But you hear a lot of different opinions on this. Some people say that Berlin is becoming too popular, that there are too many people, and that the government is trying to make too many decisions, removing the space. For instance the airport Tempelhof, the government is developing a designation plan for it, instead of keeping it free for the people to decide what to make of it.
Yes but of course, with the airport area, it’s beautiful to leave it like this, as a park for the people, but this never happened in any other city, because that area is money. Every big city is about making money. Of course we can try to stop it, go into the street, we can demonstrate, we have to do this. We have to shout about it, and fight our fights. If you’re active, you can move things. But this is capitalism, right?
What I see is that clubs like Berghain for example, it’s a gay club, it’s industrial, it’s still the same story. Not everybody comes in, they just want people that understand the gay scene, not people that will be surprised to see people in the corner pissing or fucking, so they want people that can deal with that. But people say, on the other hand, it’s stupid they don’t let everybody in, it’s unsociable. But you still have space, like in Treptow you have Sisyphos, which opened 2 years ago. It’s true that we have a lot of tourism. When you go out on a Saturday, it’s full of tourists, so you have to find the day where you will find the Berliners when you go out. But there are possibilities to find some. The Berliners know where to go and when. So we have a lot of tourists who want to go out, but it’s good that they come. It’s good that when they come to Berlin, they say ‘I like Berlin’.
Let’s switch to Bpitch, your label. You said back then there weren’t a lot of labels. You’ve discovered artists that have gotten pretty big since then (like Modeselektor, Paul Kalkbrenner, and Apparat). How do you go about finding new artists? Are they mostly people you meet in your life as an artist, or do you actively go searching for them?
Well, of course I ask friends, or artists I like, if they want to join, but most of the artists have groups of their own now. It’s a completely different story now, they way the artists join us. Most of them come through friends. For instance Joy Wellboy is a Belgian band we signed, a friend of mine knew them from Brussels and asked me to check them out. So I checked it out and I was amazed. They hadn’t released anything on a label yet, they are amazing live and had a lot of videos online, but no release yet. So I invited them, and they immediately jumped into their old Mercedes and came by the office and we started working together. Now they’re pretty big in Berlin, they had a hit on the radio. It’s not club music, but it’s art that I like.
Keeping everything in one line, I can’t do that, I get bored. A concept for a label, it’s much easier to sell, also for the listeners to have one image, so they know they can buy everything from the label. But for me it’s about the love for electronic music, in any form. Dillon is another band we signed, I don’t know how the demo got to us, but it was just there. I listened to it, and I said, wow, what a voice. So she came to us. Mostly it works like this, because I get so many demos. They get filtered, but I listen to all the demos that get to me. If somebody really wants me to listen, I listen. They know how to get them to me. It’s not easy to sign an artist, because all artists are looking for bookings. They want to release through many labels, to get showcases or bookings, but we just take what we like. We want artists that we can work with for a longer period. Artists who want to have a home, and an attachment, to build on. It’s really hard to find real artists. People who have to make music to let out their emotions, to feel good. Not to have a release just in order to find a booking. Of course I understand, everybody wants to play, find a way to present yourself, that’s how it works. But when I listen to something, I need to feel a passion and not just a track. You can see it in an artist. They transport an emotion. They know how to create a track.
Do you go out often to see artists?
Of course. I go out to listen to DJ’s just to see how they transform. It’s so interesting to see a DJ, and how they do it. How they move people to dance, how they feel what they play. Most artists that are going big, are very good in how they do this, and they are all different. Each in their own way.
I’m really an analyzer, I love to see how they do it. Last night I played at CircoLoco in DC10, where every half an hour there’s a new DJ. Fourteen DJ’s each night. So they only play for thirty minutes, they can’t really create a journey, but it’s very good to listen to and I can study the DJ’s. It’s very nice to see how boring or amazing a DJ can be.
How would you describe your sound?
I’m not a DJ that builds up a journey slowly. I take one rave track, one house track, one techno track. I mix them together, all the time, all the influences I have. If I play two new tracks, I also want an old track from the rave scene. My sets present all of my DJ career, all the time I’ve been listening to music – I don’t just play what’s new on Beatport, or in the record store. I play all of my history.
Then in some way, you are telling a story?
Yes, all the time I’ve been in the scene. When I play a track from the E-Werk (famous Berlin club from the past) time, I go back and feel directly like I felt back then. Any track I play from a certain era, I feel a big emotional connection to. Every track I play, I have a different city in mind. A different moment. It’s a history. It’s very emotional to me. It’s not just playing a hit that works on the people – it works on me in a strong way too. A lot of DJ’s that I listen to, they may not necessarily play my kind of music, but it evokes a lot from me such as Laurent Garnier, or Derrick May.
I like it when DJ’s play music from the past, because then I know they did their research. They go back in time and they know, this is the best way this track could have been made, I can’t make it better, and that’s the reality. So if you know that, and you play it, that’s good DJ’ing. Sometimes I play a track, and there’s no reaction, because the crowd doesn’t know it. But then I play it somewhere else, and they scream! So DJ’ing is a new challenge every time, to move the crowd, to make them happy.