If you’re only slightly involved in the electronic music scene in and around Berlin, the name Soukie & Windish will ring a bell for you. Together with Sebo and Madmotormiquel the two boys founded the label URSL which has become a lighthouse in Berlin’s nightlife.
Born in Northern Germany, Fritz “Windish” Dyckerhoff and Nayan Soukie were flatmates in their twenties when they decided to embark on a musical journey together that slowly evolved from organizing private parties to booking DJs, and eventually led them to producing electronic music, and signing artists professionally.
“For each podcast Fritz and I are fighting which tracks to feature, and which not. Especially for podcasts we have a strict standard regarding the musical quality. At first, the end of the mix was much harder, more technoid, darker. Fritz listened to the first version on a beach somewhere in South America, and couldn’t handle it…
With the baby steps of their careers taken in Hamburg, the two musicians now live and work in Berlin, where they have a studio space rented in the Wilde Renate—one of Berlin’s better clubbing addresses. Soon, the two DJs will move their studio facilities to Holzmarkt25, a giant project that includes the infamous KaterBlau nightclub alongside some non-nightlife, cultural and educational projects situated at the Spree riverbank, pushing more sustainable ideas of urban development.
Soukie & Windish are regulars in Berlin’s clubs and places such as KaterBlau, Renate, Watergate, Fusion Festival and Bachstelzen Collective parties. They hold an impressive international record of gigs played across the globe.
Today, we are proud that Soukie & Windish are gracing our pages with their contribution for our Mix of the Month series. Stream or download their exclusive podcast below, and make sure to read on for a few topics we discussed with the duo in a personal interview.
“…now the end fits better to the other pieces, there’s no break, and it gets rather deeper again. The final result is a classic podcast with tracks that are very beautiful. Perfect for a spontaneous rave in your living room but also for a piece of cake with a cup of tea. Enjoy listening!”
WT: Hey boys. Tell us about how you ended up with playing and producing electronic music to make people dance. Did you see this all coming?
Nayan: I started to produce music on computers at the age of 13. First I made hip-hop in the early nineties, and later, in the studio of my uncle, I tried different styles from chill-out to drum’n’bass, and also dub electronics. I was really hooked at the age of 14 years, and I would stay for long periods in a dark basement during summertime just for practicing and learning. Then, I stopped for a while and came back later early 2000 with an electro-pop project.
We had some gigs but eventually everything ended up with a deal by the independent label lado which was going bankrupt really fast after we got signed. So then I began exploring techno minimal house, and was really fascinated by the vibe of this music.
Slowly, Fritz and me started to produce, it was really hard and frustrating in the beginning because we lived in Bremen and there were not many other artists from whom we could learn. We only had contact to Stephan Bodzin who was becoming a super star at this time, and he was way too far in terms of production skills that he could give us tips for our level of production skills. But we learned at this time that there are a lot of possibilities in this job—creatively, but also to earn money, and also to explore this world. We both have somehow an enthusiastic mind, and it was never really an option to get a normal 40-hour-per-week job.
So we really decide that we’ll manage somehow, and then everything started really slowly but always with a really good feeling and it was from the beginning one of the best thing’s in life we could imagine. So, yes—we saw this coming. I think you must believe in what you do, especially when you produce techno, where each artist is in competition with a huge amount of other good artists.
If you are not highly talented you really have to work to get better. It’s fun but it’s also kind of hard, and without enthusiasm and a vision it’s not possible I think.
WT: What or who inspires you—inside and outside of DJing and electronic music?
Fritz: We both read a lot. Actually I’m fantasizing about writing our own little stories one day. Reading books help to distract your mind and leaves space for ideas. Also boredom is important for the creative process, sitting around in planes, airport, trains… I think somehow this annoying time lets ideas evolve. Furthermore, I draw a lot of sound design inspiration from movies and TV shows.
When we travel, we often visit museums and art exhibitions at the places we travel, it’s a perfect preparation for a gig… and also helps to get over the hangover after the show, it calms and heals the soul somehow. And a good network of people and friends is important, that feed you with new stuff. Because in the DJ/producer bubble… you nearly find no time to listen to other music and it’s very important to have “filter friends” that send inspirations.
Nayan: We are inspired by many different artist. I really like ambient, world music with interesting instruments and beats, dissonant music from all genres, but also pop classics or eighties classics. I listen to everything—also classic stuff, and German and American hip-hop.
“We live in a time now where every sphere of art has to deal with the fact that there is no big revolution in sight that could change everything. It’s all about recombination now.”
I love and I hate also a lot. Music is somehow a really direct and emotional language, if I don’t like something it puts me directly into a nervous and annoyed mood, and the opposite if I listen to good music. The older I get the more I like special stuff, I think it’s like kids love spaghetti with ketchup and old people prefer really hard tastes like disgusting smelling cheese. I think our production also changed a lot because of this process. Now the DJ sets and productions are more special in comparison to our first releases.
Outside of music I don’t have inspirations for music. When I start to produce I’m in a totally autark space. For example I had a period in my life I didn’t feel really good because of private problems but the music [I made] at this time was much more positive and happy than now.
WT: What do you love most about your job as DJs?
Nayan: I really love when people are thankful for a good night and sharing the same taste and enthusiasm for music. It’s a way of basic communication, and can deeply satisfy.
Fritz: Finding that special mix of two tracks, which generates a new piece of music.
WT: What is the city with the coolest underground vibe in 2017?
Nayan: Tough question. I can’t say really, because the underground is becoming more rare these days. There are less illegal raves out there. Berlin has still a lot of interesting upcoming clubs and parties, there are some young people starting new parties with a very nice and chilled atmosphere, also politically interested groups are doing nice work in Berlin. In the end, I think it’s still Berlin but everywhere from Australia to Norway there are nice people with the same attitude doing good stuff. On the other hand, I would really appreciate if there were more illegal parties out there. I miss that a little bit.
“Fuck streaming, fuck beatport, and Apple. The future of electronic music you will find again in places where facebook is not existing, and acts don’t even have a Soundcloud profile.”
WT: The DJ seems to be the rock star of our generation, Techno seems to be the modern Rock’n’Roll, Burning Man our generation’s Woodstock. Please take an educated guess how future generations will re-invent music and festival culture to distinguish themselves from us, their parents.
Fritz: We will find a constantly evolving sound. The tropical bass or slow house movement with lots of indigenous sounds from south america, and on the counterpart the abstract world of labels like houndstooth. What the young producers do is: they go back to the lab. Modular, Roland, Juno… using old sound machines and techniques to create new and fresh atmospheres, and then—vinyl only.
Fuck streaming, fuck beatport, and Apple. The future of electronic music you will find again in places where facebook is not existing and acts don’t even have a Soundcloud profile. Because this is just not real. Yeah, I think the future of music lies in realness and honesty. By the way, this goes out to the party promoters of the big American festivals—my heart bleeds when I see how disrespectful you treat the inventors of the music from Detroit and Chicago. Learn your own music culture, and book the artist right, and beware white money crap.
WT: A very conservative Swiss publication wrote a critical review about the acclaimed Garbicz festival, in which I understand you are involved. Among some notes which I find not worth discussing they did make some interesting observations. One of them touches on the history and future of electronic music. Basically, the criticism is that techno hasn’t evolved much since its early days. On another note, they criticize that the drugs have become the main act, while DJs have degenerated to being merely flanking support to the festival attendees’ individual “drug menu“.
What and how would you respond to the editor of that article in a face-to-face conversation?
Nayan: My hypothesis is that it was written by an older journalist with a ‘culture pessimist’ attitude. Really wrong in a lot of points, and with an arrogant attitude.
Techno repeats? We live in a time now where every sphere of art has to deal with the fact that there is no big revolution in sight that could change everything. It’s all about recombination now. From the 90ies, of course, techno has always evolved, and is one of the most interesting genres because only the “4 to the floor’ grooves are the same. Apart from that, everything is possible—every sound, every noise. It’s highly experimental music, way more changing and diverse than other genres.
The way he writes about drugs and DJs… well, there are so many people out there which are sober or micro-dosing. Of course, there are drug addicts as well. It’s not a homogenous mass, and also the perception of music is heterogenous. A smart journalist should know this. Sorry, but pseudo-intellectual articles with stupid arguments make me angry. I recommend to read the comment section, they have some good answers in there.
Fritz: Ok, first of all—this person simply has no clue about electronic music. My Mom also thought it’s always the same track that I listened to. To develop an ear for electronic music you need some years to understand the differences of styles of the main genres Techno and House, and all the subgenres that popped up from there.
It’s true that history is repeating. At the moment acid is back, but it is totally differently produced than back in the 90ies. But a greenhorn like this swiss mountain dwarf simply cannot hear these differences. We started Garbicz Festival with an Ambient set from Rødhåd, normally a berghain techno master, and we closed the festival at the ambient floor.
Also Chicago is back on track, classics for the masses. What is wrong about teaching young people good old music? Electronic music is a culture with history and not an innovation lab anymore. Just imagine critics of the new 700-million-Euro Elbphilharmonie just built in hamburg. That’s a lot of money, and they play the same music there that was played 200 years ago. It’s all about the little nuances, how the violin is played this time and the conductor strikes his baton. The same thing is a DJ doing. Every fucking DJ set in this world is unique… imagine this! It was never the same, and will never be. Anyway… we get bored sometimes as well, but this is only the grinding point to find new motivation.
Regarding the drugs… drugs are an essential part of human evolution, without them we would not be the same, and festivals are important creative hubs where people from all over the world meet and talk, and love, exchange DNA, and generate energy… wherever it goes!
I think international electronic music festivals can contribute an essential peace-keeping impact to globalization, and are an evolutionary part of it. Techno and its festivals are a logical consequence of caveman drums and gatherings… drugs throughout history have brought tribes together. At Garbicz Festival we have a strong focus on “celebrate safe”, with our Powerranger task force and the Eclipse medic team. Drugs are illegal and we can not control what people do at full range, so we have to look after our guests. The main problem indeed is that people are not educated in our society how to do drugs.
WT: What venue in the world would you like to play?
Fritz: Xanadu, Hogwarts, ISS, Buckingham Palace, Macchu Picchuuuuuuuu.
Nayan: I don’t believe anymore that the overhyped venues are the more exciting ones. So I prefer good people with attitude, interested in music and a good sound system. That’s the most important thing, and it can happen everywhere.
WT: If you could talk to your younger self of 10 years ago, what would you tell him?
Nayan: Don’t try to make consense music, be more special, take yourself seriously.
Fritz: Stop studying bullshit. Get creative now!
WT: Any developments in the pipeline for 2017 that you would like to talk about?
Fritz: We have around 10 new tracks ready. All unreleased, labels are welcome for signing.
Nayan: We really want to do our live set, but I can’t promise that it will happen.
WT: Thanks guys, for your time, and for the great music. And please make sure you put us on the guest list for that gig at Buckingham Palace.
TRACKLIST Mix of the Month December 2016
compiled by Soukie & Windish
Omar-S – Time Mo 1 (Norm Talley Mix)
Aroma Pitch – Moments In Limbo
Tom Pooks – Trouble(Djulz Remix)
Diego Krause – Drift
Achterbahn d Amour – Trance Me Up (Skudge Remix)
Martin Buttrich – Hoochie Mama (Original Mix)
Aroma Pitch – Portal
Taylor Deupree – Untitled 4 (Marco Shuttle Solar Reshape)
unknown – The Cat
Langenberg – Never Worry
Route 8 – The Sunrise In Her Eyes
Roman Flügel – Planet Zoo