Meat Free interviews: Zenker Brothers [Ilian Tape]
The Zenker Brothers will be playing for our Meat Free party on Saturday, December 3rd, alongside Steffi, Virginia, and Peter van Hoesen. Come join us!
You’re probably the most famous brothers in techno, what made you decide when you were growing up that you wanted to play together and how has this developed over the years?
We started to play together as Zenker Brothers Soundsystem, which meant one slot but with a dj set from Dario and a live set from Marco. After a while Marco got a bit tired of playing live all the time, so in 2012 we started to dj b2b. It’s really great fun and exciting because we never know what the other one will play next and of course traveling together is much better and less exhausting than alone.
Keeping with the family theme, your Aunt Dorle famously ran Ultraschall – was techno a big part of growing up? Do you feel like you’re keeping a family tradition alive?
No not really. We knew that Dorle and Upstart her boyfriend were running the club but techno was definitely not present in our childhood. Upstart sometimes gave us cds or records and a lot of the djs who played at Ultraschall stayed at our dads flat in Munich. But we were living with our mum on the countryside. From the facts it seems like techno was very present, but we didn’t really care about it. We both got into it between 16 and 18.
Lots of people ask you about your early love of hip hop – but are there any new music styles or artists, outside of techno, that you’ve discovered in your later years that influence you?
We still love the oldschool Hip Hop but also new stuff like Apollo Brown, Mello Music Group, Ugly Heroes and Oddisee. Besides that we are open for all kinds of interesting music. Be it soundtracks, jazz, exotica, ambient or whatever.
Ilian Tape has gone from strength to strength and shows no signs of slowing down – when you first set it up, what did you want to achieve – and how close to that, or how far past that are you now?
We didn’t have a certain goal, we just wanted to create a platform for our own and our friends music. It was always run with heart and passion and we are proud how it developed over the years. And we are very excited about our 10 year anniversary next year and all the years that will follow.
When signing new artists, what’s that special thing they have to have to make it on to the label?
First of all an own sound. We are not interested in releasing records that have no soul and just copy the latest trends. Luckily a lot of our core artists are awesome dudes and we became friends. That’s ideal but not necessary to release someone’s music.
You’ve managed to craft a highly unique sound; what machines go into the magic?
We think it’s more about how you use your equipment than what specific machines you use. We have a lot different gear and we don’t use any software to create sounds. But that’s just how we prefer to make music.
It seems that everyone these days is flocking to Germany to settle and make/play music – how influential were the sounds of Munich in shaping you as artists?
Your website biography signs off rather mysteriously that you want to create something unique, but most importantly ‘connective’ – can you tell us some more about what this means?
With the label we connect with all kinds of people all the time and we really enjoy that aspect. Also the best sets are the ones where we really connect with the crowd and all decisions are made in the moment through that connection.
Where are you happiest, djing or in the studio, or can you not have one without the other?
We really enjoy both and we wouldn’t want to do only one thing. Both can be very rewarding but also frustrating at times.
Everyone asks, so we must too, what’s next for llian Tape and the Zenker Brothers? Can you give us any exclusive information?
The label will turn 10 next year and we will celebrate it with a triple vinyl compilation with only exclusive tracks and an extended tour. Besides that we are also working on a new Zenker Brothers record.
Finally, we think this is your first time both playing in Manchester? What can the Meat Free crowd expect when you play for us?
Yes we are very much looking forward to it. It’s a really dope line up and as always we will go with the flow and hopefully we’ll have a good time together.