We met Phillip Lauer two years ago in the heart of the red-light district in Frankfurt, the Bahnhofsviertel. It was a night to remember. Lauer played alongside Robert Johnson’s Ata in a small club called Lido. The last track he put on was the singalong-classic “Die Erde wird der schönste Platz im All” by the Berlin band Mutter. Love, no, truth poured out of the speakers. The next day, the two of us would do the silliest interview the city of Frankfurt had ever heard. Lauer, of course, is the “melody man” known to us as one half of Tuff City Kids and Arto Mwambe. He delivered a gorgeous mix for us. And we did another silly interview with him.
Phillip, what’s happening?
I’m sitting with my brother on the couch and will be soon out of the door because I have to pick up my son. Dolce vita!
How, where and when did you do this mix?
I was using two record players and one cdj. I did it in my living room a couple of weeks ago.
The vibe of this podcast struck me as very lauer-ish. More lauer-ish than in other mixes.
Oh dear, that sounds almost like an accusation! Being more lauer-ish than Lauer! I suppose I was mixing up a lot of my own tracks that just came back from mastering.
People call you the melody man: How do you do it?
Because I unknowingly tend to borrow from pop music? The jingle-jangle attitude probably comes from being forcefed to lots and lots of radio when I was small.
I have the impression that you’re constantly producing tracks these days. All the time. More than ever.
Now, give me a break! Ok, true, the Tuff City Kids stuff is in high-rotation. But it has to do with the way Gerd (Janson) and I split our duties. He does all the sitting-on-a-chair and looking-into-the-phone by himself. Which makes everything go faster. And I have a new studio. Well, you know, you’ve seen my old studio once.
You’ve become more efficient.
It probably also has to do with the fact that I’m more and more able to rid myself of the common disease called “schlechte Laune” (bad mood) in the studio. And let’s blame it on the experience: That’s something you could expect from someone who has been producing club music for fifteen years and who is actually still doing this nonsense at the geriatric age of 35!
How goes the club-work-life-balance?
Good. I only work three days a week now at my distribution job. So I also have more time at hand. And my son is older now, he is now also going to work at kindergarten.
Two years ago you confessed that you’re constantly tired. Any better now?
I’m still tired. My mother says I was born tired.
How was it working together with your younger brother Jacob on the Brudis-EP for Live at Robert Johnson?
It was a bit silly in the beginning. Our project Hotel Lauer is more sample-based than other projects. Jacob – who does already a great job at sitting around – hoists the samples in.
There is an actual Hotel Lauer. Ever spent a night there?
The real hotel Lauer is outside of Frankfurt and it’s run by my parents. My brother and I spent some of our childhood living in hotel rooms.
Do you have any hotel tidbits for us? Were you sitting on some soon-to-be-famous musician’s lap who let you strum his guitar?
You have a very romantic notion of this hotel. Which is perfectly ok. There’s that one story about a folkloristic choir from Mongolia that… Well, what happens at the Hotel Lauer, stays at the Hotel Lauer, sorry. Next time you come visit, you’ll spend a night there, okay?
Sounds like a plan. What will you be doing until then?
Lauer-ish stuff. All the time.