Extrawelt are a German duo consisting of Arne Schaffhausen and Wayan Raabe.
After making their debut release in 2005 on James Holden’s Border Community, the duo has had an illustrious career with many releases on some of electronic music’s most influential record labels.
Known for having a unique style with techy percussions and pulsating basslines, their hypnotic grooves with melodic undertones are often supported in the sets of the world’s top DJs ranging from Sven Väth to Bicep.
Most recently the guys dropped a new EP on Gregor Tresher’s Break New Soil, and we caught up with them to find out more about the release, plus some of their interests outside of music…
Hi Guys, it’s great to be talking with you today. Where are you currently based, and is your part of the world still in lockdown?
Arne: Hi there, thanks for having us. Wayan is living close to Hamburg but I moved to Zurich a couple of years back. Switzerland took a rather liberal approach on lockdowns and measures, surprisingly the outcome in comparison to Germany has been pretty similar. Currently, with all the measures slowly getting relaxed, and the vaccination campaign slowing down, I hope we are not running into trouble again when we get into the colder seasons. We really miss clubs being open, but also want everyone to be safe.
The last few months of lockdown have been good for catching up on movies, and I’m told you are both big movie fans, so I wanted to know if you had any recent recommendations?
Arne: I’m a big fan of film director Werner Herzog, and started to watch the ones of his that I hadn’t seen, like Into The Inferno, but also rewatched some of the older ones like Encounters At The End Of The World or Wheel Of Time. Even his interviews are quiet spectacular to some degree. I also always enjoy every new season of the Fargo series, which is loosely based on the 1996 movie by the always awesome Coen Brothers.
Wayan: My selections are not brand new, but I really enjoyed watching the documentary on the Sound City studio and It Might Get Loud with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.
I’ve been a long-time fan of your music, and first discovered you through James Holden’s Border Community many years ago. What other labels have you worked with, and how has your sound changed over the years?
Arne: As we never founded our own label, there have been plenty we released on. Our long players were always released on Cocoon Recordings, where last year we also released a 4 vinyl collectors box to celebrate Extrawelt’s 15th year of existence. Quite a few EPs we released on Traum Schallplatten from Cologne with whom we have a long and trusted relationship. Recently we also worked for with great labels like Kompakt, Feel My Bicep, Furthur Electronix and Watergate Records… I’m sure our sound has changed a bit over the years, at least I hope so, but that’s not something we actively think about.
Your next release is on Gregor Tresher’s Break New Soil, could you talk through the EP and its concept?
Arne: At first Gregor asked us for a single track to use on a VA release, and I sent him those three tracks to choose from. He really liked all of them, and suggested to do an EP. At first it wasn’t obvious to me that they fit together, but luckily Gregor in his great wisdom noticed that for us, and now I can’t imagine them separated.
How did you first make contact with Gregor Tresher, and do you have plans for any other releases on his label?
Arne: Oh, we’ve known each other for lots of years and played many gigs together. This is already our second EP on Break New Soil, and I’m sure at some point there will be a third one.
Where do you find inspiration for new music, as I know you are passionate about visual design, and I wanted to know if there was a link between what you see, and the music you make?
Arne: Inspiration really comes from everywhere, and often it’s difficult to trace it back to something specific. It’s important to keep the flame of imagination burning, and any time you feel creative, just start to work on something, without worrying about where the spark of inspiration came from. Beside the different production process of how music and visual art is made, visual art and music are actually both about emotions and feelings. I really like pictures or movies where the lines between emotions, genres or even concepts are blurred, and I guess we are trying to do that in our music.
Talking of visual design, do you prefer street art like graffiti or more classic art like the stuff you would expect to see in a gallery… could you also recommend some of your personal favourites?
Arne: I don’t mind really from what time period or direction a piece of art is from, and to be honest, I don’t often go to museums or galleries. I always loved M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali and Klimt, but the newer stuff is somehow closer to me, and I like Fintan Magee, VHILS and 2501 who did our last two album designs. Also, I recently discovered a graffiti artist called Jakob Der Bruder whose work is amazing!
I understand that you are passionate cyclists, and I wanted to ask if you preferred road or off-road riding, as I know both are very different experiences?
Wayan: To be fair, I’m pretty new to cycling as a sport. Bikes were my primary transportation from age 5, until I bought my first car about ten years ago. Last September I wanted to do my exercise and decided to restore my 20-year-old bike so I could commute the 30 km journey to our studio. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed it, so I bought a road bike, and fell in love with it straight away. Now I cycle for fun and commuting, high-speed, long distance, group rides on the road, and I also got a Mountain Bike for off road riding… tarmac, mud, roots, cobbles, sunshine, fog, rain, snow, and no shortcuts!
What’s coming up next in your music schedule, have you had any gig requests, and what other releases are you working on?
Arne: Luckily we’ve already been able to play a few gigs, which were all pretty cool, and you could really sense the thirst of the crowd for being together and letting go. Let’s see how it all goes when events have to be held indoors again. Currently, we are working on a couple of remixes, and there’s a new 12″ called “Gazelle Flip” coming up, which is scheduled for the end of August with remixes by our good mate Sebastian Mullaert aka Minilogue. Besides that, we decided to collect together all the new music we are writing now, and use it as the foundation for our possible next album.
It’s been great talking today, is there a message for fans or anything else you would likehome to add?
Both: Hang in there, be patient and responsible! Together we can turn this thing around. Cheers!
You can pick up a copy of Extrawelt’s ‘Jetzt Neu: Alles Wie Früher’ EP on Break New Soil from HERE