MIXED BY/ Iron Curtis & Johannes Albert

In the latest installment of MIXED BY, we get to chat with the Berlin-based artists Johannes Albert and Iron Curtis. Although many of you know them by their solo work, the two have also been regularly collaborating through their project Moon for the past 5 years.

Moon III was released earlier this summer, and it features a collection of 9 tracks that see Johannes Albert and Iron Curtis explore their New Wave roots – always through the lens of the dancefloor.

Throughout our interview, we learn more about the duo’s influences; how they met; and why Berlin has played such an integral role in their careers and friendship. While you have some words, make sure to listen to the incredible mix they’ve put together for our ears!


Hi Johannes and Johannes! How’s everything going? Respectively, what have the two of you been getting into this summer?
JA: Hello Hello. How are you doing? I recently moved apartments, and it’s a pain in the arse. I didn’t make much music lately but traveled each and every weekend for gigs. So, professionally, I am very happy to be back on my feet after the pandemic.
JP: Hallo Freunde! Thanks for having us. I moved house a year ago, so I’m happy to say that the most significant troubles are out of the way – wishing you the best of luck, JA. Summer’s hot here in Berlin, and I’d usually try to spend as much time on the lakes around Berlin – but since I’m also traveling a lot on the weekends, I hardly find time to go these days.
Having just released a record together, titled Moon III, could you share with our readers how you two met? And more importantly, why do you choose to collaborate together so often?
JP: Oh, we met many, many moons ago! We knew each other from Myspace and (as far as I can say) appreciated each other’s music. Johannes reached out to me for a remix, and shortly after, we met in person. You moved to Berlin and into the same apartment building. The infamous Karl-Marx-Straßen (KMS43) years! Making music together just happened. And I’m happy to say that the outcome has been quite fruitful.
There seems to be a real difference in direction between the work you produce together and the music you compose alone. The former being more dancefloor-focused while the other induces a more experimental and cerebral experience. Was this your intention behind the project or was it something else? And what do you think is next for Moon?
JA: Well, we just recorded some music, didn’t we Johannes? No bigger plans. After Moon III comes moon IV. Maybe some remixes before.
JP: You must be sincere, my friend: The ultimate goal is to reach a two-digit release number. But right – the first album was relatively slow-paced. On the current and even on the sophomore one, we made an effort to include some party tracks. Dancing and prancing with the Moon.
I find it funny that you two also share the same first name. However, only one of you chose to keep it as your personal DJ moniker. Are there any pros and cons when it comes to identifying by your given name or inventing an alias?
JA: Honestly, sometimes I wish I had an alias (again). At times it all gets a little too personal. On the other hand, everything I do music-wise is very much me. Besides, the interwebs know everything anyways.
JP: I used to DJ under my surname when I started out in Nürnberg. But I switched to using aliases when I released music. I felt more comfortable “hiding” behind different personas.. As an introvert, using monikers helped me to overcome my shyness. Also, my dream was to have a Discogs page stuffed with names and projects. If you wanna know what I longed for, check out the profiles of Uwe Schmidt (AtomTM) and Otis Jackson, Jr. (Madlib). I mean, they even formed bands – solely consisting of multiple aliases of themselves.
One of my favorite songs from your latest LP is Something Unique featuring the iconic Zoot Woman. Each of you seem to draw strong influences from New Wave and that unforgettable sound. What was it like to work with such vocals on a song that so convincingly emulates the music that shaped you guys?
JP: Thank you! Indeed, New and Cold Wave, EBM, Post Punk and New Beat have been strong influences. With my former project Achterbahn D’Amour, I could explore that already. But with Johannes, I felt brave enough to dive into the pop-ish side of the Wave. We had a demo of Something Unique ready and felt that this could be our second “Nektar” (the vocal track from Moon II). I think I was a bit drunk when I reached out to the Zoots on Insta – more or less out of the blue and way too fan-boyish. But as we sent them the demo, it clicked, and they sent us back a more or less ready-to-release version only two days later. Working with a band like them had been a dream of mine for a long while.
Each of you have been based out of Berlin for quite some time it seems. There are a million reasons to love the city, but what particularly makes Berlin special for you?
JA: I moved here for different reasons, but nowadays, I love the quietness of my neighborhood. Yes, there are more than just the apparent districts. I always thought there is no way you can grow old in this town, but maybe there is…
What are your top 5 favorite clubs in Berlin?
1. Horst Krzbrg
2. Schrippe Hawaii
3. Zur Klappe
4. Bulbul
5. Paloma
Honorable mentions: About Blank, Festsaal Kreuzberg, Sameheads and Loop Hole…
What do our readers have to look forward to from your solo projects this year?
JA: I have a single plus full EP arriving via Permanent Vacation in September.JP: I’m still waiting for the release of my long overdue and first CHIWAX EP – the first in a series of releases for RAWAX/DBH. My friend Alto Bloom just released her first and highly recommended solo album which I helped to mix. Johannes, I noticed that you didn’t mention the countless forthcoming remixes from you. Don’t be shy, you’re on fire!
As expected, you guys put together quite the thumping mix for us. If you had to highlight one artist or tune from it, what would that be and why?
JA: It’s Biesmans and his Schmutz remix for sure. My kind of summer anthem.
JP: Indeed, that Biesmans mix is soo good! Hard to pick a fav tbh. I’m also really into the Paramida remix for Baldo and the fantastic Soichi Terada & Masalo’s track.

Interview by Yassin.