Sometimes, music is about numbers and sequences. When Modeselektor [Gernot Bronsert + Sebastian Szary] and Apparat [Sascha Ring] decide to become one, they interject as the trio called Moderat. Good things always come in threes and the result of this brilliant addition is unambiguous: hardly anybody has brought electronic music from Berlin to the farthest-flung corners of the world with more passion and enthusiasm than these two heavyweight acts.
Now, as Moderat makes its way to Miami for this year’s edition of Art With Me, EG caught up with Sebastian Szary to learn more about their live show, their recent ‘MORE D4TA’ album, and much more.
Art With Me’s Miami 2022 edition will take place from November 26th–27th, 2022. Purchase your tickets here.
EG: Hi guys! Welcome to EG. It’s a true pleasure to have you here with us. Where are you based right now? How have things been going this year?
Szary: Hello EG! At the moment we are everywhere. On the street, in the middle of nowhere, at backstage, on the stage, at home, in the depths, in light and dark in the here and now. At some point, you stop counting the individual shows we’ve already played this year. There were a few, mostly in very beautiful places.
EG: By the way, congratulations on the release of ‘MORE D4TA’! What has the reception been like? How do you feel about it now that it has been out in the world for some 5 months?
Szary: Many thanks. We think it worked out well. When we started to produce ‘MORE D4TA’, we weren’t really sure which reception we would end up in, but one thing accompanied us during this work on the album: it was the overload of information that came to us. “Actually quite simple”, we thought to ourselves. But it all stressed us out a lot, probably for most people.
EG: Cleverly, ‘MORE D4TA’ works as an anagram for Moderat, but it also references the modern information overload that surrounds our daily lives, right? Where do you stand on the place technology has today? Does electronic music push you constantly to live on the edge, technologically speaking?
Szary: To put it more simply: ‘MORE D4TA’ is the mirror image of the last 3-4 years. Actually, every release, whether it’s music, poetry, fine art, etc., should be a reflection of what’s inside and what’s been experienced. Most of the time it does that almost automatically. The carrying capacity is the decisive factor that sets different trigger points for everyone.
EG: After four albums, what is the recording process like? Do you have clear, defined roles? Does the starting point vary from track to track?
Szary: The development process is actually always similar. You comb through old song sketches, loops, and field recordings on countless hard drives or cloud folders.
In the beginning, there is a phase of separate work, in which everyone breaks away from their own projects and, to a certain extent, immerses themselves in a new identity. The roles are roughly clear. It happens that the roles also change. Everything is flexible except for the vocal part.
“When we started to produce ‘MORE D4TA’, we weren’t really sure which reception we would end up in, but one thing accompanied us during this work on the album: it was the overload of information that came to us”
EG: Are you guys flexible when you have sounds chosen for a song idea and the other two maybe want to change it or are not fully on board?
Szary: You often think of yourself “Hey, I’m super flexible” but deep down you want to stick to your idea, and that sometimes weighs on an emotional level. We talk about it and a consensus is found. When working in a group with 3 members, it is important to keep your mindset open. That sounds easy, but it’s not.
EG: Do you have to keep in mind the fact that you should be able to replicate something in a live setting when creating something in the studio? How do you translate everything from an album to a band format?
Szary: The technology and software allow you to take a lot of sounds onto the stage. It is usually the case that in this process of live preparation, the sound and arrangements are often optimized, and you realize: this change might have been quite good on the album as well – but usually it’s too late for corrections because the album has already been mastered or is already being pressed. As you can see, the live preparation process already begins during the album production.
Catch Moderat live at Art With Me Miami. Purchase your tickets here.
EG: Speaking of live shows, congratulations on your involvement in this year’s edition of Art With Me Miami! What can your fans expect from your show?
Szary: It is our pleasure to come to Miami for Art With Me. Many thanks for the invitation. The fans get a Moderat show with all the means at our disposal. Audio, video, lights. We always compared it to cinema/theater. We deliver the soundtrack for it.
EG: Are there any acts that you’re looking forwards to listening to? Any favorite activities to do in Miami?
Szary: Let’s see what we’re going to do in the short amount of time we’re going to spend in Miami. We will enjoy the weather and compensate for our jet lag. There are some friends in Miami that we will meet then. The line-up and all other events all around sound very good. Furthermore, Miami Beach is very impressive with its Art Deco architecture. Otherwise, we love museums, exhibitions, and good healthy food. Maybe we’ll just grab a couple of bikes and cruise around.
“In general, there is an upcoming generation of interested young enthusiastic people who are rediscovering things. In our eyes, this generation also has enough power to speak out against discrimination, racism, war, and violence”
EG: How do you guys keep entertained when on tour? Any books, movies, or series you’d recommend?
Szary: P o d c a s t s ! ! ! For example… ‘Moderat FM’ on Apple Music radio (Shows EP 1-6)… (haha!). In addition to podcasts and music, you could read books and watch films. At the moment we have a very nice job on tour with the tour bus: a table tennis tournament. Every man for himself. In the end, there’s a trophy.
EG: By the way, what are your thoughts on the current state of the scene? What would you like to see more and less of?
Szary: It’s hard to say which scene you’re talking about, the scene is very mixed and varied. The audience fans out and becomes more diverse in all directions. Of course, there is the hardcore fan block. On the other hand, such a happening is a short weekend happening for many participants, after which they will return to their other life.
In general, there is an upcoming generation of interested young enthusiastic people who are rediscovering things. In our eyes, this generation also has enough power to speak out against discrimination, racism, war, and violence. And not to be forgotten is the gradual destruction of our planet, “Mother Earth”. It’s not the most economical way for us to fly to Miami for one show. So far the scene has been relatively untouched by it, but it makes sense to keep all these things in mind.
EG: What’s next for Moderat? What particular milestones are you looking forwards to now?
Szary: We will play a few more shows in Europe until the end of the year, then we will take a little winter break and then start the next tour season again. This also includes technical and stylistic changes to the show. We will expand the release of our album with remixes and versions. There’s more to come.
EG: Thank you so much for your time, guys! We wish you all the best for the future.
Szary: Thank you very much and see you in Miami!
Catch Moderat live at Art With Me Miami. Purchase your tickets here.