When you think of Munich, most people probably think of football or beer. Increasingly however, the south of Germany has been put on the map thanks to its musical endeavours. Although their most favourite sons and daughters (tINI, Tobi Neumann etc) have left for pastures new (and a number of well-renowned local clubs have closed), the city still fosters a lively electronic music scene. One man who knows all about this is Alexander Krieger aka Masupilami.
A staunch advocate of discerning house and techno sounds, Krieger keeps a relatively low profile online but his output is always quality. Indeed, his Discogs account is testament to this fact – although he only releases music seldomly, he definitely adopts a quality over quantity ethos, with releases for spirited up-and-coming labels such as Simple Things, The Lab Records and spclnch marking him out as a talent to keep an eye on. We caught up with Krieger recently, as he talked us through his many influences, Munich and his future plans…
Great to chat to you today, Alex. Can you please start a bit by telling us a bit about how you got into electronic music in the first place? What parties and DJs influenced you when you were starting out?
My parents are big music lovers and that’s how I came into contact with various music genres at a young age. I had access to a large collection at any time and could listen through. From jazz to hip hop to rock, everything was there. My start in electronic music was Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy and Kruder & Dorfmeister and I think certain tracks had a big influence on my taste/style. This was the starting point and developed over the years into the Dub Techno/Deep House direction. I often organised private parties myself and was therefore forced to take over the music. Thus came the enthusiasm for djing and then to produce my own music.
Can you tell us a bit about growing up in Munich? How was it for electronic music? tINI is from there, right? And clubs such as MMA and Bob Beamen? Were these places and people influential to you?
I have always lived in a rural area near Munich and thus had difficult access to larger events. But of course this did not stop me from exploring the city. The MMA was a wonderful location for alternative styles. Spent some great evenings there. Rote Sonne and Harry Klein are also awesome locations. But what I would really recommend is the relatively new Club Blitz. The sound system and the artists are outstanding! These places always gave me a boost of motivation to make music myself. But in my genre of house there wasn’t much on offer at the time, this was mainly at small private parties. Of course i know and love some artists around my area but I’ve never really been a regional music fan. Cities like London, Paris or Berlin have interested me much more musically.The regional artists who deserve the biggest shoutouts in my opinion are Skee Mask The Zenker Brothers and right now. They had really expanded my musical taste not too long ago.
Was there one moment that really changed things for you? Where you felt you really had to take this music stuff seriously?
It was not directly a moment but rather a slow process. In the beginning I only made music for myself as a kind of compensation medium. Over the years I uploaded more and more and came to my first release. Here I started to focus more on real songs. My musical journey became more serious from time to time. A personal Breaking point was my first Afterme release. The label owner Ki.mi is an artist which I respect very much and have been listening to for a long time. And then to be invited by him to join his label was just an incredible moment.That made me realise, maybe there are people out there who like it somehow.
Where does the name, Masupilami, come from?
I was looking for a name which is not easy to classify but still fits. Masupilami was just perfect for me. The name is playful, confusing and therefore fits perfectly to my sound. Unfortunately it happens again and again that promoters write it wrong. Marsupilami, Masipulami, Mapulsipami… I already had several identities, so I guess I have to live with that.
Was there moments of doubt along the way? Can you tell me a bit about your production history?
The beginning of my music production was really hard to bear. Through my longer Dj experience I knew of course exactly how the songs should sound. With the track selection I was also always incredibly picky. Thus, the start was not easy for me and somewhat hopeless but slowly I think I get behind it. Meanwhile, I am proud of a few releases from me and no longer have any doubt. I will always need the music for myself and can therefore only stay with it.
At what stage are you at with your music now do you think? Where would you like to go?
I am still in my initial phase of electronic music and will remain so for years to come. I have a very clear idea what track I want to produce one day but I will not be there for a long time. But I will enjoy the journey to get there in any case. My goal is to produce tracks that you can carry with you for several years. Tracks that you play at 5 o’clock in the morning at a sunrise in the mountains.
You keep quite a stripped back presence online, and your social media accounts are generally more considered on great photography than a ‘flashy DJ lifestyle’. Is this a conscious thing for you?
This is half conscious, half subconscious. I’ve never been a big social media fan because I don’t like the “pointless” output. This is of course not meant badly, I have great respect for people who use it for marketing or just for Fun. I just think it has become a bit too much. So i post only a few pictures or artworks from myself and friends which are meaningful to me. But honestly i am a bit lazy with posting too. So I will try harder in the future to announce my releases earlier
What do you make of the way instagram in particular has pervaded the current electronic music scene? Do you see many positives in it?
It’s really a great tool for marketing and also to make contacts. Of course, it is also great to see how some people live or in my example produce. I have already come several times to spontaneous releases via Instagram and have met great people. But as I said before, now it seems quite overloaded to me so that the quality content is lost. Quality content like Sweely’s or asquith’s Instagram, I couldn’t live without that.
In terms of the contemporary scene, what excites you most? What disappoints you?
I think it’s great that many artists and labels are returning to vinyl-only releases. I love the rarity aspect of these tracks. Of course, sometimes it really sucks when everything is sold out without a repress. I also find that a lot of new special styles are emerging. From very futuristic sounding Minimal to lovely oldskool Breakbeat stuff. However, due to the mass of releases, the specialness of certain albums is lost.
When was the last time you saw a DJ who really blew you away? What was it about their set that was so great?
I was partying with some friends in Prague. We went to a club for a last drink completely without knowing what was playing. I was prepared for brutal EDM, because this was also heard from the upper floor. Then I wanted to go to the toilet and heard from the basement one of my all-time favorite tracks “Mbius – Imagine your Identity”. Two local Djs played one of the most brilliant sets in front of just a few people and my friends had to pull me out of the club after 3 hours and several drinks more. (Shoutout to Unjack and ASI).
Can you tell us a bit about your own approach – how do you plan a set for example? And what factors do you always take into account?
I never really plan sets ahead but rather let my mood decide. Most of the time I play wildly through subfolders. But when I do plan something it’s the first and last song. They have to fit and are often my all time favorite tracks. They set the mood and let it fade away.
The most important factors in my opinion is the environment/Location. I love it when the sound fits the location and its keynote.
We love tracks of yours such as Organ Donor. Do you always go out of your way to produce music that’s a bit away from the norm? Who has acted as a great influence in that regard?
Yes I always try to capture new inspirations and approaches. I try a lot with random combinations, random effects and sequences. I will also never commit myself to a specific sound. Especially with the Organ Donor tape, I was guided by the sound of the label. Dance Petrol Records are buddies from my region, so the vibe of the EP was predestined. In general I love to combine classic oldschool house elements with new kind of weird synths. My two biggest influences for my current sound were probably Brawther and Sweely. Two absolute legends ! I love Brawther for his fantatic atmospheres and chords and Sweely for his unpredictable melodies and basslines.
What’s the next step for you in terms of where you go with music? Is it a full-time thing for you right now? Is that the aim?
Honestly, I don’t want to be dependent on my career as an artist. I love to play music in my free time but I can’t imagine a full time job. As soon as I have to depend on it to make money, it would lose some of the magic for me.
My next step is to build a real signature sound. A basic sound that is recognizable across
different subgenres. I also plan to combine music releases more with artwork. Assigning each track of an ep to a specific work of art and making them dependent on each other. This project still needs some time but I’m looking forward to work on it.
If we were to be introduced to your sound in three tracks, what ones would you pick?
Finally, can you let us in on three tracks that you’ve been playing nonstop this summer?
I fell in love with this track from Guy From Downstairs & FunkE. They nailed the groove with this lush atmosphere.
In most of my mixes I play some things from John Manhard. His Chord and sample processing is just incredible!
The last track is a really dubby one from Jump Source. Very hypnotic and perfect for Afterhour vibes.
Jump Source – Slip