CGNY: Can you tell us about the genesis of Booka Shade – how did you meet and decide to work together? Would you like to share the origins of your band name?!
BS: We met in a school band at the age of 13, formed a pop group in the early ‘90s (called Planet Claire after a B-52s song), fell in love with techno in ‘93 and produced techno and house tracks under a lot of different project names. The first 12 inches of Booka Shade actually were released in 1995, but we stopped for a while and reformed under this band name in 2004, shortly after we set up our record label Get Physical.
CGNY: What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Both of you have families with musical backgrounds, but not electronic music. Why do you think you gravitated towards electronica?
BS: We like all kinds of music. Walter’s family background is classical music; Arno’s is more jazz orientated. As producers, we worked with rock bands, large choirs, and symphonic orchestras. A broad background helps us now to produce the atmospheric and melodic layers that make the sound of Booka Shade special.
CGNY: You don’t come to NYC too often, but when you do its mayhem!! How do you like performing for the NYC crowd? BS: We love it. We have fond memories. One of the first shows was a REAL underground thing. There were three venue changes before we came to the club. We couldn’t start playing because there was a technical problem. The audience felt the excitement and when we finally started, everybody went nuts! So enthusiastic!
Last time we played the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn we had a stage invasion. Let’s see what happens this time.....
CGNY: Have you seen any major trends or changes in the electronic music scene over the years that you’ve been performing? For better or worse?
BS: Trends come and go. They were minimal. There was tech house or electro house. We are considered by some people to be one of the originators of electro house. Well, we just do the music we love and we are quite sure we’ll still be around when the next three trends have passed.
CGNY: Tell us about ‘More!” your new album. How long did that take to put together? How do you keep your sound fresh and relevant in the ever-changing world of EDM?
BS: We worked on it for a good 16 months! A long time. It’s our fourth album, but we always try to challenge ourselves, not to repeat a “formula of success” (That’s a guarantee to fail). Quality takes time.
CGNY: When you’re not producing or touring – what do you like to do in your spare time? BS: We try to spend as much time as we can with our families. We’re both married and have kids. It keeps you grounded because touring can drive you insane. It’s unreal many times. We have the privilege to play for very enthusiastic crowds of fans, which hypes you up big time, so after the touring and party craziness, it’s good to go home and experience REAL life. Your kids dirty underpants, for example....
CGNY: On average how long do you spend in each others company? Do you ever need to take a break from each other!? BS: We’ve known each other for more than 25 years and we’ve spent way more time with each other than we have with our parents or wives. Of course you need time off from each other, and of course we have big discussions all the time. But I think its mutual respect and knowing that we do something good with our lives that keep us together.
CGNY: After your date in New York on Oct 26 – where to next? BS: We’re on an 11-date North American tour. After NYC, it’s Philly, then we’re off to the West Coast. After the U.S., we do ten dates in the U.K. and some festivals in Asia.
CGNY: I have a theory about people who like electronic music also being science fiction fans. What’s your favorite sci-fi movie (if you have one)?
BS: That’s probably right!! Fun Sci-Fi: Star Wars (of course). Serious Sci-Fi: Blade Runner, Alien. Neither of us is a “Trekkie,” though! just watched Mel Brooks’Space Balls the other day with my son.
CGNY: Who are the artists that you like to listen to when not working on your own music?
BS: I like old stuff like Bob Marley and new stuff such as Gorillaz. There is a songwriter called William Fitzsimmons who I love. Basically anything but dance music!
CGNY: If you had to take three desert island disks with you – what might they be? BS: Depeche Mode – “Violator” Royksopp – “Melody AM” Sade – “Best Of” (JUST in case a girl does come along....)
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Booka Shade play the Music Hall of Williamsburg Oct 26th. Details here
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ClubbersGuideNewYork.com is dedicated to techno and electronic music. For booking inquiries, contact Fiona