Alex Niggemann’s 2012-defining long player “Paranoid Funk” dropped in June to a rapturous response from DJs, dancers and home listeners alike. Here, Poker Flat Recordings revisits some of the exceptional highlights of that record, and deliver a remix package sure to be as equally sought-after by those in the know. “Paranoid Funk” saw the Berlin resident explore a variety of grooves and textures, an experiment that won him many new admirers and a great deal of critical acclaim. Here, some of the hottest remix talent in the scene get their hands on the originals and twist them into new shapes.
Following on from releases on Cocoon, Kling Klong, Circle and two strong EPs on Poker Flat, “Dinosaurs” and “This”, renowned producers Alex Flatner and LOPAZZ take on “Don’t Wait” and drop a growling, main room monster that will standout in any set. Francys, the young Italian making quiet a name for himself on the underground house and techno circuit, lends his skills to “Back 2 Basics” feat Benji – channeling the spirit of the early 90s into seven ecstatic minutes.
Next up is Salvatore Freda – the highly respected Swiss DJ and producer who injects Niggemann’s “I Don’t Care” with a narcotic groove that sits somewhere between Detroit and Berlin – the dubbed out vocals adding an element of otherworldliness that work in perfect compliment to the track’s twisted (paranoid) funk. Berlin’s own Andre Lodemann picks out “Lovers” for his excursion, a deep bomb that grows and grows around an exceptional vocal from John Rydell – this is one for the very late nights or early mornings.
Digital customers also get a super special bonus track from man-of-the-moment James What – the young Brit drops a trademark slice of sexy, upfront house music though his remix of “I Don’t Care”. Essential.
What is clear from this release is that Alex Niggemann’s star continues to rise – the classical pianist turned producer and DJ extraordinaire is moving on to the next phase of his career – and with the slew of outstanding releases to his name already, who is to say where that could lead.
Circus, the Liverpool based clubnight that has become one of the most revered on the continent, turns ten in stunning style this September. What began back in 2002 in Liverpool has since gone onto become one of the most hotly anticipated and widely loved parties on the planet, existing around the simple mantra – ‘Serious music, Fun Times’.
Sasha’s label ‘Last Night On Earth’ continues to go from strength to strength, from releasing a wide range of eclectic electronic music.
Along with releases from established artists, the label continues to build careers for upcoming talent. The next release from Thermal Bear is an example of the young producers coming through. Dennis White aka Thermal Bear was chosen by Sasha as someone who stood out from the crowd with his classical take on modern electronic dance music.
A clothing brand that is forging with electronic music…
‘workaholic’, for those that don’t know, is a Berlin based project which has grown from years of experience involved in the underground clubbing scene, a strong network of creative people who live and breathe electronic music, pushed by the tiring of work in the ‘normal’ working life society. Carolin and Fabian are the ones behind the project that is bringing both music and stylish clothing into the same mix, forging the two together like bread and butter. It’s something that seems so right yet rarely seen in such a way that that these guys are doing it.
With their strong network of creative minded people, DJs, Producers, graphic designers, they are forming collaborations with Artists and Labels to print their designs on clothing and get it out there. Such great designs as on the Nico Purman “Visions EP” from Vakant. Their collaborations see them teaming up with various artists every few months to release a collection of t-shirts boasting the artist’s designs. They have already released collections of artwork from the distinctively deep Bara Bröst, highly respected German techno DJs Dualton & DJ Emerson, the mysterious Snuff Crew, the Berlin styled Killekill, and of recent the renowned Gregor Tresher. Names that resonate the kind of image ‘workaholic’ has been building towards and seems like they will continue to maintain.
Not only have they been collaborating with some truly amazing artists, but they are entering their second year of featuring at both the “Sonne, Mond & Sterne” festival [Sun, Moon & Stars] and the “Fly Bermuda” festival. A move, which has propelled them even further in to arms of the people, that and their way of socially interacting with people on such an amazing level. “…for us it’s really important to have contact with people during these festivals. You know, we can have fun, drink a beer, celebrate and party with people and interact on the same level…” , Carolin explains.
So where did it all start?…. Carolin: “…We were both use to going dancing quite early on and being touched by electronic music and to staying long, long hours in the club, sometimes even days. So the idea to do something that has to do with the music we love, wasn’t born at that time but the foundation was laid for our project.” Fabian: “Yeah it’s like Carolin said, We’ve been going out from the age of 15 or 16… Carolin experienced all the old clubs here in Berlin…” Carolin: “…like E-Werk, the old Tresor, Bunker and the old Kit-Kat in the Glogauer, the clubs of the late 90′s.” Fabian: “…And I grew up in the center of Germany, experiencing the clubbing scene with the great Stammheim/Aufschwung Ost next door and many trips to Berlin, Frankfurt and Thuringia, before coming to to Berlin around 5 years ago. Since then we have been moving in the party environment and having friends doing music.”
Fabian and Carolin have also experienced more serious working backgrounds, which you wouldn’t really associate to a music related project. Fabian having studied Economics and Caroline Communications and landing a job with a software company. It’s not quite the beginnings of a music orientated project.
So how did the building blocks of ‘workaholic’ form?… Carolin: “Well, I decided to quit my job at SAP and the first month I work for a fashion label run by a friend of mine. You know, sometimes you want to be in a business with friends and you try only to learn that it’s not the best idea. It wasn’t so easy and after a while I realised it wasn’t going to work. I decided to leave with my savings and start my own business. I didn’t want to start a fashion label that was a normal fashion label, because I didn’t study fashion design. So I was thinking how could I create clothes, but without having the typical process of designing and producing them. In the beginning I started with the fashion line but the idea of having the T-Shirts came later…” Fabian: “…it developed by speaking with friends and DJs in our network who were doing music. Like the first collection was done together with musicians. And our ideas always developed from talking to friends and musicians, so it was a gradual progression.” Carolin: “The first collection started just drinking a beer with a couple of guys, one being a graphic designer, and he proposed doing a T-Shirt collection in between the normal fashion collection. I said, ‘Yeah, why not,… show me some drafts’. So it was just a case of trying it out and recognising if it worked better that the fashion thing. And that’s when I kind of said, ‘that’s the thing we’ve been looking for’. It wasn’t easy because we always needed someone to help somewhere along the line.” Fabian: “Then we talked to labels as well and realised that besides doing music they also work a bit with fashion, so the first labels came on board and the idea of the product developed. We knew that they had nice graphical work from record designs and the flyer designs and we developed the idea with these.”
It seems that Carolin and Fabian have really made a leap forward in terms of their own working life style by leaving behind the standard office jobs… Carolin: “…we both think it was a good thing to have experienced the ‘serious working life’ and working environment before starting this project…” Fabian: “…Having this experience has helped us with organising the project and it also helped us to realise that [normal work] it’s not our thing and to move forward with something where our heart belongs.” Carolin: “To work in an environment we belong to.”
And now they have launched into a passion that has them working even more than ever. They say that they have become ‘workaholics’ doing the thing that they truly enjoy. Is that where the name comes from? Carolin: “I think when you’re doing something that you really love, you become a ‘workaholic’, because you put all your time and passion into it…” Fabian: “Yeah, many times we are here 14 hours a day.” Carolin: “…for us we don’t say, ‘we are going to work’, we say ‘we are going to the shop’. So we don’t think of it like work, but we are ‘workaholics’, because we put so much into the project.”
“When you talk about workaholic, you normally think of business people, but even DJs are ‘workaholics’. They put so much into what they do in order to be so successful. And that’s kind of what it’s about… creative people being so passionate about what they do and putting so much into it.” Fabian: “Passionate about the passion.”
Their story can be related to by many people, because many never really starts out their working life fully involved in music or some other form of creative passion, doing what they ‘belong to’. Of course there are those fortunate enough to be immersed in what they love from early on and manage to make a living from the word go, but for many like Carolin and Fabian, it has been a gradual progression stemming from their life experiences, good and bad. A learning curve which has brought them to the point of launching themselves into an idea that still hadn’t formed.
But once having the idea taking shape, was there a particular objective to the whole concept?… Fabian: “…to combine artists active in electronic music, designers, people doing fashion and the creative environment, which is quite active in Berlin… Through this vision or this idea to involve them in this “workaholic” environment. So it’s doing fashion but also attracting people thinking in a similar way. People who know what it’s like to be on the dance floor enjoying the music until 11am and don’t want to leave. Or people who know what it’s like to have this creative passion or moment, people who know what it’s like to think outside of the everyday established mindset society. In Berlin there are still loads of people thinking liberal, thinking freely and creatively.” Carolin: “The social component is also very important.”
After their first collection working so well, they have seen the concept itself receiving tremendous feedback from artists, designers and other creative people. Many people either stumble across the shop [as Guerilla Sounds did] or their products and they seem to be attracting more and more creative people and more interest. Something which is evident in their first five collections and their distinct collaboration with Vakant and Killekill.
One question that does come to mind is weather the whole concept of “workaholic” could have worked in another city or weather it has only worked so well because of being in Berlin? Fabian: “I think it’s possible to do this in another city, but it would have been different. I think there are many people like yourselves, moving from many capitals to Berlin because of its special character. The possibilities to meet someone with a talent in Berlin is much higher in relation to other cities I think, it’s much more condensed.” Carolin: “Creation doesn’t stop in Berlin. Also in Berlin the costs are much lower so it is easier for us to start such a project.”
workaholic has only been running for 2 years, but already they have created a fine array of collaborations, been actively present at the last two ‘Sonne Mond & Sterne’ festival as well as last year’s ‘Fly Bermuda’. workaholic will again be strongly involved in this year’s ‘Fly Bermuda’ at the weekend, but they are also teaming up with labels like Iriedaily, Killekill, Mobilee, Stil vor Talent, Upon.You and Vakant to present their latest fashion creations, collections and all time classics for their “Bumtschick Fashion Bazaar” being held at Watergate on 03 November. Shopping for clothes, records and CDs combined with music performances by Marco Resmann (Upon.You), DeWalta (Vakant), Juli Holz (Stil vor Talent) and Björn Störig (Stil vor Talent).
But with workaholic having been already active and involved in many things,.. which have been the real key moments for workaholic? Carolin: “I remember when we had a product recommendation in Groove magazine. And that’s when we realised that the concept was ready to run as a company, because people saw the product in the magazine and we started receiving frequent orders. The second, was when we first done the ‘Sun, Moon & Stars’ Festival last year.” Fabian: “It’s always really nice when people appreciate what you do. They buy the product and they are really proud to wear it… For me a big moment was when Gregor Tresher did a re-edit of one of his tracks especially dedicated to workaholic, which is, in its self, a huge compliment.”
Gregor Tresher – Through The Shadow Glass (Gregor’s Shadow Edit)
Dedicated to the collaboration with workaholic.
‘workaholic’ is a true clothing label that is not involved in the music for the publicity, but vastly embedded into the scene and is rapidly becoming a key component of the Berlin music scene in particular. Their collaborations with Berlin labels, artists and DJs are fine examples that they are doing something significant for the music environment and are well respected for what they are doing.
Love Family Park hails one of the finest festival atmospheres…
On paper, Love Family Park boasted a respectable line-up with Sven Väth (7hr Set), Ricardo Villalobos & Luciano (b2b), Loco Dice, Matthias Tanzmann, Marco Carola, Mathias Kaden & Daniel Stefanik (b2b), Karotte, Robert Dietz, Kollektiv Turmstrasse (Live), Dominik Eulberg, Sascha Dive, Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts (Live), Zip, tINI and Frivolous (Live). But the amazing thing about this festival isn’t just the line-up of DJs, its also all the other components that go into creating a festival. There are three basic categories involved in creating any decent festival, which are obviously made up of separate components; Organisation, Atmosphere, Music…
Organisation was impeccable!
Starting with the queuing for entry, which was pretty jam packed, surprisingly passed in reasonable time considering they were body checking everyone and all bags were being searched. Upon entry, it was surprising to see a kind of cloak room hut for larger items such as Video Cameras, Mini Stereos and all kinds of other bits and pieces.
Germany seems to have a great recycling and litter reducing technique, where all empty plastic and glass bottles that are handed over to a deposit point, warrant a small cash back. It’s only a few cents, but it’s a system that works for more than one reason. It’s also a system that is used at the Love Family Park festival in conjunction with a token system for all purchases within the park. The are plenty of kiosks or huts around where plastic tokens can be purchased and used for buying drink or food. Upon your first purchase, you are charged a one token deposit for the plastic cup and given a voucher, which means you have to return the plastic cup when you buy another drink or return the plastic cup and the voucher in order to get your token back. And if you seem to have vouchers left over by the end of the day, you can always refund for your cash. You should see how remarkably clean the festival is compared to most!
Another great piece of organisation, was the bars themselves, with plenty scattered around the park and a massive rectangular bar situated under the motorway. Getting yourself a drink requires no more than a couple of minutes.
Atmosphere was perfect!
The train from Frankfurt out to Hanau was full of Love Family Park people, all drinking, enjoying, nothing too rowdy. And the same goes for the 5min walk from the station down to the Park, with everyone drink, mainly beer or Jaegermeister, some people dressed in some really creative ways, and many people mingling with others. Approaching the Park itself, there are plenty of stands selling beer of the street with music to get people in the mood. And this atmosphere is amplified once you actually enter the Love Family Park, with people who really love the music and are there just to enjoy it and mingle with other people. definitely reinforcing the name of the name of the festival.
Music was on form to battle that of most festivals!
First of all, the sound system was quite impressive, especially for the main stage and in the way every stage was laid out, you could actually walk either round the sides of the stage or even round the back. Something which holds advantages as you can easily slip into the sides of the crowd in linear with the stage or even stand away from the sides of the crowd and still feel the impact of the sound system.
In terms of the actually quality of music, Matthias Tanzmann and Loco Dice done remarkable jobs of getting things rocking and the crowd moving. Ricardo Villalobos & Luciano on the other failed to impress as they followed up from Loco Dice’s last record, which literally had the whole crowd grooving away. The couple seemed to be going one record each and Villalobos’ opener was too monotonous and boring to follow on from what Loco Dice had left behind. It may have been the case that they got things back up to speed shortly after, but at the sight of seeing plenty of people walking away and the fact that Sven Väth had already been rocking the main stage for 4hrs, we moved back over to the main stage after the first three records of Villalobos & Luciano.
This was probably the best decision made, as Sven just annihilated the crowd with one great record after another, knowing exactly how to work the crowd with some unexpected, yet seamless transition in the music. Dropping the likes of Matthew Dear – “Little People (Black City) (Sascha Dive Remix)” and Maetrik – “Crush On Me”.
Normally, DJs that get on the microphone can end up destroying a great set in a devastating way, but somehow Sven’s way off reaching for the microphone and saying a few words at the end of the festival as he closed his set, adding a little grace to the whole event. The DJ legend thanked the crowd and emphasised that without those people the festival would be that which it is. Also that he’s been DJing for 30 years and he’s not stopping because of his love for the music…
A festival that promises to deliver what a festival should on all levels!