Fresh off the back of their very well received debut album, the Munich-based duo is back on Permanent Vacation to kick off 2023 with their „Eleganza“ EP. Once again, the guys do what they do best: timeless house music in distinctive Rhode & Brown style. 
In the past ten years Rhode & Brown established themselves as one of the most reliable house producers around with rock solid releases on Permanent Vacation, Shall Not Fade, Toy Tonics, Public Possession or their own Slam City Jams imprint. As well as becoming a household name in the DJ world, sharing the booth with the likes of Palms Trax, Dam Swindle, Jamie Tiller or Octo Octa - spreading their infectious "Dancing Deejays" vibes around the globe. Rhode & Brown’s productions and DJ sets showcase their open minded approach to music and a passion for the nuances between genres - „We find inspiration in all corners of our record collection. That means we are as much influenced by disco or 80s synth-pop as by house and techno of the last decades or the latest viral trap hit on Spotify“, the guys say. Expect to hear full on house bangers next to disco, obscure new wave, street soul or ambient - the latter two most likely in their monthly Slam City FM show on Munich based community radio “Radio 80000”.

Photo: Benjamin Herchet

Hey Friedrich and Stephan, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background, perhaps where you grew up and what first got you interested in electronic music?
Hey guys, we are Friedrich & Stephan aka Rhode & Brown - a DJ and producer duo from Munich, Germany. We both grew up in two small villages next to each other in the suburbs of Munich (the „Münchner Speckmantel“ as some call it). I think for both of us it were older friends who got us into electronic music, even before we were allowed to enter any clubs. I (Friedrich) remember that the older brother of a friend gave us mixes on CDs from the old Harry Klein club in Munich, that I ripped for my little MP3 player back in 2006 or 2007. Also some older friends were DJs themselves which got us hooked. Friedrich got his first cheap turntable back then and Stephan some CD players that have a very own role in the story of both of us meeting…

How did you come up to make music together as Rhode & Brown and how is this project different from your previous ventures?
Even though we only lived like 15 minutes away from each other for many years, we didn’t meet until 2009. We both already played in smaller bars and on birthdays, etc. but nothing serious back then. Then a mutual DJ friend introduced us because I (Stephan) wanted to sell my old Denon CD players and Friedrich was looking for one to practice at home. So we met for the first time to hand over the players, money was exchanged and back home Friedrich recognized that they weren’t the ones he was looking for. Long story short: He called me very pissed asking for his money back. We met again the same evening, I took back the CD players and we started talking about music after Friedrich finally calmed down, lol. We found out that we kind of liked the same stuff and had the same vibe, so we started hanging out more and more and eventually teamed up as the duo we are today.

Over the last years you put out some stunning releases on Permanent Vacations, Shall Not Fade, Toy Tonics and your own Slam City Jams. How do you decide what you release on your own label or send out to others?
There is not really a plan behind what to release where. We think it’s more a mixture of opportunity, vibes & the right feeling. When labels ask us for new music we are more than happy to compile an EP for them and work on new stuff. But at some point we also just feel, that it’s time for an own EP on Slam City Jams again. Also if we produce more „experimental“ stuff like the „Good Things Come To Those Who Fade“ LP we put out in late 2021, we like to release that on our own label, because we just have more freedom there (and probably no one else would release it either, haha).

You constantly update your studio setup with new gear. How is your workflow together and how do you start a new tune?
Our workflow is not always consistent, but we eventually found a way that works best for us. That is starting ideas separately and then come into the studio together with something already in our hands. That is way easier for us than sitting in front of a blank project in the studio together and starting something from scratch. Also that is how we then integrate the hardware stuff in the studio: We come up with the ideas at home mostly just working with the laptop and then in the studio we add sounds from our synths or for example exchange elements with the real Juno instead of the plug-in, etc. We really love mixing up working in- and outside the box… definitely no „hardware only“ guys over here.


Which piece of gear would you miss the most?
If we are really, really honest it would be our laptops as they are the center point for everything we produce. But as the Juno, Prophet 6 and Bass Station are the hardware synths we use the most, I’d say we would keep them and get rid of the rest if we would need to.

You have your new „Eleganza“ EP out on Permanent Vacation, congratulations! How did the idea for the record come about? Can you tell us a bit about the process?
We thought about that question and found out that there is an unplanned „process“ almost every time we start a new record: When we get asked for new music by a label or we just decide that we want to produce a new record, for sure we think about what fits to the label or in what direction we wanna go with the music. But most of the time we have one or two tracks almost ready as kind of a starting point. Then we check our folders & playlist full of older ideas (there are MANY haha) that we forgot about or that we’ve put aside for some reason… At that point we can be 95% sure, that with this new and fresh perspective and the label in mind, we will find tunes, ideas or just elements in there that are worth working on again and that somehow fit to what we are planning. Now that we talk about it, it really feels like a full circle thing…
So with this EP we had two tracks almost ready on our hard drives, one track that we rediscovered and reworked completely and then finished one from scratch.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Release wise we have another record coming out on Shall Not Fade together with our buddy Kid Simius, which is backed with two great remixes we can’t talk about yet, though. Then we have two remixes coming out in the next months, too. Also we are working on a new EP at the moment that is inspired by UK street soul, boogie and late 80s proto-house… let’s see where that one leads us :)
Also we have a nice EP from a young French artist coming out on Slam City Jams in May - keep your eyes peeled for that.
Finally we are planning some gigs for the next months, as well as looking forward to our monthly residency at Goldener Reiter here in Munich with some fine guests coming up - same goes for our radio show on Radio 80k. Exciting times!

Can you tell us a bit about the mix? Were there any particular thoughts or themes behind it?
With this mix we went for a slow vibe, more like what we do on radio show. You’ll find some fine RnB, Street Soul, Hip Hop and Downtempo tunes to kick back to during these cold days.