Mobilegirl & Mechatok
They regularly appear at Berghain, played a legendary set at the Boiler Room, and inspire people all over the world – Mobilegirl and Mechatok are not only best friends, they are also deeply connected through their music. The 24-year-old producer and DJ Mobilegirl met 21-year-old Mechatok in their home city of Munich and the friends moved to Berlin together. The move was an important step for Bao and Timur – their real names – in furthering their music careers. In Berlin, they could actually make a living from playing gigs and producing music. But that wasn’t the only reason for moving to the capital.
Read our interview to find out what role food played in this decision and how the diverse cultural backgrounds of Mobilegirl and Mechatok influence their music.
What projects are you currently working on?
Bao I feel like I’m in a sort of transitional phase where I’m figuring out new directions. I have one limb in a bunch of different projects.
Timur I’m currently wrapping up my next record and preparing for its release.
Without wanting to assign any labels, how would you describe your musical styles?
Timur I’d say it’s melancholic club music to listen to at home to.
Bao That weirdly applies to me as well.
You both have diverse cultural backgrounds – do you like to connect to these and pull influences from them?
Timur Sometimes it happens to be a source of inspiration for me – more visually than musically, though. To me it often seems like artists are referencing their cultural backgrounds to profile themselves rather than doing it from a genuine place of interest or to actually confront it. I find that questionable, as, usually, cultural stereotypes end up being promoted for personal profit.
Bao Seeing my family so little makes me actively think about my cultural background much more – because with them I would simply act it out but being apart from them it becomes a distant memory. I like to surround myself with that and get inspired by it. I don’t like to draw very obvious connections, though, because it quickly starts to feel like what Timur described. Growing up in Germany, I’ve always been split between two cultures, so it doesn’t feel very genuine to strongly profile just one. Some of my music is actually described as East Asian in character, but the sound of the inspiration for those (video game scores) just happens to coincide with my background.
How did you discover your connection? When listening to your productions and mixes, it feels like you speak two different languages but still understand each other on another level.
Timur I feel like we have a similar analytical and pragmatic way of looking at things – even if it results in very different-sounding music or imagery for each of us. I think we can naturally follow each other’s logic.
Bao I second that. We express ourselves quite differently, but it’s rare that we would completely disagree on a matter.
How do you communicate with each other as artists and stay in creative exchange?
Timur I have a habit of sharing the music I make and the music I like with Bao and keeping her up to date with where I’m at in terms of projects I’m working on. Her opinion is always important to me.
Bao We’re in touch constantly. I think it’s simply a matter of mutual respect and care. I think very highly of Timur and we discuss all sorts of professional and personal issues.
What attracted you both to Berlin? What do you find in this city that you can’t get anywhere else?
Timur Aside from Munich, it was where I had the most friends. I saw them making a living from playing shows and making music there – so I wanted to come and try that too. Every time I’m in another European city I also get reminded of how easily available really good Turkish and Arabic food is in Berlin – you probably won’t get that anywhere else outside of Turkey.
Bao The initial attraction was definitely about the music. Before moving, I’d regularly take the bus up to see shows and go to parties. So by the time I was making my own music, I felt like relocating completely. What I really appreciate about Berlin is that it allows me to be super domestic. The living situation is still easier here compared to other big cities – you can live off your music and still enjoy a relatively nice place.
You have both achieved great things at a very early stage of your creative careers. How do you feel about success?
Timur It feels like a huge blessing that it’s been possible for us to take it to this point this fast. At the same time, I don’t feel like we’ve exhausted the potential yet at all. Hopefully there’s a lot more to come.
Bao It’s a bit intimidating, because a fast rise can also mean a fast fall. I’m eternally grateful for all the support and opportunities we’ve been given, and we’re working hard to keep the momentum going.
You’re regulars at Berghain, got broadcasted via Boiler Room, and have been featured in the most relevant publications. What’s next?
Timur My new EP comes out soon and and also I’m excited to start touring with my new live show!
Bao I’m just waiting for Nintendo to hire me.
Photo Credits Joanna Legid