Whether it’s their approach to their latest artist album or forthcoming summer season in Ibiza, M.A.N.D.Y. look to the past to move forward. Our friends at Hype caught up with the guys ahead of their weekend appearance at Blue Marlin.
“We’ve been friends for 30 years now, so we’ve had some great experiences.”
That thought from one half of MANDY, Patrick Bodmer, has to be something of an understatement. Most friends of three decades will have a ton of tales to tell, but when you’ve been an internationally acclaimed DJ and production duo for half of that time, you’ve surely lived through more madness than most.
It all started for Patrick and partner Philipp Jung in their native Germany when they were part-time DJs and promoters based in Frankfurt and Cologne, respectively. Before long the man you may know as DJ T booked them to become residents at his Monza nightclub in Frankfurt around the year 2000 and a lifelong friendship and creative team was born. The final piece in that puzzle was when Booka Shade (who Philipp had regular dealings with thanks to his A&R work for Jive Records) joined the fold, opening their studio next door to Patrick’s. A year later one of electronic music’s most enduring labels was born in Get Physical.
Named as a tongue-in-cheek reference to a line from an Olivia Newton-John song, the label helped foment the last decade’s club sounds thanks to music from the artists themselves as well as a much wider sphere of talent. So too has it spawned mix compilations, parties around the world and some classic dance full lengths. Of course, throughout its life, the DJs and producers behind the label have gone on to increasing success themselves, not least M.A.N.D.Y.
Over the years the amiable pair have evolved through many different styles from dark house to minimal to electro. Always running up the spine of their work has been a steady and assured stream of mix CDs for the biggest brands in the game. Fabric, Renaissance and the At The Controls series have all come calling, whilst the pair has also turned out a number of superbly constructed label compilations that forever update and tweak the contemporary Get Physical template. In 2014, though, the pair hasn’t turned out a mix for two years, their longest period without having done so.
“We actually had two in the works for this year that I can’t talk about,” explains Patrick. “For accidental reasons they both fell through, which was disappointing as we still both love doing them.” Instead what the pair is working on is their debut full-length album. Philipp reports that it was very much influenced by their summer in Ibiza last season, when they curated their own parties under the Get Physical banner.
“It has a special Ibiza vibe for sure. Staying there all summer lead us in a very certain musical direction. No matter if your vibe is disco, dark house, EDM, I think every genre can be inspired by Ibiza’s hippy-esque sound if you stay for the whole season. The last thing we will do is Balearic, though. If we learnt one thing in the last ten years then it was to avoid the trap of Balearic house. It’s not for us!”
With 14 tracks already finished and a few more to be produced, the album is due for release sometime in autumn and will reportedly reflect the personal inspirations of M.A.N.D.Y. including their “impressions of electro, disco, Kraftwerk and Grace Jones”. There will also be plenty of vocal hook-ups littering the LP, including one with sometime collaborator Matthew Dear with whom M.A.N.D.Y. produced and played a couple of shows a few years ago under the M.A.N.D.E.A.R. moniker.
“We really want to do an album you can listen to. That’s an old-school idea now because I know people don’t listen to albums all the way through any more, but we want it to be about music and not the club, for our own pleasure. We’re doing it for ourselves; we’re making an album we would like to listen to. The hard bit is making decisions about directions; deciding how we bring a ’60s indie influence together with ’80s electronics and stuff like this. It’s a process and at the moment I’m breaking my head a bit too much about it. Philipp just does his thing, then I think about it and in the end we go from 14 tracks to no tracks because I destroy it with all my thinking. It’s a process though; we don’t take it too seriously and I do enjoy it.”
Likely the reason Patrick, who it can be said is older than your average club DJ, is still enthused by his work after more than 15 years in the game is because he took a small hiatus three years ago. Sitting back one night with a glass of wine he realised he had given his whole life to techno and he wanted more, so took some time out. “I got married and decided I wanted to have a child. That was a two-year project that I took seriously,” he says. “For me, it was a 180-degree turn in lifestyle. I’m an extreme character: when I was smoking I smoked two packets a day. If you’re extreme in this techno thing you need to take care of yourself eventually. I feel much calmer and more creative now. It’s about life balance, no matter what you do, because after a few years you need to do things that are good for you.”
This summer M.A.N.D.Y. will be back on the white isle curating their own events again, but things will be slightly different to last year. Because Ibiza is so competitive and there are so many nights and big name DJs, M.A.N.D.Y. are going to scale things back and rekindle some of the old skool values that got them into promoting parties in the first place. As such they will do small after-parties, boat parties or villa parties for intimate crowds. “We have so many friends there it’s like the Miami Winter Music Conference but every day for four months. There are so many people from all around the world on the island so you’re surrounded by your international friends and colleagues and it’s a great time.”
Ahead of all that though, Patrick comes to Blue Marlin on Friday. Having already played in the region, Patrick excitedly reports it was one of his favourite gigs. “It was a very special party as the crowd was very aware of what we were doing, they were very excited and dancing a lot so I super enjoyed it!”
Blue Marlin, Ghantoot Al Jazira Island Hotel, Dubai. Friday, 1pm to 11pm. Tel: (056) 1133400 for guestlist. Taxi: Ghantoot Al Jazira. bluemarlinibiza-uae.com