Stamp Mix #50: Lauer


One half of Tuff City Kids (alongside Gerd Janson), Arto Mwambe (alongside Christian Beißwenger) and Hotel Lauer (alongside brother Jacob), Lauer might be a man of many monikers but he is a man with a clear musical identity. More than just the “melody man” he is often referred to, he makes house for the non-believers or beleaguered. Indeed, for one Test Pressing writer, Lauer’s debut album restored his faith in the 4/4, when it was hanging by a thread, thanks to an approach that traverses cosmic, balearic, italo, balafon and marimba sounds.

An EP on Beats in Space and another long player on Permanent Vacation this year followed said debut, and now Lauer sits alongside other Live at Robert Jonson alumni as an ambassador for the city’s dance music culture. With a devilishly dry sense of humour, it would be a waste not to ask the Frankfurter a few questions, to accompany the hour-long mix he’s put together for us.

Lauer plays Bristol on 4th December, for In:Motion presents Futureboogie alongside Gerd Janson.


Hi Phillip, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. It’s probably best to start from the very beginning and specifically, with Séparé Recordings. You made your full debut on Séparé in the early 2000s, but can you tell us a bit about the label?

Thanks for having me. Well it was a small house music label from Frankfurt. The guy who founded it is now into triathlon.

I saw the very first release came in 2000 under the moniker plenty Ammo and the choice of title caught my attention (‘Kizz My Phillipino Azz). Is there a story behind it? We hope there is.

There was a famous HC band from the States called Charles Bronson and one member with (I think) a Philippines family background recorded a solo LP with the same title. Just one L and 2 Ps.

You’re known in certain circles as the “melody man”. It’s appropriate, but who coined the nickname?

I heard that a few times.. cant remember.. it might derive from some review.

Frankfurt is well known for Robert Johnson, a club you’ve enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with, both as a resident and an artist on their in-house label. Can you shed some light on how important the venue is for the city and why it has remained such a significant fixture in its clubbing landscape?

They released a book that tries to answer your question, The Robert Johnson Book. Good read…a short answer could be: perfect size, top sound, nice people (infront and most of the time also behind the decks). I was a regular guest for years until I started to play there, so to me it was really important.

Are there any producers or DJs bubbling up in Frankfurt we should keep an eye on?

For sure. Orson Wells, Benjamin MIlz, Chinaski, to name a few.

Your booking agent states that you strive to “preach the ragged side of proto dance music” through your DJing. Can you tell us about some of the originators and pioneers in this area who have left a serious impression on you over the years?

A tough question. Probably a lot of people who played at RJ had some sort of influence.. Ata for example.

Depending on the mix, I’ve found that you play quite a lot of dystopian-themed music. Did you watch many John Carpenter films growing up?

I only watched Bay Watch and Star Trek Next Generation.. how dystopian is that!? But I’m a fan of old Carpenter films for sure.

Seeing as you’re playing Futureboogie’s In:Motion takeover in December, is there anything you particularly enjoy about playing to a UK crowd, that you don’t get when you play in Europe?

You guys dont take prisoners.

What’s your preferred setup when playing out? Even the most ardent vinyl enthusiasts seem to be moving in preference of digital due to fear of damaging or loosing their collections in transit. Is that something you can relate to?

I’m no purist when it comes to formats. I still bring vinyl and enjoy playing it but I have USB sticks too. I have carried a heavy bag full of records to parties many times only to find out that there were no record players at all or they were not set up properly.

You have an envious collection of vintage hardware in your studio, are there any pieces that you consider essential to your current setup?

Oberheim Matrix 1000 – 1000 presets never let me down. I want to get a programmer for it !

You’ve previously stated that your creative process isn’t dictated by a clear plan or intention and the comparisons people make between your music and supposed influencers tend to be fairly coincidental. Do you enter the studio with a totally blank canvas in terms of what you want to create?

I try, although I barely manage to enter the studio with clean underpants. I usually have some sort of idea before i start something, like wow…panflutes or trance.

Unlike the more linear debut LP, Borndom draws on several different genres, with old school, acid house and balearic all represented in some capacity. Is this pastiche sound indicative of your continuing development as a producer?

I guess so. I have been very busy in the studio over the last three  or so years and I have learned a lot. I also think I like more different types of music than before. Grown up Phillip.

I can hear echoes of bands like New Order towards the tail end of the album. Seeing as you’ve regularly mentioned a “weak spot” for 80’s pop music, could you pick a few tracks that stand out from the era?

Chris and Cosey – ‘Exotika’
Thompson Twins – ‘Hold Me Now’
Stephanie de Monaco – Irresistible

Practically half of your releases have come from some sort of collaboration. Is there something that you particularly enjoy about working with other artists?

I think its more fun when doing…less fun when getting paid though.

I get the impression that it’s a lot of fun working with Gerd Janson on the Tuff City Kids material. Is it as fun to make as it is to dance to?

Glad we managed to keep this facade going. Yeah it’s a hell of a fun, maybe even more fun than dancing to the outcome.

It wasn’t long ago that you first began making music alongside your brother Jacob as Hotel Lauer. What’s it like being in the studio with your sibling? Do the tensions ever run high?

Lauers in general are not known for being people with high running tensions. In the studio it’s more like Richard Wagner and J.B. Bach meet Beavis and Butthead. One team for fun one for musical genious.

Your work as one half Arto Mwambe brought you into contact with Sex Tags boss and Norway native, DJ Sotofett, and some have likened your luxuriant synth work to the Balearic-leaning productions of of Scandinavians like Todd Terje and Bjorn Torske. Why do you think you regularly find yourself on a similar wavelength to your Nordic peers?

Mmh, never saw it that way. Maybe viking blood running thru my veins ? Naaah.

Could you tell us a bit about the mix you made for us? 

Recorded it at home with 2 turntables and 1 CDJ. Happy I managed to include the fabulous remix of the Borndom album track ‘Alright’ by Working Elite!

And finally, things have been unusually quiet since you dropped Borndom on Permanent Vacation back in May. Could you shed some light on what you’ve been up to over the last few months and what might be on the horizon?

Oh, the album needed some time to breath! But there’s some things here and there. Black Spuma on International Feel, Tuff CIty Kids on Potion, Lauer on Futureboogie, remixes all the time everywhere… watch out!

Lauer plays Bristol on 4th December, for In:Motion presents Futureboogie alongside Gerd Janson.

Comments are closed.