Interview: Reinis Spaile of Ezera Skanas

As far as music festivals go, Ezera Skanas is definitely one of a kind. Set in the middle of a lake, musicians play on rafts and people paddle out in darkness then, as the first light appears, the music begins and the listeners drift to find a good spot. It gets very little publicity and is deliberately kept a secret, so for the past few years, the festival has only reached people through word of mouth.

I caught up with Reinis Spaile, one of the founders of Ezera Skanus, to find out more about this intriguing concept and what drove him to transform the idea into a reality.

After-movie of Ezera Skanas 2016

Me: I absolutely love this idea of a festival on rafts and boats- how did you come up with it?

Reinis: It began as an experiment on how sound travels on the wide water surface, then developed into a space for free creation without any borders or rules. We created it like a utopia that we could all be a part of and find a way to contribute, despite our diverse disciplines – film, design, photography, choreography and music. The end result was a ritual where, in this diversity, we celebrate the sunrise, the beginning of a new day.

Me: Wow! How has it evolved over the years?

Reinis: In 2012, there were more people performing than there were attending, but it has grown significantly since then, with more people choosing it as their morning destination. Many travel from afar to experience this collective dream during sunrise. Every year we develop a new artistic program, which we need to be very sensitive with because the music and set design should respect everybody’s individual experiences. We perceive the music as a soundtrack for the rising light and the rising awareness.

Me: So what different styles of music can be heard?

Reinis: The music adapts to the changing scenery, starting from the minimal instrumental music that is played in the darkness, till the impulsive music at the silhouette phase, and climaxing with spacy music as the sun rises. It interprets the state of sleeping, dreaming and waking up.

Me: How would you describe the type of people Ezera Skanus attracts?

Reinis: People who attend this event vary in age, from young, hyperactive teenagers, to adults and elderly couples and singles. All are united in their desire for a personalised experience. The interesting thing is that they’re all separated by the water because everybody travels in their own boat, yet somehow water connects them and there is a unifying feeling in the air. The audience respects the silence, solitude and nature, and uses this experience as a chance to listen to their thoughts.

Me: What would you say are the most essential items to bring?

Reinis: It is a serious and adventurous trip, so everybody should be well-prepared. The lake is large and the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s helpful to have a light, warm outfit and tea or other hot drinks to stay warm, as well as a proper boat. It is also important to double-check the forecast before leaving home!

Me: How do you want people leaving Ezera Skanas to feel?

Reinis: The best outcome is when people return home confused, asking themselves “Was it real, or was it a dream?”

Me: Have you had to overcome any major challenges for the festival?

Reinis: Every year, the festival faces different challenges, with the greatest being adapting to the ever-changing weather conditions. This is an ongoing relationship; the nature is wild, so we must make sure we listen to it and adjust our plans accordingly.

Me: Any final words?

Reinis: Once I woke up 5am and went to the central park. There was nobody there, but the sight was absolutely stunning and I thought to myself that there should be a million people here at this moment to see the beauty of the sun rising. It is a very calming moment that starts and ends the day in a peaceful way.

You can find out more about Ezera Skanas via their Facebook page.

Composed by: Milly Day

Artist interview: Lukas Freudenberger

I interviewed another of my favourite Techno DJs, Lukas Freudenberger, ahead of his new album release. Here’s what he had to say…

Me: Your new album AMPLIFIED is out now! I’ve listened to it plenty of times and love all the tracks on there- do you have a particular favourite?

Lukas: I think it would have to be “She Said”.

Me: How does this album differ from your previous releases?

Lukas: It is a very powerful release, with slower tracks, most of which are around 123 -124 BPM.

Es ist ein sehr druckvolles release, langsam produziert 123-124bpm sind die meisten tracks.

Me: I saw you play last month in Suicide Circus, which was to mark AMPLIFIED’s release. Those Ragnarök label nights are always incredible, in my opinion. How was the experience for you?

Lukas: Berlin was awesome! It was a full house that night and the guys, Holgi and Kai, are wicked. To celebrate the album with them was a truly great experience.

Berlin war genial. Einlassstop, volles haus , die jungs Holgi und Kai sind einfach nur real! Das album mit ihnen dort zu feiern war ein tolle erfahrung.

Me: Your sound has changed somewhat over the years, progressing from minimal to something much harder and darker. What has inspired those changes?

Lukas: It’s normal to develop one’s sound; doing the same thing over and over again eventually inspires you do something different, which is fun at the same time. I believe that way, you remain authentic.

Sich zu entwickeln ist normal, wenn man immer dasselbe macht dann inspiriert man sich im besten falle selbst etwas anderes zu machen… iwas was einem spass macht, dann bleibt es authentisch denk ich.

Me: Which other artists have inspired you

Lukas: At the beginning of my “career” as a Techno producer, I think the greatest influence was Björn Torwellen as his style at that time for me was simply revolutionary – he fascinated me. I’ve also always thought Cortechs was pretty awesome.

Zu beginn meiner techno und produzenten “karriere” denke ich der stärkste einfluss Björn Torwellen… einfach nur der style damals, es war für mich einfach was neues, revolutionäres und hat mich schon echt fasziniert. Cortechs fand ich auch immer fett.

Me: I see you started up your own record label, STABIL, in 2014. Is that still going?

Lukas: STABIL was on a long break, but new releases are on the horizon.

Stabil hatte ne länger auszeit. Plane aber neue releases.

Me: You’re from Köln, aren’t you? How does the Techno scene there compare to Berlin?

Lukas: I think in Köln, people tend to go out to see a particular act in one of the many Techno clubs, whereas in Berlin, people go to the clubs regardless of who is on the line-up; you go to Berghain for Berghain, as it’s always an experience no matter what. I think the thing that both cities have in common is that there’s always a Techno party to go to- you can now party any night of the week in Köln, just like in Berlin.

Denke in Köln geht man noch eher wegen einem bestimmten act in einer der vielen techno clubs… in Berlin ist es denk ich mehr oder weniger egal wer auf dem line up steht.. ins berghain geht man um ins berghain zu gehen… es ist so oder so eine erlebnis. Denke verbinden tut die beiden städte aber, dass man auch in Köln mittlerweile an eig jedem wochentag ein techno party besuchen kann, genau wie in Berlin.

Me: Will we see you back here again soon?

Lukas: I think I will be back later this year, as and my new Ragnarök friends and I have some plans…

Me: Sounds exciting! I look forward to seeing you then 🙂

Composed by: Milly Day

Artist interview: DeKai

Bavaria-born DeKai is one of my favourite German DJs and, after seeing him several times since I arrived in Berlin last September, I can safely say that he can get the crowd going like no other with that hard and pushing sound of his. After meeting  Kai face-to-face at the most recent Ragnarök label night, I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his move to Berlin and what the experience has been like for him so far.

Me: You’re originally from the South of the Germany aren’t you? What provoked the move to Berlin?

Kai: That was a spontaneous decision. Life in Bavaria simply bored me; no clubs, no scene and no opportunities to DJ. It was the attitudes of the people down there that pissed me off the most though, as there it’s all about having a nice house and a nice car, blah blah blah. The trigger was when my homie Martin came to me with the film “Berlin Calling” and that’s when it clicked. Four months later, I moved to Berlin.

Puh das war eine spontane Entscheidung. Es hat mich einfach gelangweilt das Leben in Bayern, keine Clubs, keine Szene und keine Perspektive was das Auflegen betroffen hat. Am meisten kotzt mich da unten die Einstellung der Menschen an, da geht’s nur darum mein Haus, mein Auto mein bla! Der Auslöser war als mein Homie Martin mit dem Film Berlin Calling zu mir gekommen ist und dann hats halt klick bei mir gemacht und 4 Monate später bin ich nach Berlin gezogen.

Me: You’ve been here for seven years or so now, is that right? What has the experience been like for you so far?

Kai: I arrived here on December 1st 2009 and since then, I feel I’ve been freed of everything and am open to so much more. The city and the people I’ve met here have really swept me off my feet! Naturally, there are many bad people too, but since arriving here at the age of 35, I’ve found it easier easier to distinguish the bad from the good, and when I have a negative experience with someone, I find it easier to just shrug it off. However, the good people around me far outweigh the bad, and they have a positive effect both on my personal life and my music. Berlin is my home and my inspiration, I love to make appearances in nightclubs and surrender myself to the night.

Ich bin am 01.12.2009 hier angekommen und seitdem bin ich frei von allem und offen für vieles! Berlin und die Menschen die mir seitdem begegnet sind haben mich sowas von geflasht, klar die schlechten Menschen sind auch Massenweise hier aber da ich mit 35 Jahren erst hier angekommen bin tu ich mir etwas leichter die bösen von den guten zu unterscheiden und wenn ich mal ne negative Begegnung habe dann fällts mir einfacher den oder die wieder weiter zu schicken! Allerdings überwiegen die guten Menschen in meinem Umfeld und beeinflussen mich auch positiv sei es Mugge oder eben Lifestyle. Berlin ist meine Heimat und meine Inspiration, ich liebe es durchs Nachtleben zu tingeln und mich dem Strudel der Nacht hinzugeben 🙂

Me: How would you describe the current Dekai sound?

Kai: It’s still hard, pumping, gloomy and impulsive, but at the same time more groovy than last year. Last year, I simply fell in love with monotony, but this year I feel a change is necessary, as I don’t want to bore myself! 

Hart, pumpend, treibend, düster und mittlerweile wieder etwas grooviger als das letzte Jahr! Letztes Jahr hab ich mich halt auch hart in die Monotonie verliebt aber dieses Jahr brauch ich definitiv ne Soundveränderung ich will mich auch nicht selber langweilen!

Me: I read that you are first and foremost a Heavy Metal fan- when did you first discover Techno? Did you fall in love with it straight away?

Kai: Techno comes first for me, by a loooooooong way. I caught the bug in 1991 and from the very first beat, I felt I was right in the middle of it, as opposed to simply taking part. However, Heavy Metal was the first genre of music that really got me hooked back in the 80s, and I still enjoy listening to it today.

Also an erster Stelle kommt bei mir Techno, dann kommt laaaaaange nix und dann kommt alles andre. Angefixt wurde ich 1991 und vom ersten Beat an war ich live mittendrin statt nur dabei 🙂 Heavy Metal war allerdings die erste Musikrichtung die mich so richtig angefixt hat, damals in den 80ern und höre ich heute auch noch gerne.

Me: I also read that the cellar in Magdalena is named after you, is that true? How did that come about?

Kai: That was at the old location at the Schillingbrücke, at a ‘Herz für Hänger’ party, as I played in the basement all night long. I was there for 10 hours or so I believe, I can no longer remember. Back then, Marie made a wooden sign, which hung above the entrance until the closing night. I loved the basement, it was dark, hazy and had a fat sound system!

Also das war in der alten Location an der Schillingbrücke bei einer Herz für Hänger Party da hab ich all night long im Keller gespielt und das warn glaub ich 10 Stunden oder 12 aber so genau weis ich das nicht mehr 😀 Die Marie hat damals das Holzschild gebastelt und das hing dann überm Eingang bis zum closing. Ich liebe Keller und da wars Dunkel, Nebel und ne fette Anlage.

Me: Which artists have inspired you the most?

Kai: The first artist who really inspired me and gave me the urge to begin mixing was Günni from Ingolstadt. For the first five years, we mixed together at my place every weekend, really, every one! He passed his passion and devotion to mixing on to me, so it always pisses me off when a DJ has no bass on the decks, more rattling than clean sound, and is out of sync. Throughout my 23 years of listening to Techno, and 13 years of playing it, I have always been inspired on the dancefloors where I danced myself. Another one who has really inspired me with the whole DJ thing is Empro- when I arrived in Berlin, he was the first person I met, so I did a couple of projects with him and he taught me a lot. Even now, it’s an exciting experience having him play before or after me, as his sound and way of mixing are so unique.

Also der erste Künstler der mich so richtig inspiriert und auch das feeling für das Mixen vermittelt hat war Günni aus Ingolstadt. Wir haben die ersten 5 Jahre jedes WE bei mir gemixt, wirklich jedes! Seine Leidenschaft die er mir mitgegeben hat ist wirklich die Hingabe an das Mixen, deswegen kotzte ich ja immer so ab wenn man als DJ kein Bass am Pult und mehr scheppern als sauberen klang hat und ich synce Nicht. Im laufe meiner 23 Jahre Technokonsum und 13 Jahre selber Mixen hab ich mich eigentlich immer auf den Floors wo ich selber getanzt habe inspirieren lassen. Wer mich aber mit dem ganzen DJ Ding am meisten inspiriert hat ist Empro. Als ich in Berlin angekommen bin war er so der erste den ich näher kennengelernt habe und hab so das eine oder andre Projekt damals mit ihm gemacht und er hat mir auch viel vermittelt. Auch heute ist es für mich jedes Mal wieder ein Erlebnis wenn er vor oder nach mir spielt, seine Art zu mixen und sein Sound sind auch einzigartig.

Me: Where can we see you play this year, other than the District4 and Ragnarok label nights?

Here’s a brief summary of my upcoming bookings:

25.02. Geheimclub / Magdeburg

03.03. Kosmonaut / Berlin

04.03. Maze / Berlin

10.03. Tanzhaus West / Frankfurt

18.03. Magda in Excile @ Yaam / Berlin

31.03. Go In / Obergünzburg

01.04. Distillery / Leipzig

13.04. Kosmonaut / Berlin

21.04. 3 Jahre Ragnarøk Bahnhof Pauli / Hamburg

22.04. 3 Jahre Ragnarøk @ YAAM / Berlin

28.04 STEAM Club / Athen

05.05. Airport / Würzburg

Me: Do you have any other plans/projects for 2017?

Kai: I’m not much of a planner; I’d rather let myself drift and see where I land 🙂 The only real plan I have in life is to have a nice time with chilled people!

Ich bin nicht so der Planer, ich lass mich eigentlich lieber treiben und schauen wo ich ankomme 🙂 Den einzigen Plan den ich so richtig im Leben habe ist mit gechillten Menschen eine schöne Zeit zu haben!

Composed by: Milly Day

Artist interview: Holger Nielson

Berlin-based DJ and producer Holger Nielson, aka Holgi Star, started the record label Ragnarøk back in 2014 alongside DeKai and the pair now put on label nights every couple of months in the city (read more in my article on the German Techno scene). As an avid supporter of the label and these nights, I took the opportunity to speak to Holger and find out a little bit about him, Ragnarøk, and what the future holds.

Me: When did you move to Berlin and how did you first become involved in the Techno scene here?

Holger: I came to Berlin in 1989, when the wall was still standing. At that time, there wasn’t as big a scene as there is today; only a few clubs like Tresor, Planet and Walfisch existed, and it was all more familial. My first personal contact with the scene was when I visited Tresor for the first time and after that, there was no stopping me.

Ich bin 1989 nach Berlin gezogen, noch zu Zeiten als die Mauer noch stand. Damals gab es noch keine so große Scene so wie heute, es gab ein paar Clubs wie den Tresor, das Planet und den Walfisch und es war alles familiärer. Mein persönlicher erster Kontakt mit der Scene war, als ich zum ersten mal den Tresor besuchte, danach gab es kein halten mehr, bis heute.

Me: You already run several labels, including Kiddaz.fm, Rompecabeza and Micro.fon. What made you decide to start up Ragnarøk?

Holger: Ragnarøk came from my friendship with DeKai. We wanted to create a joint project showcasing straight up, no-frills honest Techno with neat bass and groove – that’s the Ragnarøk sound!

Ragnarøk ist aus meiner Freundschaft zu DeKai entstanden. Wir suchten ein gemeinsames Projekt mit dem wir uns verwirklichen können, ehrlicher gerader Techno ohne Schnick Schnack mit ordentlich Bass und Groove, Ragnarøk Sound eben!

Me: Alongside the work you do on these labels, you’re busy producing and playing as a resident of District4 in Arena and of course the Ragnarøk nights- how do you manage to organise your time and fit so much in?

Holger: I sometimes don’t know the answer to that myself! I honestly think it helps to have passion, as what is more beautiful than turning your hobby into a profession?

Das weiß ich manchmal selber nicht, ich denke die Leidenschaft hilft einem da und wenn wir ehrlich sind, was gibt es schöneres als sein Hobby zum Beruf gemacht zu haben.

Me: I totally agree. You work under two aliases: Holger Nielson and Holgi Star. Can you tell us a little more about each of these? How would you describe the two different sounds?

Holger: Quite simply Holgi Star stands for Tech House / Techno, Holger Nielson for straight-up Techno. Throughout my longtime DJ career as Holgi Star, a variety of sounds have been released under the brand, sounds that I always stood for. As it’s been going for almost two decades, naturally there have been many musical breaks. With Holger Nielson, I now have a name under which this will not happen; Holger Nielson stands for Techno and this will always be the case, whilst Holgi Star may be quietly experimental – musically, he can do anything!

Ganz einfach Holgi Star steht für Techhouse bis Techno, Holger Nielson für straight Techno. Durch meine langjährige DJ Karriere als Holgi Star ist unter dem Brand viel Sound veröffentlicht worden, eben immer der Sound für den ich stand, da sich das über fast 2 Jahrzehnte hingezogen hat gab es da musikalisch auch viele Brüche. Mit Holger Nielson hab ich nun einen Namen unter dem das nicht passieren wird, Holger Nielson steht für Techno und das wird immer so bleiben während Holgi Star auch ruhig experimentell sein darf, Holgi Star darf musikalisch alles!

Me: The Ragnarøk nights are no longer taking place in Magdalena, which I’m very sad about, as I loved that venue! Will there be a new, permanent venue for these nights, or will they be held in different places each time from now on?

Holger: Yes, we’re also sad because the conditions in Magdalena, such as the sound and location, were simply perfect for us. In terms of future events, we don’t know exactly where they’ll be held, as we are still testing the waters. The last event took place at Suicide Circus and the next will be held in YAAM, then in June we will most likely be in Butzke. At the end of the year, we’ll be able to determine which venue is best for us. Only one thing is certain, which is that there’ll always be Ragnarøk events in Berlin 🙂

Ja, wir sind auch traurig darüber weil die Vorraussetzungen die wir in der Magda hatten einfach perfekt für uns waren, vom Sound und der Location her. Wie wir das in Zukunft halten wissen wir noch nicht genau, wir testen aktuell, die letzte VA war im SC, die nächste wird im YAAM sein und die im Juni dann höchstwahrscheinlich in der Butzke. Wir werden Ende 2017 mal ein Resume ziehen und kucken wo es für uns am besten wahr. Nur eins ist sicher, es wird immer Ragnarøk Veranstaltungen in Berlin geben 🙂

Me: That’s good news! I noticed the label has a very loyal following. How have you managed to establish this kind of fanbase? It is just something that’s developed over time?

Holger: Yes, we are really proud of our fans. For us, they have become a kind of substitute family, as many are now also friends of ours and support the sentiment, philosophy and spirit of Ragnarøk along with us. Ragnarøk is more than just a Techno label or event, as both Kai and I have always cared about our fans, not only welcoming them as guests at our events, but also making them part of something much bigger: a movement based on tolerance, community and celebrating good Techno.

Ja, wir sind echt stolz auf unsere Fans. Für uns ist das eine Art Ersatzfamilie geworden da viele ehemalige Fans inzwischen auch Freunde sind und mit uns den Gedanken und die Philosophy und den Spirit von Ragnarøk tragen. Ragnarøk ist mehr als nur ein Techno Label oder eine Veranstaltung. Ich denke das kam dadurch zu Stande dass sowohl Kai als auch ich uns immer sehr um unsere Fans kümmern, Ihnen das Gefühl geben nicht nur Gäste auf eine VA zu sein, sondern Teil von etwas größerem einer Bewegung die auf Toleranz, Gemeinsamkeit und dem Willen guten Techno zu feiern zielt.

Me: What does 2017 have in store for you and for Ragnarok?

Holger: We’ll see, ask again at the end of the year!

Das werden wir sehen, das kannst Du uns Ende 2017 noch mal fragen!

Me: Haha, ok then. Can you tell us which artists we can expect to see on the line-up at upcoming label nights?

Holger: We don’t want to give that information away just yet, but as always it will be a mixture of friends of the label, our hot newcomers, and DJs that are committed to our sound.

Das möchten wir noch nicht verraten, aber wie immer eine Mischung aus Freunden des Labels, unsere geilen Newcomern und DJ Größen die sich unserem Sound verpflichtet fühlen.

Me: Anything else you’d like to add?

Holger: Ragnarøk loves you all 🙂

Composed by: Milly Day

 

Artist interview: Leon Glock

Up-and-coming dark Techno DJ Leon Glock was selected to play at Mission Techno the weekend before last, after receiving the highest number of votes in a contest. I took this opportunity to chat with him and find out more about the contest and how it felt to kick off the festival.

Me: Hi Leon, nice to meet you!

Leon: You too!

Me: I heard that you won an award, ‘Best Techno Newcomer.’ Could you tell me a little more about that please?

Leon: Yeah, a friend of mine entered me into this contest without my knowledge and when I found out, I simply shared it and got about 350 votes together pretty fast! I never would have expected that.

Me: Wow, that’s impressive! You were the first DJ to play in the Tanszaal room- how did that feel? Were you nervous about kicking off the festival?

Leon: I was extremely nervous, yes, but after the first few tracks the nervousness dissolved pretty quickly.

Me: How did you warm the crowd up for the DJs that followed on from you?

Leon: I had to adjust musically to the DJs that were on after me, as my sound is usually harder, so I tried to play a mix of powerful, melodic and impulsive Techno, which went down pretty well.

Me: So you were pleased with your set?

Leon: Yes, I am actually quite satisfied with it. A few things could have gone better but all in all, I am very pleased.

Me: And what did you think of Mission Techno? Was it your biggest festival to date?

Leon: The Mission Techno parties are always absolutely awesome! Many different styles across several floors, the people are always in a good mood and spirits are high, which is how it should be. I’ve personally never played at such a big event; I’ve only ever been part of the crowd, so this was a really special experience.

Me: Well it was great seeing you play there! Where else will you be playing over the next few weeks?

Leon: I’m a resident of the event series Halt die Fresse! Lass mich Feiern! (Shut up! Let me party!) by Technorebellen, which takes place at the start of each month at Kontext in Wiesbaden. Other than that, I’m not playing any remarkable gigs.

Me: You’re from that part of the country aren’t you? How would you describe the Techno scene there? Is your music reflective of the scene?

Leon: Yes I come from Frankfurt, which is nearby. Unfortunately the Techno scene has become very quiet there, as the city puts a lot of obstacles in the path. But my music definitely reflects the Frankfurt sound, which sadly is slowly but surely dying out.

Me: What a shame!

Leon: I know.

Me: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Leon: Yes, I would like to say thank you to everyone who voted for me in the contest, and especially to the Mission Techno Team – you have made a huge dream come true.

Artist Interview: Zahni

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

Artist Interview: Sebastian Groth & Stormtrooper

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of watching Sebastian Groth and Peter Nitschke, aka Stormtrooper, play alongside one another at Mission Techno in Mannheim. Now, it’s not often you see a Dark Techno DJ go back-to-back with one that plays Hardcore, however this seemingly incompatible duo somehow made it work. After their set, I took them both aside for an interview, and what an entertaining interview it turned out to be…

Me: Hi, lovely to meet you both. I’m Milly.

Peter: Hi Milly, I’m Peter and this is Sebastian. His English is not so good, so I’ll be doing most of the answering!

Me: Happy to do it that way, or you could be the translator? Anyway, let’s get started! Is this your first time playing at Mission Techno?

Sebastian: I’ve played here about fifteen times! I think I must be Mission Techno’s favourite DJ…

Peter: Don’t listen to him. It’s not the first time for either of us, but we hadn’t played in that room (Tanzsaal) until today.

Me: So you’ve played together here before?

Peter: Yeah, it’s our second time playing together at Mission Techno.

Me: Whose idea was it to go back-to-back?

(They exchange glances)

Peter: Good question! I’m not really sure. We just agreed at a festival once that we should do music together – that was our birth hour I guess.

Me: Which festival was that?

Peter: NatureOne. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it!

Me: How long ago were you there?

Peter: Well, our idea to collaborate came about three years ago. Ever since then, we’ve been like a married couple, haha. Sebastian is the man, the lazy one, and I’m the woman in the relationship.

Me: Haha! So your relationship both on and off stage is pretty good then?

Peter: It is, yes. Is there such thing as a heterosexual relationship between guys?

Me: Yep, that’s called a bromance. You certainly seem to work well together behind the decks too, however your styles are quite different, aren’t they?

Sebastian: Yup.

Peter: Just “yup”? That’s not much of an answer! Yeah, Sebastian is more Techno, whereas I’m more of a Hardcore guy. When we play together, we meet halfway, using Techno elements with a hard, pounding bass drum. Sebastian has to speed up a little, whereas I slow down.

(They begin bickering)

Me: I can see what you mean about behaving like a married couple! I’ll wrap things up. How has this year’s Mission Techno been for you?

Peter: This year’s event has been really good, with all the different styles of Techno, which were well split. You got to hear rougher styles of Techno in the room we were playing in. Events like this work well when the crowd have a choice of what to listen to.

Me: Indeed! There was even some old school Trance here tonight.

Peter: Yes, and that’s great! I would like to hear more Trance at festivals, rather than this generic-sounding EDM. NatureOne ought to take a leaf out of Mission Techno’s book.

Me: The last track you played caught my attention – what was its name?

Peter: That track is one of my own, it’s called ‘Bavarian Barbarian’ and uses traditional Bavarian folk music.

Me: Brilliant! Techno and Bavarian folk eh, why on earth not. So will I be seeing you both here next year?

Sebastian: Think so.

Peter: Totally!!!

Composed by: Milly Day