Since its origins in 2009, Berlin-based label and collective Keinemusik has amassed a devoted following among local and international audiences alike, playing everywhere from Circoloco in Ibiza to Elsewhere in New York City. It would be appropriate to think that behind its success is a rigid set of rules and practices, but Keinemusik’s philosophy has stayed simple. “All our releases, including collaborative projects, are written and produced by the core members of the crew,” says Adam Port.
Formed by Rampa, &ME, Adam Port, and Reznik, Keinemusik met through the city’s thriving music scene, bonding over shared musical tastes and laid-back sensibilities. And while each member was already carving a path for themselves in the music industry, pooling strengths and ideas as a group was a more inspiring way of working. “Everybody in the crew was just starting out as a DJ or producer when Keinemusik launched,” says Rampa. “So it seemed much more fun and reasonable to work as a collective instead of hustling on our own.”
After playing a string of international clubs, like Egg in London and Electric Pickle in Miami, the group released its debut album in 2017, titled You Are Safe. The project’s name derived from the safe haven that Keinemusik had built for itself over eight years, and featured guest vocals from artists such as Chiara Noriko, Nomi Ruiz, and Jennifer Touch. In 2022, the collective was propelled even further into global acclaim after &ME and Rampa earned production credits on rapper Drake’s 11th studio album Honestly, Nevermind.
For this month’s show, the group has put together a mix featuring tracks and remixes exclusively by Keinemusik artists, sprawling Balearic, deep tech-house, and soulful electro. As ever, the mix is accompanied by an interview with Keinemusik’s members, who reveal how their paths crossed, their boundless ideas for merchandise and furniture, and being inspired by silence.
Adam: I used to DJ R&B and hip hop back in the day and at some point, I wanted to create something on my own to express myself better. I got a cracked version of Cakewalk from a friend and started playing around with sounds. I had no drum machine or synths, so I sampled every kick, hi-hat, and snare from my vinyls. I still use this technique sometimes.
Rampa: I started playing drums super early. Also, my best friend’s older brother was a techno DJ who had turntables in the basement, so we used to sneak in and use the equipment. Then I bought my first 140 bpm techno records, and got into turntablism and hip hop. Recording and producing was parallel to DJing.
We all became friends and met through music. Greg and André met almost 20 years ago while they were interning at Trixx Studio in Berlin, where they’d spend long nights with all the outboard gear. The rest of the crew came together a little later through Berlin nightlife. We bonded through music as well as personal interests. Then Keinemusik developed naturally over a few years.
What influences Keinemusik? Were there any role models or inspirations when launching the collective?
Rampa: Everything influences us. Vibes, parties, movies, nature, silence. It all inspires each other. Maybe coincidence is the best influence of them all. There weren’t any specific role models, but we were inspired by the idea of pooling our strengths and ideas. Everybody in the crew was just starting out as a DJ or producer when Keinemusik launched, so it seemed much more fun and reasonable to work as a collective instead of hustling on our own.
Everything influences us. Vibes, parties, movies, nature, silence. It all inspires each other. Maybe coincidence is the best influence of them all.
What is Keinemusik’s philosophy as a label?
Adam: The philosophy is simple – all our releases, including collaborative projects, are written and produced by the core members of the crew. Also, there’s no such thing as ‘quality control’ within the label, just the artists themselves need to be happy with what they’ve made. Of course, there will be communication and exchange within the crew about a release, but it’s a safe bet that once the producer is content, the rest of us will be fine with it too.
Rampa: We did this because we wanted to have our own little outlet. It wasn’t because we’d had negative experiences before, it was more that we wanted total freedom. To this day, we only release three or four singles a year. We tend to be selective so we really can focus on what’s important to us.
Do you think there’s still a need for record labels in the modern music industry?
Reznik: It isn’t the most fetching idea to start a label these days, at least when you look at all the work involved and usually low return in terms of revenue. Fortunately, there are still some well-curated labels around and new ones popping up. From a technical perspective, labels might be becoming obsolete – everybody can release their own music easily nowadays – but if you perceive labels as filters, it’s still good to have them, especially in the digital age, where everything is everywhere all at once.
What has been the biggest hit for Keinemusik so far?
Rampa: Everyone will probably answer this differently. In terms of feedback and numbers, perhaps it’s Muye from You Are Safe.
Are there exciting new records or projects in the pipeline?
Rampa: The remix of Moderat’s “Fast Love” by &ME and Rampa is out soon on Keinemusik. And Adam’s The Dream (El Sueno) will come out on Defected at the end of July.
&ME: We’re also getting everything ready for a little OVO x Keinemusik merch collab, which will consist of two t-shirts, a cap, and a fan.
Adam: Coming up with ideas for Keinemusik merch is an ongoing project. We’re always thinking from start to finish, and about what item we can work on next, whether it’s a rug for a studio, a candle or even furniture.
How do you stay on top of all the new music being made right now?
Adam: It’s almost impossible. Everybody has their own methods and channels. I know some are using Trackstack these days. But it’s mainly music from friends, stuff we stumble upon in promos, on digital platforms or record stores.
If you could be in any band, living or dead, for a day which band would it be?