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009 // The Robot Scientists

When it comes to Cosmic & Space music, they are two of the most prolific selectors of this galaxy and two of the sharpest curators of the neighbour galaxy. Ladies and gentlemen: The Robot Scientists.

SXDNS: We are flattered for having the opportunity of interviewing you, guys. The work you develop through the perfectly curated mixtape series Something Spæcial and the plethora of releases on Emerald & Doreen Recordings is impressive. For those not so familiar with your history, tell them who are the Robot Scientists.

RS: We, Markus Schneider and Stefan Maurer, are The Robot Scientists, two vinyl collectors, lovers of Italo Disco, New Wave, Synthpop, and EBM-inspired electronic music. We are two friends who went to school together. Back then, we also bought Italo Disco records and DJed at school parties. In 2007, we met again after many years and started off with The Robot Scientists on myspace, just when the Disco revival began to take off with tracks like “I Feel Space” by Lindström. At the time, we made pretty popular mixes called “Musica da Batticuore” (music that makes your heart beats like you just fell in love), playing obscure and great Italo Disco vinyl B-sides from our collections. With Discogs and YouTube also just taking off, we started to discover even more gems over the following months and years which we always tried to play in our mixes. After a while, David Caretta discovered us and allowed us to release our first single “Earth Rock/Space Love” on his label “Space Factory”.


SXDNS: Is there a robotic/scientific explanation or a fun fact behind the artistic name you guys bear?

RS: When we started, we added all the Italo Disco, New Wave, Synthpop, Cosmic, Space, Electro Disco etc. tracks we had to Excel sheets along with the genres and BPMs. After a few months, we had more than 700 tracks on this sheet. Do you know the Italo track “Robot is Systematic”? Well, that is true. With these files, we could create better mixes – as making great mixes always was our first priority, meaning putting only great tracks in there, no fillers. This still is our approach today, and I think you can hear it in every one of the +50 mixes you can still listen to today on our SoundCloud. There are too many amazing tunes out there to play other stuff, our archives are full of unplayed gems. We definitely see ourselves as passionate supporters of the underground and we fight for a world in which all these amazing lost tunes become the new mainstream. The name idea was definitely inspired by the I-Robots compilation which was the soundtrack for a weekend Markus spent back in 2005 in New York.


SXDNS: When did you come up with the idea of launching a label and how was the process of developing its interesting music concept? Also: Who are Emerald and Doreen, by the way?

RS: Markus always wanted to create an indie record label ever since he discovered all these great electronic artists in the early 1980s as a very young guy – and the UK indie scene in 1986 with the NME C86 compilation. Stefan loved all the new Italo-ish productions which came out back then, and we were successful as The Robot Scientists, playing at selected events in Berlin, Zürich, and Paris, for example. In 2011 we decided to do it together with Eric from Go No Go, with the goal to release music we like, support artists we like and spread some good vibes. Apart from that, we aimed at improving the remix concept which was invented by Depeche Mode in the mid-1980s, however, our objective is to release a pack of remixes of which at least one is “better” than the original. We think we succeeded quite often (smiles). Emerald & Doreen, well, that is a street slang expression according to the urban dictionary for highly intelligent, weird, attractive, somewhat mysterious girls that will fascinate you once you meet them. Markus worked in marketing and product management for many years, he wanted to have a character design logo and support female producers more. The name also is a pun relating to the efforts of finance companies to fake respectability by choosing family names as brand names – Lehman Bros just went bankrupt back then and caused one of the biggest market crashes mankind has seen so far, causing millions of people to lose their jobs and savings.


Check the releases of the label HERE.


SXDNS: Any new future projects you guys have been cooking which can be exclusively anticipated for our readers? 

RS: We realized over the years that we are really doing a great job creating mixtapes, that is probably what we can do best after all. Therefore, we are soon starting a subscriber-only mix series called “KraftMode” via Mixcloud, referring Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode as our main influences. This show will be aimed mostly at real vinyl collectors, open-minded DJs and long-time lovers of just the genres we love most too and which are not on the lists of online stores and streaming platforms: spaced-out, psychedelic, hit-like, but unknown Electro Disco, Italo Disco, Space Disco, Minimal Wave, New Wave, Electronica, Dark Disco, New Beat, EBM, Psychedelic House etc. from the 1970s, the 1980s but also from 2007 onwards until today. Together, we have a collection of more than 4000 exceptionally good vinyl records and this stuff needs to be played, especially in times when stupid algorithms always suggest the same track “that works”, leaving out hundreds that are at least just as good. As we love diversity, invested a lot of time to find and a lot of money to buy these records, we can only do that big time if we get some money back as a reward. On Mixcloud you can now subscribe to our channel starting at €2,95 a month to get access to a new gem-only mix twice a month, or even weekly, we will see how everything will turn out. If you listen to our mixes so far and see how popular some are, you can judge the level of quality we are able to put out, and via Mixcloud it is all totally legal now. We are globally acclaimed as experts for this sound, so we hope to find a couple of people who want to support us for the price of a coffee or two per month, receiving classy tracks in return.

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SXDNS: Looking forward to this, guys. Besides your common music taste, what else brought you guys together?

RS: We were actually teenage friends, playing together in football and basketball teams. We were also doing athletics together in the same school team, we were quite good high jumpers at the age of 17. Fun Fact: Markus even jumped 5 cm higher (1,89 cm) than Stefan although he is 20 cm smaller. And we loved to drive bumper cars backwards together at the fair when they played “She Has A Way” by Bobby Orlando or the 12-inch version of “Passion” by The Flirts. We are also pretty silly guys and love to joke around together.

SXDNS: Do you believe the music world will get back to “normal” soon? Do you see any positive changes happening in the club culture because of the current situation we have been living? If so, what changes would be the ideal to happen in your point of view? 

RS: Difficult to say. If there will be a vaccine that truly helps, business might go on as it used to be, but influenza vaccines also did not end viral flus until today. We probably have to wait a few months more to see if the virus has mutated into a less lethal one to decide how we go on. Ideally, the clubs get interest-free loans to re-build everything after Covid19.

SXDNS: What is the release of the label you guys would consider underrated and should have been more well-noticed by DJs and people in general?

RS: For people in general, I would say that all the mixes Jerry Bouthier did for us are outstanding pieces of classy electronic underground music mixed by a sensational DJ who worked for Vivianne Westwood, Kitsuné, and Gomma. His new compilation mixes are upcoming in December, by the way.

Here is the Nr. 300.

We also like the recent Zero Call’s “Stellar Wind” release a lot with the great remixes by Arkademode and Technobeton, a timeless Synthwave song.

SXDNS: What do you guys make when you are bored? We’re talking about (personal) hobbies here.

RS: We are never bored – if we can listen to our records. 😊

SXDNS: Music is truly a life saver. We have been asking this a lot: Define 2020 in one word (okay, one for each).

RS: Lockdown/Discipline


SXDNS: We always finish asking our interviewees to provide a top 5.

RS: Here are the Top 5 favourite tracks:

The best Italo Disco track ever!

Cosmic-Balearic Disco is one of our favourite “genres”, and this Todd Terje remix is truly perfect!

This great 2014 track by Wolfram sums up a lot that was musically relevant since then in recent years: TechNoir, fat synths and catchy melodies.

Sci-Fi, the 80s and fun are what we love, this is why this 30-minute (!) version of the Italo-inspired end title song of the 1984 movie “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” is in our top 5.

80s New Wave, as great as it gets, twice in this video: an amazing goth song by Trisomie 21 and unique dance club footage from back then. This is how people dressed up, not only at the weekends. Truly amazing liberty! It would be great to see club nights like that and the tribal diversity again. We would love to DJ there, count us in if someone wants to organize such an event.

Follow The Robot Scientists on SoundCloud and check the incredible selection they prepared for our mixtape series, peeps!

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