Beatport Hype: Arms & Legs
Beatport Hype: Arms & LegsApril 22, 2021
Established in 2011 by Daniel Steinberg and Nils Ohrmann, two of Germany’s DJ/producer stalwarts, the Berlin-based imprint Arms & Legs has been a beacon of feel-good house and front-line techno for a decade.
First introduced to one another through their mutual friend Oliver Dollar, Nils and Daniel locked into a prolific musical partnership built on a desire to maximize the good times and ensure that everyone in earshot of their sound will keep shaking their limbs. Created initially as a vehicle for their own productions, the popularity of their records on Arms & Legs would soon find them releasing music from legendary outside talents such as Felix Da Housecat, Paul Johnson, 808 State, Crazy P, and Kristin Velvet, who joined Nils and Daniel in running the label soon after her move to the German capital.
In celebration of the label’s 10-year-anniversary, we caught up with Nils and Daniel to learn more about the imprint’s history, how they’ve developed its sound over the years, and the Arms & Legs tracks that they hold closest to their hearts.
Also, Daniel Steinberg has put together an exclusive mix that fully demonstrates the fun-fueled ethos of their music label. Check it out in the player above and dive into our interview with them below.
Congratulations on the 10-year-anniversary of Arms & Legs! Looking back at when you first founded the label, did you ever think it would last this long?
Daniel: Thank you! I guess starting a label is a bit like getting married. You’re not really thinking about how long it’s going to last. You’re just thinking about all the exciting things you can do together. Looking back on the body of work we’ve built over the past decade, I’m incredibly proud. There are very few regrets, and almost all of the releases I could still play today without them sounding too dated. That’s always been a part of our vision, not to follow trends but rather to release music that stands the test of time.
Can we hear the story of how you two (Nils and Daniel) first met?
Nils: I was buying records in a small record shop named D:Fense, where Olli (Oliver Dollar) was working. It was around 2005, and Daniel had just released his first EP under his alias Harry Axt, which I really liked, so Olli introduced us at a private party.
How did this meeting of musical minds turn into the creation of a music label?
Nils: Well, we spent more and more time together chatting about music. As we had different backgrounds, it was fun sorting out how we developed our musical taste in the same direction. While I came from punk rock and more heavy stuff, Daniel’s influences were more dancefloor oriented, but somehow we shared the same passion for disco and ’90s house. In 2010, when the change from vinyl to digital was in full effect, we both weren’t so happy with the labels we were releasing on, so we decided to do it on our own.
What’s the story behind the label’s name, and how/when did you come up with its incredibly recognizable artwork concept?
Nils: We spent some time fooling around with a lot of possibilities of names. Somehow we ended at Arms & Legs. We thought it is a perfect name for a dance label — and indeed, it was perfect for visualizing, so the artwork concept came up very fast.
Daniel: Thinking of great label and artist names is no easy task. Nils has an excellent mind for these things.
How did you get Kristin Velvet involved with the imprint? How has her involvement helped Arms & Legs progress as a label?
Daniel: I met KV when I was touring in Australia just after starting Arms & Legs. She already had years of experience as a label manager at the major labels. She was very passionate and curious about my music, so she started helping out on the side. Two years later, she moved to Berlin and since then has gradually become more and more involved. KV is our biggest fan and supporter, and she gets things done. She’s also brought a lot of artists to the label and has played a huge part in making the label what it is today.
Who are some other artists whose tracks and contributions to the label have helped Arms & Legs succeed?
Daniel: While the label is mainly a home for us to release our own stuff, we’ve been honoured to work with and release music from some of our heroes — Felix Da Housecat, Nick Holder, Paul Johnson, Cari Lekebusch, 808 State, Terry Lee Brown Jr., and Crazy P to name a just few. Jan Driver is also a crucial part of our Arms & Legs family. We’ve released three EPs from him and have another one coming up this month. Also, our good mate Oliver Dollar, besides introducing us, has contributed remixes and collabs to the label over the years.
What are the three tracks that mean the most to the Arms & Legs team? Can you tell us the stories behind them?
Daniel: Daniel Steinberg’s “Joy & Happiness”.
It’s always the tracks that you least expect. “Joy & Happiness” was released in 2012 as a b-side. We even made a video for the a-side and didn’t put any promotion effort into it. But as the years have passed, this continues to be one of the label’s most played tracks. Who would have thought? We certainly didn’t!
Daniel: Nils Ohrmann’s “In Ya Face”.
This was another one we didn’t really expect to succeed. Actually, when I first heard the track, I wasn’t so into it, but I was definitely the odd one out! When we released it, people really liked it. Nils got a guitarist from an old East-German band Panko to play the hook, which proved to be catchy as hell.
Daniel: Felix Da Housecat & Kristin Velvet’s “Acid Picky”.
While creating their first EP, It’s Hot, with the crazy acid line, Felix left KV a voicemail message freaking out about how much he loved the acid and how he didn’t usually like acid, that he was “Acid picky.” That’s how the idea for this track came up. Felix has been super supportive of the label, and it’s a great pleasure and honour to have him involved.
What can fans expect to see from Arms & Legs for the rest of the year?
Tell us a little bit about the mix you made for us.
Daniel: I wish I had more than an hour. It wasn’t easy, but we hope you enjoy it and say a big thanks for supporting our label!