A combination of work commitments and dire weather conditions over the Bank Holiday weekend meant that it was hard to feel enthusiastic about this years Forbidden Fruit festival. Even though for me it was located just a ten minute walk from home on the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham the truth was there weren’t really any acts on the opening days line up that I was too pushed to see except for headliners Leftfield. So once I had eventually made on site it was with great reluctance, and extremely soaked feet, that just over an hour or so later I conceded defeat and retreated to the nearby Hilton hotel to dry off.
So what had I missed earlier that day? Chatting with my equally music obsessed friend over a pint in the hotel bar I listened on as he rattled off a list of performers none of whom I had heard of. I assumed these unknown artists must belong to the one genre of music on which our opinions are often polarized, ‘singer/songwriter’. He’s a fan. He is also what you would call a very sociable kind of guy so when he gets talking to someone at the bar and invites him to join us for a drink I think nothing of it as frankly I would consider it odder if he were to sit and talk to just me for the evening.
It turns out our new drinking buddy was Arno Kammermeier, one half of Berlin-based electronic duo Booka Shade. Now usually I’m a little dumb struck when I meet musicians, my inner rock star in awe of those talented enough to have made it their career. But I had never heard of Booka Shade before and so remained fairly underwhelmed by this introduction. Arno however was a very friendly and interesting guy and I was starting to get my nerd on the more I learned about his background . I was curious to know how he wound up in a touring band, performing at festivals the world over and calling it work.
After meeting Walter Merziger as kids in the school band in their home town of Frankfurt and went on in 1993 tho enjoy huge success in the German charts with the release of their single “Una musica senza ritmo” but decided that this mainstream sound wasn’t the direction in which they wished to continue. Arno says “We had success early on in our career with this pop record but it was never the type of music that we loved or had hoped to be making so we called it a day”.
With this experience behind them in 2002 Arno and Walter went on to co-found the Get Physical Music label with fellow House act M.A.N.D.Y., celebrating ten years with a pool party in Barcelona June 17th, and embarked on creating what Arno labelled ‘science fiction house’.
During that decade Booka Shade gained a massive fan base across the International club scene and 2005 saw two of their biggest hits to date with the release of their classic singles Body Language and Mandarin Girl.