Going the 'Distance'
Christian Wedekind and Frank Beckers have been a familiar sight in the German house and techno scene since the mid-90s but it’s their predominantly big-room collaborative work as D-Nox & Beckers since 2005 that has taken them around the world. Releasing tracks and remixes for Systematic, Baroque, Global Underground and Great Stuff, the producer/DJ outfit have garnered support from a host of renowned DJs including Pete Tong, Satoshi Tomiie and, of course, Tronic boss Christian Smith who commissioned them to mix the second Tronic Treatment compilation earlier this year. We check in with Christian ‘D-Nox’…
It was four years since 'Left Behind' was released, how do you think 'Distance' is different?
“It’s different in sound, style and vibe. ‘Left Behind was much more rave and easy to understand while ‘Distance’ is way more laidback and adult sounding. Some fans that still love the ‘Left Behind’ sound won’t like the ‘Distance’ sound. They will say it is too deep and quiet. At the same time though we’ve got lots of new fans with Distance that wouldn’t like the ‘Left Behind’ sound. There was four years in between both albums, its pretty natural to not sound the same anymore. We are both DJ’s and we grow with music and always look for new sounds. The same happens in the studio, for us it would be to boring to always write the same music.”
Where are you both from? ....
We are both from Germany. Beckers is based in a city called Essen, near to Düsseldorf and I live in Berlin.”
What sort of music were you listening to growing up?
“As far as I know Beckers was a metal fan. He liked a lot of Metallica and such, but also funk and less so rock. Same for me, I was always into AC/DC and dry rock music from the late 80s. I am still a big fan of all sorts of 80s music from Depeche Mode all the way to cheesy 80s pop.”
What do you both bring to the production duo - who does what?
“Beckers is the mastermind, the composer and the programmer of the sounds. He is 100% the musician but also apt with all the programmes, synths and effect machines. As for myself, I take care of the face of the music, the structure and the arrangement.”
What are the current big 5 tunes you are spinning right now?
Danny Daze - Your Everything
D-Nox & Beckers - In Your Eyes
Vicotor Ruiz - Take A Nap (2011 rework)
Ross Evana - Thrilla In Manila
D-Nox & Beckers - What I Have (Uto Karem Remix)
Tell us about the remix EP coming out at the end of the year…
“It’s gonna be a remix album on Smith’s Tronic label. We have chosen artists such as Uto Karem, Hermanez, Bushwacka, Wehbba, Dustin Zahn and many others to remix the original. There will be 10 tracks all in all. So far I have only heard two of these. Great work from Uto Karem, love his mix as well as Dustin - his remix is special, different to his usual music but for me he did great. I can’t wait to have the whole product in my hands. Hopefully all the others will finish on time, so we can see the release in December.”
Two producers with young families, how you finding it?
“Well I love it. Life is giving me more than before. Things make more sense now and I have the best reason to come back home. OK it’s not always easy and I’ve got to learn lots of new things, but I just love to be with my baby and spend the whole day playing around, feeding and cleaning her.”
For those who haven't seen you live, describe a D-Nox & Beckers performance?
“Well we always try to make the dancefloor move but with our own style. We always keep the groove going, no breaks, no pause something always going on. The beat just keeps going on. It’s always a mix of none cheesy house, techno house and techno. We perform live or as DJ’s, we are good at both but we prefer DJ sets.”
You spend a lot of time in Brazil, a country which is absolutely fantastic at the moment for clubbing. Where are your favourite clubs?
“Yes I love Brazil. I guess I am one of a few DJs that have had the chance to play in all of the clubs over there. For me the top 5 are: Clash - Sao Paulo, Warung - Camburio, D-Edge - Sao Paulo, Vibe Club - Curitiba and 5uinto in Brasilia. Top clubs, great people and an amazing vibe. Also the big open air parties are worth mentioning as well, Tribe is such a special event with more than 30,000 people and a great production. WOW!”
Which country have had the craziest clubbers?
“I would say Japanese clubbers are the craziest, followed by the Argentinians and Israelis. All of them go big time banana when we come to play for them. Especially in Japan, we sometimes feel like the boys from Take That, the screaming level is very high and loud. Argentinians and Israelis are more crazy in their way of enjoying music, as if it was their last opportunity for them to dance and celebrate.”
A lot of time is spent touring and in the studio together, what annoys you about each other?
“Nothing. We are all good. We have spent the last seven years together and we have never got to the point that we were both annoyed with each other. Looking forward to the next seven years!”
So we come back to yours after a club, what Back To Mine tunes do you play us to chill?
“Maybe I would choose some tunes by Carl Craig, but usually I am not that kind of guy who takes care of the chill out part. By that time I’m usually on my way home…”
You obviously have a good relationship with Christian Smith, what are his qualities?
“He is very friendly, always has an open ear and a tip. We chat about music, food and wine. His biggest quality is that he is very down to earth and easy going.”
It's your birthday, what 4 DJs do you book to play?
“Some of my friends of course. Flow & Zeo from Rio, Gabe from Sao Paulo, Facundo Mohrr from Buenos Aires and as a surprise act DJ, Three from New York.”
What do you think is the secret of a successful dance duo?
“I have no idea, everything is possible! There are no rules and no boundaries. It’s so difficult to know before what the majority of the audience wants to hear, to feel the next hit. If we knew it we would constantly makes hits.”
What advice can you give to the aspiring producers/DJs reading this?
“Well I always say I was born to be a DJ, I have been since I am 13 years old. I was always after music, collecting music and putting the right tunes on at the right moment to make others have a good time. I have never left music for one minute in my life, it’s there every minute of every day. I guess to never give up is the most important thing, but you also need to read the audience and put on a good performance, mixing and charisma wise.”
You once said in an interview that you sometimes record your sets whilst travelling…
“Yes on my long haul flights I record my radio shows and other podcasts. That’s the only time I find during the week to get myself into it. I record them in Ableton Live, that makes things easy. The biggest problem for me is to find the right tracks because in Ableton I wanna make everything 100% whilst to play in a club it’s all auto pilot. In a club I can feel what is right but in the airplane it’s different. But as I said, there I have no pressure and can take it easy. Have a glass of red wine and listen to music at 10,000 meters above sea level.”
Years ago you used to have a Sunday residency at The Poison Club in Dusseldorf where people used to travel to from Holland as well as all over Germany - why do you think Sunday clubbing is so good?
“Wow, this was 15 or more years ago! That was a great time, we were all so young, fresh and crazy. I used to hang out from midnight to the next day and do my closing set at 3 in the morning. In this case it was the after party for all the Saturday night clubbers. Nowadays Sunday night clubbing is different. Only people that don’t need to work can do that. I would say though that sometimes it’s nicer to party Sundays because less mainstream people are on the road and maybe it gives you a different kick than partying on other days.”
Have you ever had a disaster whilst DJing/playing live?
“Yes most of the time involving Traktor DJs. They always show up and are pain in the ass when connecting the gear. They stop the music or don’t get their equipment working. Sorry but this is a problem I face these days! Traktor = killer!”
What has been your most satisfying remix to date?
I like all of them with very few exceptions. I like the remix we did for Fergie last year a lot as well as our remix for Mira Negra.”
And finally what is 2012 got in store for you?
“We have started to write new music which we are really enjoying, haven’t felt so good with music for a long time. We have opened up a bit incorporating some new styles, much more than before. We went down really funky and fat! I can’t wait for this new material to be released.”
‘Distance’ is out now on Tronic