Everyone knows Booka Shade. Even if you aren’t personally acquainted with the Frankfurt duo Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier, you’ve almost certainly had a hands-in-the-air moment to In White Rooms or got down and dirty to the simple yet driving groove of Body Language. MORGAN RICHARDS reports.
Both In White Rooms and Body Language are hits from Booka Shade’s 1996 album Movements, and they’ve certainly aged well – a well-timed Booka Shade track can still cause admirable devastation on a dancefloor seven years on.
The duo are back on Australian soil this month following their rave-reviewed live shows at Summadayze and Field Day at the start of the year. Merziger explains why the pair go to such length to put on a great performance.
“In the ‘80s, the DJ stood in the corner of a club behind his turntables and tried to make the people dance. No focus on the DJ at all, the music was the only important thing and the whole light show was on the dancefloor to give the dancers a great feel.
“Nowadays the DJ’s play big festival stages or rock venues and because there are no musicians on stage to entertain the people with a great musical performance, you have to give the people something else. That means lights, lasers, visuals; the more the better (not really, in our opinion – blinky-blink massacre!). The expectation has always been, when it comes down to rock or festival stages, that there should be more to see than only two guys behind two laptops because it is boring to watch. It was never meant to be entertaining to watch a DJ playing records.”
Nonetheless, Booka Shade are far from boring to watch as mere disc jockeys. This time around they’ll be leaving the drum kit at home and sticking to the clubs to spin tunes from their extensive repertoire of floor-destroyers. And the experience is certainly a lot more than two guys behind laptops.
“Some call what we do as DJs a live show already,” says Merziger. “In general Arno is the DJ in the team, he plays the music and I improvise and play along to the music with a Kaoss Pad, little Korg synth, Machinedrum and other little toys. We always need a bit of an artistic approach and a level of performance otherwise it’s boring for us.” Merziger adds cheekily that he’s usually on vibe man duties: “I’m quite good at clapping my hands together and waving with my right arm too (still practicing with the left one in front of the mirror).”
He is happy to announce that the duo recently finished their latest album, Eve. “It was a long and painful journey but we’re very happy with the result and can’t wait to present the new music live. We’ll come back with the new live show to Australia next year for sure.”
As if that isn’t enough, they’ve also founded a new record label to release their music on. “We came up with the idea to found a new label called Blaufield because we needed a platform to release our music,” continues Merziger. “The new album will be released on this imprint with help from OneLove in Australia and New Zealand. Watch out for our new single Love Inc.”
EVE OUT NOVEMBER 1 THROUGH ONELOVE
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25 @ VILLA (WITH DIGITALISM)
Tickets available here.