CORD LABUHN Bio. (2017)
Cartoon life - At six years old, CORD LABUHN had his first real career aspiration : becoming an ‘inventor’. Or space traveller. At least working in some kind of laboratory. Hence he became a producer of beats, tunes, records, imagery & merch - and toured the whole planet to play music for the most spaced out...
Earlier, when the ghost of Jimi Hendrix jumped out of his parents record collection and passionately promoted the guitar as the weapon of choice for a leftist punk, folk, if not eurodance infected teenager of the 90s, the piano and his sister’s drumset would have to step back for a while.
A few years later when TV was still the thing and gaming consoles like PS1 were battling N64, Cord the Beatmaker was rather staring at tiny AKAI S2000, MPC and CRT displays, head-nodding, turning the jogwheels, dreaming of a second turntable to complete his DJ setup - the true school, golden age hiphop way. Next mission - still as a school kid - was a self-released vinyl record with international distribution through a self-founded label – learning everything from scratch, only a few years before DJing went 99,9% digital, crazy fast and globalised anyway.
Arriving in Berlin and founding the mashup label „BROKEN BOOTLEGS“ (with Exploited’s Shir Khan and Andy Szankay) was good sparring for more delinquent ventures in professional sampling culture. Musical diversion had found an anarchic playground, genre-bending seemed to be a good concept for a radical open mind.
To date, his longest running project is ROBOSONIC, which was formed as a DJ-producer duo together with Sacha Robotti over 10 years ago. A while after their unconventional, free-spirited debut album „Sturm und Drang“ (2007) they took the world by storm with a string of popular tunes and remixes that went into the crates of tens of thousands of DJs worldwide and made it to top spots in the infamous Beatport charts (“Worst Love”, “The Edge” 2012, “La Fique” 2013, “House Music” 2015, “Rise” 2016). With releases on labels like Defected, Toolroom, Get Physical, Diynamic, Stil vor Talent, Deep Dish’s Yoshitoshi, Nervous or lately Mother Recordings, ROBOSONIC became an authentic figurehead for something dubbed “Golden Era House” (Juice Magazine). Not only because Cord was convincing real rap icons like Masta Ace, Jeru the Damaja and KRS-One to collaborate on house tracks, but also because ROBOSONIC remixed legends like Todd Terry, Arthur Baker, Kerri Chandler and Eddie Amador.
Today, after his partner emigrated to the US in 2015, Cord the DJ is representing ROBOSONIC on his own. The house & techno driven sets and releases under this moniker are internationally recognised and performances in 40+ countries (and counting) reflect the universal appeal of a trademark sound they unleashed into the world. North & South America, most European countries, South East Asia, China and Russia, Egypt down to South Africa, Dubai to Australia, Lebanon and Israel. Partly toured as a duo, partly on his own Cord has seen and pleased a few hundred stages, clubs and crowds over the last years. And with a string of new remixes and releases it seems that he won’t stop shedding club sweat and tears.
Somewhere along that way Cord Labuhn has succeeded not only in making marks in the history of Berlin’s musical identity but also in commercial and academic fields of his own design: His Humboldt University thesis on the digital future of DJing and its cultural conflicts, was published in 2009 with support from the Goethe Institute and Fink Verlag. From research and Academia to entrepreneurial inspiration, Cord’s practical but stylish invention – the “Punchi” towelscarf – has become not only a trademark for connecting creative endeavors with “real life matters” in physical form, but also for his creation of hybrids – bringing together the best of both worlds.
Add commissioned works in the field of fashion (Kaviar Gauche 2010, Raf Simons 2011, Wunderkind 2014, Isabell de Hillerin 2013-15) and you may empathise as to why Cord the human often seems too ‘lazy’ for much disposable social media content in the century of the selfie.
For 2017 Cord Labuhn has redefined his structures and launches a series called OUTTAKES. The label and collaborative hub serves primarily as a studio-to-listeners feed – to pilot an own musical direction, independent from A&R decisions, laws of the market – out of the box. A conscious counterpart and soulful antidote to the dance music business with its particular formulas. The project has already found favour with, and features contributions from the likes of EPMD, The Beatnuts & Greg Nice, B-Real of Cypress Hill, and members of Underground Resistance, in addition to his close friends and mad professors from the international house-techno circuit.
The zero point (#000) of the OUTTAKES series is the ‘SLEEP OUT’ mixtape - a carefully composed 3 hour set indulging in the tones and frequencies of sleep, representing this important human state in musical form – horizontal business. Two of his own productions ‘Gone Love’ & ‘Unter Deck’, which bookend this mixtape, are being released through his structure and the British label THE AMBIENT ZONE as a wake-up call, followed by hypnotic beat science, hiphop infused electronica, songs, fragments, field recordings and probably some dance music in the future, that would not fit under any other label than: OUTTAKES.
Cord’s artful hybrids and organic blends, zone effortlessly between subversive underground culture, the high-heel house and hippie hoppie heaven. Must be the constant creative struggle, the universal love and a cartoonish crack up behind all his work, which resonates. “That's all Folks!”
ROBOSONIC Bio. (2015 State of mind)
We all know that not everyone understands House Music but even Jack himself couldn't have wished for a more spiritual, body and soul shakin duo to spread the word. You don‘t exactly have to dive into Robosonic's numerous releases to instantly hear that the classic House Music template - laid down all those years ago in Chicago and New York - was always the most popular game for this Berlin based duo.
It has been 9 years since their first album „Sturm und Drang“ and more than double that since these boys adopted mixtapes, crates and bootlegs as their daily nourishment. They've been hard at work in the studio ever since, squeezing more groove out of their tracks than an industrial juicer. Following their genre-defining Beatport Deep House chart toppers “Worst Love” and “The Edge” Robosonic cemented their place as front runners on the international House scene. Those tracks propelled the boys into a string of high profile releases and collaborations that hasn't let up since!
Original jams and tracks from bona fide House legends alike get rebooted and fly straight into the charts while keeping their original vibe, when these two give em a lick of their unique talent for beats and low frequencies. For instance, their remix of Eddie Amador's classic “House Music” on Deep Dish’s Yoshitoshi imprint quickly hit #1 on the Beatport Deep House Chart (Overall #4) – but also the rework of Johnny Corporate’s “Sunday Shoutin'” on Defected, a remix for Todd Terry on Toolroom and their very special version of Kerri Chandler's classic “Hallelujah” released on NYC house label King Street Sounds continue to make waves on dancefloors around the world. This year, Yoshitoshi invited the guys back to raid the archives, which has resulted in 2 new remixes this summer. First a jackin’ techno infused remix of Chiapet “Tick Tock” and then back to Eddie Amador again with a reboot of his most successful track to date, “Rise” (UK Charts topper in 2000)... But the guys are no retro junkies! They have love for all music, which finds its way into their own productions. This is infectious when working with other DJs and producers: you can literally hear the fun they had in collaborations like the „La Fique EP“ with the Adana Twins on 2DIY4 (Beatport Indie Dance #1 for a month), the „Juicy EP“ with Thabo Getsome on DFTD, or the „RPMD EP“ with Purple Disco Machine on Nurvous Records.
While many in the scene have moved toward the darker reaches of Techno and Tech House as genre crazes seem to come in waves, Robosonic have re-focused back on the essential groove and swing of the music that got them into all this in the first place. „We‘ve always been massively influenced by the sounds of US Hip Hop & Soul“ confirms Cord, „and even though, having a German / Belgian / Italian heritage and growing up with Techno, it always needs to have that injection of funk to make it work“, says Sacha, adding: „that doesn’t mean we can’t play a tough afterhours set or bang it when we feel like it or the dancefloor needs it“. Playing for 10 years in Berliner clubs and being massive fans of Jeff Mills, Green Velvet, DJ Funk, Josh Wink, DJ Koze also left a mark on their versatility.
On the international plateau, Robosonic are most well know for their Hip Hop infused House - and argueably, no one plays that game better than them, not only when it comes to sampling from records of the past, but also to promoting Hip Hop legends. Dubbing what they're doing as „Golden Era House“ (as opposed to the term G House, which they're not fond of), recent years have seen the Berlin beat junkies collaborate with none other than 90's legends Masta Ace, Jeru The Damaja and KRS-One, who trusted them enough to record original material for them – a huge honour and dream come true! Fruits of these labours „Free Flow“ and „1UP“ are set to come out on the hot UK label Simma Black this Autumn, which is owned by fellow Hip Hop head Low Steppa.
But it‘s not all studio sweat… Robosonic love the sun and the travel, they speak 7 languages in between them, and they’re very approacheable people! So it’s no surprise that they‘ve built a true fan base stretching far and wide to every corner of the globe, as they play every weekend relentlessly: within one month, they may DJ in Paris, London, Dubai, Moscow, Berlin, Basel, Bogotà, Bangkok, Mexico City – spreading their good vibes and a message of love.