Ralph Kyau talks trance, tomboys and Teutonic tastes
Hello Ralph. It’s 8am in Germany now. Shouldn’t you be in bed? We just spent 10 or 12 days in North America and then we did a gig in Russia so now my body clock doesn’t know what’s happening. I’ve been awake since very early this morning.
Busy life, eh? Yes, we spend literally 95 per cent of the weekends DJing. When we’re playing in, for example, the US or Asia we try to sleep using the German clock no matter what time of day it is there. Otherwise you get too confused and tired. And when we come back we sleep like babies.
How did you two come together? We didn’t start as DJs, we started as producers and musicians. We got together in 1996, when Albert sent me some demos and I realised that we were interested in the same kinds of music – techno and trance – and we started producing and doing live shows together. People would book us for these live sets – Albert would provide the vocals – and we started offering to do DJ sets alongside them. That side of things really took off and now we DJ back-to-back.
Are you similar people? You must be, to have worked together that long. Honestly, as private people we are very different in our hobbies, our tastes in girls and so on.
Ooh! Go on, we’re intrigued. Redhead or blonde? I prefer the more feminine ones and he likes the – what is the English word? – the more sporty ones.
So if you don’t fight over women do you at least fight over music? Give us some drama! We sometimes have different views but we never argue. I’m happy working in a duo – sometimes you listen to a song you’ve made so much that you can’t hear it any more so you have to give it to someone else who can say, ‘Go away, I have some ideas for this track.’ It’s like The Beatles, the way Lennon and McCartney would combine their abilities.
So you’re saying that you and Albert are the Lennon and McCartney of dance music? No, no! Don’t write that! But I can really understand the way it works.
What’s the deal with Germans and trance music? Well we don’t only like trance – if you go out in Germany, you will find house, drum ’n’ bass, things like that. Germany has always had a good foundation in dance music. There is a thriving underground club scene where promoters can do events all over and even the small towns have clubs playing dance music. It seems normal until you go to places like the US, where people say, ‘It’s all country or rock or hip hop over here – we want more dance nights.’
Have you noticed anything different about individual people abroad? I find that people are the same wherever you play. I don’t know if it’s the dance music or the internet or something that makes attitudes so global, but they are. Maybe in China or Korea they are a little shyer and not so euphoric in the way that people are in Germany or Russia or the UK. But mostly my experience tells me that we are all the same on the dancefloor.