Three different characters left in the middle of a forest. Each one seeks their own unique brand of beauty. What they do is, they get lost and come back with the “treasures” of sounds and words that they find along the way. This is a trio that always plays for the next level and breaks down or shakes the walls by doing so, eventually achieving a new form each time. Comprised of Gernot Bronsert, Sebastian Szary and Sascha Ring, Moderat is the trio we’re talking about – and they just released their latest album “III,” which is also the completion point of their trilogy.

In the early 2000s, Moderat came to being when Gernot and Sebastian’s Modeselektor clashed with Sascha’s Apparat – it is a project that is shaped by creative sounds, experimental video clips, and rich multimedia shows. Pushing the envelope wherever they go, the trio will once again be in Istanbul, playing the Zorlu Performing Arts Center on November 11th. Watching them on the Main Theater stage as a standing crowd, we will embark on an interstellar journey through the doors of sound that Moderat will be opening for us.

As the countdown to this unique experience is nearing an end, I managed to get a hold of Gernot – the man right in the middle of this trio. We ended up talking about the electronic music subculture, the closure of Fabric London and how that relates to the current sense oppression on night life, the band’s creative process as well as that one song he’d love to have playing as he’s doing a night drive in his ’70s vintage Mercedes.

Your last visit to Istanbul was 2 years ago, at One Love Festival, with both Moderat and Modeselektor. You will be visiting us once again, this time playing at Zorlu PSM, which is one of the most important venues in Europe. As an audience, it is exciting to know that the concert will be held in an indoor hall that is especially praised for its sound system. What would you like to say about that?

First of all, I have to say that I’m happy to visit Istanbul every time. Because the people are very nice and I enjoy the vibe of the city. It doesn’t really feel too Eastern. It’s half European, half Asian. You have modern people, interested in arts and culture, but you also have the old tradition there, and it goes together in a weird way.

I’m pretty proud of playing in Istanbul and getting on stage in such an important venue. There’s also this restaurant that I’m looking forward to visiting, I always go there when I’m in Istanbul, but I keep forgetting the name. It’s in a very old building, and it makes you feel like you are sitting in someone’s living room.

You have performed at various times and venues in your career. From the beginning until now, what are the changes you have observed in night life and the people who follow the electronic music subculture?

I think it changed a lot. But it always does. In the end, you sense that this is what night culture and electronic music do: they bring you into another dimension. I think this is what I was talking about earlier. Of course, the music changes, the clothing changes, the fashion and the sound systems… But the spirit is still the same. Today, for example, I had a problem in my house with the electricity, I called the company, the guy came over, he was maybe 50 years old or something. He saw all my records and turntables and began telling me about his early Eurodance years, dancing in clubs in Köln. It’s funny because if you see someone on the street these days, you would never expect that. The thing is, it’s a lifestyle.

What is the meaning of “the next level” for you?

Playing the Olympiastadion in Berlin! This is some next level stuff, but when we talk about that phrase, it refers to our need to take a step forward. I think all three of us would die if we began to repeat ourselves, to do the same things we did before, so we try to combine the new, latest art forms with being successful musicians.

This is the challenge we have – with every record, you get to another level. So I think that with this last Moderat record we reached a lot, but we now need a break from Moderat after this tour, to think and to find ourselves again. That’s why we decided to make the Modeselektor record our next release, and one for Apparat too, we’re also doing records solo. And after that, we might come together as Moderat and make a new record. But this is something we cannot plan, it just has to come together on its own. We are not part of an industry, we are our own industry.

If you could listen to one of your songs in an igloo house with dozens of speakers, which one would you choose?

I think I would listen to Ghostmother from the last record. Because it’s my favourite song from the last record and its kind of electro soul – whenever I listen to it, it gives me the feeling that I used have when I was a little boy; waking up in my bed on the morning of my birthday. That’s why I like this song so much and listen to it very often.

You are crossing the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, riding your 70s Mercedes limousine in the middle of the night, right in the middle of the two continents – which song would you like to hear then?

AC/DC’s Thunderstruck. Very loud!

You stated that your latest album is the one closest to the Moderat state-of-mind. In addition, you also stated that all your songs are the result of brainstorming among the three of you. As a trio, what are the common and complementary traits you have?

Sascha is writing lyrics all the time. And I’m in charge of the production and songwriting. And Szavi also works on production, songwriting and sound design. Sascha also does those. It’s actually done all together! There isn’t something that one person does – the only difference is that Sascha is writing lyrics and singing. And to be honest, in the studio, I’m the one who is doing the arrangements and mixing. Szavi and Sascha find the melodies and sounds. I make the beats and arrangements.

You say that working in a studio is like therapy. What is the most common issue you have while working, and how do you resolve it?

I think it’s like therapy because we have to compromise about things. Usually we all do our own thing, but when we are in the studio, like a therapy group, we have to compromise on a lot of things. We share a lot. It’s not just music and artistic content, we share our lives, so we know if someone has a problem or not and then we talk about it. It’s a very intimate situation, even more than hanging out with friends. Making music is a very intimate process, that’s why it’s like therapy to us.

You say that working in a studio is like therapy. What is the most common issue you have while working, and how do you resolve it?

I think it’s like therapy because we have to compromise about things. Usually we all do our own thing, but when we are in the studio, like a therapy group, we have to compromise on a lot of things. We share a lot. It’s not just music and artistic content, we share our lives, so we know if someone has a problem or not and then we talk about it. It’s a very intimate situation, even more than hanging out with friends. Making music is a very intimate process, that’s why it’s like therapy to us.

Interview: Taner Turna