For me personally, Jeremy Reinhard got into my life when his adidas “Diagonal” part came on the screen. I immediately liked him. The intro by Torsten Frank is classic Frank, who is at his best when he is there not only to show the skating but most of all to tell a story. “The worst thing is that it has to be good, it can’t be sketchy” is a quote that stood out to me, I didn’t understand German yet but I knew what that felt like. In life, we often can get away with sketchy, “what did you score on your test?” – “I just passed by a 0,5 margin” – is common for us all but as a sponsored skater filming a video part you know that you judge and will get judged if things aren’t done right. In this interview, we mostly talk about music but the same comparison still stands, you can’t be half a count off on the timing, the whole thing will not sound right. One last thing, Jeremy’s song in Diagonal talks about someone that is always on the road, never at home. Obviously referring to the busy travel schedule of a sponsored skater but, that song still holds true because as a DJ’s he still frequents the road quite often (in non-pandemic times). Anyway listen to the music, watch the video and read the interview. You might learn a thing or two! If you are interested in buying the new EP you can do that here or on Soundcloud.
Intro & Interview by Roland Hoogwater.
Music by Jeremy Reinhard.
Photos by Niels Freidel.
Hello Jeremy, how are you?
I am well, on my terrace in Cologne in the sun right now. How are you, have we ever met in person?
I am fine. Actually we haven’t met before.
Daniel (Pannemann) told me you are into music, do you listen to House music?
I do, I listen to Omar S, Moodymann etc.
Great, those are some of my idols, that Chicago, Detroit style of House music.
So tell me a bit about this release?
I produced a lot of music together with a friend of mine Niels Freidel and we both felt like, instead of contacting a bunch of labels, let us do this ourselves. It just felt right, not asking anyone, doing it for ourselves and at the start of 2018, we dropped our first Lekker EP. We had some help from other musicians people like David Schreiber & Moglis, locals from Cologne, they helped a lot.
What about when Covid-19 hit?
I went out and bought myself some really nice speakers. That was really important for me, to have a good sound system at home. Because you school your ears through your sound system. I made a little home studio.
Like most people, I had a lot more free time and I used that time collecting samples, jamming, just making things. But my goal was clear: To make my own EP, where I made every track, alone. I think it is important as an artist to try and do that so you know when you get feedback, that it is feedback for you and you personally.
I understand, the project is not out just yet but how has the feedback been from the people who have heard it?
Not many people have heard it yet, you are one of the first. Actually, the first EP I did was also connected to PLACE, I happened when was thirty then and it dropped on Vinyl. This new EP hasn’t fully dropped yet, so we will see what the feedback will be.
We appreciate that, it is nice to drop a song instead of a video part for once.
True and it is cool to see that electronic music now has become a bigger part of skating. Back in the day, Techno, Rave or House parties had a bad name. “Those people take a lot of drugs!” or you heard that some of your favorite skaters stopped skating just to Rave.
Nowadays, when I come to Berlin to spin at a party, I don’t even need to call anyone anymore, they just know. Julius Krappe will call me out of the blue and tell me he, Denny Pham and a whole gang of people are coming to my show! I guess Raving is more a part of the culture in Berlin, people come out, even if it is a small rave at Hasenheide park.
Do you think you get more support like that in Berlin versus Cologne?
For sure! Cologne has a strong Rave scene but in Berlin it is different. People start on Fridays and Rest on Monday. For some Berliners a work week is from Tuesday until Thursday, whereas in Cologne it is pretty hardcore if a party starts on Saturday night and lasts until 10 in the morning on a Sunday.
Let’s take a step back, when did music enter your life?
It was always a dream of mine, at 19-20 when I moved to Cologne I went to a lot of parties, back then it was more Drum n Bass & Hip Hop. I loved it and knew a lot of the promoters and DJs. At some point, my friends, people like Benni Markstein started talking about Kompakt (record label) and their parties where they had people like Michael Mayer, Tobias Thomas, etc.
At that time “Total Confusion” was THE party in Cologne, people came with buses from Paris, Brussels, etc. and that fascinated me. So, after a while of just going to parties, I arrived at a point that I wanted to throw my own party. At that time people at my work were also very into music and they would feed me Kerri Chandler, Omar S and he told me about Smallville Records (Hamburg), which only stoked the fire!
So at 25 I started my first series of parties called: Vogelfrei. I got lucky and got a big Techno DJ and people where shocked that I managed to book him. The party itself was a bit thrown together but it was probably one of the first Techno parties the skate scene went to!
It was funny because he drew people from the Techno scene in and I had the whole skate scene there dancing.
I think Jeremy always felt the sound of Cologne, his music reflected that, and that is why people believed in him and his work. During the weekend people flocked to the (Kompakt) parties in Bogen 2, where you could connect with each other both in the dark and in the light.Benjamin (Benni) Markstein, 2021
Did they vibe well?
The vibe was cool right away! That was also the start of me as a party promoter/booker and also the start of me DJ-ing. Things went on like that from when I was about 25 to about 30 years of age. It was cool and it was not as serious as it is now, things went to the next level at 30 when we put out our first EP on the Terre des Pommes Record Label. That was crazy, it was on vinyl, so Daniel Nentwig from The Whitest Boy Alive had the A-side of the record and I had the B-side. And that was like getting my knighthood, the record went well and sold out relatively quick. Paco Hettich and Albert Gabriel helped me together with my father by playing certain instruments and pieces for me to use.
That was at 30, what has changed this time around?
I developed a lot as a musician and this time I could do it by myself and didn’t need my father or friends to play certain parts on the Rhoades. I did get a cool remix by Tilman from Mainz on the new EP.
Funnily in 2020 I got signed to a booking agency called Wilde but that happened right as the pandemic hit, so no real bookings yet (laughs). To be honest, I do notice a difference financially because of the pandemic.
I can imagine you can’t wait to perform your new music before a crowd right?
100%, I did some live streams, but DJ-ing is really by you for a crowd, you need to get that feedback, that energy, and without that you are staring at a screen. At the start it was a good idea but vibing with the crowd is so important!
We heard about your start in House music but what about music growing up? Your dad is a Jazz Pianist?
Well, I was a very hyperactive kid so when I was 6 years old my parents put a drum kit in our basement and that really gripped me. I was pretty good but at some point I needed something else, so I changed to piano. The thing is I could play but I could not read notes. Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley’s version of “Tutti Fruity” really struck a cord with me and my father taught me. I even sang, and we recorded a tape for my mother’s birthday, it was fun. I could play, but I could not keep the tempo. I always went faster and faster but it was sweet, i guess. I played for like 2-years, coming home hyped to play and then skating hit me.
After that only skating counted, I wish I continued playing piano but, after school, I would eat, go skate, maybe come back to have a drink, and go back out. Burned bright red, my mother was worried, I would go out every day even when it was 35-degree weather. That started at 10 and lasted all the way until now when music came back into my life.
Seems like the skate bug really bit you!
It did, I mean I would listen to music but skating was really what consumed me. My dad stayed with music and co-founded the Jazz & Rock school in Freiburg. He is still anchored in the Jazz scene and before corona, he told me he had about 10 projects going on. He plays multiple genres, he play in a country band, in a blues band and jams with jazz musicians. He is very active man!
During corona I got new speakers and he got himself a crazy Nord Piano. My dad listens to the music I make, I will send him my best tracks and he will write me his feedback. Or he will play over some of the loops, I hope we can do more in the future. The goal for the next 10 years is to do more father & son projects. He is so good, he will play the melody with one hand and the bass with the other. So it is pretty handy to have access to someone like that.
Unfortunately, due to the high covid number we haven’t seen each other since last June. I even skipped Christmas, we need to protect the elderly. I have been in a prison called Cologne for a year now. But let’s change the topic.
Still, it sounds like music connects and binds your family.
It does, he even listens to the radio show. The first show I did, he came back to me and told me to lower my voice. I was midway through an alcohol brake and i was super nervous, he picks up on all that stuff.
Is skateboarding and music connected, or do you see it as separate things?
It is connected for sure! And I like how skating and House music fit together. Palace kinda brought that back, raw edits with fast cutting music. In a way it is retro but it is also current.
Did anyone ever ask to skate to your music?
Not yet, but maybe now is the time!
Last question, how excited/nervous are you to play your music during a set?
Very excited! The timing isn’t the best right now, with the lockdown. But I hope people will get to know the songs through social media and when the time comes that I am standing in front of a crowd I can drop “Tu Tambien” and let the people dance to it!
That was it, thank you for the interview!
Thank you guys, that went by fast.