Marvin & Valentino are the devastating double team behind Munich’s pivotal record store, label and general musical hub Public Possession. From analogue electro wonk to sugarcoated Far East pop, salsa influenced italo to lo-fi Arabian synth, the quirky cross-pollination of sounds on their label provides a compelling and unpredictable counterpoint to the rule of pigeonholing, offering a catalogue that’s insatiably catchy, authentic and original; this same attitude runs through the curation of their shop, in-store sessions, DJ sets and production work as Tambien (alongside Bartellow). They’re a duo we have a huge amount of respect for and can’t wait to welcome them to Corsica Studios for our next Infusions party in a couple week. Before that though, we’ve got a double dosage of mixes as Marvin & Valentino each offer individual hour long sessions – a Stamp Mix double header first – that showcases the nuances of what’s making them tick right now. We also asked them a few questions about Munich, Public Possession and some musical highlights this year.
Catch Marvin & Valentino playing an Italo special for our next Infusions party with Dance Tunnel (16th Sept)
Part One: Marvin
Part Two: Valentino
First, our usual ice-breaker. What’s your first musical memory?
Marvin: Listening to my fathers records. (jazz, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Queen, Bruce Springsteen etc…)
Valentino: Hearing my parents play Piano.
For those who might (mistakenly!) think Berlin is the only city in Germany worth looking at for music, what is exciting you about Munich underground music right now?
There really is no way you can compare the two cities, as they are completely different. Munich is more like a big village. That said, it still has a very lively scene with labels like Permanent Vacation and Gomma holding it down for years and Ilian Tape and others reaching out and doing their thing. There is great graphic/design happening and with Charlie we have one of our favorite clubs in the world right on our doorstep.
We won’t go into how you guys met and started the store, as it’s available in a few other interviews. Instead, let’s get straight into the store…you opened in 2012 right? What has been your proudest achievement during that time, and what’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
It’s been a learning by doing process since day one, we’ve had ups and downs with the store, but right now it’s working out better then ever. The idea of what we want to present and what to do with the store is quite clear, nevertheless it seems to be in constant change and none of us really knows what will happen next. Our new homepage/online shop just launched, we are pretty happy about that.
The Public Possession in-store sessions regularly see some stellar names visit the shop. How important is building a community of like-minded individuals to what you do?
We did those in-store sessions from day one, it was part of the concept/idea behind opening the store. We’ve met great people through this, local and international. It became a PP essential.
Outside of the in-stores, you also run the Hotel parties at Bar Charlie. Could you tell us a bit about those, and how important Charlie is, in creating this similar community feel in Munich?
Charlie is our home and the no.1 club in Munich right now. We started our residence five years ago – PP wasn’t even existing back then. At that time we were sort of floating around, playing here and there, a bit burnt out from our residency before, where we played every Friday for over two years. So we gotta thank Benjamin Röder and the whole Charlie crew for trusting us with taking care of one of their four nights a month (Charlie is only open Saturdays).
Would you agree that both the store and the label are defined by a personality or mood, rather than being bound by genre? If so, what would you say this personality/mood is?
Yes definitely. Both are very personal matters. The store has become more of a showroom lately, we really select carefully what we offer, partly because we have a clearer vision of what we want to present and partly out of necessity – it simply is impossible to compete with the big online shops around.
In terms of the label’s personality, it really lives of the bond we have with the artists, we can not give them enough credit. Bell Towers, Obalski or Samo DJ who’ve been aboard almost since day one have really helped to form the labels sound. Together we have created a taste fusion we are very happy about.
With all the other guys joining in along the way, it has become a great crew over the years. It is no secret that we like to keep on working with artists as long as both sides are happy with the relationship. So maybe that’s the PP trademark: continuity and exchange.
From the music to design, there’s an undeniable playfulness coursing the label’s curation. Who has the better sense of humour, and what was the last joke you each told that made the other laugh out loud.
True yes – we believe in humour. But we also know it’s about timing, so we won’t go into detail now, let’s just wait till we hang out in September!
You’ve previously spoken of a fondness for Munich’s Best Records store, but what about on your travels? Any other digging spots you would recommend?
Too many! Audio In (Berlin) – Betino’s Record Shop (Paris) – Red Light (Amsterdam) – Second Hand Records (Stuttgart) – Blue Bag (LA) – Licorice Pie (Melbourne). Anyways with great certainty it is to say, that a local will know best.
What’s been your favourite party you’ve played this year?
Again too many! Bristol (Dirty Talk) – London (Reviveher) – 10 hours mash up w/ Bell Towers & Samo DJ at Cocktail D’Amore Berlin and few recent nights at Charlie, crowned by a very rare rooftop party in Munich organized by the HY-TOP guys.
Your selections are eclectic, both regularly reaching for some pretty obscure stuff. Are there any eclectic or risk-taking DJs who have had a notable impact on either of you?
Hunee, Bell Towers, Kenji Takimi, Ron Morelli, Tiago, Jan Schulte, Samo DJ, Obalski, Mr. Tophat, Charlie Residents and many more.
With such broad tastes, how do you ensure a level of cohesion when you play b2b?
There is no insurance haha, but we’ve been doing this for over ten years, so we kind of know what to expect of each other – good and bad. In the end it usually works out, if one fucks up the other saves it with a solo.
Speaking of DJing together, you’re joining us at Corsica Studios in a few weeks for our Infusions party with Dance Tunnel. What made you choose Italo as your theme and what do you love about the sound so much?
Marvin: To be honest our tastes are really broad and all over the place. When we play out we are not very specified at all, given the fact that it was expected of us in this case, I took the lead and went for italo as this is definitely a genre I feel very comfortable in. It transports a feeling that gives me great comfort. (Mood UP)
Any young or emerging talent from Munich or further afield who are exciting you at the moment?
Many! Of course all the PP artists from Munich. Beni Brachtel who we do Tambien with. He plays in lots of bands and composes operas (multitalent). Obalski who not only makes incredible music, but is also part of a theatre group called Rohtheater, doing really interesting stuff. Henry Gilles – Henry if you read this let’s finish pt.II !
Who have been some of your favourite labels this year?
Studio Barnhus, L.I.E.S., Ilian Tape, Regelbau and all the stuff out of Arhus, Permanent Vacation, the stuff Marco Cusack (NIMH) is involved in, Tryck & Ton, FettDistro, Whities, Junk Yard Connections, Love on the Rocks, Tiago’s Interzona 13.
Focusing on the mixes you recorded for us…where did you record them and would you say there’s a specific idea behind it? As you both recorded them separately, it’d be great to hear how you made each your own.
M: I recorded it at Charlie, since there is a few unreleased tracks on it and we don’t have a proper CDJ at the store. It’s pretty loose dance Music – stuff I would also play at a club.
V: I recorded my mix here at the PP shop. There is not an idea or concept behind it, it’s more of a glimpse into the current Valentino mood.
What’s next on the agenda for Marvin & Valentino, Tambien, the label and record store?
We are working on improving the PP products segment. Right now on offer is DJ Towel and prints and posters. By autumn we’ll be introducing Public Possession Selección (Distro Moda Mondo) tbc. We just released a new Obalski EP including remixes by Mascaras and Nick Höppner with at least two more records still to come in 2016. Tambien is on hold right now due to the members’ lack of time, but who knows. And we’ll play for you guys and at Robert Johnson the night after – definitely a weekend to look forward to.