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I’m M.A.N.D.Y. Why Me? (Interview by Isabel Le Basi)

Reported by JontySkrufff on June 17, 2011

“I don’t think everyone should make music. That’s not to say that this or that person is necessarily better, but I just don’t think everybody is so skilled at it. I‘m not skilled at handicrafts, for instance, so I think there’s definitely far too much unnecessary music on the market.”

Sitting in the flat of his long term label-mate and Get Physical collaborator DJ T (fellow M.A.N.D.Y man Patrick Bodmer is elsewhere), Philipp Jung admits he’s equivocal about the technological revolution transforming club culture and the music business.

“Obviously it has become very democratic to make music because now everybody can do music, you don‘t need a lot of skills to do your tracks,” he continues.

“But because there’s so much more music out there these days it’s really difficult for young kids to find their way through it all;   because if you're trawling through the internet platforms, it’s very tricky to find those exceptional tracks when there are 1000 releases every week."

He’s chatting to Skrufff’s Isabel Le Basi today to promote his new Get Physical compilation (BODY LANGUAGE VOL. 10) and is the first to admit his experience and status within the industry means his own crate digging is decidedly different from the average online couch surfer.

“We’re professionals so we know a little bit more where to look and who to talk to and in fact, we still go to record stores more just to talk to the guy to see what‘s hot and what not, what‘s on vinyl and what‘s maybe on mp3s or on digital formats,” he explains.

“Picking tracks for the CD we also go through our iTunes library of course picking out our favorite records and seeing which ones we played the most over the last couple of years. The aim is always to make the compilations substantial records because especially these days, many compilations have little value and are often just a thrown together collection with just a couple of good tracks,” he says.

“For us, each compilation should be a statement of contemporary electronic music which can still be heard in a couple of years’ time. And we still sell copies of Body Language Volume 1, because it‘s I think it still has a modern approach to it.” 

“But you have to put way more effort into it as compared to back in the days when you go to a record store and there was a guy giving you the 25 hot records at the moment,” he continues, “It has become very different.” 

Volume 10 includes cuts from fast-rising stars Nicolas Jaar and Patrice Bäumel alongside selections from regular Get Physical favourites Marc Houle and Extrawelt and is intended to take Get Physical ‘back to its roots’, the press release claims.

In practise, this means M.A.N.D.Y (aka Philip and Patrick Bodmer) are doing it themselves, after previous guest compilations by the likes of Jesse Rose, Dixon, Matthew Dear and Modeselektor.  The duo have been friends since childhood, though as Philip is quick to point out their relationship can sometimes be testy.

“You have these periods where you hate each other so much and then at other times you are deeply in love and everything is going right,” he chuckles. “And those moments are sometimes the best you can experience, those moments when you are somewhere in the middle Peru for example and you have 3000 people in front of you and you play an amazing set- this is the essence of life,” he sighs.

Skrufff (Isabel Le Basi): How easy is to combine business and private lives year after year?

M.A.N.D.Y. (Philip): “It‘s like in any kind of relationship: It‘s about respect and how much can you step back from your position in order to make something work. This is the secret of our relationship. There are always different ways of doing things and sometimes you have to understand that taking a position will hurt your partner more than you, so you have step back even if you feel strongly about something. Otherwise we wouldn’t find a solution. 

And this is an ongoing process. Then you have rough periods when you just have to say ‘Sorry, I can not deal with you at the moment. Let’s meet at the weekends for our shows.’  And when that’s happened those shows have always been OK, we always looked towards the same direction for the M.A.N.D.Y.thing.

Then you have amazing moments when everything is smooth and nothing confuses any kind of relationship but it teaches you a lot. I mean we’ve known each other now for 25 years. It really works if you have a lot of communication.” 

Skrufff (Isabel Le Basi): When you look at the producers you took for Body Language, it‘s mostly Germans or German based producers...?! Is it just by accident or intentionally?

M.A.N.D.Y. (Philip): “Yes, just by accident but what you also try to avoid is to get Americans on there because of the licensing situation and money matters. They always ask for absurd advances and all sorts of conditions. Experience has taught us that we should try to avoid those situations - not because of the music it‘s just because it‘s still a pain in the butt to deal with Americans most of the time. 

On our old compilations we licensed artists such as Cat Stevens or really old stuff but now it‘s so hard to sign the digital rights for tracks by bigger artists signed to major labels. And these are the most important now because if you didn’t have them you would have to ask every single territory to get the rights, which is impossible. 

Before you could approach a company like Universal and say you want to license a particular track for Germany which was never a problem when the compilation was a physical CD  but actually now with digital you have to go through every fucking country which is impossible so you really try to limit yourself as well to the stuff that you know it‘s easy to sign. Mainly that‘s the reason why it‘s a pretty pure electronic music compilation because previously we always tried to spice it up with some old stuff.”

Skrufff (Isabel Le Basi): Your mix is full of different styles of music...

Skrufff (Isabel Le Basi): Exactly. Obviously some people like it and some people don’t but for us it‘s important- we have to show the range of what we are playing. The only time we did not do it was for the Fabric because it‘s such a club-club in a purest term but still there we could not go as hard and deep that you go in a club and if you listen to a CD you need like this little moments of light and you need to have proper breaks because when you listen to it in a car or at home- to have a pure dance mix it‘s almost the most boring thing in the world. 

Obviously people don‘t like it sometimes but we’ve built our ‘career’ this way, not trying to teach people- of course not- but to include something extra- to show people what’s out there. Der Wallach for instance is an amazing track – though perhaps people would never know about it otherwise.

Because of the fact we spend so much time on the compilation, I think that means it also has the chance to grow on you, which is very important with electronic music; it should have some substance. I don‘t mean like a symphony from Mahler but I think there‘s definitely some depths to it that can be discovered after a couple of times listening. So even if people are surprised about the combination of tracks, that’s OK, it makes sense, I swear.”

BODY LANGUAGE VOL. 10 mixed by M.A.N.D.Y. is out now on Get Physical.

Isabel Le Basi (Skrufff.com)