Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2009
Comprised of Swedes Marcus Henriksson and Sebastian Mullaert, dance music duo Minilogue (“minimal” plus “dialogue”) have released tracks through a slew of major techno labels recently, including Crosstown Rebels, Wagon Repair and Mule. Last year the pair put out Animals on the Cocoon label, a seamlessly sequenced album that meanders from ambient to peak-time techno—with imaginary creatures as the catalyst. Unlike many “concept” techno discs, Animals stays on the right side of chin-stroking abstractness, retaining a club-friendly bounce. Minilogue are set to play live as a duo at Womb, with Mullaert (pictured) also performing individually as a DJ. Metropolis caught up with Mullaert, a former classical music teacher, to find out more…
Your classical background contrasts with your partner’s grounding in dance music. How does the Minilogue formula function?
We rarely divide what one should or should not do. We also strive to not get into a “creative formula,” which I believe restricts [one] from being free. So we could say that the creative formula is to keep things open [and] strive towards the non-formalistic.
Animals was seamlessly sequenced. Is the concept of cohesive albums lacking in techno?
I guess it all depends on what you, as a creator, intend to do with your music—what you want your music to achieve. Very often, we release music as single pieces so other people can create their story for the dancefloor. Animals was made directly for the listener/dancer; therefore mixed in a way we feel [is] creative and inspiring for them. The single is a direct and more instant process, while the album becomes a part of your life.
Aside from the artwork, does the “animal” theme translate directly into the music?
On some occasions, the animals were the initial inspiration. Other times, the animals chose their musical pieces afterwards.
What can we expect from Minilogue live, and from you as a DJ?
With the live set we go deep into one “feeling”; with the DJing, I play longer and can work around a wider field of feelings, energies and rhythms. I love to do long sets, building up a story and atmosphere… I never play better live compared to when I’ve been DJing for many hours. Becoming one with the music and rhythm and being spontaneous and in the moment is essential for good improvisation.
Many techno artists see the Japanese club scene as different from other countries…
I feel that Japanese people in general aren’t as judgmental as in Europe. They trust the artist will give them their utmost, and this trust gives the artist [the] self-esteem to be him- or herself—something essential while creating art.
How can minimalist electronic music maintain its current popularity?
When it comes to dancing and meditative listening, I have a deep love for the monotone and minimal. Please note that with “minimal,” I don’t mean a few sounds or empty soundscapes, but a minimalist view of how music progresses. Let the music take its time. This gives the dancer a creative role, with listening and dancing becoming meditative tools for happiness.
Oops, back to the question. A hype of style is a strange phenomenon, kind of a paradox. People start to appreciate something new and innovative… a style is created, then everything starts to sound the same. Hmm, I guess I don’t believe it’s good to try and maintain a style. Let the changes be with you!
Endless Flight. House, techno: Live/DJ Minilogue. From 11pm, ¥4,000. Shibuya. Tel: 03-5459-3939. www.womb.co.jp