WORDS with MEJLE (Mechatronica)
It was Thursday March 12 and we were ready to fly to Berlin for the long-awaited Mechatronica x Pinkman showcase at Alte Münze. Lots of exciting things were happening; Pablo Diskko was closing the main room after an impressive line of artists including The Hacker, Alessandro Adriani and Identified Patient among others, and Griessmuehle had found a new, temporary home following its eviction from the original location due to the site’s redevelopment plans. On the way to the airport we received a text from Casper (MEJLE) telling us that all events were canceled -- and it didn’t come as a shock. However, no one could foresee how quickly the situation would escalate and the global disruption the COVID-19 pandemic would bring.
Four months later and after lots of uncertainty I picked up where I left off in the spring. I was anticipating this exchange with Mechatronica’s foreman for quite some time; MEJLE headlined our first HDE event in 2019 at RADION with a brilliant set in the basement reconfirming his already established refined musical taste, and I was intrigued to know more!
Mechatronica has created a reputation for itself both for its distinctive sound and the consistent quality of events it promotes. Their showcases have featured labels such as aufnahme + wiedergabe and Cultivated Electronics, featuring a stellar array of headliners including Helena Hauff, DMX Krew, The Advent and Broken English Club while at the same time displaying a roster of release artists that shape the landscape of electro, for instance Luke Eargoggle, Jensen Interceptor and Umwelt to name a few. Here are a few WORDS paired with a seamless soundtrack put together by the master himself, MEJLE.
A NEW COLUMN CURATED BY HIS DARK ELEMENTS' CALLIOPE METTAS. WORDS FEATURING LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS. READ OUR SECOND EXCHANGE WITH MELJE.
Mechatronica was founded in 2012 and steadily evolved into one of the most ear-catching labels and showcase events in the city of Berlin. What is the story behind the collective and your vision?
The collective came together through a strong common interest in music and machines, when we all moved to Berlin around 2012 from our home countries Italy, Chile, Denmark and Holland. We met at the Miami bass, electro and acid house parties at the time and started organizing nights together, which after a while led to opening the label. Can’t believe it’s been eight years, but we’re still in love with the sound as much as ever when doing the label nights, DJing and producing.
Releasing music and organizing events usually require different types of resources and effort. What factors contributed to the success of the project in both those aspects and what are some challenges you come across?
Being a collective is a nice factor when putting together new records, since we have different ears and roots - growing up in the scenes of Italian dub/reggae, South American and Spanish EBM / synth, Danish bass music and Dutch rave. It can be challenging and take a bit longer to decide on the sound but it really pays off in the end.. There’s always patience in the crew, which is handy when spending so many years together discussing music. The collective effort is definitely nice for organizing the 24h nights, since we usually pack the lineup pretty well and want to try and take good care of all the people we invite - can’t imagine putting that on single handedly :)
MEJLE & Jensen Interceptor at AURA x HIS DARK Elements, March 2019, RADION Amsterdam.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected cultural industries around the world, and especially the electronic music scene very negatively. Even though the blow on the club scene is more obvious, as we are directly exposed to it, how does it affect the music labels?
We were really blessed to have a community of listeners who have kept buying music and supported the artists on our label in times where their DJ and live income has been cut. We have just been unable to ship records to some countries incl. the US and Australia due to the virus, but other than that we were really lucky to be in an industry that has a digital side to it. We released a compilation of tracks to support our mastering engineer and artists, and it helped keep the lights on in our collective for some months as well. On a positive note, during isolation there was a lot of new music that was produced and we had the chance to put together some really nice records with Dez Williams, Das Ding and Maelstrom, which are coming out soon.
Some countries have provided some sort of financial support in the cultural sector including Germany and The Netherlands, this type of support is only temporary and not sufficient for everyone. What do you think the electronic music scene needs to do in order to become more resilient in the future?
Honestly I think it’s been cool to see how flexible the scene really is, when looking at how fast artists got creative with using technology and the internet to stay connected with each other through music - we should remember to appreciate that. Though sadly event promoters and clubs haven’t had many alternatives to stay alive.. perhaps to be more secure in future times where international travel is banned, local acts need to play a bigger role going forward on lineups. Promoters and club owners could invest more time and money in booking, promoting and growing local collectives, crews and artists over time, forcing themselves to rely less on out-of-country headliners to fill the club every weekend.
We saw a lot of streams and online “raves” during this time that normalized -quite easily- the individualistic or “isolated” notion of virtual partying. With the inevitable and rapid evolution of technology do you feel that the party scene needs to reinvent itself in order to adjust to the new “standards” that COVID-19 inevitably brought forth?
I think a lot of reinvention has already been going on in the scene, and time will tell how things pan out when venues open again - it’s really difficult to answer still. Obviously health standards will be a big new topic, so I hope partygoers, clubs and promoters will collectively be up to the task of following a new and really serious set of safety guidelines throughout the rave.
What are three key points any new collective should be aware of in your experience?
Work with good friends, have patience and stay open minded about music :)
You recently released the INHALT Simulation LP including some head turning names such as Timothy J. Fairplay, Black Merlin, Lokier and Kris Baha among others. What does the future bring for Mechatronica?
Hopefully we can start putting on the first events in Berlin later this year. We had some nice label nights planned in London, Budapest and Hamburg as well, and maybe we can rearrange those when things start to look a bit better. In the meantime we are busy releasing lots of exciting new music. Last week we released a new record by Dez Williams, and Das Ding’s - Your Content Will Arrive Shortly is coming up in August.
Bass Clef - Eight Zero Eight - Magic+Dreams
Jaures - TRI - Whities
Dane Close - T Bone - Power Station
Acte Majeur - Forever - forthcoming Libertine
Credit 00 - Unfinished Bizzness - Mechatronica
Toma Kami - Negative Extasy - Livity Sound
Keplrr - Esoteric Functions - forthcoming
Walton - FX 625 - Ilian Tape
Skee Mask - Zzodiac - Ilian Tape
Star-kid x Gamma Intel x 543ff - Three City Firm (543ff remix) - forthcoming Cultivated Electronics
? - forthcoming Mechatronica
Photonz & Shcuro - Fallen Sparks - Naive
Dez Williams - No Indication (L.F.T. remix) - forthcoming Mechatronica
? - forthcoming Mechatronica
Dj Nephil - Taxi Driver - Phormix
Driss Bennis - One More Time - forthcoming Casa Voyager
Forest Drive West - Cannibal - Livity Sound
Badawi x Kode 9 - Den Of Drumz - ROIR
Kromestar - Jasmine - Dub Philosophy