Chopstick & Johnjon Talk From The SUOL
Germany, Berlin residents Chi-Thien Nguyen and John B. Muder aka Chopstick & Johnjon have been a producing House Music together for the last 12 years. Their original projects & remixes over their career have been picked up by respectable Deep House imprints such as Dirt Crew, Moodmusic, Freerange, NRK, Great Stuff & Poker Flat. They launched their own label, Suol in 2010 as an output for their own material but also to help support & build up artists. In between the studio & running the label, the duo find time to DJ at some of the best clubs in the land in places like New York, Rome, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul & many others.
With their new label compilation out now on Traxsource, we got some time with the masterminds behind Suol, Chi-Thien and John to chat about the new project, music, the scene & more in this Exclusive Interview.
1) Hey Guys thanks for chatting with us. I’m just going to jump straight in and talk about The new Soul ‘Summer Daze‘ compilation that just dropped. Tell us about it and what was the musical direction?
Johnjon: Of course … thanks for having us! The Idea for the Summer Daze compilation is pretty simple, we invited all of our artists, friends and family of the label to create a track for the summer season. It’s always really interesting how each artist interprets the guide line in their own way. This is the second year we are doing the compilation and we are super happy with the result.
2) Got any favourite track(s) from the compilation? I can imagine it might be hard to pick…
Chopstick: Indeed it’s hard to pick favourites. We’d say the James Flavour + ESB track “Azurra” is one of our favourites along with the Tuff City Kids Track “Summer Scam” and Smash TV’s “Coupe DeVille”. Suol’s finest Meggy, Till von Sein and Tender Games delivered beauties too… damn.. guess it is too difficult to pick favourites after all.
3) Tell us about your imprint Suol – when did it launch & what do you want to accomplish as a label?
Johnjon: It’s really hard to set a date to launch a label. I have been talking and planning it for quite a while, but our first release under the name Suol was on January 27th, 2010. We always wanted to build a platform for artists who are willing to be part of a family, pitch in creatively and help building a name so that every member has a home – in good times and in bad times.
4) What have you two been up to this summer? What’s the best party you’ve played and why?
Chopstick: We had some great gigs in Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul and many more cities all over but we’d have to say that the gig in Rome was off the hook until the police shut the party down, but at that stage we had already played for a few hours and had an amazing time with the italian crowd! Other than that we went on vacation which was overdue and spent some time surfing in Portugal and relaxed in some Northern Canadian woods. Of course we were busy as well in the studio producing new tunes and remixes for Zoot Woman, Lenny Kravitz, etc..
5) Minus your own imprint, what are some other go-to labels you check out for content, to play out, etc.?
Johnjon: I really enjoy that some of my “all time classics“ are having a come back (at least for my taste). Poker Flat (Love The Dubs Vol. 2 compilation), Kompakt and Dirt Crew keep finding their way back into our sets. Also there are some great new labels popping up every now and then. I just received the first release on Edu Imbernons new label Fayer and it’s a great EP! Also Mano’s label Maeve is great! A lot to discover every week.
6) If it wasn’t for this thing called House — what would the two of you be doing?
Chopstick: I like the idea of being a watch maker. It’s something very creative as well and the precision and craft is something I admire a lot. You need a lot of patience, too. The combination between design and detailed engineering packed in such a small place is a great challenge, and seeing the result in the end definitely gives you an overwhelming feeling.
Johnjon: I worked with a carpenter when I was waiting for university and I always loved it. Walk into a building space that looks like nothing and when you are done it’s a palace. Such a motivation to see the result of your work.
7) Describe how you two met and decided to work together?
Johnjon: We got introduced over 12 years ago by a mutual friend back in Hamburg. When we met we realised pretty quickly that we get along very well and we complement each other when making music. So we gave it a try and are still trying.
8) How have you seen our niche change since you started (and when did you both actually start)? Is it better now?
Chopstick: We see the upside as our niche has become super popular nowadays. You turn on the radio and hear deep house music. It’s nothing new to the common ear anymore. So as it gets popular, we get booked more too and make our living. But the downside is that you are overwhelmed with bad and non-creative productions on the market. When we started producing deep house music more than a decade ago, we did it only because our heart has found it’s place there – and it wasn’t popular at all and we were hustling big time making a living out of it. As it has become so popular now, you see too many so called artists producing or having produced deep house music for the wrong reasons – fame. And shit productions affect the scene, of course. But overall it’s still better now than before. Kids dig it and come to our parties all over the world & we’re thankful for that!
9) With the ever-rising popularity of EDM, do you think more underground dance music will prosper from it? What’s your view on this giant bubble?
Johnjon: Of course it’s good for all of us! The generation that is getting bombarded with this stuff now is curious, like we were back in the days, so they will have a closer look what’s behind the obvious. They will get bored by the mainstream and start hitting the underground clubs in their hometown pretty quickly. It’s really interesting to watch! :)
10) Tell us something we do not know about you. :)
Johnjon: I’m addicted to the video game FIFA (every generation) … I could spend weeks on that stuff and every time it feels like the first day. haha…
Chopstick: I’m a sucker for vintage gear – especially musical equipment such as old preamps, microphones, filters etc. But also for vintage mechanical watches. I spent hours reading in various forums about it and therefore lack a lot of sleep but it’s all worth it. I have built a profound knowledge base on vintage music gear and watches and it has tightened my view on what I do best – writing and producing music!