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Culture Reviews
Jeans Team
Sixteen Tons 
By Laura Holt
Sixteen Tons…..what do you get on a Saturday night? A unique band from Germany with excellent visual graphics and a unique style is the answer. The image of a club named Sixteen Tons conjures up in the minds of expats a dank warehouse constructed of concrete with few amenities. However, this is Moscow. In Moscow, a club called Sixteen Tons gets you six burly doormen and an interior is that of dark wood and rich upholstery quite dissimilar to the minimalist craze that has been sweeping Moscow’s clubs interior as of late.

Jeans Team from Berlin Germany is what you get when you mix four band members with different musical tastes and styles. Jeans Team is made up of a dynamic four-person team of Gunter, Henning, Franz, and Reimo. While some of Jeans Team minimalist sound music was new to Muscovites the only people that weren’t dancing when Jeans Team played were the large doorman guarding the stage. Reimo and Franz awed the crowd with their unorthodox dancing styles. Jeans Team played for a 1 ? hours including a 30-minute encore. Jeans Team was able to rotate the playing of their instruments and each member of the band made their own unique sound on each instrument. They played such songs as Eatin’ Up and Stomp. Jeans Team songs ranged from punk electro to minimalist sound music. Jeans Team’s graphics show perfectly mimicked their music showing minimalist shapes that bopped about the screen.

The individual members of Jeans Team are as unique in musical style as they are in there own dress. Henning looked not unlike an ice-cream truck man dressed in an all white button-up shirt and pants ensemble with a black ribbon around his neck. Gunther looked a bit like a preppy frat boy in khaki cargo pants and a long-sleeved T-shirt titled “Hard”, while Franz looked very rock and roll in black leather pants and a vest, while Reimo was the boy next door in jeans and a short-sleeved polo. Four unique styles that blended together very well.

One thing that the members of Jeans Team agree about is that they refuse to be branded within the electro music scene. Music labels use brands to market CD’s to a customer….even the savvy customer of electro music. The definition of brand is “a word, mark, symbol, or term, both visual and oral, used for the purpose of identification of some product or service.” The definition of branding “is an ancient mode of punishment by inflicting a mark on an offender with a hot iron or the marking of cattle for identification purposes.” In the genre that is electro/techno music they are many brand and sub-brands that large music label usually force upon their artists to appeal to a particular “niche market”. There are so many that most people don’t know what the labels mean or which group falls where. There is Progressive, neo-industrial, electro clash, Neo 60’s, electronic dancefloor, Bastard Pop (bootleg mixes), quiet guitar electronica, retro dancefloor, electro hip hop, break dance, noise electro, classic electronic, geek electro, “keine melodien" is very impressive when remixed by techno deejay mj lan. Also peaches' cover version rocks like hell. Their regular style is more computer-oriented though, goth electro darkwave, synth pop, elaborate pop house, neo pop, dance floor NU wave, neo wave…….just to name a few. Jeans Teams has refused to be branded by playing an amazingly wide range of music and playing each show in a unique way.

According to Jeans Team, in Berlin the Russian clubs have a lot of rock and ska rock music; however, they have been very well received throughout their Russian tour. If asked to classify their music Jeans Team would lean toward part punk and part electronic. However, Jeans Team refuses to put a label on their music. Gunther’s influences were hard punk rock with a touch of 80’s German music, while Henning enjoys pop music. Jeans Team is a real electronic band and that’s how they differentiate themselves from their competitors. Jeans Team composes and plays their music together. While most electronic groups are made by a single person using a computer Jeans Team writes and plays its songs together. They only started using a computer 1.5 years ago. Jeans Team is unique because its music is made up of different styles and influences composed by everyone in the band. Jeans Team 2nd LP is almost finished and will be out by late summer or early autumn. The second album will be different from the first because it is broader. Jeans Team uses a computer for the first time on their 2nd LP. While Jeans Team was influenced by Spaceman 3 and Spiritualized they are interested in a variety of music from African music to the Velvet Underground.

Jeans Team was on the last leg of their Russian tour; their finale was in Moscow. They have been to Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saratov, and Rostov-On- Don. The tour was sponsored in part by the Goethe Institute. Their first album “Baby” was released in 1996. Their latest album is Gold and Silber released 09/02. Their other albums are Ding Dong, Baby 3, and Keine Melodien. They formed their own label Nadel Eins in 1998 to have more artistic control over their music and help other artists release their own music. Jeans Team formed a label Nadel Eins to release their first two 7” singles when they couldn’t find a record company to release their songs. For more information have a look in the shop or on www.jeansteam.de or www.nideleins.de.

24.05.03
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