Get to know the unapologetic, multi-faceted Berlin DJ Collective that’s taken the world by storm on their own accord. Think of them as a Swiss Army Knife – able to do it all. They’ve confidently solidified themselves as a trusted staple in various industries, dominating every project with finesse. With Keinemusik’s recent venture into the video game sphere, the down-to-earth crew took a moment to talk with SPIN about their brand, key to success, & collaborating with Rockstar video game, Grand Theft Auto.
Who is Keinemusik and what do you stand for?
Keinemusik was founded by Monja, Reznik, Rampa, &ME and Adam Port. We all met in a club, &ME and Rampa met in the studio. We try and see what happens, if there’s an ethos it’s probably best described as “slow processes”. Higher, faster, further is not our ethos. We do what we want.
Your Collective was established in 2009, which gives an idea of how much experience you’ve acquired as leaders in Berlin’s musical landscape. To what would you attribute Keinemusik’s success and longevity?
It’s been beneficial for us to grow slowly, sure. This way we had enough time to adjust our interpersonal relationship while trying to find our own sound as well. We had to find our rhythm and to be honest, after all these years it’s still an ongoing process. Being close friends and having a similar sense for aesthetics might also have helped. We don’t always agree on things, but we found a good way to be free inside the crew. I think we all understood that the whole thing is bigger than the individual participants and that we all do better if we don’t consider ourselves too important. It was and still is a process … Talking with each other a lot helps. Also Till, our booker, Daniel, our label manager, and Maria are long-time friends who play an important role in keeping the harmony and togetherness.
Having five members in your group that have all evolved in individual ways throughout the past decade, what’s your secret towards staying culturally + collectively conscious?
We try to communicate as much as possible. And we all have different interests … so one is more into technical aspects and gear, the next is more into scene news, the next into politics or fashion.
Coming from the underground scene, how would you describe your evolution within electronic music as a whole?
Good question, well, what exactly is underground? That’s such a vague concept, depending on the perspective. For example, for David Guetta fans we are super underground where as for other people we would be a sellout commercial pop band, lol. In the end we create the sound and art (from events, to artwork and merchandise) because we feel passionate about.
Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
There have been a few of course. Since it unfolded rather slowly we never had this huge big thing that changed everything overnight, but we had a lot of steps that felt like things were progressing. Producing music that gets played by the people we look up to. Releasing on certain labels. Collaborations with artists we like, like the Burna Boy track we’ve produced for GTA Online. Playing events we have been dreaming of. Designing clothes with brands we wear ourselves — like the soon coming collaboration with MISBHV or Public Possession and Civilist; Now being part of an iconic video game, a game we used to play ourselves when we were teens. It still feels like in the beginning, just with more trust and confidence in ourselves.
It is known that you carry quite a fascination with visual art and that this is an important component to your identity as a musical collective. Can you explain the importance of fusing both the visual and musical mediums together? How does this element influence or elevate your sound style?
As Monja was part of the crew from the get go, and her passion is art and painting, her impact is equally essential. And we all like the idea of giving the music a visual expression. We experimented over the years and right now the approach is to have Monja’s artwork combined with typography by Public Possession, for records, flyers and merch. Art and music are interdependent, they inspire and complement each other.
It’s become an important focus for you to expand your reach beyond dance music, which has led to high-profile streetwear collaborations with Nike or MISBHV. Although, most recently you’ve partnered up with GTA that’s really catapulted you through the realm of video games. How did this opportunity come to fruition and what impact did it have on your existing perspective of the relationship between video games + soundscapes?
Music always was and will be the center of it all, although we like to do whatever is fun, feels right and excites us. Most, if not all of our collaborations came together out of a friendship or close connection with the people involved in it. Could be the PR person or the owner or designer in question is a friend of one of us. GTA being a good example, as Sam (Sam Houser, Rockstar Games Founder) is a big music lover who we met in Ibiza at Circoloco and built a friendship with over time. I think the vibe of us playing together was the initial moment for this to happen. Music creates vibes and emotion and is of course an integral part to movies and videogames. So we are stoked to take part in and contribute our vibe to such an iconic game. Producing the score music was particularly exciting.
What is most interesting perhaps, is that this opportunity arose during the most unpredictable of times – the covid era. With clubs and events being shut down, it seems this granted you an exciting opportunity to level up in your musical innovation and deliver a unique interactive experience. What doors has this shift opened for you and what does this entail for the future of Keinemusik?
We are very thankful for this opportunity, especially during these times that are tough for all touring artists. We started with the idea a little before the pandemic kicked in and it was not always certain if it would really happen. We needed to change the motion capture studio and the recording dates a few times. It was a surreal year looking at it now. And we are very proud of Rockstar Games and the whole team to realize such a complex project up with all these burdens.
We will still do the music we like and the projects that come along with it. Doors might open, yes, but we will still have to decide whether we enter these doors .
Rejoice in the experience and check out Part 1 of Keinemusik’s virtual GTA set below. Can’t stop dancing? Catch Part 2 on SPIN TV.
To see our running list of the top 100 greatest guitarists of all time, click here.