Name: Monkey Safari
Members: Sven Fröhlich, Lars Rühlemann

Nationality: German

Occupation: Producers
Current Release: Monkey Safari's Body Language Vol. 24 is out August 19th 2022 via Get Physical.

If you enjoyed this interview with Monkey Safari and would like to keep up to date with the duo's work, visit them on Instagram, Facebook, Soundcloud, and twitter.

Where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play?

I think the impulse to create something has always been there somehow.

We come from a working-class family and even as children we had to lend a hand. Being lazy or unproductive was seen as a waste of time and that has been firmly anchored.

Dreams and also goals that are defined from them are an important thing because they help us to go the right way for us and to question ourselves again and again. They are a kind of compass. We are inspired by so many things that it is sometimes difficult not to lose focus. Unfortunately, the day has only 24 hours.

For you to get started, do there need to be concrete ideas – or what some have called a 'visualisation' of the finished work? What does the balance between planning and chance look like for you?

It is a mixture of both. Often the inspiration lies in another piece of music that we like. You then start working with similar elements in that direction, but for us the big secret is to find the right moment to break away from the original thought. That's when chance comes into play to do things completely different and sometimes a piece is created that has no intersection with the original source of inspiration.

Or things just come out if you give them the necessary space and don't focus too much on copying something else.

Is there a preparation phase for your process? Do you require your tools to be laid out in a particular way, for example, do you need to do 'research' or create 'early versions'?

No, actually they don't. Maybe some artists need the same processes over and over again, for us it's more of a creative killer. What should happen if the processes are always the same?

Sometimes a small sound fragment is enough, e.g. a small Stab fx sound which sounds however so interesting or also prominent that we build a track around this sound.

Do you have certain rituals to get you into the right mindset for creating? What role do certain foods or stimulants like coffee, lighting, scents, exercise or reading poetry play?

Coffee plays a very important role for us, even if we have switched to decaffeinated coffee in the meantime. Our consumption was simply too high.

The start into the studio day with coffee and a cigarette is pretty essential to arrive. That's actually always the same and probably won't change.

Many writers have claimed that as soon as they enter into the process, certain aspects of the narrative are out of their hands. Do you like to keep strict control over the process or is there a sense of following things where they lead you?

Definitely the latter. As I said before, it's an important point for us to let chance decide where a track goes. It's quite interesting when you start with a happy house record and at some point the track becomes calmer or deeper.

A lot of it is of course subconsciously dependent on whether you are in a good mood because the sun is shining or rather grumbly because it's cold and raining. Our subconscious I think plays a lot of a role in this.

Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?

To decide on ending the process is for many the most difficult part of all. We have seen so many good producers and artists who were never able to finish things.

With us it was somehow always different. It's a constant development and tracks from us that are 10 years old sound different than the current stuff. But if we hadn't released the stuff 10 years ago we wouldn't be where we are now. Every single track is a further development. Any mistakes you make on one current track are mistakes you probably won't make in the future.

It's important for yourself to take out the demand or pressure that something should be perfect. It never is. We speak from very long experience. Most of the time the end of one track is the beginning of another.

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on? How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you're satisfied with a piece? What does this process look like in practise?

Generally it is quite important to get a distance to a track to hear certain details better with fresh ears. The important thing is to get the best out of it for the present moment. It is an illusion to think that years later you will still be as satisfied as you were at the time of release.

How much you can still change a track, you can not say in general. Sometimes nothing, sometimes everything, and sometimes it's not released at all.

After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?

The best recipe to survive a creative drought is new input. For us, that can be remixes from other artists or collaborations. You're not so stuck on coming up with ideas, you're right in the process.

The best ideas are always the ones you're not looking for anyway. So the secret is … just do it!

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though writing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?

It's certainly difficult to draw a parallel between all kinds of everyday things and writing music, but for us the best one is cooking.

A kitchen is a very creative place, a kind of workshop just like a studio which gives you all the possibilities to make things. Everyone has their own style in a way. Some cook by recipe, others just by feel and some just throw ingredients together and see what comes out. You get both types in the kitchen and there is no rule what you can and can not do.

The most important thing is that it tastes good. And there are few things you can argue about more than taste.