This weekend we get back into the swing of things after our trip to London, hosting a Mister Saturday Night Loft Party in a secret space in Brooklyn.
Our special guest is a Berliner named Phillip Sollmann, who releases records on the Dial imprint under the name Efdemin. His most recent album is called Chicago, and it just so happens that he sent us the answers to the questions below in the Berlin airport, waiting to board a plane to the Windy City for the very first time.
Before we get to that, though, it’s time for a freebie. We’re giving away a pair of tickets for this weekend’s MSN Loft Party! All you have to do to get them is drop a line with the subject ‘Loft Party Giveaway’ to ask -at- mistersaturdaynight -dot- com. You’ll be signed up for our email list and entered into the drawing. We’ll randomly choose someone tomorrow morning, so you’ve got time to hip your friends to it – just make sure they bring you if they win.
Now on with the interview.
Mister Saturday Night: Based on some mixes we’ve heard, and from other interviews we’ve read with you, it’s clear that you are interested in music that spans much farther than house and techno. You even have a history with the cello and have worked in live bands where you’re singing, but what you are known for is dance music. It’s a predicament that a lot of creative people find themselves in: their interests and outputs are vast, but they’re known for one subset of those things. How do you feel about how you’re defined? How does it affect what you do?
Efdemin: Interesting question. I was thinking about that lately, while realizing that I can´t handle 8 club-nights in a row like I used to do years ago… and I also missed some other sides of my artistic interests in recently. So after finishing the album, I tried not only to get back to normal DJ life but also focus on other projects, to keep a balance. Right now I am working with the guys of Jutojo (they helped me doing the video for “There Will Be Singing”) from Berlin on the audiovisiual performance “STAUB”, which is a very abstract work where the movement and metamorphosis of dust (which is filmed in front of a screen and projected back on that screen in a feedback [loop]) control the parameters of… very quiet sound. This performance asks for totally different states of consciousness than a DJ performance, as you may guess… but it’s so great to have that and also to work on something with other people. Recently I had a soundpiece shown in two exhibitons dealing with the heritage of… intonation. It was so great to have a piece shown in this context and then go to play Panoramabar the same night.
You are totally right when you say that these interests are [a] subset… and my music is affected by everything I do in other areas as well. I think the different interests affect each other and keep me balanced.
MSN: Your recent album is called Chicago, but you’ve said you could have just as easily named it after some other city, that it was kind of an experiment to see what the response would be. Clearly there’s the connection to Chicago’s status as an important stage of dance music history that people might think you were referencing, but was there any other, perhaps non-musical image you thought or hoped it would conjure?
E: Well it’s not totally true that I just wanted to experiment with the title. Starting from the cover artwork, which refers to the basics of modern architecture and minimalism, to the instruments and textures I used in the compositions and finally to the fact that it is an album dealing with the idea of house 20 years or more later that the original idea, that would already be enough. But for sure it’s more. As I am on the way to Chicago for the first time in my life, I have to admit that I am so curious and excited to finally go there. To me Chicago represents a side of America which is obviously fading away slowly. The idea of a modern city, this city is like the blueprint of so many other American cities and was and is so influential (at least for me). If you listen closely, you might find some references to the Windy City.
MSN: You, like a lot of other dance music producers, are a resident in Berlin. When we’ve been there in the past, we’ve been taken with the visual art scene as much as the music scene – if not more. Dial, the label on which you release, is known for its excellent artwork. Is there a lot of collaboration or idea sharing between the scenes, or do they mostly exist separately?
E: I think these two scenes are mostly divided in terms of space and time… but after [art] exhibitions, many of the [people in the art scene] want to dance. We have many friends in the art world, and one of the label bosses, David Lieske, has a show running in Alex Zachary’s gallery in Manhattan right now… worth checking it out – you might meet me there. Check the pics and you will see our records presented in the gallery’s office. On our Panoramabar label nights, you would find mostly artists in the first three hours until the ravers take over the place. That is always the most beautiful part of the night.
MSN: Finally, you’re DJing this weekend, of course. So tell us, what’s the record that’s remained in your record bag for the longest, and what’s your most memorable time playing it?
E: I think Heath Brunner’s ‘Senses’ on KMS is in my box everytime. It is one of the records I never get tired of… I wish I could do a simple but heartouching track [like it] one day myself. So many special moments with it, I don´t remember the most amazing, but mostly [it gets played at] the end of a set.