For a band launched just three years ago, GHEIST have achieved a lot. The Berlin-based project have taken their unique melodic sound to coveted venues like Watergate, Fuse Brussels and Egg London. Though they’re known for their groovy hybrid sets and live performances, the quartet have also made a name for themselves as skilled producers with strong releases on labels like Exploited and Sasha’s Last Night On Earth.
Last year, the group started a new chapter in their musical journey, launching their own imprint. Dubbed Radau, which translates into ‘noise’ in German, the label has given the band the ultimate creative freedom they need to continue their emotive sonic pursuits. Just before their new single, ‘Monaco F.’ comes out via Radau, we caught up with the guys to talk about the label, working with Sasha, and why friendship is important both in the booth and the studio.
Hi guys, what have you been up to lately?
Hi everyone, hope you’re doing well! Actually we’ve been celebrating and enjoying a very intense and successful year. 2018 gave us some incredible shows, we met some very nice people and on top of that we started our own imprint‚ Radau Records with an amazing first release, ‘Frequent Tendencies’ and a great follow up‚ ‘Ueberall’. But still we are sure this is just the beginning.
How did you spend the holidays and do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
I guess we don’t believe too much in New Year’s resolutions, but we do believe in holidays. After we spent Christmas Eve with our families, we spread out over the globe to start the new year in a sunny way and to recharge our batteries for everything that’s to come. We all love to travel, which is also one of the reasons we love being musicians. To go places with your friends, what more could you ask for?
A remix of one of your tracks was just released as part of a compilation on Sasha’s imprint Last Night On Earth. How did this come about? How did you first get signed on the label?
In early 2017 we sent tracks to different labels we thought could be a fit, one of these labels was LNOE. Sasha and his team chose to release ‘Final Chords’, one of our tracks and we managed to make it a quite successful EP for everyone. So we kept on working together and planned a 2nd EP, ‘Somerset’ which appeared in early 2018. To celebrate the hundredth release on LNOE, they put out an remix album and our track ‘Somerset’ is one of the tracks that was remixed. What to say, sometimes things work out.
Has Sasha been a big influence on you musically through the years and did you ever think you’d be releasing music on his imprint?
Sasha is one of the few DJs who built a career from the late ‘80s on and still is a big part of this scene. We have a lot of respect for such an amazing achievement. We really dig his breakbeat kind of style and his edgy but melodic way to express himself. To be honest when we first started GHEIST, we always thought LNOE would be a fit, but you never know how these kinds of things turn out. We are truly happy to be a part of the LNOE family and we are always happy to share a stage with Sasha.
You also have a solo release on your label, Radau coming up. Can you tell us how and when you made the track? And why ‘Monaco F.’?
We usually start creating a track on the piano, as we are figuring out the harmonies before we go deeper into production. During the process we lay out the rhythmic patterns and develop more and more the key elements, like a baseline or an additional melody, add samples and come up with a first arrangement. When we have the first draft done, we are mixing the track and play it in one of our sets. From then on we are going back into detail till we are happy. A funny story about this track in particular is that we started it with the break. We had the idea for this part for a while and it kind of waited for its purpose for months, until we started working on some further elements, which then led to ‘Monaco F’ as it will be released now. The main production was finished in autumn last year. Why the track is called ‘Monaco F.‘ is actually quite a funny story, which we like to keep to us. On top of that we are into the idea of you having your own version of what it means.
I know you guys also make the artwork for each Radau release. Is retaining full creative control over the release important for you? Why?
Actually remaining full control over every step of our creative but also business output, is something that is key to our approach to this industry as a group. We all have different strengths, which combined allow us to act mainly self sufficient. Creating a visual identity for GHEIST and our imprint Radau is just one of the things we cover. We are doing this because we find it to be rewarding and it feels somehow right and natural to follow through from the beginning to the end and not to bail out at some point. We are happy to be in charge, with all its consequences but we are also glad to have people around us that give us great advice.
You guys have been friends for ages. Does your friendship help you work better together in the studio and in the booth? Is it important for you to work with friends?
We’ve been friends for many years now and we’ve been actually doing music together from the beginning. We cannot separate one thing from the other and it feels just right the way it is. Your friends somehow are the family you choose and we couldn’t be more happy about having each other. To be touring as a group, creating music in the studio or making plans for your future, we think it’s impossible not to become friends or even family. Also knowing each other so well makes us work better together in the studio or the booth. We know exactly what we can expect from every single one of us in various situations.
We’ve seen footage of your studio and we get the impression you guys seem to love analogue gear. What does analogue give you that digital can’t?
As musicians it’s always nice to have an instrument in front of you. Analogue equipment has a certain charm to it in sound and handling, but to be honest we just have a lot of gear that each one of us collected throughout the years. You have to keep in mind that we are four guys. For us the digital possibilities are definitely in the same way important as the analogue. In the end both are just tools we use to bring an idea to life.
Your hybrid sets are quite interesting. Why did you pick this way of performing as opposed to a DJ set or a full live set?
We were planning to do something new, not just for the audience but also for us. Both a DJ set and a full live performance have certain key strengths to create a special vibe on stage. We wanted to put both of them into one experience. As a hybrid, it’s possible to play long sets, including not just your own productions and to adapt to the different circumstances you’re in. You might want to play a different set in a club at night compared to a daylight festival. On the other hand we were aiming to include the emotional impact of a live performance. So what we basically do, is coming up with edits of tracks we like, adding life elements like vocals, synth or drums and create something new out of it. This is our approach to push DJing and make it our own.
You’re regulars at Berlin’s Watergate. How did this come about and what does it mean to you to play there?
We are truly grateful to have the Watergate crew on board. They have been supporting us from the beginning. The Watergate became something like a home base to us. They must like what we are doing and we definitely like to play shows at this lovely spot.
As we are living in Berlin, it’s always a great pleasure to play in front of your friends and a great crowd that is willing to share a moment with you and celebrate it.
What else do you have in the works for 2019?
We have planned a couple of releases and we are working on new music like we always do. We’ll also keep on developing our performance with new ideas, so we are able to give the best of us to the audience.
We are very much looking forward to meet each and everyone of you on the dance floor and share a moment of joy. So be safe and see you soon.