01. Autumns - Be Desire [Deviant Pleasures / 2021]
02. Ballistics - Kushimi [ //////// ]
03. Elements Of Joy - In Every Man [brokntoys / 2018]
04. Unhuman + Petraflurr - Distraction = Destruction [She Lost Kontrol / 2020]
05. L.F.T. - Anti Tune [Mechatronica / 2020]
06. Fastgraph - Hardknox [Klakson Records / 2021]
07. INVT - Body Sweat [Selfreleased / 2020]
08. Rune Bagge - Coup D'Etat [Ectotherm Rec / 2017]
09. Etch - Tyrant [SCK / 2021]
10. Low End Activist - Engineers Origin [SR / 2021]
11. Philip D Kick - 160909313 [Om Unit / 2020]
12. Martyn x Om Unit - Passenger [3024 /2020]
13. Pearson Sound - Cobwebs [Hessle Audio / 2020]
14. Galaxian - Tunnel Vision [Fo [ul-Up / 2017]
15. Maelstrom - Tsuga [RAAR / 2021]
16. Luke Eargoggle - Professor Laphroaig [brokntoys / 2018]
17. Leroy Se Meurt - Angoisse [ET / 2018]
18. Ersatz Olfolks - Stella [Mechatronica / 2018]
19. R325 - 51381819 [brokntoys / 2020]
20. Ravn Jonassen - Fatima (Radioactive Man Remix) [Burial Soil / 2021]
MEJLE is the co-owner of Mechatronica - a Berlin based record label, promoter and collective founded in 2012 where they release finest electro / techno sound from artists like The Exaltics, Jensen Interceptor, Sync24. Besides DJing and label management, MEJLE hosts Mechatronica parties around Europe as well as radio show at HOR. Ernestas Sadau sat down and had a real talk with him for our website. Enjoy.
Ernestas Sadau: I don't know If you remember, but we have met in Milan a few years ago, we were playing at Reute Neurale party.
Mejle: Yes, I do! It was super short...
ES: That time seems like a dream now, like everything was so long ago. How are you in this lockdown? Slow thinking? Time for us to rethink what we humans are doing and what is our purpose in this planet? Creative time? Tell me how your weekends look now without clubs.
M: I’ve been all right man thanks - trying to stay afloat and sane here in Neukölln. Things got turned upside down with the pandemic, but I guess it allowed everybody some time to rethink issues like inclusion and diversity… And how we treat our mother earth, as you mention.
These days I think I spend even more time listening to music than before, but on the weekends its outside as much as possible - it's been an important one for me in terms of grinding through the isolation and clearing my head.
Been having some really fun Ableton sessions with a friend as well, hopefully that'll continue after everything opens up - it's something I never found time to get properly into in the past years
ES: What are you listening to most now? I guess more chill, ambient stuff or going crazy and dancing on the table at home?
M: Yea man it's a mix of both ha… Been getting back into jungle and IDM quite a lot. Even some UK records I didn’t put the needle on in years since I started collecting music, finding B sides that my ears never picked up on back then… I’ve been letting go of a bunch of my records during the pandemic, so I’m happy it forced me back into listening thru more or less all my collection, before putting them up for sale. On the other hand, it’s also been really chill to have time to discover some new and old jazz, wave and downtempo vibes.
ES: That's a coincidence because I started listening to more IDM again as well! Those last two Autechre albums are so sick, it's like master level on sonology. Music styles go in cycles all the time, do you follow them? Do you think next big thing will be a return of IDM?
M: Completely… this music style is transporting. Especially when you take the time to sit and listen properly, which in my case there’s been some nice opportunities for during the last year. I don’t get caught in the cycles, but I do think it’s really nice to notice or study them and meditate a bit on what creates this ebb and flow in electronic music popularity across the scenes. Obviously, I could see more people getting into experimental styles in a period where the dancefloor is not the center of attention, but i’m more interested in how the genres blend together. If something new pops up, how can we morph it with the old? Regardless of whether or not IDM will become more popular, I’d love to see more people play it out in the clubs again for sure.
ES: Ok, so whats the top 3 albums of IDM for you?
M: µ-Ziq – Lunatic Harness
Mouse On Mars – Autoditacker
Plaid – Not For Threes
ES: Well thats a mature choice. Have you heard last Mouse On Mars album? They were working with AI tech collective Birds on Mars and former Soundcloud programmers Ranny Keddo and Derrek Kindle. The duo collaborated on the creation of bespoke software capable of modelling speech. What appears to be Louis Chude-Sokei narrating through the story is in fact the AI speaking. Text and voice from Chude-Sokei and DJ/producer Ya?mur Uçkunkaya were fed into the software as a model, allowing Toma and Werner to control parameters like speed or mood, thereby creating a kind of speech instrument they could control and play as they would a synthesizer.
M: Sounds crazy, I'm going to check that out right after this talk. Didn't get a chance to listen to it yet and didn't know about that background for the production.
I'm sure AI is going to completely transform art (in good and bad ways), so I think it's really interesting to see how people are experimenting with it these days. There has the potential to be a beautiful symbiosis if we find the right middle ground creatively
ES: Speaking about music production programs, you mentioned that finally found time for Ableton. When can we hear Mejle? And what does it sound like? What artists influence you?
M: It’s been tricky for me to ever get into producing because I’ve been drawn to many styles and couldn’t really find my place anywhere, when it comes to putting my name on anything. It felt and still feels more natural for me to DJ or curate a label or put on a night and express my sound that way. But I’ve always been around friends who were into different styles, and the same holds true now luckily. So I got to see how they all approach their work with various genres over the years, and learn from them. Some days I’m with a friend where we work on rave hybrid tracks, chopping breaks and having some good laughs. With another friend it’s more synth, industrial or electro driven. For now, it’s just fun, let’s see if anything comes out of it.
ES: Breaks and laughs! Sounds fun. Really looking forward to hearing it. So how is Mechatronica doing these days? People buying more vinyl in pandemic?
M: The label is doing nicely. Another side effect of the pandemic is that we signed loads of new music and were able to listen to everything new that gets sent our way. Working on these new releases has been keeping my spirits up for sure. I think vinyl sales have been more or less the same as before the pandemic, which was a positive surprise to me. People in the community really kept buying music and I notice followers of the label (who would also be regulars at our parties) would give us a little donation or buy a T-shirt to make sure we’re still around when it’s possible to put on nights in Berlin again. Beyond thankful for every bit of support we got through the past year.
It’s been a bit ambivalent signing and releasing new music though. Before all of this, the actual experience of listening the tracks in a venue, with other people, heavily influenced what we signed to the label. We would play new demos in our sets, talk about how they felt, how people reacted, what kind of energy they created, listen test presses on different sound systems, see other people play our releases in different sets… coming from DJing, a big part of the identity of a good record for me comes down to the effect the tracks have on people who are exposed to them, and how they move or dance to them. I really look forward to getting back in this kind of feedback loop with actual people, when it comes to releasing music. However, it’s also been good to step back from that approach for a little while.
ES: You mentioned new music. Ok imagine that I am an artist that you and your friends on label does not know. I'm fresh in the scene, only started to make music and just sent you an email with introduction. What are the chances that you will check my SoundCloud?
M: I’d say 95% of the stuff that’s actually meant to be a demo for our label, gets listened to. I rarely listen to anything that doesn’t have some sort of reference to our label in the e-mail, or any trace that shows it hasn’t been sent to 20 other labels. There’s got to be some genuine interest in what we do and the sound we have, or specifically working with our collective for whatever reason. With the information overload these days, e-mails with just a SoundCloud link and “hey check my demo” usually doesn’t get listened and never replied to. However I happily reply to people who we don’t sign and ask to stay in touch or recommend them a different label for the tracks or something similar, if they seem sincere or have an interesting style and really want to work with us. In the past, a release hasn’t necessarily been the first point of collaboration, if the demos weren’t really good enough for an EP, we’d invite the person to come and play, and then down the line work on a record if we had a nice energy in person.
ES: What are your responsibilities at Mechatronica? Tell me more about your team work at the label.
M: We are four people in the collective, with another couple of friends who help us out when we put on nights regularly in Berlin. Dani aka Daribone (who also released a couple of EPs on the label) builds all our artwork and designs, while I take care of the day-to-day handling of the label. Collectively we discuss new music more or less daily and talk about releases or other projects, which works nicely since we come from different musical backgrounds.
Dani and Federico founded the collective back in the day, and I joined a bit later. Milan joined as a resident after that. When we founded the label in 2016, I decided to dedicate more time to it, and it makes for a nice dynamic now. While the guys have other full-time commitments, they still have time and passion to give their opinions on what we do and our direction, so I can put that feedback into the label and the activities around.
ES: What are the future plans for your label? What fresh artists would you suggest us to follow?
M: We’ve got some new records coming later this year from people like Salome, Solid Blake, Liebknecht and Late Night Approach, definitely keep an eye out for those. OorsprongPark is a nice new producer who recently put out a couple of digital albums with us, and even if he doesn’t have anything new lined up right now, I suggest you follow him to see what's coming. Our next release in is an EP called Psi Robotics by Keith Tucker, DJ Di’jital and Anthony Rother, and after that a record dropping in June with some heavy 140 hybrid styles from Gamma Intel.
ES: Sounds promising, can't wait to hear it. For me electro is more or less about Science Fiction. Is it still about it? How is that sound evolving over time?
M: For me personally it’s very much still about science fiction in its core, but it’s such a fluid genre and blends beautifully with many other styles. That’s always what we’ve been trying to explore (initially mainly with our nights, later on with the label) and also where we want to go in the future. No Moon’s Sirens record was a good example of how classic UK sounds and the darkness of sub-driven bass music can morph with electro. Das Ding’s last EP in the White series goes in another direction to more Belgian styles and trance elements - the latter something Salome also works with, though at much higher tempos. So, I see it constantly evolving alive and healthy, as it’s always done. But yes, to your question, science fiction for me is at the center of it all.
ES: So how many percent of your vinyl collection is electro?
M: Hmm good question. Around 25%... The rest is split between wave, italo, new beat, industrial, garage, uk sounds, breaks, techno and house records.ES: Speaking about vinyl format. I have a friend who was a DJ, he works at a big event organising company as a sound engineer and once we had a conversation about music formats. And he was explaining to me that the world needs a new format and technically we could make it, but nobody is doing it. New format would be equal to sound quality level of bands playing live. I started thinking that he is right and imagining that new format can be like a cube that you bring to the stage and play from it like a magician. Ok it's just a fantasy :) but do you think people need new format?
M: I don’t think we desperately need a new format, but I think it will happen sooner or later, and I’m kind of excited to see what it will be. Your fantasy is one option for sure. I’m not married to the vinyl format, but I have a kind of romantic connection to it, like many other people, even if I played less vinyl in the past couple of years for various reasons. I feel somehow like I have a better groove and focus when playing records. But vinyl records have their obvious drawbacks. Maybe I’ll feel like a dinosaur in a couple of years, bringing vinyl to a club. It feels pretty uncertain to me, like everything else in this world at the moment. But I’m sure it’s going to be a slow process.
ES: Speaking about future, I saw you threw a party in Minecraft game? How was it? My friend who is painter did his exhibition in Counter Strike, luckily people didn't start killing each other haha!
M: It was nice! A collective had recreated the entire Griessmuehle in Minecraft and hosted a final rave there. A bunch of artists recorded sets for the night, and they built each artist a custom avatar in the game, that we could control and hang around with. Quite trippy biking past the old Griessmuehle, which is now completely demolished, during the day. And then grinding through the digital version at night. I really miss that place. But happy that they found a really sick new location for the club.
ES: So they are ready to open?
M: At least outside, yea. I’m not sure about the insides. Towards the end of the summer last year, they hosted some nights in the outdoor area, us included, with hygiene concept etc. before the lockdown came about. Lots of space and potential for some good things to happen in that new location - they are changing the name to Revier Sudost.
ES: Did the lockdown bring Berlin underground community together? Do you feel the scene will be stronger coming out of this period?
M: I think musically, the scene will be healthier coming out of this. At least I really hope so. People coming to the club without any reservations musically (because how can you not enjoy dancing after all that time, regardless of who or what is playing) - and DJs bringing some new styles out after all these months of just listening to music at home. Clubs taking more interest in building relationships with new collectives and booking locally. New venues popping up. I think this period and the internet helped break down some power structures for sure. I don’t know if it brought the underground community more together though. To be honest our nights were the place our community got together, and the same for many other local collectives and promoters, and it’s been impossible to maintain that same energy exchange online. Most people are just waiting to get back together. Of course, the digital togetherness has helped in the meantime, but it can't replace the physical aspect of these communities, at least ours anyway. I have a feeling we will see a little explosion in creativity and togetherness in the community when we can finally meet more people again.