The Gameboys: „Girls love DJs“

The Luxembourgish DJ-duo The Gameboys! about their music and why puppies make them happy

Foto: (c) Mike Zenari

Foto: (c) Mike Zenari

Who will ever forget the glorious time of Game Boys and the sound they made? We were all so occupied playing Super Mario or Pokémon we didn’t even realize that there was a real world outside. Well, some might say this time is a decade ago and won’t ever return. Those have never been to Luxembourg before. This city is not only the hub of the universe for bankers and lawyers but also for musicians. And it’s also the current home of two DJs called The Gameboys!. Originally from France and Ireland, Pierre and Tony came to Luxembourg in the earlier days and formed their duo six years ago. A lot changed, not only concerning music but also their private lives. Nevertheless there is one thing that will remain certain: The sound the original Game Boys made will never make you as addicted as this music.

mokant.at: How would you describe the Luxembourgish music scene?
Tony: It’s cool. Luxembourg is a melting point for artists and creativity. There is a concentration of different ideas. Not really widespread but its getting there, it is already better than five years ago.
Pierre: Due to it’s small size everything happens really quickly. There are so many different nationalities in one place and everybody knows each other. Everybody has access to every idea. And the underground scene is really strong and still working, that’s good.
Tony: It’s a great time to be young and alive in Luxembourg. As opposed to be young and dead.

mokant.at: But isn’t there a lot of competition because it’s so small?
Pierre: No, everybody respects everybody. And you help each other out. If someone is for example doing a music video for us, we are doing his remix or whatever. We are kind of like a family.
Tony: Of course there is some rivalry and some bitterness but we stay away from that. That’s also why we never joint any particular group or organisation. There are a lot of different party organizers and collector of artists but we always stayed on our own.
Pierre: At the end you always end up arguing. It never works.
Tony: We just did our own music, our own parties, our own bookings and it worked out really good for us.
Pierre: A lot of people in Luxemburg left for Paris or Berlin but the competition there is really heavy. Some of them just came back, disappointed.
Tony: Make your name in Luxembourg and then go out. It’s so easy.

mokant.at: When I first googled The Gameboys! I came to the website of a break-dance, hip-hop group, based in Luxembourg called Gameboyz …
Tony: On record: We have been around for six years in Luxembourg. They came around in the scene last year. It’s not written the same but it’s really similar and the city is a little too small for that. I wrote their manager an email and told him I’m not being a dick or anything but it’s just not really cool to do it. But he swore that they hadn’t stolen our name. And as I already said, Luxembourg is a little too small for that, so I don’t really believe him.
Pierre: It’s a dance group. They are sixteen years old; it’s not worth it.
Tony: However life is too short to hang up on these things.

mokant.at : In an earlier interview with luxuriant.lu the interviewer claimed that your live-shows are really different compared to other DJ’s. What exactly is the difference and how would you describe your live shows?
Tony: Ours is very interactive with the crowed. We don’t like being on the stage far away from the crowd. I, for myself, like being on the same eye level. That gives you more interaction. It’s more like a rock show with electronic music.
Pierre: We are doing a lot of live mixes and re-sampling, scratching…
Tony: We really try to interact with the crowd and not just stick your head into the turntables and disappear. That would just be really fucking boring to look at.
Pierre: We try to build it up like a rock concert basically.
Tony: All killers no fillers. Or was it the other way around?

mokant.at: Actually a lot of DJs do it like that. They just stick their head into their turntable and don’t even look at the crowd once. So if your shows are really so interactive you do realize when people don’t like your music or don’t dance?
Both: No.
Pierre: We have been around long enough to get that. We still play our music but we are adaptable to the environment.
Tony: Exactly. We don’t go to cafés in the early evening and play hard techno. I mean that’s obviously not the time or the place for something like that. And if that’s the only thing you can do you shouldn’t accept a gig like that in the first place.
Pierre: True. And we don’t prepare a whole set. Normally we go to a location and look at the people first because we want to play for them. Well actually most of the time we are playing for the girls.
Tony: That’s for sure. Then they play for us. (Laughs)
Pierre: When I look up, I only see girls. I don’t even see the guys.
Tony: It’s good to be a DJ. That’s a little advice for all the teenagers out there: If you have troubles picking up girls, you should become a DJ! Even if you are a shitty DJ – girls love DJs. Seriously. And you never pay for your drinks …
Pierre: Not but we try to talk to people while we are behind the tables and tell them to come up front and dance.

mokant.at: Apart from playing with or for girls, do you play any instruments?
Tony: Sure, that’s how we started.
Pierre: I played the guitar for ten years.
Tony: I played drums and guitar. I used to sing in a band. (Laughs) Those were my awkward days. My awkward teenager years when I thought I would be a really great singer. Actually I am a really good singer. But only in the shower. Everybody is a good singer in the shower. It would be so much fun to do a really big rock concert in a shower. (Laughs)
Pierre: I used to play for years in bands and then I suddenly realized that we get as much money as a DJ. Because we where five guys in a rock band and so we always had so split everything into five.
Tony: True, it’s more lucrative to be a DJ instead of playing in a band. UUuuuhhhh doggy doggy doggy (a puppy just passed). No don’t go away. Oh that makes me so happy. I’m so happy. So happy right now.
Pierre: Man, it’s a dog. Stop saying that you are so happy because of the dog. It is only a dog!
Tony: Okay. I’m done. Continue.

mokant.at: Thanks. There is a big different between the music you play now and the music you played back in your earlier days. Why did you change?
Tony: I think it was a natural progression from learning to play an instrument to learning about music and into playing music. And as we both played the drums: it gives you tempo, timing, beat you know? And I think before we can start playing other peoples music we need a fundamental understanding of how music works. And especially now that we are producing. If I wouldn’t play in a band for so long I wouldn’t be able to produce this kind of music.

mokant.at: Do you think it’s easier to produce music than to play in a rock band?
Pierre: In a rock band you make your sound with other people, now we make our sounds by ourselves.
Tony: You have to do the highs, lows, bass, mids, etc. on your own. You have to make everything by yourself and not only your instrument. It’s really hard work when you are in the studio.
Pierre: And it’s a different vibe. It takes a lot longer to produce it.

mokant.at: But how does the creative process looks like?
Tony: Depends on the weather, how much Rum you’ve had. It depends on a lot of different things. It changes every time. You get an idea and you work on that idea and you go to the studio and you expand that in trying to make it sound like it sounded in your head. I wish I could just produce directly out of my head. That would be just so much easier. Sometimes you are just playing around and then something happens or something is working out. But there are different levels of process. Alcohol is involved most of the time.

mokant.at: Let’s make a little turn to the next question: Also in the interview with luxuriant.lu you said that you want to travel around and play everywhere around the planet – how does it go together with family? Tony, you have a child, isn’t that the exact opposite?
Tony: Well, you are not moving to another country. You just flying there in the afternoon play your show and then you fly back again.
Pierre: It’s a job. It’s like if you would work in an office. You also have to do business trips. And then you can take a day off or two to spend with you family and your child. Or when we get rich, you can buy a nanny. (Laughs)
Tony: Yeah it’s a job. A great job!

mokant.at: Do you want to get rich?
Tony: Yeah, I do. Filthy rich.
Pierre: No, I don’t think so.
Tony: I just want to be comfortable. And I think this is easier when you have enough money.
Pierre: I want to earn enough money with music so that I can quit my regular job. At the moment I’m working in the movie-business. It’s fun but not really what I want to do. There is not a lot of music involved, I miss the creative part.
Tony: Yeah totally. Not working in an office anymore. I want to get out of this fucking nine to five rhythm. (Tony actually quit his job since the interview to do something better with his life, like music; editor’s note)

mokant.at: Can you imagine going again into a different direction concerning music?
Pierre: I wouldn’t say that you decide to go into a different direction.
Tony: Music involves change of styles. We started six years ago and at the beginning we did really awkward electro music but now we sort of found our style.
Pierre: It is sort of deeper and more melodic. But I can’t imagine staying behind the turntables for the rest of my life. I have been there for 15 years now. I have other projects, maybe not electro but hip-hop and drum and bass but it’s still behind the turntables.

mokant.at: But if you want to live from music, can you imagine to make jingles or elevator music or stuff like that?
Tony: I could write jingles. If someone would give me money for doing jingles I would definitely do it. Easy. But no one asked me yet. (starts singing some jingles he just made up in his head)
Pierre: I would love to do soundtracks for movies or adverts. But I actually can’t really imagine picking up my guitar again and just start playing.
Tony: No me neither. My fingers hurt just by looking at it. I rather spend four hours a week playing some music instead of two hours by day practicing. And whole lot more hours in the studio! (Laughs)

The next EP of TheGameboys! called „träum-a“ will be released 19th September on TAKT Records, Köln.

Lisa Radda ist als Redakteurin für mokant.at tätig. Kontakt: lisa.radda[at]mokant.at

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