August 8 – Lovefest, Belgrade, Serbia
August 28 – Mezzanine, San Francisco, US
August 29 – Beta, Denver, US
September 4 – SAT, Montreal, Canada
September 5 – North Coast Music Festival, Chicago, US
September 6 – Nocturnal Wonderland, San Bernardino, US
September 12 – Holi Festival Of Colours, London, UK