On Gebrüder Teichmann‘s latest album, They Made Us Do It (Festplatten, 2011) the Teichmann brothers point the way to the future by melding an understanding of the past with thick dance-y beats that make you want to question the present…on the dancefloor. Being designated Germany’s electronic musical ambassadors by the Goethe-Institut has not only not gone to their heads, but has helped broadened their horizons from the local Berlin club scene to countries that at first glance may not seem very conducive to jazz-inflected breakbeats or modern electronic music at all. But are these vinyl-spinning Brothers Teichmann really “modern”? A look at the cover of They Made Us Do It provides many cultural hints as to their love of what some might call an esoteric past: a Technicolor cityscape of strange-headed humanoids being overrun by 12″ UFOs and bag-headed giants in black Krautrock outfits. It begs more than a listen and, like the aliens we so feared in those old Sci-fi flicks, it…they, the machines, covet your body.
Gebrüder Teichmann – Machines Take Over the WorldHESO: The title of the album, They Made Us Do It, refers to someone or something making you do something. Who is making you do what exactly?
TEICHMANN: What happened was an unexpected synthesizer accident: we were working in the studio as usual, when somehow the machines took over the power and from that moment strange things happened. It feels like we are now connected to the control voltages of our machines, but we don´t have too many memories of what happened.
HESO: The cover art is reminiscent of Science Fiction book and film posters of the 50s and 60s when aliens came to take over the earth. What are the machines’ intentions with humanity?
TEICHMANN: That´s actually a good question. As Sasha Pereira says on the intro track: “The machines seem to be nice, but who knows?” We also have the feeling that there are problems with the time continuum now, as the UFOs that were seen, are 12″ vinyl shaped, not i-phonish. So they are definitely from the past or maybe it’s the future…
HESO: Beyond the artwork, there are several distinct references to various musical genres on the album itself: jazz, krautrock, house, even classical strings. What are the core musical elements you create an album with? Where do you begin?
TEICHMANN: Sometimes we start from a idea (a style or tempo) or concept for a track, but often we just start jamming. Togehter with our machines there is allways something interesting happening.
HESO: If I understand this correctly, you both, the Teichmann Brothers, are putting out the machines’ message, which is that “We are the future.” What does that future look like?
TEICHMANN: Nobody knows how the future looks. But of course you have to take care about the present, if you want to have a nice one…
HESO: Where did the idea for this album come from?TEICHMANN: We had too many ideas and the research process was a long one. We had a lot of inspirations from our travels and collaborations and wanted to do something that is both experimental and dance-y. While making music, we mostly use analog gear, as well as we still play only vinyls in the club. So the link was already there. The hardest part was to bring all the material on one rccord, that still tells one story, which helps you to find the right way while creating the music, but during the DJ- or Live-set we like to tell a new story. ‘Cause playing live is always an interaction with the place and the people.
HESO: Do the both of you have any specific talents when it comes to producing an album, i.e. does Andi always do this particular mix or Hannes creates the beats? How do you collaborate?
TEICHMANN: Hannes is always doing the particular mix and Andi creates the beats. No just joking! Actually Hannes is more the sound guy, Andi more the concept guy. The rest is live-jamming, recording, editing, mixing.
HESO: Speaking of collaboration, do you have a core group of artists that you generally work with or do you seek to expand your musical horizons by working with musicians from different genres?
TEICHMANN: We always want to expand our horizons by working with different musicians and artists. It brings fresh ideas and inspiration but apart from a musical point of view, it also creates a lot of great experiences. It´s a social and artistic dialogue. That’s why we love to collaborate with people from different (musical) worlds.
HESO: You were designated by the Goethe-Institut to represent the German electronic scene in countries which may seem a bit odd: Algeria, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and worked on the BLNRB project, which teamed you up with other Berlin artists to create a musical exchange in Nairobi. Has this influenced your music at all? This album?
TEICHMANN: Of course. The projects and travelling to several countries influences not only our music and work, also our personal lives. The great chance to work with Goethe Institut Nairobi on BLNRB, opened up a lot of doors and posibilties, but it also brought us a strong connection with the other German artists, especially Jahcoozi.
HESO: What do you see for the future of electronic music? Music in general? More machines?
TEICHMANN: We really like the growing interest for analog live music in the electronic music scene. And we think for all music styles there are still a lot of undiscovered possibilities.
HESO: What are you listening to these days?
TEICHMANN: Very various music, only it has to be unique and leftfield. In terms of electronic music we love the new genre Skweee from Scandinavia. Beside that we are very impressed by Nisennenmondai, a girl-noise band from Japan, but we also listen to a lot of classical experimental music and start to get more into african music. But on the other hand we still discover a lot of great techno and house stuff from the 90s till now.
Do yourself a favor and get yourself an early Christmas present: buy the album.