The story of Digitalism is about the things that change, and the things that don't. It was around 2004 that Jens Moelle and Ismail 'Isi' Tuefekci met at a Hamburg record store. Isi was a shopper at Underground Solution, a haven for specialist electronica, and Jens worked there in the afternoons.
Before an in-store party, a DJ was taken ill. The owner asked Isi to pair up with Jens to play. He didn't know it, but the friends had already begun producing their own material.
Originally, it was just about fun. They made songs to fill holes in their sets - if they couldn't find the right track, they'd make it. The duo's ambitions were humble. So when their edit of The White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army' was released as a limited run, it was a big moment. It sold out instantly.
That's when they moved into the "bunker" studio in Hamburg they still work in today. The waves they were creating were soon being felt outside Hamburg's dance scene. Specifically, catching the attention of Parisian label Kitsune, run by Gildas Loaec and Masaya Kuroki. Isi remembers, a colleague received a text from Gildas. "All the people in Paris right now, they're on the tables going crazy," it said. "I want this record!" He was talking about Digitalism.
Soon they joined the Kitsune family - a label responsible for so much of that era's defining electronic music, blurring lines between garage-rock and electro. This was a new sound thrilling festival crowds and mutating the traditional indie-disco dance-floor playlists.
Digitalism summed up this eclecticism, this energy. But they
weren't alone. Klaxons, Simian Mobile Disco, Justice and LCD Soundsystem
- these artists were live bands, DJs, they released compilations,
albums, mixes. The rules of the traditional linear band didn't apply.
"There was something sizzling there," says Jens. "It was a very united moment."
At the centre of this all was 'Pogo', Digitalism's anthemic breakout single, and just after that, 'Idealism' their debut album in 2007 ("It sounded very ambitious and pretty raw," says Jens). It gave birth to huge tracks 'Zdarlight', 'I Want I Want' and 'Digitalism In Cairo'. What followed wasn't just a massive world tour, but a succession of surreal moments. "All of a sudden, you're playing with Daft Punk or Soulwax!"
Album two 'I Love You Dude', released in 2011, was a deliberate bid to do something new. "It involved more songwriting, vocal recording and production. A bit more sober," remembers Jens.
A period of recuperation followed, before unleashing third album 'Mirage' in 2016, a deliberate move to recapture the seismic scale of their debut. "We wanted to go back into space. Go big again," smiles Jens. "It was almost like a prog-rock album."
Now, it's time to reinvent again. Back in Hamburg, they've gathered material for a new EP. Their first entirely instrumental release, it expands with the sounds of Mariachi horns and marching rhythms. It is, Jens says, "only the tip of the iceberg".
So, some things change: the band have lived through the changing ways people listen to music, the inevitable evolution of scenes - and, sadly, the record store isn't there anymore. But other things don't: namely, Isi and Jens' enduring friendship (their "music marriage"), the special feel of the "bunker" they call home and their motivation not to follow trends but make music they want to hear.
17 Nov, 2018
Digitalism share their new single 'UN1T' on Magnetism, via Spotify.
31 Aug, 2018
The video for Digitalism's new track 'Glow' is premiered exclusively on Billboard Dance, taken from the forthcoming 'PRI5M' EP released on 13th September.
30 Jan, 2018
Digitalism's new track 'And You' is available as a free download from Tonspion.
24 Nov, 2017
Digitalism's new '5KY11GHT' EP is released today.
Listen on Spotify.
17 Nov, 2017
Digitalism reveal the contents of their record bags to Guardian Music.
Their new EP '5KY11GHT' is out on 24th November,
29 Sep, 2017
Digitalism's new track 'Spektrum' from the '5ky11ght' EP, is available for streaming now, on Spotify.
09 May, 2016
Digitalism premiere a new track 'Power Station', in The Independent. Their new album 'Mirage' is released on 13th May on PIAS.
25 Apr, 2016
Digitalism preview 'Go Time' in Q Magazine, from their forthcoming album 'Mirage' to be released on 13th May.
Digitalism appear at London's XOYO on 28th April.
14 Apr, 2016
Digitalism & Mumbai Science play together at XOYO, London on 28th April 2016.
15 Aug, 2013
'Lift' will see release on legendary French label, and Digitalism's home base, Kitsune! Out on September 23rd! This Mini-Mix was specially constructed mix of all three tracks on the EP.
The 'Lift' EP will be remarkable release for Digitalism not just for the reason that they collaborated for the first time on these tracks, but it also marks a return to the label that helped introduce them to international dance floors - Kitsune records. It may feel like a homecoming, but 'Lift' continues to break new ground for Digitalism. The duo deliberately carved out long-stretches of studio time over the past twelve months to work on some collaborations.
Collaborations are a rarity for the pair, but the new EP features three tracks and three collaborators The M Machine, Steve Duda and Michael Diamond. The forthcoming release will be a taste of what Digitalism are capable of, but in this instance they wrote within the confides of the Dance Floor but with the expanse and freedom of collaborating with other artists to try and see how far they could push their sound.
The EP opens with the title track 'Lift', a collaboration with The M Machine. 'Lift' is a rhythmic melodic classic, layering synths with diced vocal samples a plenty to give this track an undeniable and upbeat, dance anthem feel. 'Dudalism', a collaboration with electronic wizard Steve Duda, glows with the ethereal vibes of a night about to take off into madness. Rounding out the EP is the darker 'Electric Fist', which Michael Diamond has lent his talents to; it's all dark synth play, vocal chops and pulsating distortion.
In celebration and support of their upcoming EP 'Lift', Digitalism will play nine select DJ dates across North America in August and September.