German house music heroes Patrick Bodmer and Philipp Jung – known to the world as M.A.N.D.Y. – are back in Australia this month. After more than ten years of DJing and producing they are still going strong, touring the world DJing, releasing productions that are constantly praised, and, as partners in the Get Physical label, maintaining a substantial influence on dance music around the world.
Bodmer and Jung have a resume that reads like a dream and have been friends since childhood. It makes for a fun partnership and an enduring presence in house music. They are often found collaborating with fellow Get Physical owners Booka Shade, and they have put together mixes for prominent labels such as Fabric and Renaissance. They have also created some spectacular live shows over the years. Like many of their DJ superstar contemporaries, they have developed effects to seduce their audiences and ramp up the sensory experience. The pair recently used infrared technology and a new mapping technique to project inverted video effects onto their bodies, while they performed.
Their Melbourne show takes things back to the club, and it’s clear they are just as comfortablein that setting. They are no strangers to our shores and Bodmer is representing the duo on this tour. He shares his anticipation from his home in Berlin: “I am very much exited! We love Australia,” he enthuses. “I will fly into Melbourne and the club straight from Berlin.”
Such is the life of an international DJ, that there is often no time to enjoy the far flung destinations that they go to. Bodmer is quite comfortable with the demands of his work though. “Long distance flights are easier to me. I do loads of reading, working, sleeping, eating and watching movies – it can feel like a day in the spa. Sometimes!”
There are some pretty hefty demands when musicians reach the level that M.A.N.D.Y. have done. For a start there is the travel and the set times for the headliners. “The jet lag plus change of day and night shifts are challenging,” agrees Bodmer. “Secondly, for me, balancing the relation between business, artist life and friendship to my best friend and band member Philipp Jung. We are best friends since 25 years now and we are running M.A.N.D.Y. since 10 years. I am very proud of this,” he explains with sincerity.
When Bodmer refers to the business side of his responsibilities he is also talking about the influential label that he runs, Get Physical. A collaboration between M.A.N.D.Y., DJ T and Booka Shade – all massive international acts in their own right – Get Physical has a roster of artists and an influential global reach that makes it one of the superstar electronic music labels. “After some years of being mega hyped, you change into something else by nature. A hype is not forever. I would say we were turning into a solid port for electronic music now,” he says.
Bodmer’s role at the label is to contribute his own tastes, and feed music into its belly that he personally likes. “I do A and R’ing for personal related artists and friends,” he says. “Marketing and business is driven by the company. It’s around 12 people working for us.” However it’s not all work and no play. Bodmer had “a beautiful start,” to the year, during which he spent his first Christmas with his one-year-old child and his family, and then partied with good friends on New Years’ Eve and New Years’ Day in London. “I normally take January off,” he reveals. “I spend that time getting healthy with Indian digestion and sleeping one week nonstop. Then coming back to life.”
Bodmer likes to maintain interests outside of music. “My passions are culture and sports, mostly tennis, ski, beach volleyball,” he says. “We played beach volleyball in Berlin during summertime, just in front of my house here, with Steve Bug, Phonique, Alex Niggemann, Marco Ressmannn amongst others. That’s really good times.” Superstar DJ volleyball anyone?
After being a musician for so long it can be a difficult task to keep things fresh. “That’s another challenge,” Bodmer admits. “I don’t know how I really do it – it’s just really working I would say. I listen to a lot of new music, five days a week. I set up filters to get away from promo crap, and found the right paths to find interesting music. Plus I do many other things than music and I take part of normal everyday life; that helps a lot. So thank God, it feels still fresh to me: what is most important.”
One of the major evolutions in music has been on the technology side since M.A.N.D.Y. first started out. New methods of performance have become possible for electronic artists and sound quality seems to be getting more attention in clubs. “For DJing I tried many, many extra tools and gadgets,” says Bodmer. “I like to play with a million possibilities and effects. I did this for the last 5 years now. Now, I have changed back to a simple setu: three decks and one mixer. To me that’s the challenge of the moment but I will come back to more technologies again, and then vinyl again! I need a bit of a change sometimes to keep it fresh and interesting for myself.”
There has been talk of a M.A.N.D.Y. album for some time now. “Oh yes,” he says with a laugh, “the ‘biggest album ever’! We are working in a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and in Berlin at the moment. After some years of not really producing we found it fun being back in the studio. There are already some tracks and remixes released now and more to come.” And Bodmer’s message to Melbourne? “Let’s get physical!”
BY SIMON HAMPSON