drinking with Jonas Yamer

         Drinking with Jonas Yamer

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Munich is well-known for one of the highest standards of living in Germany, a reliable transport system, an abundance of architectural and historical monuments as well as vibrant cultural heritage. In the 60s, the basements of Munich were shaken by the revolutionary spirit of the krautrock classics from the likes of Amon Düül, and later Giorgio Moroder, who gave the Bavarian land a phenomenon called "Munich Disco."

The current musical life of the city is represented by such names as Skee Mask, Zenker Brothers, Schlachthofbronx, veteran labels Schamoni Musik, and Gomma, as well as Blitz club and now closed MMA Club that gave the nightlife its big splash.

Still, the city is often somehow undeservedly stripped of attention and usually resides outside the radars of those who are interested in an independent music scene and underground night culture. Indeed, it is hard to believe that behind the image of a removed corner of Bavaria lies a kind of alternative reality, different from everything that we've already known. However, each coin has a flip side.

We went to Munich in April to try and find out what is behind the ordinary of a traditional and relatively conservative European city. That is where we discovered dozens of labels, groups, artists, self-made organizations that give the new Munich scene its constant dynamism and prove that small, musical communities generate genuinely unique talents.


Supported by Goethe-Institut Ukraine.

Drinking with

21/10/2019

Read more about the project

Munich is well-known for one of the highest standards of living in Germany, a reliable transport system, an abundance of architectural and historical monuments as well as vibrant cultural heritage. In the 60s, the basements of Munich were shaken by the revolutionary spirit of the krautrock classics from the likes of Amon Düül, and later Giorgio Moroder, who gave the Bavarian land a phenomenon called "Munich Disco."

The current musical life of the city is represented by such names as Skee Mask, Zenker Brothers, Schlachthofbronx, veteran labels Schamoni Musik, and Gomma, as well as Blitz club and now closed MMA Club that gave the nightlife its big splash.

Still, the city is often somehow undeservedly stripped of attention and usually resides outside the radars of those who are interested in an independent music scene and underground night culture. Indeed, it is hard to believe that behind the image of a removed corner of Bavaria lies a kind of alternative reality, different from everything that we've already known. However, each coin has a flip side.

We went to Munich in April to try and find out what is behind the ordinary of a traditional and relatively conservative European city. That is where we discovered dozens of labels, groups, artists, self-made organizations that give the new Munich scene its constant dynamism and prove that small, musical communities generate genuinely unique talents.

Supported by Goethe-Institut Ukraine.

Text: Tanya Voytko
Photo: Vitaliia Zhyriakova

In Munich, we learned one important thing - the lager here is indeed a very strong drink. The realization came after meeting Jonas Yamer, a DJ, member of the Carl Gari collective, founder of the Molten Moods label and man who despises Bavarian Augustiner beer.

It all started in a place that resembles a cafe for the elderly and ended with philosophical conversations on the backstage of the Blitz club. In addition to in-depth discussions of the politics and cultural life of Munich, we talked about the birth of Jonas Yamer's DJ career in an illegal Catholic bar, the best party in his life and a signature hangover recipe that would not help you anyway.

They say Munich is the beer capital of Germany. Do you consider yourself a beer lover?

I hate it.

Nice. It seems that everyone in this company does not like beer. What is your favorite drink then?

I mean, I like beer, but I don't like this Bavarian Augustiner that we drink right now. I prefer gin tonic with burned rosemary.

Tasteful. Do you remember some funny story that happened to you drunk?

Actually, I never did anything ridiculous, because I'm very controlled. When I am about to lose control, I'd rather go home. The story is of someone that I knew. I was in a boarding school for three years, and I had a roommate for a year, and he was getting really drunk every weekend. He was the kind of guy who would totally lose control, he was basically an alcoholic, and at some point, he got this habit to pee everywhere, and started peeing in his own closet, like sleepwalking. Peeing in his closet with eyes closed. It was so miserable and not even disgusting but just miserable.

All right. Do you remember when you first got drunk?

We had this kind of thing in Germany, and I guess it's forbidden now because only teenagers drank it. They called it alcopops. It was vodka with very sweet lemonade. I got really drunk with a product called 'Smirnoff Ice.' I went home and smoked two bong heads and vomited out of the window.

Happy ending!

And for many years it was a kind of habit.

Vomiting out of the window?

No, just getting really drunk from alcohol, smoking bong and then vomiting. Because when you are a teenager, you are never clever enough to learn not to do it again.

Look, here is another beer. I think it is too much for people who do not like beer. Let's move on. Tell me how long you have been writing music?

Do you mean producing or forced to play instruments by my parents? 

The moment you started writing the music of your own will.

Hard to tell. Maybe by the age of 13 when I discovered Kurt Cobain and then black metal.

Is there a black metal scene in Munich?

There is a black metal scene. I don't know much about it, and I'm the wrong person to ask, but it has influenced me a lot, especially the whole aesthetics. But I just can't listen to it anymore.

I love the way you talk about black metal sitting under the Buddha statue. So, how you switched to electronic music?

Burial, I think. He was the first. Very cheesy but that's who brought me into electronic music. Then when I was 19, after school, I went to Canada, and I used to work as a landscaper, and my boss was a big techno fan. And whenever we drove from client to client with the truck, he used to listen to techno. He showed me a lot of techno stuff, and I got really into it. I came back to Germany and thought that I needed to produce techno.

How has everything unfolded since then?

I think it started when I moved to Munich. I was new in the city, and I was really passionate about techno. Afterward, I always had to laugh about myself because I was so excited that I was sitting in front of my computer for 12 hours a day just to learn to produce. In the end, I didn't do so much in these 12 hours. As for the Molten Moods label, I found some friends who were DJing and also producing music and then we just started the label. At some point, we split, and I did it on my own. Actually, in the beginning, it was very chaotic. I didn't know much, and I was very naive.

What are your musical guilty pleasures?

I don't really have one. Not in this sense of "I listen to Madonna, I'm sorry." One of my best friends is Abdullah Miniawy who we work a lot with on Carl Gari. He is from Egypt, and for 2 years he lives in Paris because of the political circumstances. He had a very religious background. His father is very faithful, and he showed me these Qu'ran singing guys, it's so beautiful to me that it moves me to tears.

What about your weirdest habit?

I have many strange things, but I don't know. Scratching my legs, maybe.

Often?

Yeah. I scratch them to blood actually.

What about the things that make you happy?

Aesthetic ecstasy and good conversation.

Like this one?

I studied philosophy at the university in Munich and have a B.A. degree in it. And it's one of my main interests. After a good philosophical conversation, I feel delighted afterward. Apart from that, it's playing music live. Maybe that's even better.

Are there any things that annoy you?

Public shaming, prejudice, being superficial - maybe my number one. What angers me a lot is that I think the world is so complex and people always try to find easy solutions. I don't know the way out, and I don't know how to make it more accessible for people that the solutions that are closest to reality are the most sophisticated ones.

What about your passions beyond music and philosophy?

I write about culture and nightlife for a local magazine and recently started writing for Blitz Club. I write more literary texts for years too. I also started to sing again publicly, and with Carl Gari. The last gig we had in Munich was other guys pushing me to do it saying 'Common! You need to sing. You can do it." Abdulla, who is the singer I admire most always pushed me to sing again. I've felt more confident with my voice and my lyrics recently and will use both for Carl Gari and release a record with vocals of mine.

What was the party you felt was the one?

The last Carl Gari concert. It was so good for me to sing again on the stage. Also, the whole setting was cool, and there was a big audience who liked it. Before us was a band called Milzbrand, they cooked octopus on stage.

Sorry?

Yes, one guy played fast death metal drums, and the other guy was doing weird hippie psychedelic synthesizer and then the father of one guy who is like 70 years old was doing the vocals and cooking the octopus.

What else?

I really love playing at Blitz. I have to admit that it's so great, you feel like in a spaceship there because the speakers and the monitoring are so good. I also love my residence at Rote Sonne. It is way punkier concerning everything. Outside of Munich, I like to play at Mother's Finest parties where I get booked maybe once a year at Griessmuehle. And the City Club in Augsburg. It's one of the finest clubs in Germany, but it is a small city, so just a few people know about it. I played there with Stenny and David Goldberg for the whole night. We played only 140 bpm techno from the very beginning — one of my best DJ experiences.

What about the worst experience you ever had?

All the parties when I was starting DJing. I just stood there with a bunch of totally randomly mixed up vinyls. I couldn't even beat match, you know. I just stood there, and I felt like the worst clown. So, yeah.

But what about experiences connected with clubs or promoters?

I can tell you how I started. It was an illegal Catholic pub.

What a start.

I hope no Catholics will read your magazine.

No Catholics on our Google Analytics.

Hahaha. So I studied philosophy at a Catholic University and they have an illegal pub. They have a kind of cellar and it just supposed to be a cellar of the University, but they opened it as a pub once a week. You have to ring a bell, and then they open. So I played very bad minimal there.

Oh my god. Did the audience appreciate it?

Yes, they would appreciate anything.

So we have one signature question left. What is the best hangover remedy, in your opinion?

There are many ways to approach it but the healthiest way I discovered, I only did it once in my life, but it is to go jogging and sweat it all out. I only did it once, and it worked. I never could reach it again because I'm too lazy to do it. What I really like is to drink a lot of water with lemon.

Does it help?

The water with lemon? No.

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