The name says it all: Get Physical tracks could hardly be more moving and corporeal. This aspect of physicality also resurfaces on two of the label’s key releases: the in-house DJ mix series ‘Body Language’ and a string of double vinyl compilations called ‘Full Body Workout’, brimming with new beats and sounds by up-and-coming talents. Not least of all thanks to this emphasis, it has taken Get Physical just four years to become one of the fastest risers and strongest brands of the international club scene. In 2005, influential British dance magazine DJ Mag voted Get Physical ‘Label of the Year’ and, more recently, US mouthpiece for electronic music, XLR8R, devoted a front page story to the label. Figures at beatport.com, the world’s largest digital music store for dance-related tracks, paint an unambiguous picture: Get Physical Music is their best-selling label across all categories. iTunes, too, frequently features GPM releases on its homepage or in its sales charts.
Together in Berlin
The Berlin/Prenzlauer Berg-based label is backed by a collective of six people, each of whom had a long-standing career in music before making their own, separate ways to the German capital at the beginning of the new millennium. “Coming together at the right time and the right place” – here the tired old metaphor actually makes sense. Enjoying perfect chemistry right from the start, at the outset of their mutual journey in 2002, all of the label’s founding members were already more than familiar with the peculiarities, practices and expectations of electronic music and club life.
So, let’s introduce the protagonists:
Booka Shade are Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier. Contributing their extensive production expertise to countless of Get Physical catalogue numbers (a. o. releases and remixes by M.A.N.D.Y., DJ T., Sunsetpeople, Chelonis R. Jones) Merziger and Kammermeier’s fertile collaboration started in the mid-90s with releases on labels like R&S (Degeneration), Harthouse (Synthesia), Touché (Booka Shade) and Tommy Boy (Oakland Stroke). Autumn 2004 saw the release of their debut album ‚Memento’, followed two years later by their celebrated second longplayer ‚Movements’. Together with Peter Hayo the two dedicated multitaskers have been running their own production company and studio for almost twenty years, covering not only the realm of electronic music, but many other sound-related fields. With innumerable gigs under their belts, it took Booka Shade just three years of extensive touring to become one of the world’s most sought-after live acts in their field – a success story recently topped by the invitation to support Depeche Mode at one of their concerts.
M.A.N.D.Y. are Patrick Bodmer and Philipp Jung, renowned, a. o. for internationally acclaimed remixes for artists like Roxy Music, Sugababes, Röyksopp, The Knife, Fischerspooner, Freeform Five, Lindstrom or Joakim. Beyond their remix work, Bodmer and Jung are the co-producers behind M.A.N.D.Y., The Sunsetpeople and Chelonis R. Jones. Truly inseparable, this creative duo has been playing national and international clubs and festivals for quite a few years. Anyone who has missed their latest live performances can check out their skills on various mix compilations, among others two label-own releases: volume one of the DJ mix series ‘Body Language’ and, most recently, the second instalment of ‘At The Controls’, a brand new series kicked off in style by James Holden on the Resist label.
Thomas Koch (DJ T.) is the founder and former publisher of Groove, the longest-running German language magazine for electronic music and club culture. As far back as the 80s and 90s he made a name for himself as the resident DJ of seminal clubs like Music Hall, Plastik, Dorian Gray, The Box, Tresor/Globus etc. Koch’s switch to the production side of things took place in 2000 with ‘Monsterbaze’, a cooperation with Steve Bug on the latter’s Pokerflat label, followed by a string of own productions and remixes on Mood Music, 20:20 Vision, ArtofDisco, Naked Music, Breastfed and Simple. Beyond an impressive haul of ten 12”s on GPM, in 2005 T. unleashed his debut long player ‘Boogie Playground’, followed by his first ever mix CD ‘Body Language Vol. 2’ in 2006. For the label, Koch focuses on A&R activities.
In the beginning, Get Physical Music pursued a vinyl-only policy – until release 014 (‘Migracion’ by Lopazz) all of the label’s output featured its own members. Right from the start, the six founders aimed for an authorial approach, fully aware that this could only happen organically. Gradual changes, like allowing other styles to join the mix and switching from vinyl-only to a platform and musical home for by now almost twenty artists from around the world, go hand in hand with rising expectations, changed structures and new concepts. Nowadays, a lot of work and effort is invested into the careful build-up of artists while the CD format receives more and more room and attention. With a firm eye on the future, the 2007 Get Physical schedule already features seven artist albums and five compilations.
At the same time, the label’s sound, too, continues to ramify and proliferate - it has become virtually impossible to squeeze their output into any style- or genre-related pigeonhole. Get Physical tracks meet and thrive in the elusive grey area between techno, house, minimal and trance, honed to perfection with the latest production techniques. Often snippets of wave, disco, funk or electro sneak in to this idiosyncratic mix governed by the label’s own exacting aesthetics. Club compatibility is an absolute must, as is a penchant for the atmospheric: many Get Physical releases are suffused with insouciant melancholy and an almost soundtrack-like emotional intensity. Experts at this delicate tightrope walk between pure pop accessibility and atmospheric abstraction, the label’s tracks invariably hit the nerve of the boiling dancefloor.
Spreading the vision
Get Physical Music brings people together and builds consensus – around the globe, DJs from a wide range of genres play the label’s tracks at a huge variety of different clubs. A strong image based on far more than the actual music: most Get Physical DJs and acts perform each and every weekend, somewhere on this planet, whether solo or as a collective. Especially the label showcases, featuring up to six Get Physical acts at special events like large festivals or trade fairs (e. g. WMC/Miami, Sonar/Barcelona, 10DaysOff/Ghent, Name Festival/Lille, Popkomm/Berlin) or clubs and venues (e. g. Fabric/London, Space & Penelopé/Ibiza, Avalon/New York, City Hall/Mexico City, Loft/Barcelona, Macumba/Madrid, Lux/Lisbon, Dirty Disco/Leeds) are guaranteed floor fillers and frequently draw 2000+ audiences.
The crew of fifteen at Milastraße 2, in charge of the label and associated booking agency Wilde Bookings, consider themselves a true artist collective who communicate with the world, make music together, travel and perform. By taking their sound and vision to the outside world, all members of this family, above all the label’s three in-house acts Booka Shade, M.A.N.D.Y. and DJ T., have contributed to the label’s exceptional reputation. Ignore at your own peril.