Here is the surprise for all of you! As we have the first intern in our team, Tina decided to ask ten questions to The Robot Scientists. Markus Schneider is speaking a little bit about history of Disco, our lovely label Emerald & Doreen and future plans… Make yourself a good coffee and enjoy!
Just to begin with: How did you start The Robot Scientists?
Markus Schneider: We are two, we went to school together and after that, haven’t met in years. Then, in 2007, we met again and I asked Stefan “what kind of music do you listen to now?”, and he said, “A lot of Italo”, just like we did in the 80s! I was into Italo as well at that stage. Eric (the third guy behind Emerald & Doreen) gave me the I-Robots compilation as a birthday present in 2004 or 2005, and I was listening to it all day on my headphones when I was in New York for a weekend. The Italo and Disco revival came up then slowly, also because of Lindström’s space disco smasher “I feel space” which was released back then. I was on a paternity leave from my dayjob as software project manager and decided before to use my spare time to put some of my dreams into action. Completing the record collection of my lifetime was one goal. I started in early 2007 with it when discogs.com started to become more popular. I opened a shop there as well in 2007 to sell old records and bought many new ones. So when Stefan said he was into italo, I knew he was like me into vinyl, and I remembered he had great mixing skills. So I said, come on, let’s do something together. It was in the early MySpace days, I invented the name “The Robot Scientists” because we started to write down all the tracks we had with BPMs into a big excel sheet which today encompasses more than 3000 tracks from the 1970s, 1980s, 2000s until today. We started off with the series “Musica da Batticuore”, mixing mainly the instrumental b-sides of italo disco classics from 1983 and 1984, the best years. On the whole, we made 17 mixes I think and got more than 30.000 downloads. We inspired many people and artists that way.
It’s been 8 years now since it all started. What was the best experience you had while performing and creating your music?
Markus Schneider: The best event was at Vielspaß in Rennes / France where we played in front of 500 and many people knew us from our early days and were totally happy to dance to our new tunes – since 2011 we don’t play the old stuff anymore, as there is enough new disco/wave/deephouse that suits our tastes. In Berlin, we played at the same party like Die Antwoord which was cool and when we supported Giorgio Moroder in Luxembourg, we had a nice chat backstage.
Your sound is very unique when it comes to popular sounds nowadays. Where do you get the inspiration?
Markus Schneider: We call our sound “cosmic” as just like in the traditional “cosmic” sound created by DJ Daniele Baldelli, we mix different genres in a podcast or live set, and every track we play unites usually several genres in it. You could also call it “fusion” therefore. Our special sound, unlike many other house DJs, has a strong Synth Wave influence, plus, depending on the occasion, 1970s Kosmische Musik / Krautrock, Synth Disco, New Beat, IndieDance, Balearic and energetic Deep House. It is pretty unique, stylistically varied and very song-oriented.
If you had to point out one artist who has the most impact on your creativity, it would be…
Markus Schneider: A clone made out of Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, Depeche Mode and Andrew Weatherall.
How do you see the future of Disco sounds?
Markus Schneider: Well I guess the Disco revival ended when Daft Punk released their last album with Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rodgers. So it is mainstream now, and there will always be some Disco tracks around and obscure edits. Currently there is a movement towards the darker New Beat, Industrial, EBM and slowed down trance and techno records. Disco will always be there from now on, but we are already heading forward to new adventures
As far as everyone knows, you’re working mostly on vinyls. It’s so old school! What is so special in them for you?
Markus Schneider: If you love music, you must love vinyl. It is like a tangible piece of the artists, the sounds you love, that is so much better than just a file. Maybe music means more to those people like us who buy vinyl. We see ourselves as curators of talent and masterpieces, as cultural ambassadors. If we find the time to spin vinyl, it is something special. You can never ever achieve the same effect with files.
You set up also a record label – Emerald & Doreen. How and when did the whole idea of creating digital label come across to you?
Markus Schneider: As mentioned before, I had the time and the will to do so and when we started, Markus “Fred” Scholl of go nogo was the fourth guy in the team. Eric and Markus wanted to release their tracks on a label, I was always good at finding great new artists, so we went for it. I wanted to create a reference to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in the label name, therefore I needed some real names. We had the girl logo pretty soon as I thought, it would be cool to make a label with electronic music for girls, more songs, more emotions, more ideas, less repetitive. When researching street slang words for cool girls, I ran into Emerald & Doreen, both are names for highly cool but sometimes dangerous girls. Mysterious ones. Perfect.
How strong is Emerald & Doreen connected musically with the things you’re doing as The Robot Scientists?
Markus Schneider: Currently we don’t have the time to do many releases a year, Eric does most of it and he has a slightly different approach and taste, but we are very open-minded and love a lot of what is coming out. I am still dreaming of a vinyl label which I will put into action as soon as I have enough money.
And you are just about to begin residency nights in Silodom. Can you say something more about this?
Markus Schneider: Well this is an amazing place in Saarbrücken, we love the guys who run that place, we have some plans, but it is still open how everything will turn out in the end. We would definitely aim to have a “Something Spæcial Night” there once in a while and a “Cosmic Beach Club” like party outdoors and invite guests from all over the world, but we need to see whether we can afford it and whether people like it here. Saarbrücken is not Berlin, the crowd is still very Techno and Minimal here, so we need to be patient.
So… you’re starting residency nights in Silodom in Saarbrücken, you have Emerald & Doreen Records releasing albums every week, you have your own SOMETHING SPÆCIAL mixes. It’s a lot of work. What else do you have in your plans?
Markus Schneider: Well, we will definitely focus on more live events where we live, maybe work on some PÄA Edits or invest some time into own productions – we have so many ideas, and a The Robot Scientists album, that would be great. One day in the next years to come…