There are two things about Andhim that are absolutely certain, that they’ve perfected the recipe for producing feel-good house music of the utmost quality, and that they’re devilishly and sarcastically hilarious. Simon and Tobias who comprise the German-based duo met at a turntabling competition in 2006, and credit their flourishing friendship to their joint love of tacos (and only a little bit on their addiction to vinyl). Their musical styling which delves into the genres of house, deep house, techno, and tech-house, has birthed a genre of its own which the pair have dubbed ‘super-house‘, and what followed was a whirlwind international touring schedule, and a fanbase who fell equally in love with their sound, and their wicked personalities.
* For reference of their great sense of humour, check out this video interview they did in 2013 *
With their love child record label, ‘Superfriends’, releasing consistently impeccable music, and having just announced a surprise 4 hour set at Revolver Upstairs this week to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation, Simon of Andhim found some time to sit down and chat about his Aussie fans, coffee, and cake.
Where are you guys right now?
We are in Bali, it’s very very nice here. Feeling a little bit guilty because all my friends are back in Germany where it’s snowing right now, but hey, this is my job [laughs].
Did you have fun playing at Strawberry 2018 this year?
Oh, it was absolutely amazing, Australia is one of our favourite places to play, especially those kinds of festivals with a good vibe and lots of energy, it was really really cool.
The two of you met at a turntabling competition in 2006, be honest, who was the better turntablist at the time?
Definitely Tobias, [laughs]. We both did the turntable thing, but for me, I did it more as a hobby. Tobias won so many championships like he won DMC Championship and ITF, and all these huge competitions in the early 2000s. He also had this turntable crew with him that released an album and scratch records, and he was a lot more professional, and also just better. I don’t like admitting it, but it’s true, he was better.
And what was the nightlife like in Cologne in your earlier years? Did the clubbing scene play a huge influence on your style, or was it more falling in love with vinyl and scratching that kickstarted it all?
Yeah, we started with the scratching when we were really really young. I bought my first turntables at the age of 13, which is now 21 years ago – oh that sounds like such a long time, I swear I’m not that old…
You’re most definitely not old don’t worry,
[Laughs] Thank you I suppose, but we both started the scratching as teenagers, and just enjoyed it so much. I also played as a hip-hop DJ for a while, in a few clubs in Cologne, and then that naturally progressed into house music after a while. Back in the day, Cologne was a very strong city for techno and house music, we had lots of French house nights, and then, on the other hand, we had Kompact Records as one of the biggest techno electronic labels in Germany. They were always a big influence, throwing big parties, lots of possibilities and opportunities to go out in that city, lots of inspiration.
“We want to release our music whenever we want no matter what it sounds like, and that should be the only reason why you should start a label. It’s not about making money or becoming super cool, it should be a positive platform.”
What does a normal day look like for Andhim now?
To be honest we are really boring at home. Our normal lives have us getting up super early, going to the gym, doing sports. We both love cooking and meeting with friends, which is super important because we almost never see them but its really nice when we do. Now we are in the age of having cake in the afternoon, I do it all the time. Meeting for coffee and a cake in the afternoon, I love it so much. Also, we do try to go into the studio as often as possible, but it’s the balance of trying to be creative, but not trying too hard, because it needs to come naturally. Living our regular supernormal life, and taking inspiration when it comes to us.
In the production process, how collaborative is it between the two of you? Is it usually like you’ll both start a track and then give it to the other person halfway through completion?
Well, we don’t live in the same city unfortunately, I’m in Berlin, Tobias lives in Cologne, so we work separately on things and just send stuff back and forth to each other constantly. If we really like an idea then we try to sit down in the studio and finish it as a team.
And your record label Superfriends is essentially a platform that continues on from your coined genre ‘Superhouse’, what was the most challenging part about starting a record label?
To be honest, the most challenging part was to actually take the initiative and do it, because it’s quite easy to start a record label. It took years to do though, we were always thinking about doing it but got so caught up in the corporate identity, and the design and the branding. We wanted it to be the coolest label ‘blah blah’ whatever, but we were really overthinking it. In the end, we just thought, we want a label for our music and our vision of electronic music, and we want to release our music whenever we want no matter what it sounds like, and that should be the only reason why you should start a label. It’s not about making money or becoming super cool, it should be a positive platform. This, in the end, made it really easy. Now we are super happy with it.
Your most recent release ‘Stay Close To Me’ features vocals from artist Högni, whereas usually, you use vocal samples in your work, how did you go with that collaboration with a vocalist, did you start with the vocals first or did that come later?
For the first track, we sent him an instrumental, and he just freestyled, made up some lyrics and recorded it in Iceland, and then we did the finish in Cologne. With the B side, he sent us a demo of piano and vocals, and we built a beat around his voice. He stayed at my house in Berlin years ago and we had so much fun with him in the past, but for this, we never went physically in the studio together funnily enough. That’s the coolest thing about collaboration now is you can collaborate with anyone in the world just through the internet, its crazy, but really nice.
Australian audiences, in particular, seem to absolutely love you guys, do you find there’s a different reception to your live shows from Australian audiences or is it a pretty normal response across the board?
I think we are quite lucky because most of the time our music is liked everywhere in the world [laughs], but especially in Australia, we know we have a lot of supporters and fans. It’s hard to describe but the atmosphere and the whole vibe that our Aussie fans give us is really special because we can play whatever we want, there’s no thinking too hard about song selection, we go with the flow of the crowd and yeah everyone’s quite open to us.
We’re keen for you guys to come back and play a couple more shows this weekend, what else is in store for 2019?
Yes, we are coming back to Melbourne to play with some great guys next weekend, Alex Stein and Victor Ruiz, that will be a super nice show. For next year? We are always working on new music, so more stuff will be coming next year. Also, we are working on a lot of remixes at the moment and I am actually moving to New York for a few months next year, just to, try something new I suppose. I think I will get new creative inspiration over there. And we’re actually cutting down our touring schedule a little bit because we are travelling a lot at the moment, and we want more time to relax and wind down…
And to eat cake with friends?
[Laughs] Yes exactly, we need more time for cake and studio time.
Catch Andhim one last time for the summer, check out dates below!
JUST ANNOUNCED** Thursday 29th November: 4 Hour Set for Fred Hollows Foundation, Revolver Upstairs
Friday 30th November: Subsonic Music Festival, Sydney
Friday 30th November: Bloom Festival, Victoria
Sunday 2nd December: LUFT, Melbourne