Trendsetting dance-hit maker Get Physical brings its first all-label tour to America.
It’s been a couple of years since we checked in with Frankfurt, Germany’s Get Physical label. In that time, the dance imprint’s sway with DJs has become—thanks to the accessible sounds of Booka Shade and M.A.N.D.Y.—as pervasive as clubbers toting BlackBerries and ordering boutique vodka brands. As magnetic as the appeal of stylized German party music is—a contrast to the stone-faced approach of minimal techno— the label’s identity is less about a sound than an attitude. Get Physical is as tied to electro-house as it was to the Olivia Newton-John song that inspired its name. In fact, one of its most interesting efforts has been a mix CD series, Body Language, which, in its six editions, has featured the likes of Junior Boys, Château Flight and Dixon taking a liberated approach to the DJ playlist with indie, soundtracks, nu-disco, electro, techno and classic house in the mix. Saturday 10 at Vision, the label tour touches down with M.A.N.D.Y., Audiofly and Heidi delivering DJ sets. We caught up with Get Physical founder and M.A.N.D.Y. member Philipp Jung (touring in Serbia) to see what the junket’s all about.
Time Out Chicago: Is it a good time to do a Get Physical tour in the States?
Philipp Jung: We [M.A.N.D.Y.] did about six or seven little tours in the U.S., so we thought it was time to do a full-on tour and present the whole label sound and travel to some cities we never got to. Not sure about “perfect timing,” but it’s a very good time!
TOC: The tour lineup doesn’t seem very German—Heidi is from Windsor, Ontario, and Audiofly is Italian.
Philipp Jung: Of course we are German, but it would be strange to just travel with German artists. From the very beginning, we worked with people from various countries. It’s more who fits to your label and with which people you want to work. For example, the so-called Berlin sound consists very much of all the foreign producers and DJs who moved there.
TOC: It feels like the Get Physical profile has risen in the States lately.
Philipp Jung: We were working in the U.S. quite a bit, and luckily people are still up for it. We will come over and over again until you don’t want us anymore. And then we’ll come again.
TOC: Have you noticed a backlash?
Philipp Jung: When we started in the early ’90s, we had a problem in that nobody thought what we were doing was good, so I guess you just have to have trust in what you’re doing and continue. And then maybe one day you become lucky. Or not.
TOC: What do you think people associate Get Physical with soundwise?
Philipp Jung: We didn’t sit down back in the days and think, Which new style could we do? The media called it “electrohouse” then, which was fine at the time. I don’t think we put out that kind of music too much anymore. At the moment, there’s not one Get Physical sound. What I can say is that we like to put out music that is much more entertaining than what has been coming out lately. I see people are totally up for songs and emotion at this point. After the last few years of super-reduced music, people want to have fun again in the clubs.
TOC: Do you send tracks back to be fine-tuned by producers?
Philipp Jung: DJ T., my partner Patrick and I are listening and testing the music that is sent to us. That’s the good thing about being a DJ, you can immediately test the stuff you like. For 90 percent of all our releases, we work very closely with our artists, which means fine-tuning until we all like the result.
TOC: There’s some excitement about semi-live acts in the clubs, like Booka Shade. Is the label still getting behind that?
Philipp Jung: With Raz Ohara we have a full-on live act. Nôze, two crazy guys from Paris, do an amazing show as well, singing French chansons in the most funny way. At the end, they end up half-naked on stage.
TOC: Where is the label going?
Philipp Jung: Honestly, there is no master plan, but I have a lot of admiration for labels like Warp and !K7. We will always be a dance label on the 12-inch side, but as for album releases, I just want to put out the music that I would listen to at home as well. So, no limits.
The Get Physical tour works up a sweat at Vision, Saturday 10.