Blame The Mono is the result of an uncompromising artistic encounter between two DJs and producers. As members of a new generation deciding to push the boundaries of conventional techno, their productions offer forward-thinking sound design and strong stylistic identity through an important blend of influences ranging from Metal, Rock, and Hip Hop, all the way to PsyTrance.
Their signature usage of vocals combined with rich song arrangements and sometimes dark, sometimes euphoric moods, make their tracks diverse, yet they all remain fine-tuned for peak-time chaos. The duo’s DJ sets present an explosive selection highlighting their love of digging and showing their will to satisfy the hungriest and sweatiest dancefloors.
Read below for our exclusive interview with these two Berlin-based high flyers…
Welcome to BUNKER! We’re very excited to speak with the both of you.
For those who may be unfamiliar with your journey as artists, can you tell us about how you got started in the music industry and how the duo was formed?
What inspired you to pursue a career in electronic music specifically?
We have similar musical backgrounds as we both played the guitar in rock and metal bands when we were teenagers. We discovered electronic music and techno when we started our studies and began partying. That musical curiosity you have when you play an instrument probably made us look at the DJ playing at our first techno parties and think: how does this work? Then the rabbit hole never stops.
We eventually met in 2017 through a common friend. Baptiste was living in Paris and mostly DJing for a collective he was part of at the time, while Sean was living in Nancy (a city in the East of France) and focusing on production. Our relationship was built on going back and forth between Paris and Nancy: Baptiste would escape from Paris to attend big self-organised house-parties in Nancy and Sean would come for the warehouse parties. Then when we both moved to Berlin late 2018 we decided to start this duo project.
Being an electronic music producer, you have full creative and technical control over the finished track. Being in a band, you have to fit with other band members that sometimes cannot invest as much time and energy as you. In electronic music, if you give it your all and learn the craft, you will end up making music you enjoy. Electronic music and specifically techno also give you this amazing universal way of connecting with people by making them dance. The hours spent producing tracks in your studio and the ones spent at the front of the mixer in a nightclub all mashup into an amazing musical experience that is incredibly fun.
Blame The Mono has released some impressive tracks over the years; for me my personal favourites are ‘Spread Unison’ and ‘Youkounkoun’.
When it comes to producing music, what is your creative process, and does it rely on any particular types of hardware? How often would the two of you be in the studio?
For us, a track always comes from one core musical idea. Most of the time, this is a vocal sample that we start chopping up and playing around with. It can also be a bassline or synth melody. This step can be done on the move, away from our studio and separately on our personal laptops, as it often relies on some spontaneous inspiration. It’s only once this basic idea sounds sufficiently catchy and interesting that we start building around it by layering drums, synths, atmospheres and FX. This is done mostly at the studio, where we can go crazy on the CPU-usage with many plugins and use our drum-machines and analog gear to add the extra spice. This stage is way more fun when we both are in the studio so we do it together. Regarding hardware we use the Elektron RYTM for hi-hats, the Moog DFAM for mid-range percussion, the Moog Sub37 for basses and the Behringer Neutron for FX.
We typically spend about 2-3 days together in the studio each week, and then each one of us can have some extra separate sessions on his own when he has the time.
Alongside fellow core VOXNOX artist DLV, you recently released your collaborative ‘Demon & The Ghost’ EP (available here).
Can you give us some details about what led to this project and the inspiration behind it? What do you like to convey through your music?
We met Danny (DLV) at a release party in early 2022. We had connected previously as he had been playing our track “Crackland” a fair bit, but chatting in person really made us click. We quickly discovered we had a lot in common, be it our vision of clubbing or our musical tastes. From that evening onwards we knew we had to make music together. We eventually worked on some sketches in summer 2022, and then locked ourselves mid-November in our Berlin studio for a full month to finalise the EP. Our love of high octane bassline-driven tracks, breakbeats, vocals and hip-hop all fused together during some really exciting and inspiring production sessions. The four tracks of the EP convey different vibes but were all clearly designed with the dancefloor in mind. “Wachtraum” has some Neurofunk influences, “Halbwesen” has some hints of hardcore, “Getrieben Von Der Bassline” leans towards EBM while “Demons And The Ghost” is a techno take on US hip-hop autotuned vocals. These all make up for a fully cohesive yet diverse release.
Having recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, the Voxnox Project has been an influential platform for many within the scene.
For the two of you, how has it impacted your careers as DJs? Where do you see the project going in the next 5-10 years?
Voxnox was above all the first label on which we released a track. The heavy amount of support that “Youkounkoun” received really helped us place ourselves on the techno map. Although we are non-native German speakers, we feel a strong connection with Germany and the German club scene. The various Voxnox parties have opened us the doors to many amazing German nightclubs where we have met some incredibly friendly promoters and ravers. We now feel truly anchored in Germany and Berlin, and couldn’t imagine ourselves living and making music elsewhere. Voxnox has contributed to us feeling at home here.
Being a duo act, it’s of course quite a different performance process & experience when compared to a solo DJ performance.
Do you find that playing together suits the two of you, as opposed to playing on your own? Are either of you playing solo gigs occasionally?
We launched the duo three years after the two of us had begun producing, and now have been making music together for nearly 5 years. So our collaborative way of producing tracks has become pretty much the only way to roll for us. If we started making full tracks separately, the quality would definitely drop a fair bit, as we feel we make the right compromises and complement each other pretty well when we both are in the studio.
Concerning DJing and gigging, being a duo really helps on the emotional and mental side. Being a DJ can be quite a lonely job, particularly with all the travelling, and being a duo really makes it more fun. The fact that we get to share those moments of pure elation when we play a solid DJ set in front of a great crowd makes them even stronger. We have also definitely developed a way of playing where we have learned to respect each other’s space while leaving some room for personal spontaneity. If one of us feels the vibe of the set must be shifted towards such and such a direction, then the other will gladly follow.
To this day, we have only played one gig solo but that was due to strikes and travel issues. Hopefully that won’t happen too regularly!
Thanks for speaking to Bunker!
Interview by Jeremy McCarthy