Interview with Tune Brothers about their album 15, out now on Housesession. There is an amazing story still to be told, and that is about the fascinating house duo ‘Tune Brothers’ from Stuttgart, in Germany. The release of their album 15 takes them once again to the forefront of the house scene, as many global players support tracks from them, and those are considered as high quality party anthems, which can set any dance floor on fire. Of course, Tune Brothers are first and foremost DJ’s, and then producers. They love to play for small or big crowds, and they know how to work their selection, in order to bring the maximum effect on the dance floor.
If there is a 15-year gap between the first gig as a duo and the debut album, a lot must have happened in the life of a DJ team. This is exactly what happened: In their 15-year career the TUNE BROTHERS -- founded in 1996 in Stuttgart -- not only seized global success, but also founded Housesession, an international network of labels, artists, and radio shows. Furthermore, they managed to make their platform climb to the top of the German version of the international House Scene.
During 1996 the world just demanded plain House music, House music is now known for being much more sophisticated, more complex, and more specialised than ever. At the same time, the audience's artistic demands became more diverse. The TUNE BROTHERS -- throughout their career -- have met the growing challenges, dealt with the changes, and influenced as DJs, producers, remixers and label-owners.
This is why, weekend after weekend, they reel off the usual disc-jockey-frequent-flyer schedule: New York, Moscow, Amsterdam, Seoul, Miami, Zurich, Vienna, and Jakarta. No matter if on the American or Asian continent, the TUNE BROTHERS demonstrate their sound, which has grown for a decade and a half. Where are you a stranger, if House music is like Esperanto? Occasionally the TUNE BROTHERS stop by their home port of Stuttgart, to entertain with their party series "Housesession". In Munich's club ‘Pacha’, guests are equally pleased by the duo's regular visits.
The constant progression to the top, is of course not only due to their status as experienced DJ’s, but rather TUNE BROTHERS hit productions like "The Drones", "Groovy Baby", "I like it 2010" or "High Energy", which are strong arguments for the world market. The world market in turn, closely notices their versatile Housesession-Cosmos. The global DJ front loads their CD cases and laptops, with more than 100 releases by Housesession Records, Sume Music, Bang It, and Red Eleven Recordings. Releases by well-known names like Swanky Tunes, Jason Chance, The Good Guys, Boogie Pimps, DJ Fist, Disfunktion, Niels van Gogh, Belocca, as well as selectively boosted talents, often rank high on Beatport and global charts.
"After continuous successes on dance charts and Beatport, an album was the reasonable consequence", the TUNE BROTHERS explain the development of their debut album. For it not to be released until 15 years after their formation, after what felt to be 15x15 gigs a year, and an estimated 2x15 singles, only makes sense when reading their biography. Fatefully, it becomes clear what the album title "15" tries to suggest. One has arrived. One has achieved one's aim. Things work out, one would say. Now the great art can begin. "For our album, we have taken a complete rest and locked ourselves in the studio with Peter Hoff." Full concentration. No remixes for other acts, no cooperation’s, no singles. Just 15 songs for the album.
That's the concept: "15" is a consistent dance album. "All tracks can be part of a TUNE BROTHERS set". One does not get lost in ambiance lounge fields, but goes through with the album as an honest club set, just like the TUNE BROTHERS have learnt it from scratch. "It was important for us to not drift off into other genre." "15" climbs up steep, saw-toothed Dutch electro-hills, focuses on numerous histrionic Big-Room-Heights, and wanders through dark Tech-Progressive-Valleys, until one reaches the next clearing, which is filled with stunning vocals of guests like, Corey Andrew, Lety, Polina Griffith or Alec Sun Drae. At many skilful changes in style, the TUNE BROTHERS follow all the rules of contemporary House music, some of which they have established over the past 15 years. This is a sound-wall at the highest international production level.
But this not only applies to pure club tracks like "Don't go", "The Alert" or "Disco" but also to vocal tunes like "Big Surprise", "Good Feeling" or "Play A Little", which possess huge crossover potential. Especially, the last-mentioned tracks, which were developed and carefully adjusted for weeks. "We made layouts, and supplied our existing network of singers with layouts, to produce the vocal themes. During the production process, we have tested the tracks over the weekends and changed them on Mondays. Full vocal versions evolved from instrumental mixes."
As the first single the vocal track "Into The Fire" was finally selected, which makes an appearance as an extensive remix package of versions by Disfunktion, Niels van Gogh, Tujamo, Bartosz Brenes and Nick Mentes. It was recorded with the New York singer Corey Andrew. But it will not be left at that. Each of the 15 tracks is worth a single. Preferably one per DJ-duo year. This is what was worked for, for a long time. The first path of the TUNE BROTHERS ends with "15" -- and with this debut album their career takes the next step.
The release of their album is the perfect occasion to organise an interview with them, and thanks to Natalie, we managed to do it, and I believe is worth reading, as there many interesting stories that the guys tell for first time. Enjoy their straight-from-the heart answers, because at the end of the day, House is a feeling, and Tune Brothers know really well how to translate this feeling into emotions, and the fantastic music that they either deliver as a DJ set, or as an original production or remix.
Dimitri: When and where were you born? Do you come from a family that has any relation to music or any other form of arts? Did your family support you in your decision to get involved with DJ'ing and producing your own music, or did they try to discourage you in order to choose a more “serious” and socially acceptable job?
Matthias: I’m born 16/06/71 in Esslingen – Germany. Of course, my parents were not really happy about my choice of job, but at the end they see that everything is good, and I’m happy with this decision. My brother is playing guitar in a jazz band.
Markus: I’m also born in Esslingen, on Dec 15th 1974. Sure, I had the same “problems” with my parents. I stopped my study to have more time for the music. It was not that easy for me to explain to them my passion for music, and to show them that this is a serious profession, because there is no other relation in my family to music or arts. My father was a football player, so he wanted the same career for me.
Dimitri: Can you list for us the Top 5 artists, producers, or DJ’s that have influenced your music style, and your DJ’ing?
Tune Brothers: We are addicted to the ones like David Morales, Roger Sanchez, Frankie Knuckles, Erick Morillo or Armand van Helden. Those guys were our heroes, and had a great influence on our music, when we started into the House scene. Nowadays there are even more acts to name…
Dimitri: When and where was your first DJ gig in front of a large audience, and which event was your breakthrough moment, where the house music community started to discuss your name.
Tune Brothers: One of our first official gigs was in a small club in Stuttgart called Climax. We hosted there, a monthly party called “STC – Stay Tuned Club”. But there was not one special breakthrough moment in our career, it was more like a continuous development, with many important moments like playing on the Space terrace in Ibiza, Cocoon @ Amnesia or huge events like the Love Parade in Berlin.
Dimitri: When did you meet each other and why are you still together after so many years? Is there any secret as to how to keep a friendship running for so many years, that you would like to reveal to us?
Tune Brothers: There is no real secret to reveal. A real friendship is without doubt the formula for success of a team. Therefore, I think anybody knows how deal with a friendship – that’s it. We are friends for ages, even before we started DJ’ing and producing. But of course, it’s difficult to combine a friendship and a job. But as you see, we can handle it real good, so there is no need to change anything. Never change a winning team…
Dimitri: Why did you decide to start your own club events in Stuttgart, under the name ‘Housesession’, and why did you believe you became so legendary and successful? Is it possible to choose for us your best and worst memory from any of those events?
Tune Brothers: I think the secret is that we are authentic at any time with anything we did. We shared our love for the music with the people, and they have been very grateful. Under our brand ‘Housesession’, we booked the world’s greatest talents, like Roger Sanchez, Armand van Helden, David Guetta, and David Morales, to Stuttgart. This was just amazing for everyone. The best memory is our 10th Tune Brothers anniversary in Stuttgart, with Mark Knight and Barbara Tucker as the vocal host on the mic. The venue was sold out with 3500 people, and all of them had gone mad. When you are running so many events as we did, you also have some worse moments. Personally, for me it was hard to accompany David Morales to an almost empty club, as he is one of my heroes – but that’s Clublife sometimes.
Dimitri: Of course you started your own really successful and widely respected record label ‘Housesession’. Why did you want to have your own imprint, and is it possible to choose for us the Top 5 releases so far from your label, and give us a short comment about each one.
Tune Brothers: We have been always well organised ourselves, with an excellent team in the background. Therefore, in the beginning we had our experiences with other labels, and at the end we were not happy with the results. When we were signed to other labels, we spend more time discussing problems, than we worked in the studio. So the conclusion was to start a record label, with our absolute own responsibility.
- Hands – Marc Kulak // The first release of Housesession Records. This one got the ball rolling
- I like it – Tune Brothers // including mixes from Tom Novy, Ian Carey, Wawa - masterpiece
- Self Control – Patric La Funk // great release from our buddy with massive mixes
- Spotlight – The Good Guys // big success all over – Avicii Remix was off the hook
- All Day And All Of The Night - The Boogie Pimps // This was the first release of the Pimps on Housesession – good coop till today!
Sorry to all we did not mention right here. We had so many great & important releases / artists like Swanky Tunes, Jason Chance, Peter Brown, Chris Montana, Disfunktion, Plastik Funk, Belocca & Soneec, Etienne Ozborne, Lauer & Canard, Terri B, Jozsef Keller & Pete-R, - Thanks guys!
Dimitri: Is there a special thing that a track should contain in order to get a release under your label imprint? In other words, do you have a motto or a concept that drives your label forward, and if possible, can you let us know some of the future releases that will come, and we should look forward too.
Tune Brothers: That’s really easy to answer… The track should fit in a Tune Brothers DJ set. This is the first requirement.
Dimitri: When did you take the decision to get into the studio and start producing your own tunez? Which track was the one that made you really famous and well known in the house scene?
Tune Brothers: “I like it” was for sure an important track for us. With a massive support from e.g. David Guetta this release helped us to enter the next stage. But it is similar to a previous question as we had also a continuous development as producers with many remixes and originals.
Dimitri: How long did it take you to complete the album, and was the production of it a difficult or an easy process, which you will remember with joy?
Tune Brothers: We had a great time while producing this album. It took around about 3 months, but we had even more tracks at the end, so that we had to drop some of them. Of course, we will remember it with joy and pride.
Dimitri: Why do you call the album 15, and it would be great if you can give us a short comment about each track included in this album.
Tune Brothers: “15” is the name because of our 15th Tune Brothers anniversary in 2011.
01 Into the Fire - Tune Brothers & Corey Andrew
The first track we did on this album even before we had the idea to work on an album :D
02 I Feel (Thursday) - Tune Brothers
We tested this one for the first time at Pacha Munich – I had goose bumps the entire time.
03 Play a Little - Tune Brothers feat. Alex Sun Drae
This track was originally planed as an instrumental. It was worthwhile to wait for this amazing Vox from Alex
04 Big Surprise - Tune Brothers feat. Lety
This will be our next single release with mixes from Jerry Ropero, Etienne Ozborne and more
05 The Alert - Tune Brothers
After many “Tune Brothers Alert” remixes here is the original “Alert”
06 Don't Go - Tune Brothers
Hammered this already so often and it always works in our sets – ok it’s a bit crazy
07 Hello Friday - Tune Brothers
Formerly known as Bah Bah Bah :D
08 Aggression - Tune Brothers
Amazing feedbacks on this track… It’s the pick of Erick Morillo… Let’s go wild…
09 Beside Her - Tune Brothers
Maybe that’s an insider tip
10 Good Feeling - Tune Brothers
Stay tuned for the vocal version of this one
11 Diamonds - Tune Brothers feat. Polina Griffith
Polina we love you!!! We changed this track I think 100 times
12 Mamaschiba - Tune Brothers
Back to the Basics… that’s real House Music
13 Jump it Up - Tune Brothers
14 Disco - Tune Brothers
Disco Fever 2011 – get down…
15 Piano - Tune Brothers
One of our favs
Dimitri: Within this great album you work with some very talented vocalists. Is it easy to find some good vocalists to work on a house track, and are there any vocalists or pop singers that you wish to co-operate in the future for a particular track?
Tune Brothers: We have an excellent artist network here, so it was easy for us to find some vocalists. Except for Alex, we knew all the singers, and have even worked together. So it’s nearly a family thing… Our wish list for vocalists or pop singers is really long. Of course pop projects are always very interesting to remix.
Dimitri: You had the chance to work as a DJ with all the different formats from vinyl to CD and digital MP3’s. I wonder if you are a vinyl fanatic, or if you like to adopt easily in the new technologies and take advantage of them. i.e. laptop DJ’s
Tune Brothers: We have been vinyl junkies for years, with more than 25,000 vinyl’s altogether, but there is no doubt that vinyl is dead, so we started with the first edition of vinyl scratch, and switched now to the CDJ 2000. So this is not a problem at all for us – it’s fun to check out all the new technologies.
Dimitri: It would be cool to list for us the TOP 3 clubs or countries that you have performed in so far, and you had great time with the crowd there.
Tune Brothers: Germany – of course that’s our base
Ibiza (Amnesia / Space) – that’s the place to be
Asia – all over!!! The people know how to party
Dimitri: One of my favourite questions to all the DJ’s is that one about self-reflection and self-criticism. Out of 10 with what score do you rate the various elements of your DJ performances and why?
Tunethers Bro: I think we should be rated by others
Dimitri: Do you actively use the internet and the social networks? Do you consider “Facebook, Twitter and YouTube” so important for the promotion of you and your label, or do you feel that social network importance is a bit exaggerated and over hyped?
Tune Brothers: The social network is absolutely important. It’s a great way to communicate with your fan base out there. We try, together with our team, to handle this matter carefully.
Dimitri: Everyone is feeling really sad at the moment because of the recent disastrous earthquake in Japan. Is it possible to tell us your feelings when you first heard about the news, and is Japan a country with great nightclubs that you love to perform in? Do you have any unforgettable clubbing or personal memories from Japan?
Tune Brothers: Unfortunately, we have never performed in Japan. But we are shocked and affected about what happened there.
Dimitri: The Housesession radio show launched on the youth radio station DASDING in 2000 and still continues strong. Why you believe the show is still so successful, and what is your opinion about each major DJ having his own radio show, that is usually syndicated to many stations around the globe.
Tune Brothers: We are always working on the concept of the show. At the beginning in 2000, we had some moderation parts what we dropped some years ago. The sound is always fresh & hot, and we present a lot of famous and hot talent in the mix in the 2nd hour of the show. So the show is always up to date to what happens out there in the clubs. That’s what the people like. Nowadays it is nothing more than a standard for every DJ to host a radio show.
Dimitri: Thanks very much for this interview. Please give us your message to all the young DJ’s who wish to become successful, and release a track on your great label. Please complete also the phrase. According to you HOUSE IS…………..
Tune Brothers: A FEELING!
Many thanks to Nicole Hofman at Publicity Lab for helping me to organize this interview
Interview is written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias "Flux presents House Anthems"