Hip Hop to House: How a Common Interest Sparked andhim’s Underground Prominence [Exclusive Interview]

Exclusive Interview: andhim Discusses Influences, How they Met, and the Non-Importance of Genres
Simon Haehnel and Tobias Müller AKA andhim. Photo – andhim – Facebook.

German house duo andhim has been making moves in the global dance community ever since their first releases in 2010. Consisting of skilled DJs and producers Simon Haehnel and Tobias Müller, andhim has been steadily destroying dance floors from Europe and Asia to the Americas in their 5 years of touring together.

First cutting their teeth in Cologne, Germany, andhim has garnered some serious notoriety both in the studio and on the stage.

Early in their collaborative career the duo reached the top 10 for German newcomers in Groove and Raveline magazines, two of the most respected electronic music publications in Germany.

Shortly after, their remix for Theophilus London’s “Wine & Chocolate” hit the top spot on the German club charts. This comes as no surprise though, as Haehnel and Müller have both deeply immersed themselves in electronic music scene from an early age.

In order to learn a little more about the incendiary duo, we caught up with them before their set at Treehouse in Miami, Florida to ask a few questions and check out their show.

Exclusive Interview: andhim Discusses Influences, How they Met, and the Non-Importance of Genres
The outdoor terrace at Treehouse, Miami, Florida. Photo – Treehouse Miami – Facebook.

Sitting down with andhim at Treehouse – the low key Miami club with a funky vibe that features the best of today’s deep house, tech house, and techno music – here’s what we got:

Can you talk a little bit about the progression of your sound?

Simon: … We both grew up in Cologne. Cologne is pretty much famous for its techno label Compact, and this label had an influence to what I did before. I started to listen to the records [from] Compact when I was very young; at the age of I don’t know 14 or 15 maybe.

I came from hip hop and then I slowly started to change, not my taste in music, but the way I DJ. Before I was a hip hop DJ, and then I started to get into the techno and house scenes. I think I had my first DJ gig at the age of 17 in a house club in cologne and then I became a resident for like 7 or 8 years and at some point I met Tobias and we formed andhim. That’s like the very very short version of my musical journey.

Tobias: I also started with hip hop but I just concentrated on scratching… I was in the group “Noisy Stylus” and we did the DMC and ITF competitions, I think ITF doesn’t exist anymore.

You guys came together in 2010, correct? Did you guys get the emerging sound awards together shortly after that?

Simon: He won some awards with DMC.

Tobias: But this was from 2001 to 2003. I won solo in 2001 for the German championship and we won 2 times, the German Championship and the European championship with “Noisy Stylus”. We actually met at a DMC competition in Germany in 2005.

Simon: As guests, we met in the audience.

Tobias: He was studying with some friends of mine, so we met and started to do scratch sessions first and then we started to do some weird music. Before we came up with andhim we already had one song, our first release, and this was ready before we formed andhim and so we decided that we needed a name for the duo.

What was it about each other that made you decide to come together for the next path of your career?

Exclusive Interview: andhim Discusses Influences, How they Met, and the Non-Importance of Genres
andhim showcasing that retro steez. Photo – andhim – Facebook.

Tobias: It was pretty natural actually, we just had sessions and had fun and there was no plan in the beginning to be a famous DJ duo.

Simon: … We just chilled together, made music together, and at one point we had some tracks which some labels really liked. They all said you guys have to do something with it…

Then we released our first record before we even started to DJ together as a duo, so we had our release before even DJing together.

We really work well together, so from the beginning it was pretty easy to work together and we both knew that ok this was the way that we want to go.

You guys have self-coined the term super house, what led to that term and how would you describe that term to people who would be unfamiliar with it?

Simon: … I mean to be honest we came up with the term because we wanted to find a word for the sound that we do because this is what every interviewer asks, “What’s your sound and what’s your sound like?”

And we don’t give a sh** about all those, like, tropical house, deep whatever… deep diving beach house – and so we said hey we’re doing super house. It’s hard to describe our sound since it’s so unique, sometimes we do happy music sometimes we do deeper stuff but I think you can always hear that it’s andhim, so we said from this point on its super house.

Who are some of your biggest influences that got you into music?

Simon: it’s hard to just name a few, I think it’s always a process of influences. You start at the age of, whatever, 10 to listen to music… I don’t know. I mean for techno or for house music for me it was Terrence Parker. He was a turntablist/DJ as well who could mix house music in a turntablism/hip hop way that was very impressive to me.

So, I would say Terrence parker was a big influence on the mixing side of DJing for house music. Musically in the beginning it was the Compact guys…

Wrapping up, are there any last words that you want to leave your fans with?

Simon: There’s our Rollercoaster EP… it’s 4 tracks and we’re doing 3 videos, which is crazy because we’re not on a major label or something.

We’re doing them all on our own, like always. We’re working on some remixes, and there’s the Ibiza season coming where we play about 8 or 10 shows this summer at different locations.

Fresh off of a tour through Europe, South America, and North America – andhim immediately linked up with Pete Tong of BBC Radio 1 in June to record their BBC Essential Mix.

Packed to the gills with steady beats and groovy house feels, andhim’s BBC 1 Essential Mix compiles two hours of audio bliss into a single package that belongs in any serious house lover’s collection.

After recording their BBC Mix and with their new album (available in both vinyl and digital formats) tearing its way through the airwaves, things are firing on all cylinders for the German super house duo. It seems like only the sky is the limited for the talented musicians.

Check out andhim’s super house doozy, the Rollercoaster EP below.

Snag the album here.