The direct, punkishly simple electronic pop of Berlin's Jeans Team slotted in perfectly with the electroclash wave of the early 2000s, although they both predated and outlived the phenomenon.
The group started out in 1995 at the Berlin-Mitte nightclub Gallerie Berlintokio, where Franz Schütte and Reimo Herfort, the club's co-founders, began appearing as a video/performance art duo. (This period is preserved in Baby, a 45-minute video from 1996.) Taking the name Jeans Team from an abandoned neon sign they found on a shop in Berlin's Wedding district -- a relic from the 1970s that would grace the cover of their albums and typically accompany their live performances as well -- Schütte and Herfort shifted their focus more squarely toward music-making, and expanded to a quartet with the addition of drummer Henning Watkinson and guitarist Gunther Kreis, whom they had met through the club. In 1998 Jeans Team self-released two singles, "Hi Fans" and "Ein Atom," on their Nadel Eins imprint, but they soon signed with local electronic pop label Kitty-Yo (Peaches
, Maximilian Hecker
) for their 2000 debut album, Ding Dong, and its accompanying "Keine Melodien" single. The song's melodic, memorable riff, robotic groove, and minimalist German lyrics made it a minor international success, inspiring a cover version by Peaches
and mixtape love from 2 Many DJ's. After the 2002 EP Gold und Silber, the Team left Kitty-Yo for the recently formed splinter label Louisville Records, to release Musik von Oben (2005) and the somewhat less electronic Kopf Auf (2006), both recorded as usual at their Nadel Eins studio/headquarters. Although Watkinson has departed the group, Jeans Team continue to tour internationally and energetically (often as just the original duo of Schütte and Herfort), DJ individually, and remix occasionally (clients have included Ciëlo, Pluxus
, and Peter Bjorn and John
). ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi