KRISTIAN BEYER with FELIX & GANI and MORENO at Gypsy Co-op (817 Queen West), Saturday (December 16). $12 advance, more at the door. www.milkaudio.com. Rating: NNNNN
German deep house duo Ame (aka Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann) hit it big last year with the massive success of their track Rej, a driving and dramatic tech-house number that found its way into a surprisingly wide spectrum of DJs' crates.
Not only were the big American soulful house guys playing it every night, but so were a large number of techno, minimal and even trance jocks. As with any crossover success, that meant Ame suddenly found themselves playing in clubs and at events far outside their scene.
"In the beginning I was a bit scared, but it's ended up working out fine," recalls Beyer, who's just got off a train after playing a couple of gigs in Greece and France. "Five years ago all the trance and minimal guys were playing really fast, 135 to 140 BPM. Now a lot of that stuff is slower, 125 to 130, which is in the range of what we do, so I don't really have to change what I play."
Ame's influences are pulled mainly from the canon of American dance music, the holy trinity of Detroit, Chicago and New York, a tangent that Beyer claims isn't common in Germany. ("Hard techno and minimal are much more popular here.")
Influences aside, there's something more precise and restrained about Ame's take on soulful dance music than the music that inspired them. The connection is more obvious in their DJ sets, which are undoubtedly helped out by the record store Beyer runs, called Platten Tasche.
"I don't work so much in the record shop any more, because I don't have the time, but I still do all the buying. It's good - it keeps you up on what's going on and what's new."
Beyer describes Wiedemann as more of a musician when it comes to the studio side of things, but that doesn't mean Beyer is the designated DJ. Their recent successes have won them gigs all over the world, but the fact that they're still relatively new names means there's often only room in the budget for one of them.
"We DJ together sometimes, but many places don't have the money to hire both of us, so often we'll be playing in different cities on the same night. We haven't done the live thing yet, but we're working on that for the next year."