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Philipp Jung launched METAPHYSICAL label. He has been an integral party of the electronic music industry since the early 90’s, and perhaps most famously for his role in M.A.N.D.Y, alongside Patrick Bodmer.
Jung and Bodmer quickly became resident DJ’s in the high-energy Frankfurter scene in the early 2000’s and in 2002 they launched the Get Physical label alongside Booka Shade. The output saw M.A.N.D.Y release their biggest hit ‘Body Language’ and has received huge plaudits from the likes of DJ Mag through to Pitchfork for their increasingly genre-spanning discography.
Philipp Jung and Get Physical now set their sights on the launch of a new direction with the METAPHYSICAL imprint. The label is launching with ARTBAT and Sailor & I’s ‘Best Of Me’, an emphatic modern-classic with uplifting melodies – this will be followed by Sailor & I’s full album later in the year.
METAPHYSICAL is Philipp Jung’s concept with what he describes the label as ranging from pop to ambient, right through to electro-punk. The label will be counting on a close working relationship between artist and label with a mutual understanding of goals. Ultimately, the music will always come first and in summary, Philipp will be looking for artists who can be more involved with the label and artists who he personally admires and loves – a strong focus on album artists clearly.
Philipp discusses the changes the industry has to adapt to, the differences in sound between Get Physical and the newly established METAPHYSICAL, and how he came to know Sailor & I, the first artist to soon release an album on the imprint later this year.
Electronic Groove: Hi Phillip, glad to have you on EG, how are you doing today?
Philipp Jung: Thanks for the invite. All is fine over here. Just on a longer vacation with lots of sports and dear friends. I learned to live with the fact that this thing is changing all of our lives for much longer than we thought. I had some difficulties in accepting that at first, but now like many others, I can see the changes and the benefits of it as well.
EG: Congratulations on the new label METAPHYSICAL. How this comes to be, what is the main inspiration behind it?
Philipp Jung: We wanted to start the label already a long time ago. I come from the A&Ring side when I worked in bigger record companies with a very wide roster. And I always loved to work with artists who want to go the extra mile and explore things. What you usually can do when you work longer together and you develop something. Sometimes you are really in the process. Sometimes more as a motivator, listener, and/or helping to make difficult decisions. And I missed that. Now that I have stepped down from the M.A.N.D.Y. project, I’ve got more time on my hands again. There is so much beautiful music out there from very special humans that need to be heard.
EG: How does the new imprint differ from Get Physical?
Philipp Jung: METAPHYSICAL can showcase all kinds of sounds and musical directions, whatever appeals to us and whatever we think needs to be heard out there. Get Physical has a specific sound and I love that it’s a proper dance label and most of the releases are tending straight to the (now imaginary) clubs.
EG: What is the sound of the label, what is your A&R policy?
Philipp Jung: It’s about sitting together before and to talk most honestly about the expectations of each other and to see if there is enough common ground to get married, at least for some time. Everything is possible really. Just letting the artist explore, no matter in which direction, and to support and to walk this way together all the way. I will decide on how I get along with the artist and how much I can really help her/him.
“METAPHYSICAL can showcase all kinds of sounds
and musical directions”
EG: We understand you want to take artists through to albums and nurture them – Is that a result of you being an elder statesman and giving something back to the industry?
Philipp Jung: I always loved to work with artists and see what comes out if you let them go. And in the best case, you could help a little here and there and add a vibe or idea or sometimes it’s best to do absolutely nothing and let them fly. When I was an A&R for 10 years and very fortunately worked with amazingly talented people. It made me understand how much actual work it is and how gratifying this whole process can be. How they prepare and how much effort they put into their craft is very humbling.
EG: Sailor & I is the first up on the label, what made him right for you?
Philipp Jung: A very dear friend from Berlin was introducing him to me. I became an immediate fan of Alex aka Sailor & I. He is a through and through artist and we sat down and talked about what we can achieve together. He had experiences with albums on major labels and he wasn’t too keen on doing that again. So we trusted each other and he put so much love into this album. He did so many different songs, mixes, and went down so many different paths to achieve his goal. He always carried on and on to make it right for him. I respect that a lot. The German word ‘Leidenschaft’ means passion in English, but translated it means: ‘creating pain’. That is one big part of the album process and I love this intensity.
EG: What are the best and worst moments of running a label?
Philipp Jung: The feeling of your friends making a career for themselves and that you could help a little bit. I honestly still love this. Of course, it’s not easy to make decent money these days. The game changes so much and so fast, and you have to adapt and make the right decisions. Spotify changed the whole A&R’ing process as well, but and to give artists a good platform where they stand a chance to be heard. Cause, after all, that is what an artist wants. He wants to be heard or seen.
In general, I have to say that it’s still a blessing to be able to survive in all this madness, working with younger people who are as motivated, enthusiastic, and mental, all this makes it so beautiful.
EG: How different is it running a label now compared to when Get Physical first started? Is it more about social engagement and likes rather than sales these days?
Philipp Jung: Everything changes. And when you are doing it successfully for some time, of course, you want to keep it that way forever. But in most businesses, you have to move quickly which keeps you on the tip of your toes. And when we started the business we didn’t really think and know too much, but sometimes you meet the correct people at the perfect time and it’s like walking on cloud 9, and everything works. But the cloud-walk will not last when you don’t take care of the business-side. It’s equally important to survive. These magical moments are super rare and it drives you so much. The joy of being able to still put out music from friends, strangers, nerds, or hippies is still big.
“It’s better to rethink every step of your process in
order to stay alive”
EG: How do you see the industry fairing following COVID-19 and all the implications that have come to be?
Philipp Jung: I think most people thought when it started that it’ll pass sooner or later, but now it seems we have to find ways to deal with situations like this and prepare ourselves better to live with whatever comes. It will cause big changes in lots of areas. Our whole ’fun‘-industry will have to adapt and make changes too. It’s on everyone’s minds now to reassess a little bit and become, maybe even more, sincere about their art again. It’s now about smaller scaling again and trying to give people an outlet to let themselves go with this new way of life. There is a chance that it makes people more creative again and look for new solutions.
EG: On a personal level and away from the label, what else have you been keeping busy with over the past few months, and do you have anything else to share?
Philipp Jung: It’s now two years since I left M.A.N.D.Y. I needed a break and I felt that coming up for quite a while. The constant non-stop touring took a toll on me and I was not enjoying the nights as I used too. So I needed time away and to get out of the scene for a bit. And the change away from this amazing intense job was not easy. The hole you feel is pretty large.
You have to find something that fills that space. But as we all know in every end there is a new beginning, I started to put the parts together again and it feels good. Working on music, learning new stuff, being more at home with friends and family. A different lifestyle for sure, challenging too, but I think it can be equally as fun.
I know it’s hard for most of us, but we’ll get through this, maybe not always stronger, but different and with a reset.
ARTBAT, Sailor & I – Best Of Me is now available. Stream and buy here.
Follow METAPHYSICAL: Facebook