An interview with COEO

COEO. A German duo whose name has become synonymous with tracks that cause a summer-tinged euphoria. Such is the strength of their productions, it is not overstating to claim that the duo have delivered some of the most dancefloor-friendly house tracks of recent years.

The boys from Munich now have regular releases on Toy Tonics and Razor-N-Tape. Their tracks have featured in sets from legendary artists such as Moodymann and they have proved themselves to be consistently brilliant with every release.

At the base of it, Florian Vietz and Andreas Höpfl are two best friends who found friendship through a shared love for hip-hop and soul. Later, they developed a deep love for house music, creating COEO as their creative outlet.

Hi guys, how are you doing? What have you been up to recently?

Hey , thanks for having us! We’ve spent most of our time DJing around Europe and when we’ve been at home we’ve been in the studio. It’s been a very busy time for us.

I hear you both knew each other when you were at school. How old were you when you first met and how long did it take for you to realised that you wanted to pursue a musical career together?

Back in school, we were just had a shared passion of music but neither of us were performing or making music. We met each at a skatepark and quickly realised we both liked Hip Hop. We started off listening to stuff like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul but found that our music tastes later evolved together. This shared passion developed, and we eventually decided to start Djing and producing. To be honest, we’ve never really thought about it as a musical career. It’s been a long development with small manageable targets rather than idealistic long-term goals.

For our readers who don’t know, COEO translated means “to unite” or to “come together”. I think this encompasses the effect of dance music nicely, its ability to bring all kinds of people from different backgrounds together. When and how did this become your alias?

We “founded” COEO in late 2011. We’d been working on other musical projects before that, and we wanted a break from them. We felt the name COEO was appropriate because we felt that the music that we had found OUR style of music. It was like all our ideas coming together into something that really represented us.

What sort of stuff were you working on before COEO?

Before COEO, we were experimenting with different styles of electronic music. Here’s an old song which was influenced by artists like Ramadanman:

Contents Hot was the name of our earlier project, and if you take the first letter and all the vowels of the word it spells COEO. That’s a nice little reminder of how we started out.

That’s a really impressive track! It’s interesting to see how much your style has changed. Going back to your roots, were you more interested in just playing records or did you take an immediate interest in music production?

We were interested in DJing at the same time as production but we didn’t have the money to afford everything as kids. Flo bought a 30€ DAW just to record stuff and sample it. When we were 15 we bought one turntable each and shared a Vestax battle mixer. About a year or a two later we had our first gig although Flo had to leave the club at midnight because he wasn’t old enough to stay. It was okay though because we threw a party instead!

Do you guys still share a studio with Rhode & Brown? How did that come about?

Yeah we share a studio in Munich. It’s called the Chingova studio and is named after the girl who lived in the apartment before it became a studio. We also share it with a LCAW who is signed to Sony.

Have you ever thought about doing a collaboration with them?

Recently we released a track called “Never Going Home” on Rhode & Brown’s label Slam City Jams. Apart from producing music we are very good friends so maybe we’ll work on a few more things together in the future.

From an outside perspective Toy Tonics seems like a family. There’s about seven artists with regular releases on the label. What’s it like being a part of that group?

It’s great to be part of the Toy Tonics family. It’s great to be part of a label with so many great musicians and artists. Manuel and Mathias (Munk), who run the label, have always believed in our music and supported us. We are very grateful to them for what they’ve provided.

Do either of you have any side projects on the go? Is it something that you are both interested in doing in the future?

Flo: I don’t have any side projects at the moment but one day I’d like to produce some ambient stuff.

Andi: I’m currently studying sound engineering. One day I want to set up a sound engineering business full time.

I read you guys like your Football and Basketball. Munich is certainly home to some great football. What else do you guys love about Munich? How does clubbing compare to elsewhere in Germany? Have you been to Blitz club?

Only 1.5 million people live in Munich. It’s a rather small city compared to Paris or London, but for its size it’s got quite a rich culture. There are a lot of good museums and galleries in Munich as well as having a lively clubbing scene.

We have labels such as Toy Tonics, Public Possession, Ilian Tape and Permanent Vacation and so there’s always something happening. We love venues that play house music such as Charlie or Goldener Reiter (formerly Awi) but there are plenty of good places to go clubbing such as Blitz, MMA, Bahnwärter Thiel, Rote Sonne or Harry Klein. All these clubs have great sound systems and are impressive venues. We’re pretty sure Munich offers something for everyone. We love its beautiful architecture and love to go swimming in the Isar river in the summer. There are also some beautiful lakes just a train ride away near the Alps.

Where’s your favourite city in the world for a night out?

When it comes to clubbing we always love a visit to Berlin and London. But in general, our pick would be Tokyo: audiophile bars, karaoke, amusement arcades and weird cafes. It’s so much fun!

Your music has certainly evolved from your earlier releases such as ‘Get Down’ in 2012. I would say that it has more of a soulful and disco influence. How do you think your sound has changed and why?

Our music and production technique has definitely changed a bit over the years but disco has always been a strong influence in our music. Back in 2011 we released a Disco Edits mixtape. We’ve not always felt it was the right time to release disco and sometimes didn’t have the courage to release it.

Most of the labels that we used to play edits to that sampled disco didn’t want to release it at that time. Disco has definitely become more popular recently.

Songs such as “Nigerian Affair” and your edit “Cabrio Mango” show you’ve also been influenced by music from all over the world. How did you get into that? What it just a case of digging through record shops?

Before we got into House music we were strongly influenced by global bass artists such as Munich’s Schlachthofbronx or Daniel Haaksman. That’s why we started looking for African and South American sound. But Andi has also been playing reggae with some other guys when he was 18 or 19 years old.

Generally speaking we love nearly every kind of music and digging through record shops is an essential part of it.

Do you think disco is making a bit of a comeback? Here in England it seems to be dominating dancefloors.

Absolutely, but we had the impression that the Disco hype had already reached its peak last summer. We may be wrong as we’re still hearing it a lot now. We truly love music from that time, so we hope that Disco will stay for a long time.

Who is your favourite artist in Dance music right now and why?

That’s a really difficult question. It’s hard to pick one, there are so many artists that influence us in different ways. We love artists such as MCDE, Young Marco, Chaos In the CBD, Hunee and Red Greg. We definitely couldn’t pick a favourite!

My favourite thing to do at the end of an interview is to ask you guys to recommend a song to our readers. Pick one each…

Flo: Take Your Time: “Francois Tusques- Le Musichien”

Andi: Listen to the “Göttfather” of electronic music: “Manuel Göttsching- E2-E4“