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Booka Shade

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Just kicking off an international tour set to run through May 2011, the German house duo Booka Shade has been enlightening contemporary dance music since the tune "Body Language" forever changed the attitude toward minimal techno in 2005. Since then, Booka Shade has taken over the scene with albums and fresh remixes, collaborating with M.A.N.D.Y and creating a sound that truly tests the limits of how house, techno, and minimal can interact. By phone while in Toronto, Arno Kammermeier of Booka Shade spoke with SF Station. The duo headlines Live 105ís Spookfest on October 29th at the Cow Palace.

SF Station (SFS): You just started your North American tour, how has it been thus far?

Arno Kammermeier (AK): The kick off in Montreal was really good yesterday. Weíre so happy we can do a whole run of real concerts. At first when we came to America, we would only play the weekend at disco clubs, but now itís great to see that we can do concerts at 10 oíclock in the evening on a weeknight. A lot of people say itís an electronic crowd, and itís very energetic and parties have to be on the weekends, but we proved it could be done differently.

SFS: Since your music is very artistic, what portrait does your newest release More! paint in your mind?

AK: Obviously, with the music we do, there are a lot of different atmospheres present. With each song, there are different connections and journeys. Generally, what I would love to see is something that has to do with the sea. I love being at the sea, so anything that combines mountains or rocks that go into the sea, I would very much prefer because itís a romantic connotation for me and very natural.

We want the emotion and melancholic beat, but not dark, like death. Thereís always a light at the end of the tunnel. We always believe the pickup has to be good at the end. So I say, the sea, the rocks, and the mountains, yes.

SFS: How about song titles like "Havana Sex Dwarf?" Do you think of the imagery after you complete the melodies?

AK: Mostly yes, because then you can sit back and negate what you see and what it makes me feel. Many times itís the place we are in. "In White Rooms" was written when we came back from Stockholm when we stayed in a hotel that was entirely white!

SFS: Ah, how about "Mandarine Girl?"

AK: Very odd story. That was in the middle of the 90s in a club in Frankfurt. We both danced on the dance floor and a girl put some Mandarin fruit in Walterís mouth, and she danced away. The taste of the fresh mandarin in his mouth was exciting and remarkable for him and when we wrote the song, which had a very enthusiastic chorus in it, it reminded us of this story.

As for "Havana Sex Dwarf," it came about because thereís a melody in it that reminds us of dwarfs walking through the woods, and thereís a song called "Sex Dwarf" from Soft Cell, and we combined it with Havana for a new aspect and take. It just sounded good; itís not a real situation we were in, ha!

SFS: Since you guys will be on tour until May 2011, which international city are you looking most forward to?

AK: Itís always great to go to Australia. Itís very remote but the people are very enthusiastic and excited. Itís kind of funny we crossed over to the mainstream because we are played on the radio there. But Asia definitely! Iím looking forward to Japan and Singapore. Asia is a market where weíve almost never been. Weíve never been to Japan.

SFS: Really?

AK: Everyone always says that! People are always surprised. The timing was never right; weíve always had offers, though. Itís also a whole different part of the world and we always like to build something around it when we go there. Itís gonna be a real challenge but we canít wait. There are still some highlights to come. Weíre very excited about the U.S. tour and a longer UK tour as well.

SFS: Last question, youíll be here in SF sharing the stage with acts like Underworld, Wolfgang Gartner, DJ Shadow, etc. Who are you looking forward to seeing?

AK: For sure, I want to see the Underworld show. I only recently heard weíre playing together. They mean a lot of us, obviously; their first albums were very inspiring with very bold songs. I havenít seen their show in the last couple of years so Iím curious to see what they do at the moment.

Check out a few tracks of their new album More! at