Digitalism Talk New Album 'Mirage,' Premiere John Tejada Remix of 'Go Time': Exclusive
Jens "Jence" Moelle and İsmail "Isi" Tüfekçi, better known by their moniker Digitalism, are back with Mirage, their third studio album and first in five years.
After first meeting in a record store and breaking out onto the scene with their critically acclaimed 2007 debut Idealism, Digitalism has become a well-regarded force in dance thanks to a variety of stellar singles and remixes (including their 2014 spin at RAC’s “Wolves” with Youngblood Hawke).
Here, Billboard Dance premieres a John Tejada remix of their latest track, the energetic “Go Time,” and Jence and Isi talk about Mirage, their creative process, and what’s changed since they first started making music together over a decade ago.
Your last album, I Love You Dude, was released way back in 2011. Why the long wait?
Jence: To be honest, we’ve been touring and touring and touring, and just forgot about a new album. There’s not really an album vibe out there so much anymore compared to 10 years ago. Now it’s just tracks. We actually almost forgot, but we really wanted to make one. By 2014, we thought, “Oh we really have to make some new music.”
How did you get started with Mirage? What’s was the process?
Jence: We brought ideas with us when we met up and scheduled everything. There were no deadlines and we didn’t know how it should sound like, so we just started making a bunch of stuff. After a couple of months we made enough that we found our identity again.
Isi: Once in the studio, the process was much, much quicker than usual because usually we’re sitting in front of a computer and it takes like four weeks, but this time it was two to three days to finalize the idea, and then after that we got it done.
We’re premiering the John Tejada remix of “Go Time” today, which is the lead single from the album. I’m wondering how the original came about?
Jence: We had already finished 12 songs, so that one came late in the process. We always use our own samples and we had this one sample that’s in the last breakdown of the original. We always wanted to do something with it. We added some more sounds and beats and guitars; and after listening to it we came up with all of these random lines. I think the lyrics are really cool, but only if you look at each line individually. They could be separate ideas, but it’s a great collection of thoughts we had. The first line that stuck with us was, “Let’s get Friday out of the way,” which is in the chorus. We didn't really know what that meant, but we knew it sounded right. It was good fun.
You’re currently in the midst of a nationwide tour across the US, but what part of the process do you like more? The production part in the studio, or the touring facet of things?
Jence: Last year when we did the album, it was great to do that and just DJ in between. I don’t think we’re really good with multitasking, but we love going on the road. It’s nice to get out of the studio. I was going to say it’s nice to say daylight when touring, but that’s not the case when you’re in dark venues.
You guys originally got together in 2004. Now that it’s 12 years later, I’m wondering what’s changed in that duration, whether in the industry or your process?
Isi: I would say that in the past we would go to the record shops and the owners would select good records and put the bad stuff to the side. Now because of the internet, you’re own your own. So to me, the most important thing that’s broken down is the mentor of the record shop; you used to go there to hang out and to talk, now the socializing is all done online.
Jence: Finding music is now really up to you. You have to rely on friends or websites that seem to know good stuff, but who’s right and who’s wrong? You can get lost so easily because now everyone can contribute and have an opinion. Back then, it was a bit more elitist. Now it’s more democratized, and that has its ups and downs. And of course, you don’t sell as many records anymore. Look at all the festivals popping up, now everyone wants to see live shows.
Who are you guys digging these days?
Jence: I’m still blown away by this Ennio Morricone concert I saw; he’s amazing. My playlist in general is very eclectic; I just started listening to Pink Floyd again because how our album is being described as prog rock, so now I’m going through all of his 20 minute long tracks.
Isi: There’s a guy called Still Parade I really like. GUM, a project from Tame Impala’s Jay Watson, is great. But there’s too much good stuff.
Jence: And our friends Goose, a band from Belgium, just released an album that everyone should check out.