Andhim: "We never said we had to become super DJ stars. We just did what we wanted"
Germany's Andhim (due this Friday, January 24, at Bar Standard) display a humility not often seen in the DJ world. Full grace and gratitude, the duo of Simon Haehnel and Tobias Müller create house music that's made "to uplift." They call it "superhouse," and although it's not new to the underground scene, it's being propelled to the top of the charts with help from acts like Andhim. We recently spoke with Haehnel about touring in the State, the idea of "superhouse" and growing up with hip-hop influences.
Westword: Is this the first american tour?
Simon Haehnel:No, but it's the biggest one so far. We are playing seven or eight cities. It's the fourth time we've come to the States, but this is definitely the biggest tour.
What are your thoughts on how you've seen house music explode in America, whereas it's been "mainstream" in Europe?
I feel like when I tell people I'm playing in America, I am super excited. I think U.S.A. has a really good scene. On one hand, you have super big shows with EDM shows and major artists, and that's just one side of it. The side we know is a very nice underground scene. I try to explain it to people who ask, and in my imagination, the scene in Frankfurt or Berlin fifteen or twenty years ago is comparable to the underground house scene in America now.
We play all those secret warehouse shows -- but then again, fifteen or twenty years ago, I was a kid. I wasn't a part of it then, but this is what I am thinking about. As I already said, all those secret locations with people dressing up like they are going to Burning Man, and the crowd makes it happen. I guess you call them hipsters nowadays. The crowd is very good, and they come to have fun and have a great party. That's what it's all about.
Have you ever been to Burning Man?
No. We would love to do it, and I think we will do it in the future, but it's hard to do while touring all year. We played 120 shows last year, so it's hard to go into the desert for two weeks.
Coming from Germany, is America the goal for tour stop because the market is different?
I think it's more personal. Everyone in the world looks at New York like it's the greatest city on Earth. When we played there, it was a big thing for us because we come from a small town in Germany. It's a goal, but it's personal for everyone. We've met so many wonderful people here in the U.S.A. that we've become friendly, so it's great to come back. Maybe in five years it will be a main goal. It's just cool to play here. It's cool to maybe be a small part of the upcoming scene. We try to build the scene with other guys.
It's important to educate, too. Dubstep got this major spotlight, but now it seems house and disco are coming back strong. It's almost the modern backpack hip-hop with producers popping up everywhere. How would you define your music?
It's superhouse. You have to come to a show to see what it means for yourself. It's just a good feeling. It's uplifting, organic, and feel-good music. Good feeling. Good vibes. Smiling people. Everyone is in a good mood without being cheesy. It's not being EDM, but it's uplifting.
What did you grow up listening to?
Man, there are so many artists. We started with hip-hop and turntablism, so you could say we were educated with hip-hop, but there are so many other things. We like David Bowie, Daft Punk, Bob Dylan... there are just so many. There are no borders. In the beginning we were educated by hip-hop, but there is so much wonderful music out there.