Booka Shade Interview - Techno Is Electro's Answer To Rock N Roll

Meet Arno, one half of Booka Shade. If you're unfamiliar with  Booka Shade they're the techno masterminds behind 'Nightfalls', 'In White Rooms', 'Body Language' and many more techno classics. We had a chat to Arno about the history of Booka Shade, their new album Cut The Strings, and what's next for the project. 

Futuremag Music: How did you and Walter meet? Where did your love of music begin?

Booka Shade: We’ve known each other for a very long time. We actually met in school. We realised quickly what we wanted to do and achieve something with music. Ideally make a living off music, as crazy as it might’ve seen back then. This was in the 80’s, so it was very difficult. We put a lot of effort into music and loved being in the studio. So, when the 90’s hit we found techno and fell in love. This just blew us away, because we discovered that we could be in the studio all the time and produce the music we love. We released tracks over various labels, with Booka Shade only being one of those projects. In the early 2000’s, we founded a label with our friend Mandy called Get Physical, and that began the era of just focusing on the Booka Shade sound and project as a whole.

Walter plays keyboard and guitar, and I’m a drummer. We’ve always worked like this in the studio. Walter is the main studio guy and song writer, where as I look after things like what we’re doing now, and more of the things you have to deal outside of the studio. We usually get together in the afternoon to exchange ideas and produce together in the studio. This is how it’s worked since we met, it hasn’t really changed because it’s a proven method. It works very well for us.


Futuremag Music: How’s the community reacted to released singles ‘Aftermath’, ‘Night Surfing’, along with ‘Cut The Strings’ coming from the LP with the same name?

Booka Shade: The overall perception of what we hear is that people are very happy and enthusiastic that we concentrate on the Booka Shade sound. It was something we had to learn again after our previous album. We have a privilege to be known for a certain sound, which is quite difficult for an electronic instrument act to master. You need to find your musical language which is recognisable. We’re feel so privileged to have a certain trade mark sound that people listen to and like. This forthcoming album is us saying we have returned with a new energy, and we now have a new way of speaking our language. From what we’ve heard is that the singles and album have that Booka Shade sound, but they push it a bit further.

Futuremag Music: You were saying you’ve developed a unique sound for Booka Shade. What goes into creating an album like Cut The Strings to achieve that sound?

 Booka Shade: It’s mostly Walter starting the song writing process, which is the most time consuming thing, to come up with new melodies, arrangements, or just sound clusters that are interesting and don’t sound like anything else we’ve produced. There are a couple of vocal collaborations on the album. We have a basic arrangement before sending it to a vocalist, so they can work on it. All the vocals are quite atmospheric. We either have a demo instrumental and send it to a vocalist or we start with a sound, like a vocoder and work from there.

Futuremag Music: What’s the plan for Booka Shade after the album’s release and accompanying tour?

Booka Shade: First off, we want to show people that we’re back with the traditional Booka Shade sound. We said let’s focus on where we come from which is the club, and those techno genes in our bodies and DNA, since the early 90s. It’s fun to return to our roots because it’s always been with us, and we love it. Touring this year will be focused on more electronic events, and the setup is very much focused on dance clubs.  The plan is also to be much faster with our releases. After this album there will be a couple of remixes releases which we’re currently planning, so I can’t say much more. We’re aiming for a constant release flow. In the past we’ve missed complete trends, like EDM came and left. We survived EDM quite nicely, and we keep on going doing what we do. Techno is the rock and roll of the electronic scene, nothing much changes, but it’s there and people love it.  It hasn’t really been away as such, but it is definitely having a big resurgence by taking over from EDM.

You can pre-order Booka Shade's Cut The Strings LP, HERE.