Renegades Of Jazz, pka David Hanke, were recommended to me by Smoove. He told me that he liked the music so much that he had started a new label, Wass Records, to put out the album. Later David got in touch with me to discuss the possibility of taking photos of that weird two turntable gramophone thing you can now see as a sketch on the album cover. Apparently only one of these things exists and it is safely stored in a museum in Paris. David tried to talk the director of the museum into giving us a photo permit but nothing ever came out of it.
How did the transformation from David Hanke into Renegades Of Jazz happen?
I only listened to rock music until about 2000 and I always wanted to be in a band. I even got the basic qualification for that by learning to play the guitar. Now here’s the thing, all my mates were learning to play the guitar at the time. A band with five guitar players, that’s not gonna happen, is it? So that was that. A lot of guitars and no band.
Then a friend passed a tape on to me which blew my mind. Mirror Conspiracy by Thievery Corporation on one side and Magic Fly Variations by Visit Venus on the other. I used to listen to it all the time. Then I discovered the 5th Exotic album by Quantic and that was when I really realised that I didn’t need to be in a band.
At first I was just building loops from my grandmother’s jazz collection in some wave editor, that was in 2003. I started building my first tracks without a sequencer but I eventually moved on to Cubase and that’s pretty much what I use today – Cubase, a midi keyboard and two monitors. A lot of people got much more equipment but…
… often it’s not so much about what you’ve got but about the ability to use your tools.
Exactly. I’ve listened to tunes which were mixed down on some little speakers and some of them sounded better than a lot of stuff coming out of big studios. That really opened my eyes. If you know how to use your tools and you get out of them what you want to get, it really doesn’t matter what you’re using.
When did you start Mash & Munkee?
In 2006 I tried to buy a record from somebody on Discogs. I sort of knew that he wouldn’t sell it as it was only listed as a part of his private collection. I was right, I didn’t get the record but we started talking about music and as we were both producing music, we eventually started working together as Mash & Munkee. Around the same time my girlfriend broke up with me and I had a little extra time on my hands. From then on my days have been divided between my regular job and making music.
Judging from your discography, you don’t sleep much… Anyway, how do you come up with the idea for a new track?
On a typical Sunday, I start the day by going to some flea market to buy records. Back at home I listen to them and, most likely, a lot of them are useless rubbish. You can’t always judge a record by it’s cover. When I find something that I like, something that inspires me, it may well be the starting point for a new track. At a later time, I’ll get a lot of things replayed for obvious reasons… Anyway, I work out some kind of structure, add bits and pieces and see how far I can get. If I’m lucky, I’ll be done with the track in five hours, that happened to me with Cascade. Sometimes I know that I’m not getting all the way there and that’s when I put the track aside, work on something else and return to it later. I can’t really say how long it will take to finish a track, anywhere between a few hours and a few months, I guess. That’s why I’m always working on different projects and collaborations – Mash & Munkee, Unifairfly, Madball Scientists, an album with the Savages from Hungary, a lot of different things, really.
So you get your samples replayed?
I used to work with sample cds for a while but I got bored of that. Too many people are using the same samples and I prefer to hear something new. That’s why those cds just didn’t cut it for me anymore.
I’m so sick of people still using the “Think” break. “Yeah… Uhh… Keep Dancing…” Don’t get me wrong, I love the break and I do love the original tune. It’s just that I don’t want to hear it anymore.
To me, that’s like trying to ride a dead horse. You can kick it and pretend that it’s still moving but it won’t take you anywhere. I can’t blame people who just start out using all these classic breaks and samples, I used to do it as well. With Renegades Of Jazz I want to do things differently, I want to do something that people haven’t heard before! That’s why a lot of the music I use is either played or replayed which gives me a greater degree of control when it comes to getting everything right.
Since we’re already talking about Renegades Of Jazz, I think it’s time to tell us how you started Renegades Of Jazz.
In October 2009 I met Suonho from Italy and we talked about collaborating. The thing is, he was so busy at the time, that we couldn’t have started before 2010. To keep myself occupied, I started experimenting on my own and came up with a new project which I called Renegades Of Jazz. The first track I did was called Karabine and when I played that to Smoove (of Smoove &Turrell), he at once asked me if I was interested in doing a 12”. I had thought about presenting Renegades Of Jazz to Jazz & Milk but when Smoove asks you to do a 12”, that’s an offer you can’t refuse. Most people don’t believe me when I’m telling them that Smoove got back to me with that offer five minutes after I had sent him the link to that tune, but that’s what happened! It really boosted my motivation and by the end of the year I had finished a rough draft of the album and now the album is finally in the shops.
The next big thing will be getting Renegades Of Jazz on stage as a band.
So you haven’t completely given up on wanting to be part of a band?
No, it’s going to happen eventually! Getting everything together is hard work, though, as the band will consist of something between twelve and fourteen people. But we’re quite motivated as people keep asking if they can book us for festivals or whatever.
What would be your part in the band? Guitar?
Different things, really. I’ll play the guitar, the computer or, if I’ve got nothing else to do, I’ll be hitting a cowbell… It will depend on which track we’ll be playing but I’ll keep myself busy…
Since you mentioned that you get a lot of inspiration from other peoples’ records, let’s finish the interview with a list of five albums which make you wish that you could have contributed to them in some way.
Wojciech Kilar “The Ninth Gate Soundtrack”
Hidden Orchestra “Night Walks”
Mad Season “Above”
Les Baxter “The Dunchwich Horror”
Basil Kirchin “Abstractions Of The Industrial North”