The dance music of Modeselektor combined with the ambient soundscapes of Apparat result in Moderat. However, they refuse to be categorized separately anymore, declaring that Moderat has become something new now. It’s been thirteen years since their debut first length, I, and now we are at the end of the trilogy: after II (2013), they’ve just released III, probably the most “Moderat” album of them all – gorgeous vocals, beautiful instrumentation and deep beats. We talked to Gernot Bronsert to get to know III’s background and to understand how this new phase is going to look like.
It’s been three years since you released your last record, and you’ve just launched your new album. How does III differ from II?
This time we used the vocals much more. Sascha was much more self-confident to sing than in the record before – that’s the main difference. Also, we've tried to create and write more material for the live shows.
You’ve said that your new album has been made of blood, sweat and tears. How was the recording of III?
It took us one year. It was complicated, it was an exhausting time with a lot of work and a lot of drama, something we just realised after finishing the record. It’s always like this, a lot of hard work. At one point, you just don’t know what to do, if giving up or continuing, and then you start crying, and then work, and you sweat, then you fight each other with a little blood on the floor, and then you kiss each other, and everything is good again. So it’s always up and down, it was a very emotional process.
Your year of hard work has been developed in a new Moderat sound: complex melodies with an always impeccable production. What can you tell us about the creative process?
The creative process is always different. This time has been more from track to track. We started working on the record by collecting lots of songs, we selected some ideas and we started working from there. A few of them came to life, but most of them are still on the folder.
On the three-piece vinyl edition, there are some remixes by Benjamin Damage, Siriusmo, or Skee Mask, among others. Did you conceive the record with their collaborations on mind?
No. When we finished the record, we started working on an extra release where we asked people to remix us. So on the deluxe edition we have a remix by Paul Woolford, aka Special Request, and one by Answer Code Request. And on the box we have three remixes by Benjamin Damage, Siriusmo, Skee Mask, Hodges and NGHT DRPS. But we also have a premium release with the instrumental version of the record on CD and vinyl. And the clue of these releases is that we have another album on the box, which is made of unfinished songs, some ideas and outtakes from the record, so its another almost 40 minute album, which is not available anywhere else.
How do you feel with the overall result now that it’s finished?
Very good, pretty happy. I think this record might be as close as possible to what we think Moderat is.
You’ve known each other for a long time, but you’ve said that you’ve never tried to get your projects as Apparat and Modeselektor close in order to develop Moderat. How is working together like?
It’s not Modeselektor plus Apparat – we are Moderat. We are three guys who make music together as a band, it’s not a project made of projects. Moderat started as the side venture, but it’s become the main thing. It’s something new now.
Both of your solo projects, as well as Moderat, have risen and become part of Berlin’s music scene. How does the city cosmos influence you as artists?
The music scene has of course influenced us a lot, but we’ve never really felt part of the Berlin cliché, or what the media call “the music scene”. So if you or the media want us to be part of the Berlin music scene, I think we are okay with that, but we’d never say that we are ambassadors of the scene whatsoever. We don’t care, to be honest.
In your live shows, the music and the visuals go hand in hand. How do you develop that synergy between them?
We’ve worked together with Pfadfinderei from the very early stages of our music career. The creative process between us and and Pfadfinderei is very simple: we give them directions, and they give us ideas, then we find middle ground. So it’s not that we want them to do certain things, they have the creative freedom, but we define rules before we start working – otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to make something successful at the end.
New album, new tour: how will your live performances be this time?
We got rid of some stuff, like the monument of screens. We did something a little bit different: we wanted to strip down everything, which was also our idea when writing the record. Take things out, minimise to maximise.
The tickets for your upcoming shows are being sold out in just a few minutes. How do you feel about that?
What do you think?
Yes, of course! (Laughs). We didn’t expect that. The record wasn’t even out and the shows went out so quickly, so of course it makes us happy that we have a strong fanbase.
It’s been three years since you released your previous album, how do you face this new Moderat phase?
I really don’t know. I think we basically made this record to be on tour, that’s what we really want to do. We really enjoy playing shows and being on the road.