Fortitude, patience and a dose of unorthodox approach have propelled WhoMadeWho to the pinnacle of their profession. Never been ones to settle for the status quo, the trio’s Watergate 26 Compilation showcases artists who share a similar mindset.
How does it feel to take over this coveted compilation? What led to Watergate 26?
WhoMadeWho: It feels great, it was a big pleasure inviting all our friends and favourite artist to join this release with their music, in some sort of collaborative album-mixtape. We always like new challenges and doing new projects and this was a good half-way between an album and a compilation. We have a lot of new material on it but could also draw on great talent from around the world. We were thrilled when Watergate asked us to do this release, I don’t know what led to them asking us, but it was great they did.
What do you want listeners to take away from it?
WhoMadeWho: First of all, it was very important for us to bring our own vibe into the mix, even if we have close ties to the club scene and love both techno and electronica, we are also some kind of live-disco band. So besides taking a little piece of WhoMadeWho with them in their car, on vacation, doing cleaning or whatever, we also want to display alternative, fun and spacey tracks. I guess the overall goal was to keep listeners challenged but still comfortable.
Do you remember the first Watergate show that had an impact on you?
WhoMadeWho: Actually, one of our first live shows in Berlin was at Watergate, I remember I was stoked about how late the Berliners could stay up and the whole rave culture. One of the recent jobs that stands out is a DJ set, where we were on at 3 AM but went sleeping before. We arrived sleepy and I guess looking like two old and tired men – not feeling like rocking the world of anybody, but after 2 vodka shots and the adrenalin boost from playing we ended up playing one of our best and most creative shows, the crowd at Watergate is always amazing.
When you burst onto the scene with “Space for Rent” it was a time of musical upheaval. Club music morphed into rock and vice versa. What are some other differences between then and now? So much of the world has changed since “Space for Rent,” what has changed and what has remained the same with the band?
WhoMadeWho: We have been through a lot – many flights, tour buses, interviews, releases, labels – but luckily our band-DNA has stayed intact, lately we have actually been going back to the vibe of our first album. In the beginning, we were closely tied in with the club scene and we have been seeking back to the scene lately. In our first years, it was always fun in the studio, everything was easy and free, but then the pressure of ‘success’ started to nag us, taking a bit of playfulness out of it. However, in the last year, we found back to our initial vibes, and since then all sessions have been amazing. We are finishing an album with DJ Tennis where the process and vibe are very similar to our early works, and it has been mind-blowing revisiting this approach.
It seems your approach to music—Watergate 26 included—are experimental, defying categories and pushing boundaries. Do you feel a responsibility to pursue projects that might change the way people listen to music?
WhoMadeWho: Thanks for the words, that’s exactly what we are hoping our footprint would be. For the compilation, it would have been easier to do a 100% beautiful melodic techno compilation, but first, it wouldn’t have been in-line with us as a band and secondly, there are so many good mixes in that style out there already. There are two reasons why we always try to push boundaries; first we feel we owe our fans and people who bump into us, in general, to deliver something different and not just repeat previous successes; second, we need change and challenges to keep us being excited about WhoMadeWho, so we love taking new directions and doing new things – both musically and strategically. Not everything works, but it keeps the band-vibe exciting and loving.
How have you incorporated this approach into Watergate26? Having listened to the special mix, I was wondering about the process.
WhoMadeWho: Yes a lot, first we only asked people who we knew had something special to offer – and we also spend a lot of time picking out the tracks and doing test – at least 6 mixes to get the flow right and also remixing tracks we liked, but which we felt would fit better in the vibe if we changed some parts. The process has been very different; one remix was done on the plane to Dubai, another one was done in a hotel room in New York and our track ‘Smile’ is an outtake from our recent album, which fit perfectly as the outro for WG26.
Favorite experience you’ve had at Watergate…
WhoMadeWho: I had very fun times playing back-to-back with Jimi Jules. I always leave just after a gig, but this morning we just kept on playing for a tough little crowd with sunglasses.
With a lot of iconic clubs shutting down or being at risk of shutting – Watergate has navigated the waters, thus far. What does the club mean to you?
WhoMadeWho: As we wrote Watergate was one of the first Berlin shows we did ever, and has kind of been a constant in our career – I think a lot of other DJs and clubbers feel exactly the same. All of us would be very sad to miss this part and we are thrilled to go there regularly and interact with friends and fans.
What can we expect about your upcoming tour?
WhoMadeWho: Speaking of new changes we started this DJ-Live-Hybrid where I play records and the guys sing and play synths – it’s very fun and challenging for us. The whole tour will be with this setup and we can’t wait to go back to some of our countries to play where we have gained a lot of fans over the years like Germany, Mexico, but also new ‘markets’ where we are growing a lot, like the Middle East and the USA.
WhoMadeWho Watergate 26 Release Tour
16.05.19 Toledo Rooftop, Mexico City
01.05.19 TBA, Los Angeles
25.05.19 Shalvata Beach, Tel Aviv
*** More TBA ***
Come Celebrate 10 Years of Watergate Records at
WATERGATE OPEN AIR 2019
June 9, 2019 – 14:00 to 22:00
SAGE BEACH, BERLIN