Described on their own website as "Bavarian Bulldozers from Munich, Germany," production duo Schlacthobronx bring their club crushing "dancehall-meets-hip-hop in the sweat-drenched middle of a rave" style to America for a three-day tour to play Moombahton Massive events in Washington, DC, Brooklyn, NY, and Miami, FL that kicks off tonight (January 22). If unfamiliar with Schlacthofbronx, they're likely on the list of your favorite rising EDM producers favorite producers. Releases on Mad Decent, Man Recordings, Magnet Muzik, and a plethora of global labels bear testament to this fact, and as well, their live sets are known for being truly boundless excursions into the heart of funky and soulful riddims free of being defined to BPM or stylistic influence. I had the opportunity to get a few questions answered by the tandem as they're presently in the studio preparing for this mini-tour and the rest of 2014. If unfamiliar, this is an ideal introduction to a top-tier combination in the world of global bass.
When was the first time that you heard the sounds that have most specifically influenced the music you make today? Who were the artists, and why did you connect with the music?
Don't think there is the one sound that influenced us the most. We grew up loving reggae/dancehall as well as rap music, plus there was that whole rave/electronic spectrum that opened up so many new perspectives the more you got into it, the whole UK hardcore continuum and all that, plus all that more niche stuff you could only discover once the Internet hit hard. So, it's really hard to pin down a main influence for us it feels much better - and also is a lot more tricky by the way - to be able to produce a lot of different types of music styles, but still do it in a certain way or vibe, so people might realize its from you. More than that, [we want people to] realize that all these different music styles are connected and were always cross-pollinating each other, as every music historian or Internet/Wikipedia nerd will tell you anyways, but most people tend to forget.
You've collaborated with a ton of amazing vocalists from all over the globe. Which was your favorite collaboration, how did that come together, and what's the biggest difference in collaborating live versus using the internet?
[It's] always hard to pick favorites. Maybe (taking into account only released stuff) "Dickie Riddim" with Warrior Queen. Her flow and voice are incredible as her lyrics are dirty. We love it. [We] still got lots of feedback on this one, mainly women claiming it to be "their hymn." Also, the collabo is kinda new school, as we actually never met her in person so far. The whole thing started as we hit her up via Internet and told her we're big fans (anyone who knows Poison Dart's Warrior Queen collaboration, "The Bug" has to be...!). Then we started working on some tunes - so there definitely are more songs featuring warrior queen to come out in the future!
When it comes to the production side, working in one room usually is the more intense experience as there is also a lot of pressure that can help or destroy the final result. But, we enjoy working with people in real life a lot, as you get to hang with somebody and can talk about the music in detail, playing each other lots of tracks, etcetera...
Working with people on the Internet is a lot of back and forth. Mailing and communication is a lot more difficult but everyone can take their time and work whenever the mood is good. Sometimes you open up an email, and an artist totally surprises you with a take on a tune you would not have expected, which can lead to great results as well. We like both. Wouldn't want to only do one...
You're in America playing Moombahton Massive events with Nadastrom and DJ Sabo. What was the first moombahton-style track you heard? Had you already been considering working in that tempo? And, what do you feel has allowed the tempo and style to retain its popularity for four-plus years now?
Yes, looking forward to the shows in America! We played with Dave [Nada], Matt [Nordstrom] and Sabo in Europe on different festivals already. It's always nice to hang and play with em, [they're a] lovely bunch! [The] first moombahton track we heard was probably that slowed down Silvio Ecomo & Chuckie "Moombah" thing that seems to have started everything. It's nice that moombahton brought that tempo to bigger audiences. At the same time we were hearing about NOLA bounce music and already played own tracks leaning towards that bounce vibe, [which] also became the same tempo that then became known as the moombahton BPM. Generally we play and produce stuff in all kinds of tempo, as we want to be able to build an atmosphere during our sets, and need that reflected in the tempo as well.
Thoughts about the influence of hip-hop in EDM and what that means for producers like yourselves who have always featured the building blocks of what would later become hip-hop production and rhyming? Did you think this would eventually happen as EDM grew, especially in America?
For us, with our "European perspective" on that specifically American EDM discussion, it's difficult to analyze stuff happening there too much.
Of course, we really like that a lot of rappers opened up to different sounds and explored new territory, that's cool. For us that general move to open up to other music outside your normal parameters is nice as well, as we found ourselves on records of artists we never ever dreamed of some time ago, like the Snoop Dogg/Lion record or others. (Also a little bit the track we did for M.I.A., but that actually started in 2010 already...)
What are a few of your favorite tracks that someone could listen to (that are NOT Schlacthofbronx tracks) that would give people the best sense of artists who inspire your production these days?
Joy Orbison's "brthdtt." Also stuff from 2 Live Crew, Neptunes, or Bad Brains. Difficult to pin down...
What's the one thing you're looking forward to on this American trip moreso than anything else?
Besides good food (always difficult on tour, but have some promising plans already..!), it's of course the parties, plus meeting friends overseas! Also [we're] kinda looking forward to the soundsystems in the clubs we gonna play this time, as all of them seem to have a really good reputation. Sound is very important to us, its really so much more fulfilling playing on a system that can reproduce everything you play loud and clear.