Âme have been doing things in their own unique way for over a decade. We dropped them a line to find out why they DJ and play live separately, discover how they compare their production process to making movies, and to discuss their lack of plans for their Innervisions label.
Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann don’t follow the rules. Over a decade into their career, the German house duo continue to tread their own path, whether it’s with their own soulful dancefloor anthems or the output of the ever-reliable Innervisions label they co-founded with Dixon back in 2005.
It’s even right there in the way they perform: turn up to an Âme DJ set and it’ll be Kristian on his own in the booth; if it’s a live set, you’ll find Frank in full control. This Friday night you can catch them playing live and DJing for eight hours at Oval Space’s ‘One Night With Âme’ event. Just don’t expect them both on stage at the same time. We grabbed Kristian for a chat about how it all works.
Attack: Hi Kristian. First off, let’s talk about the fact that you appear for your DJ sets and Frank appears for the live sets. How did that come about and what are the reasons behind it?
Kristian Beyer: It was a decision we made around four years ago. I was always a DJ and I never lost the passion for that but Frank comes from a band background so he had something missing in his life for a long time. While watching Henrik [Schwarz] play he came up with the idea of playing live. It was one of the best decisions we made together as now it feels a bit like both of us can fulfil our own dreams.
What’s it like to go off on your own after so much time spent with Frank? Is it hard to get in a headspace?
There was actually no real change for us. When we still both travelled around as DJs we always did it on our own – on the same date we’d play in two different cities.
Does Frank have any desire to join you at any point?
I think we’re gonna play together at a certain point but he will still do a live thing and I’ll do the DJing.
Frank comes from a band background so he had something missing in his life for a long time.
How about the music you play while DJing? Is it very different to what inspires and motivates Âme the duo?
The music I play is most of the times not the music we make, but there is always my personality in there because I’ve chosen the tracks. When we’re in the studio this also influences me a lot because we make dance music which I would love to play out.
And when it comes to live shows, how much prep goes into each of those? How live is it?
There’s always a lot of preparation. All the new material we make goes directly into the live sets. Speaking from the outsider position I would say Frank’s live set is more live than a band just playing note by note. It’s based around different loops thrown together and being reworked in real time.
How was your 2013 now that you look back? What were the highs and lows?
In general I think 2013 was a great year for all of us – the whole Innervisions family – but it’s hard to name certain highs when you’ve been in this business a long time.
Did you head into 2014 with any specific goals, or any aims to do things differently or to try new things?
There are always so many projects which we still need and want to finish that we never really reach the point where we would like to stop. The label work keeps us busy, our family lives and of course the work in the studio and our travelling schedule.
You’ve been going just over a decade now – did you ever dream of getting to the position you’re in now?
No, never. We both had different plans in our life but at a certain point we made the decision that music is our job now and of course having this opportunity feels like being blessed.
Have you had to overcome any difficulties in that time? Have you have had a crisis of confidence, personally, musically, privately…?
We’re constantly fighting and discussing but we learned over the years not to harm the other person. We need to have respect for each other and the talents of both of us.
Why do you think the partnership works so well? Is it a case of similar personalities or opposites attract?
I think we’re more like a very old married couple where opposites attract but in a respectful harmony.
Do you have distinct roles, where one of you’s the best at a particular thing and one of you better at others?
I like to draw the movie-making comparison: I’m more the director and Frank is the cameraman with the brilliant eyes.