When the highly anticipated collaboration of Ghostly International's Moderna and prolific LA underground DJ, Jeniluv hit the scene, it wasn’t a surprise in the least that a European tour would soon follow. Modernluv’s recent tour consisted of 16 shows in eight countries, playing at world renowned dance music venues such as the Rex in Paris, Katerblau and Renate in Berlin, Café Opera in Norway and the Psychemagik Forest Festival outside of London. They finally returned stateside for shows in New York, Boston and San Francisco before returning home to LA. With an excellent response and fans hungry for more, what's next for Modernluv? They've retreated to the desert of Joshua Tree outside of Los Angeles for some studio time and to build an artist retreat, production studio, and music therapy center. Magnetic was lucky enough to catch the worldly duo fresh off their jet lag to discuss some of the shenanigans of tour life, share some photos and deliver an exclusive mix.
Interview by Megan Ozurovich
Your tour and adventures started off in Copenhagen, Denmark where you visited Freetown Christiana, a "free society" commune created in 1971 by artists in the center of the city. It’s a unique, boho community. Was this place in your “free time” plan?
Jeni had read about the Christiana "free society" commune when she was a teenager - where art, music, activism, and radical thinking is prevalent and wanted to go see it. We bought a hash spliff and a beer while we walked the community. We swung on a tire swing, cruised through the park and walked a tightrope. Copenhagen in general was a pleasant experience. We played an in-store for our friends at AIAIAI headphones and saw some of their new designs. They were nice enough to let us leave with a variety of headphones.
Modernluv in Athens
After playing Harvey in Copenhagen until 4 a.m., you had an early 6 a.m. flight to Berlin to play a four-hour set Sunday morning at Katerblau (Bar 25). That seems like a stressful endeavor. How did it go?
We arrived at the venue with our suitcases and on no sleep. The Berlin Sunday morning crowd was still going strong and we were ready to play. The sound system was incredible, it was like hearing some of our tracks for the first time, discovering new sounds inside them. The dance floor was filtered sunlight, where a circus of high and devoted dancers got mystical on us. It was a really great experience playing Berlin for the first time.
Modernluv in Denmark
You stayed in Berlin for a week. Highlights?
Seeing music family like Ewan Pearson, Josh Glazer from URB, Dave Aju, Qzen, and Alland Byallo really helped out with finding good food. The Turkish farmers market and the street food market in Kreuzberg were our favorite spots. We saw the Berlin wall memorial, walked Tiergarten and rode the trains. A lot of good nights of music going out, but we went to Stattbad and met up with our friend Move D who played live with Magic Mountain High and that was the most fun. We were also able to spend time at Hardwax and find some good records.
Then it was off to Bergen, Norway where you played at the famous Norwegian “Disco Headquarters” Café Opera. What was the Scandinavian disco scene like?
We flew into Oslo and Moderna played an impromptu gig at Filske & Vilt with the Kososuru girls. The next morning we took a seven-hour train ride across Norway to Bergen. It's deemed the best scenic train ride in the world. We were definitely impressed with the landscapes and beauty of it all. We played Cafe Opera that night. We knew the history of this little spot and its legacy was confirmed for us when Bjorne Torske was spotted drinking his beer in the corner at a table. Our set time was 1-4 a.m. and the bar had about 40 people there when we started. We were curious as to why it was so empty on a Saturday night. The promoter said every weekend people show up at exactly 2 a.m. in droves and dance until the end. It was about 1:45 a.m., Jeni leaned down for a record and by the time she stood up there was 250 people packed onto the dance floor in full party mode. It was surprising and great at the same time.
Modernluv in Amsterdam
The Psychemagik producers have put together a small festival outside of London, "The Magik Forest Festival”, and asked you to play. How was it? Would you go back next year and encourage your friends to attend?
Absolutely. This was the booking that inspired this entire tour. It was professional and beautiful. The visuals on the trees created a Dr. Seuss wonderland forest, the sound systems were great in both the Arabian tent and main stage and the food was an organic menu prepared with lots of love. It was good to see friends from all over and hear them play in such an intimate environment. Our favorite sets of the weekend were Mark E, Lovefingers and Jason Greer.
Milan welcomed you with open arms, giving you three gigs. You played the Stock Bar Friday for Pascal Moscheni, Jeniluv had a gig at 65mq and you both were spontaneously asked to play a closing set at the DO.GS outdoor rave party. Can you highlight one great memory from one of these parties for us?
Milan had really good chicken milanese. Jeni ordered it everywhere we ate and got some great photos for her international foodie instagram @placeswestuffourfaces. All the parties were so unique and fun it’s hard to pick just one. My favorite part of Milan was hanging out with Pascal and seeing the city via scooter rides.
Modernluv in Norway
Rex Club, Paris - this is a serious invitation being that this venue is one of the world’s finest historical clubs. You played after Tim Paris from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. How was the vibe in Paris? Any stories of any little ‘vortexes’ you fell upon?
We saw our friend's band Tycho play at The La Gaite Lyrique. Afterwards we all fell into David Lynch's bar Silencio. On the night we played Rex we had a lovely dinner with residents Maxime and Molly. Playing Rex was fantastic. The artist hospitality is so on point. From step one of the booking Rex was professional and accommodating. Really feels good, especially while on the road touring, when you encounter professionalism at this level by a venue's artist liaison and staff. It was an honor. Vive Rex!
Somehow you ended up in Marseilles and then spontaneously decided to drive to Amsterdam for the ADE festival. A lot of business is done there and a lot of great line-ups and label showcases flood the city. What was your networking highlight? And what was your favorite party?
The Native Instruments Cookery kitchen was super. Each year they invite artists to prepare brunch for a group of industry people and other artists. This year included LA's very own Droid Behavior boys with their mom, dad, aunt and sister cooking carne asada tacos for us. We sat with a few friends and handled some taco business. The RA party at Trouw with Move D, Four Tet, Floating Points, Motor City Drum Ensemble and more was ridiculous. Trouw is sadly shutting its doors this winter.
You finished the European stint of your tour in Athens, Greece. How did you land that booking? What is the party scene like there? Were you able to find time to visit ancient Greek architecture?
Sunshine Pedro, a promoter and one of Greece's best underground DJ’s, brought us out to play his party at The Loft. Pedro set us up with an interview for Lifo Magazine, a free press mag, to help promote the event. The scene kind of parallels LA in such a way that the underground is a heavy influence on the dance community in Athens, and the club industry exists with big headliners - but the underground prevails. We caught up with our friend Damian Lazarus after his set and then rolled 10-deep to an underground party until 10 a.m. experiencing this first hand. We loved the city's pulse for dance music, and are formulating a small festival with Pedro for next year in Athens. We did visit the museum and walked the Acropolis ruins. The Odeon Herodes Atticus Ampitheatre was astonishing. The sound travels from the stage in such a way that you can drop a pin and hear it from the top row. The locals call Athens a "big village" and that makes complete sense when you are wandering the narrow streets, enjoying the food and hanging out at ancient ruins of the gods all day.
Two months later you are home in Los Angeles. What can we expect next from Modernluv?
We got a place in Joshua Tree where we will be working on our first EP. We are working on plans to set up an artist retreat, music therapy camp and private event space on the property which will involve artists and designers from our network to help piece together this vision. We will be going down to Mexico for the Making Shapes BPM event, Jeni as resident DJ will be playing. Looking forward to a vacation in paradise with our music family.
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