Since 2003, Berlin duo Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann aka Âme have produced music with soul that is partly inspired by artists and labels such as Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Brian Eno, West End Records or Transmat. Their tracks combine floor-filling elements with musical details that go beyond the usual formula of club music. As part of Innervisions, the label they run together with their buddy Dixon, they gained worldwide recognition through their releases, DJ gigs, live performances, compilations and remixes. Âme was formed in the German town of Karlsruhe where Wiedemann met Beyer at his record shop, Platten:Tasche. Their love for Chicago house, Detroit techno and soul guided them into the studio, where they started to produce deep house cuts for Jazzanova’s label Sonar Kollektiv. After a self-titled debut album in 2004 and three critically acclaimed EPs, they released Rej - a 12" whose title track went on to be a global club hit in 2006. Since then the duo has been travelling the world and playing at every major club and festival, as well as moving to Berlin where they joined forces with Dixon to build up the Innervisions camp, functioning as a label, web shop, studio and group of like minded friends who organise parties. Lately Wiedemann has taken to playing solo live as Âme, while Beyer deejays under the same alias. Their label Innervisions is currently in high demand, not only because of their distinctive releases by in-house artists such as Marcus Worgull, Henrik Schwarz, Âme and Dixon, but also involvement on innovative records from other producers such as Laurent Garnier, Agoria, Chateau Flight, Osunlade and newcomers like Ten Walls and Recondite. For Carhartt WIP Radio, Kristian has mixed a show featuring some of his favourite tracks from the Innervisions archive. As always, we let the music speak for itself as well as catching up with the man behind the mix.
Hey Kristian – can you introduce yourself for us a bit? Where are you coming from, what is your occupation?
Kristian Beyer: My name is Kristian Beyer. I am one half of the project Âme together with Frank Wiedemann. We also run the label Innervisions together with our friend Dixon. I am originally from Mannheim and I studied science before the music became my profession.
How did you first get into music and performing and when did you decide you wanted to make music your career?
Kristian Beyer: It was never a real decision more kind of a process as I never stopped studying and I never really planned to have this career. I reached the point where it became obvious that I gonna leave my studies behind and that I will keep going on with the music.
If you could describe the sound of your duo Âme and the sound of your label Innervisions in one sentence, what would it be?
Kristian Beyer: I would say there is no specific sound where we can talk about… I think it's always the result of all our actual influences plus we all like to discuss a lot about our own music and the music we are releasing.
Any role models, inspirations, or benchmarks for Innervisions when it was launched?
Kristian Beyer: We were in the music business before we founded the label so we have seen a lot of good things at other labels but also mistakes friends of us did in the past. So we tried to leave the bad things out and just keep the good examples when we started.
What does the label’s name stand for?
Kristian Beyer: Of course there is the Stevie Wonder link in the name but I would say it stands for the reflective way of working we have.
What musical qualities do you look for as a "curator" of music? And what does a track or an artist need to have for you in order to work with him/her or to release it?
Kristian Beyer: These are things you hardly find words for… It is about experience, history and the personal taste of all people who are involved.
Do you have a "wish list" of musicians you would like to see on Innervisions once?
Kristian Beyer: My musical idol is Brian Eno. So it would be nice to collaborate with him once in the future :-)
How would you describe the music that you release to someone that has not heard of Innervisions?
Kristian Beyer: The same… I don’t like speaking about that and it always sounds stupid if you do it. At the end it should be quality dance music.
Can you name us an artist or track from the past you wish you would have signed to your label?
Kristian Beyer: Maybe the early Paperclip People stuff… But everything had its time and place.
What do you do for Innervisions on a day-to-day basis?
Kristian Beyer: We all have our different fields in which we work. I work with Frank in the studio or I take care about the webstore and the distribution plus we recently planned more own events around the world.
Can you describe a bit of what your "office" looks like and what an "average" day at the office might be?
Kristian Beyer: We have the studio, the office and the shop on one floor. There is no real average day as there is always different stuff to do.
Is there an office pet?
Kristian Beyer: No pet, but my three years old daughter is sometimes the shop/office assistant.
Can you give some advice to someone who is interested in starting his or her own label?
Kristian Beyer: I would really think about that for a long time because it's not easy.
You also run a web shop where you sell only selected music by selected artists or labels. What quality you need to come into the web shops roster?
Kristian Beyer: Again something I am not finding the right words for… Maybe I compare everything to the huge archive I have in my head :-)
Before you moved to Berlin to dedicate your work strictly to Innervisions you ran the record store Platten:Tasche in Karlsruhe. How important was that store to all you do now?
Kristian Beyer: The recordstore was my life for some years and it helped me starting working in music business. I met Frank there and a lot of my best friends. It was business and family at the same time.
(Âme: Kristian Beyer & Frank Wiedemann)
What are your biggest musical influences?
Kristian Beyer: Brian Eno is my hero like I said but I love so many different kinds of music.
What do you want to accomplish with music?
Kristian Beyer: To at least add something to the already huge world of so far released music.
Can you describe the relation between your work and your identity?
Kristian Beyer: I think the work is part of my identiy and vice versa, too.
Which of your own tracks are you most proud of?
Kristian Beyer: Rrose Sélavy
What was the biggest Innervisions hit so far?
Kristian Beyer: Rej
What is your personal favorite Innervisions releases?
Kristian Beyer: The one from Chateau Flight.
What distinguishes Innervisions from other labels?
Kristian Beyer: I don’t know...
When did you start producing music?
Kristian Beyer: I started working with Frank 12 years ago and before that I didn’t have any experience in producing music.
What is your creative process like when you work on new music with Frank Wiedemann? How do you usually start to produce a new piece?
Kristian Beyer: Very often we go through our library or we collect samples and ideas from old records and then we start working on them. Most of the times we end somewhere else but it is a good way to begin. At least for us.
What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work and/or career?
Kristian Beyer: Like I said it was more kind of a long process.
How do you keep your work fresh and continue to evolve?
Kristian Beyer: I hope I still have the fire to find and listen to tons of music whether it is old or new.
Who inspires you?
Kristian Beyer: My friends, my family...
Are you cautious about being put into a box and do you see yourself as part of any scene?
Kristian Beyer: I don't think about stuff like that...
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt Radio show?
Kristian Beyer: It is a selection of my favourite Innervisions tracks from the past!
What makes a track/song exceptional to you? Tell us a classic that you feel is really outstanding and describe what it is about it that moves you so much.
Kristian Beyer: Again I cannot and I don’t want to answer this kind of question!
Can you remember where you first started DJing and the kind of music you were playing?
Kristian Beyer: House and Techno.
Can you name us three records to start a party?
Kristian Beyer: No.
And three to finish one?
Kristian Beyer: No.
What was the first record you bought?
Kristian Beyer: The first Erasure album.
What was the last record you bought?
Kristian Beyer: The new Owen Pallet album.
What track gets currently the most rewinds when you play?
Kristian Beyer: No rewinds.
What are three albums that you'll absolutely never get tired of listening to?
Kristian Beyer: All the Brain Eno albums from the seventies.
What are your favorite places to play/ hang out in?
Kristian Beyer: Home, Rum Trader Bar, Akademie der Künste and of course the Kudamm :-)
What can music do which all other art forms can not?
Kristian Beyer: It's easier to understand for animals!
What kind of music would you make in a world without electricity?
Kristian Beyer: Steel drum or Kalimba driven music :-)
Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.
Kristian Beyer: ZK Bucket and Alex.Do
What’s something you’ve learned through music that has helped you in life (and vice versa)?
Kristian Beyer: Trust your feelings (inner voice).
If you could be in any band, living or dead, for a day which band would it be?
Kristian Beyer: Early Talking Heads.
What is your favorite music video of all time?
Kristian Beyer: Talking Heads: Road To Nowhere
What was your musical intake when you were younger?
Kristian Beyer: The Pixies and Fugazi.
Do you have any idols when it comes to music?
Kristian Beyer: Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt and La Monte Young.
Can you send us a picture that best illustrates your current state of mind to post along with your answers?
What was your dream job as a child?
Kristian Beyer: Scientist.
When or where do you feel most at peace?
Kristian Beyer: If I am surrounded by nice people.
What is your idea of happiness?
Kristian Beyer: Be nice to everybody!
What is your favorite place outside of a bar/ club/ record shop?
Kristian Beyer: Restaurants, parks or museums.
You are also an art collector. Can you name us your current three most beloved artists and tell us why you are overwhelmed by their art?
Jan Paul Evers
Like with music it is hard to say why you love or like something and what is good or bad art? I try to avoid thinking in those kind of categories.
What fine artists has in your eyes the most interdisciplinary approach between fine art and music?
Kristian Beyer: Carsten Nicolai.
What are 5 words that would describe your personal fashion style?
Kristian Beyer: Basic, elegant, a bit conservative, crazy only in the details… I guess five words is a bit too much.
You are located in Berlin. What are your favorite spots and secrets in your town that you would recommend to somebody that comes around for a visit?
Kristian Beyer: Rum Trader (bar), Engelbecken/ Florian (restaurants), Akademie der Künste (museum), Kudamm.