The Booka Shade guys, Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier, apparently nearly split last year off the back of a relentless touring schedule, but luckily for fans of quality melodic techno they put their differences aside and re-evaluated what they were doing. To this end, they decamped from their home city of Berlin to Manchester in the north of England in order to record their fifth album, 'Eve'.
Named after the studio they recorded it in, 'Eve' sees Walter and Arno turn out more darkly soulful techno-pop that at times even hints towards the Joy Division/New Order axis that they so revere. Fritz Helder from Azari & III, Fritz Kalkbrenner and Andy Cato from Groove Armada all guest on 'Eve', and the first single from it is 'Love Inc'.
Booka Shade, of course, started their pioneering Get Physical label with DJ T a decade ago, and shot to prominence internationally with magnificent club hits like 'Body Language' and 'Mandarine Girl'. They've become one of the biggest live dance acts on the planet, and these are the tracks they picked out for DJ Mag as having had a profound influence on them over the years...
01. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross 'Hand Covers Bruise'
Walter: “This is from the soundtrack to The Social Network. We love movie soundtracks, our first album 'Memento' was very focused on that. We're also fans of Trent Reznor, he's a constant source of inspiration.”
02. M83 'Midnight City'
Arno: “If you look for a perfect pop song which 'kind of' has an electronic background, don't look any further. This is the one. Without the saxophone, of course. We just realized that he wrote the soundtrack for the blockbuster Oblivion with Tom Cruise. So Anthony Gonzales (M83) had one of the biggest hits in 2012 AND wrote the music for a Hollywood blockbuster. You can`t expect much more.”
03. Laurent Garnier 'Acid Eiffel'
Arno: “On every Saturday in the early '90s, we met at a friend's house to listen to the one radio station in our area that would play techno and house — it was the HR3 club night. I have kept and still treasure all the cassette tapes I recorded. Nowadays, it's always a pleasure to meet Laurent somewhere on the planet and talk about music.”
04. Depeche Mode 'Everything Counts'
Walter: “You could take any song of Depeche, really. Ever since I saw them live for the first time in 1983, no other band had a longer lasting influence on us. It was a great privilege to open up for them when they played this year in Tel Aviv.”
05. The Cure '10:15 Saturday Night'
Walter: “Another band whose ability to drown you in emotion is remarkable. Sadness and frustration never felt so good. Robert Smith influenced many guitarists with his unique way to play the instrument.”
06. Nathan Fake 'The Sky Was Pink (Holden Remix)'
Walter: “A big influence during the production of our album, 'Movements'. The dirty clap in 'Mandarine Girl' is sampled from a remix James Holden did for Andre Kraml. Sorry James, but the clap is just too good.”
07. Metro Area 'Miura'
Arno: “One of the biggest influences during the time when we founded Get Physical. It will always remind us of a small club in Frankfurt called Monza. All we ever wanted to achieve was that our music would be played for those 250 dancers... well, we went a little bit further, I guess.”
08. New Order 'Thieves Like Us'
Walter: “Bands from Manchester always seemed to have appeal for us. Our new album 'Eve' was recorded in a residential studio just outside of Manchester. It is a great place, full of the strangest equipment you can imagine. You can see a bit of the studio in our 'Making of Eve' documentary which you can get on iTunes. If I had a time-machine, I would fly back to the '90s and listen to the music of New Order in the legendary Hacienda club.”
09. Sigur Ros 'Hoppipolla'
Arno: “We're fans of the big feeling — the bigger the better. A perfect song to enjoy feeling homesick during a tour. Plus, the guys from Sigur Ros are lovely people, we had a wonderful dinner together last time they came to Berlin.”
10. Vernon 'Wondere
Arno: “From the times when 'trance' wasn't a bad word, and 140bpm felt like a ballad. Our socialisation with techno took place in a club in Frankfurt called The Omen.”