By James WilliamsTaking a trip over to Germany with the latest instalment of their Get Lost series, Crosstown Rebels commissioned DJ legend Acid Pauli to create a mix of epic proportions. Clocking in at over two-and-a-half hours, and taking in his off-kilter productions as Console and remixes for artists like Soulcenter and Raz Ohara, Get Lost V is a solid introduction to the strange and wonderful world of Acid Pauli. The draw on Get Lost V is tracks from Pauli's influences and peers. Cuts from tour-mate Nicholas Jaar and classics in the world of outsider electronica from Autechre and Berlin party stalwart Dirty Doering add a distinct "room two at Berghain" feel to proceedings. This is an essential mix if there ever was one.
You're known for your imaginative remixes, taking tracks to places the original artists may have never envisioned. Do you have a process for making remixes or is it intuitive? With a lot of my edits/remixes, I come across them when I DJ. When I DJ an afterhours set, I experiment a bit more. Even in primetime sets, I try to combine different music and every now and again, I come across a combination I like. I'll play it more and more and eventually I make an official edit or remix of it. Although sometimes I make remixes in the studio too.
How did you first come up with the moniker Acid Pauli? I was DJing in Munich about 12 years ago. Well, I wasn't really DJing, but rather just playing with this audio software called Rebirth, which has 303, 808 and 909 emulators. I was improvising and my buddy from my band Console was just screaming, "Acid Pauli!" while I was playing. It was one of my first sets and I didn't even have a name yet; it was in a tiny club in Munich where people went to improvise. The funny thing is when I played for Bar 25 in Berlin [where AP held a legendary residency] years later, they took the name for the other meaning, thinking they needed to take a lot of acid before I played. How did you hook up with Nico Jaar? You two toured in 2011 before working with his label, Clown & Sunset, which was a natural home for Mst, Can you tell us a little about your creative partnership? The Mst album is something I made two years ago. I met Nico for the first time after I had started it; he was interested in what I was doing through playing at Club 25 in Berlin and he asked me to send the album. The way we came together was very natural, in a way; it took one-and-a-half years to get Mst released, but it wasn't a big problem for either of us. The music is timeless; it doesn't need to be released at any particular point. We are looking to collaborate in the future also. Explain your recording process for Mst. Did you use virtual instruments mainly or are there sampled instruments? There are some very interesting sounds. There are no VST instruments. The album developed from my DJ sets; each track contains ten or so different samples from different songs. What I mainly added was kick drum and bass from my modular synth and sometimes melodies or organ, but it was all either sampled or from my modular system.
Could you take us through the process you went through putting together the new Get Lost mix for Crosstown Rebels? It's an impressive length (over four hours). Did you approach it more as a DJ set? Where many mixes these days sound very much like they were recorded in a studio, yours has a live feel to it; it sounds very organic. How do you source tracks? This one was a real studio mix, which was important, for me. The goal was not to just record a DJ set live, as I do that all the time. Before I DJ, I press the little red record button and record it, afterwards, if I like it, I put it online. But, in this case, I wanted to take advantage of having more time and being at the studio and selecting the tracks. I put a lot of thought into the track listing. Over weeks, I would have songs popping into my head and I would write them down; I had a long list. The basic structure was done in one afternoon and it was a very fluid, spontaneous process. Then, Damien [Lazarus] had the idea to make two CDs instead of one and the whole idea grew, so I had to rework what I had already done. It got longer and longer, and with having to clean up the mix and deal with sampling issues, it ended up being a long process.
What's the longest you've ever DJ'd before? I remember one summer playing close to a whole day, around 20 hours.
You must obviously play many shows in Berlin. Has clubbing there changed in anticipation of the GEMA copyright act being passed next year, have places closed already? GEMA changed their pricing laws to shake up the club owners. They've tried to communicate with them for a long time and they were just ignored. Now, they're asking for more money to cover copyright charges, One thousand percent more in some cases and the clubs are saying they have to close, so everyone is now ready to negotiate again. It's a complex issue: there should be more money being paid from the club side, but the way that GEMA distributes money is very unfair also, especially to the producers of club music, and this is the issue right now. People whose music is played in the clubs don't benefit from the changed regulations; it's just people like Lady Gaga's composers getting more money than before.
I read a quote that said, "Acid Pauli is bringing the humour onto the dance floor." Would you agree? Is a sense of fun important? Definitely, I totally agree. We are in the club to party, celebrate life and dance, so why shouldn't people laugh and be happy? It's important to show that even if I'm concentrating completely on my sets, not even looking into the crowd as I play, that I want it to be fun. It's a sign for people that while I'm serious about what I'm doing, I don't take myself too seriously.
What's next for Acid Pauli? Are you continuing with any of you other aliases, like Console or Notwist? What is your favourite moniker to work under? There is a new Notwist album that we are currently working on that's going to be released next summer and we'll be touring too. With Console, we'll have a new radio song out next year. With Acid Pauli, I'm collaborating with Nu, who I've been playing and collaborating a lot with lately. We started last year working in the studio; it's a well-balanced relationship that we share. We want to keep playing dance music in clubs, but also want to do other things in other genres too. There are expectations in the club, especially in a prime time set, that the music has to be danceable and sometimes we don't feel like playing up-tempo stuff.
I feel the ambience has disappeared from the dance floors. There always used to be a Room 2 playing more esoteric tracks at clubs, but not so much any more. Exactly, it's something that's really missing in the club world. Fifteen years ago, a lot of clubs had an ambient room where people were playing interesting and strange music. Now, clubs have five floors of techno, house, minimal, but no ambient floor — there's no respite. I want to push people in Berlin, like Kater Holzig, to rethink this. There has to be some change.