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The good night Shade; The Big Interview With JAMES WARD Booka duo have been keeping electronic music to the fore for 30 years... and are still giving fans shows to remember.

Adecade on from their groundbreaking sophomore album Movements, Booka Shade are still one of the most respected names in electronic music.

German duo Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger have been making music together for 30 years, but it's under the Booka Shade moniker that they blazed a trail and rescued house music from it's early noughties banality.

Next month, the pair will perform at Metropolis festival at Dublin's RDS, with a special show dedicated to their breakthrough record.

Speaking exclusively to The Beat, Arno reflected on the group's early days in Frankfurt, when they pioneered the concept of performing dance music live.

Arno said: "The music at that time, it had never changed. Towards the end of the 90's and early 00's, techno like we knew it had become very much a formula, everything sounded a bit the same.

"It became quite boring. And a lot of the music was half-techno, which was called trance at that time. Very rough, not very sexy, not very complicated.

"We as well as other labels and other acts at that time started to experiment with something new, more uplifting and more melodic.

"This was then what maybe would be called electro-house. This period was very exciting, because new things happened and it opened new doors for us.

"Everybody was looking in the same direction and was having a great time. So this was the surrounding in which Movements (inset) would be released and would be born.

"A lot of things happened at that time. There was the moment when 'Body Language' just hit a nerve, internationally, and made it's way into the world and into everyone's record bags to play at parties around the world.

"Then one thing happened after the other. All of a sudden we found ourselves on stages around the world, presenting our music live."

Ever the visionaries however, Booka Shade won't arrive in Dublin just to belt out the same old versions of the tracks from 10 years ago.

All of the songs have been reworked and remastered with new arrangements, to tie in to a special live show commissioned for the tour.

Arno explains: "We come with a special dedicated live show that works for the most part, with the songs from the album.

"We present some of the songs that many people know already with all new arrangements and some of the songs we've actually never played before.

"Because they were slow songs, and most of the time we felt it would be better to have dance songs with a lot of energy.

"But for this show, we bring a lot of moodier parts of the album as well. This is great fun to see how it all works with the visuals and the lights. We have a light show and all new visuals.

"The visuals pick up the graphic design elements of the album and create a whole artificial world around the music."

Arno said the pair are always looking to put a new spin on their work to keep it fresh.

He said: "You not only play the songs, but you rework them all the time. At least that's what we do, because we constantly work on new mixes for the live shows to keep it interesting for ourselves and the audience.

"Every couple of months, there's something new that we do with the songs. So it keeps evolving, it keeps developing, it keeps changing.

"What's happening with the Movements shows right now is interesting because, for the most part, we went back to the original productions.

"It was very difficult because we had to dig out some really old Macintosh computers from 2005 and it was quite difficult to get all those original sounds again that we wanted to use."

After a quiet period for the group (their last album was 2013's EVE) revisiting their past works appears to have reinvigorated Booka Shade, and a new album is expected to be released next year.

Arno said: "At this moment it's a particularly good time for us, because we feel at the moment that we cannot close the chapter with Movements at the end of this year.

"The Booka Shade sound has evolved over time. We have quite a remarkable sound for an instrumental act.

in "When you have a singer it's quite easy to have a sound, because whatever you change of the music, the singer will still be there.

it syth t idf "As an electronic instrumental act it's quite difficult to do this, but we found a language together.

sf "Over the last year, sometimes it felt really forced. We tried to find something but it wasn't quite there.

"At the moment, the past year, we've been working on new material for an album next year. We bound together again in a great way.

"It's going to be a departure, there's going to be changes. It's probably too early to speak about it.

"We're gonna be finished by the end of this month, we know that we have the album. But it's a sonic departure, we'll leave it at that until we come up with new information.

"But it just feels right at the moment. We have a very good atmosphere at the moment."

Reports in recent years have suggested that Booka Shade were coming close to calling it quits.

But it's clear speaking to Arno that the creative spark that led them to transforming dance music is still alive and well.

He said: "We see each other during the week. We spend a lot of time together and we still have this chemistry.

"It's quite remarkable I guess, after 30 years, when you met as a school band. But it's still the same dream that we have.

"Since we were 24 or something, when we met, we realised that we wanted to do something with music. We love music and we want to create our own little universe.

"Who would have thought that so many years later, we are invited to go all over the world and play shows.

"It's an amazing feeling. We're very thankful that people still enjoy the music that we play."

'It's quite remarkable I guess, after 30 years, when you met as a school band. But it's still the same dream that we have'


SILHOUETTES ON THE SHADE: Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 7, 2016
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