Wemoto Radio - 026 - Benjamin Fröhlich
Benjamin Fröhlich has struck many chords in the arena of electronic music over the past years: as a DJ, label owner and producer.
He is the co-founder of Permanent Vacation – one of the strongest running labels that has delivered genre-defining hits over the past decade. As such Benjamin Fröhlich has worked together with the household names of the international electronic dance scene. Artists on Permanent Vacation’s roster include Massimiliano Pagliara, Perel, John Talabot, Todd Terje, Mano Le Tough,Chloe, Red Axes, Lauer, Fort Romeau, Pional and many more.
On top of his dedication to explore and feature rising as well as accomplished artists, Benjamin Fröhlich himself has emerged as a producer of vibrant tracks that are testament to his versatile and compelling approach to club music. His own productions and remixes are very well received by DJs and clubbers alike and got played all around the globe.
Starting out as a record shop owner in his hometown Munich (prior to his PV label work), Benjamin Fröhlich has developed an uplifting style in his DJ sets, which fuses House, Disco and Cosmic into hypnotic and enthusiastic nights. Through his in-depth background, Benjamin Fröhlich passionately combines the unforgettable past and the gripping present with the hits of tomorrow.
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?
Hello my name is Benjamin Fröhlich. I am DJ, producer and the co-founder of Permanent Vacation records, which I have been running alongside Tom Bioly since 2006. I was born and raised in Munich. When it comes to music, my older brother was my first defining influence. From the moment I got my fingers on his Beastie Boys tape, I was a lost case. Then, I discovered more Rap and Hip Hop and that became, alongside Reggae and Dub, the soundtrack of my early youth. At that time I was not very fond of electronic music or at least of the kind I knew back then. House and Techno was quite popular and I only knew the tracks from the charts and the radio and they felt kind of corny and commercial to me. The game changer for me was the whole Trip Hop, Downbeat and Drum'n'Bass movement. It was much easier for me to get into this music, since it felt related to Hip Hop and Dub. Back then, the futuristic sound just blew me away. This was also the time I became interested in DJing. Together with some friends from school, we organized parties under bridges and abandoned houses. These parties were my first DJ gigs.
How do you think living in Munich has influenced you both musically and personally? For people who have never been, how would you describe the scene in Munich and how does it differ to some of Europe’s clubbing hotspots, such as London or Berlin?
A big influence for me was Michael Reinboth's Compost Records and the affiliated club night Into Somethin' Michael was running together with DJs Theo Thönnesen and Florian Keller. They showed me that you didn't have to be located in London, Paris or New York to push music that is internationally accepted. It opened my eyes for these sort of opportunities and motivated me to try out something similar. Along with the Into Somethin' club night and radio show, they were also running a record shop, where I was a frequent customer. After a while I started working there on Saturdays. I absolutely loved it. It also helped me grow my record collection and DJing. After a year of working in the shop, the former owners wanted to close the shop for good. So I took over and opened my own shop from 2002-2008. Here, I also met Tom, who was a regular customer. We soon realized we had the same taste in music and founding Permanent Vacation together felt like the natural thing to do. All of these things partly materialized, because Munich is big enough to sustain a vital scene but also small enough to get to know each other relatively easy. Besides that, Munich was always a Disco town and with its proximity to Italy and Austria it was one of the few cities in Germany, where the Cosmic sound of Baldelli and Loda became quite popular. Especially in the founding years of Permanent Vacation Cosmic, Disco and Balearic were the main ingredients and our biggest influences.
Do you have any hobbies or passions outside of music?
I guess nothing too special outside the usual: Riding my bike, swimming, reading, meeting friends, taking longs walks with my wife, trying new places to eat and of course watching a lot of movies and TV shows. I also love to follow the fashion bloggers tomandlorenzo.com.
How do you decide what material you release on Permanent Vacation and what goes on other labels?
You mean of my own music? Apart from two releases with Live At Robert Johnson, one release with Optimo and a couple of tracks on compilations, I haven't done much outside of Permanent Vacation or my other label Pleasure Principle. Just like everybody else I had more time on my hands during the pandemic, so quite a lot of music piled up. Since our PV schedule is quite busy, I couldn't release everything on Permanent Vacation, but also didn't want to look for a new label every time. That's why I founded Pleasure Principle as a platform only for my own productions, when I am not releasing music on the mothership.
I really loved listening to your full length "Amiata" from 2019. Do you have any upcoming plans for a new album?
Thank you very much. Yes indeed :) After releasing a lot of singles, I think it's time for a second album next year. So stay tuned...
How is your studio looking and which pieces are your favourite at the moment? How do you start a new tune?
I only have a few pieces (Moog Sub 37, 303) at home. I usually start a track on the computer and then go to the studio of my friend Jan Krause, who has a great collection of synths and hardware, and we finish it there.
Which artists made the biggest impression on you lately and why?
Phew so much great music out there. It's constantly changing and evolving and it's hard for me to single out some artists. But besides our PV releases, I really enjoyed the latest James Holden album. It came as a surprise to me: It is a bit brighter and more colorful in tone as his last one. Also: everything from Avalon Emerson. I am a big fan boy of her. She is such a multifaceted artist and I am always very curious what she is into next.
What are your preferred methods for finding new music—do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates, or do you prefer to buy online?
I mostly find my new music online these days. It basically can be anywhere from Soundcloud to Bandcamp, I listen to a lot of mixes from DJs I like and can get lost in the Youtube algorithm sometimes :)
Can you tell us a bit about the mix? Were there any particular thoughts or themes behind it?
I wanted to do a House mix, with older tracks that I recently bought and some upcoming new bits and pieces. I’ve always been a fan of a good balance between older and new tracks. Always so much music to discover. It never ends :)
What does 2023 have in store for you?
It has been an intense year for me and Permanent Vacation with more releases than ever before and a lot of new artists and it will continue this way throughout the second half of the year. Plus, some more releases of my own and a few surprises and some three-dimensional moving :)