Alex Walter, aka Zahni, is one of Germany’s most wanted Hardtekk live acts. I had the fortune of meeting him at Mannheim’s underground Techno festival, Mission Techno, where I took the opportunity to ask him about his unique style and how it felt performing at such an event.
Me: Nice to meet you, I’m Milly.
Alex: Hi, I’m Alex.
Me: You’re from the east of Germany Alex, is that right?
Alex: Yes, that’s right.
Me: And is it true that the style of Techno in that part of the country is very different to what you hear in the west?
Alex: Yes, we call it ‘East Tekk’. It’s a reflection of a life with only machines – no woman, no CD tracks, nothing else. It’s one of the hardest sounds; only Hardcore and Speedcore are harder.
Me: Would you say your style is reflective of this type of Techno?
Alex: Yes, very much so.
Me: How did the crowd tonight respond to your set?
Alex: They actually responded very well. It’s only in the past couple of years that the crowd here have started to respect this style, as most of them are more into Hard Techno. They tend to prefer what DJs like Chris Liebing and DJ Rush play. I believe I’ve brought something new to the scene by introducing a much harder style with more bass drum and hi-hats. My first gig in West Germany was a favour from a friend, who let me play for the last half hour. After that, promoters were approaching me and asking me to play at their events, because they liked how my style differed from Hard Techno.
Me: So would you say most Germans now appreciate this style of yours?
Alex: Mostly, yes. Outside of Germany it’s a different story; I have performed in Luxembourg and Amsterdam, where I actually slowed the BPM down to 160/170, but still people just stood there looking gobsmacked. However, I will never change for money or fame and if people don’t like my music, it’s their problem, not mine! I have enough loyal fans who have come here tonight to see me play, even though this event costs almost twice as much as the ones I usually perform at. The dancefloor was full during my set.
Me: That’s great! Was it your first time playing here?
Alex: At Mission Techno, yes, but I’ve played at MS Connexion before. I recently switched agencies and am now with The Act, who have more contacts all across Germany.
Me: So what do you think of Mission Techno?
Alex: I think it’s one of the best gigs in terms of sound and lighting.
Me: Would you come back and play here again?
Alex: Yes, for sure!
Composed by: Milly Day