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Bleep Interviews Ellen Allien


To celebrate BPitch’s 10th Birthday and our special feature, we decided to catch up with the head-honcho herself….

+ Berlin is obviously very close to your heart. What it makes it one of the most the unique cities in the world and how has it changed in the twenty years since the collapse of the wall?

The wall separated us. At that time the city was occupied by the military and hence everything was neatly arranged to keep things “in good order”. When the wall came down, the DDR was already at its end and democracy was established.

For me as a “Wessi” (that is how we used to call people grown up in the Western sectors of Berlin) it was just great, since I finally had the chance to discover the East: I used to take my bicycle and have endless rides into the East. Within a few months I had a new circle of friends, it was just gorgeous Lots of underground bars, clubs and spaces came up in a very short time. Everything was just so new and exciting. The art scene moved towards the East, here there was enough free space for creative development. However, after the Wall collapsed the East had to fight against poverty and many lost not only their jobs but also their identity.

+ When you first started out in the early nineties how did the rhythms of Detroit and Chicago inform your DJ’ing, your music making?

The independent record store Hardwax situated in Berlin (Kreuzberg) since the early Nineties, has significantly coined my musical taste. During that time I was resident at Tresor/Globus club and its label was actually the one that built and established the axis between German/Berlin and American Techno. At Tresor I had the chance to listen to most of the important DJ’s from the US such as Blake Baxter, Jeff Mills and Robert Hood. During the nineties I was into English Electronica and US- House, minimal Techno. Before that I was crazy about Kraftwerk and the Neue Deutsche Welle as well as Steve Reich and Bach.

+ You have played out all over the world, how do you see the current condition of DJ technology, crowds, clubbing and raves?

It is amazing…I am totally addicted to music; playing the tracks I love and sharing the gorgeous feeling music can give with the dancers in the club, that is what really kicks me. I love to travel and of course sometimes things get boring since the mechanisms are always the same and situations repeat themselves over and over again. But it is like that and at the end it is all about good and hot music, which is the sole thing that pushes me to go on….

+ Punctuating your finest work is a commitment to pop arrangement and melody, are their any artists outside the underground who have influenced you/continue to inform?

Under the pop artists that have mostly influenced my music I would count Björk, Kraftwerk, David Bowie….I love these artists as they never stopped shining. Of course all the sounds I perceive, the sound of the sea, of doors, of the tube…all of them influence my sound. In some way hearing is “the champagne of my day”.

+ Throughout its history the techno landscape has very much been male dominated, have you been motivated by this and why do you think their has been so few female voices?

I think nightlife is something that females don’t like that much as males do. The madness, the drinks and the cigarettes and sex in the toilets…hehehe. Generally the deliriousness of clubbing is closer to men than to women.

In Germany many women lead booking agencies, and it is generally pretty common that women work in the background. However Germany is packed with female DJ’s, over here it is rather a normal thing.

Through the fall of the Wall the whole music/creative-scenario changed: the old communities couldn’t keep the positions they had up till then. Many new and very active groups of every kind came up and in this context there was enough space for both women and men.

Thanks to the growth in tourism all these new ideas and movements found their implementation. Especially a big number of ravers who come all the way to Berlin in order to live the endless party this city offers….here you are allowed to do that.

What great luck!

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One Response to “Bleep Interviews Ellen Allien”

  1. December 29th, 2009 at 18:15

    Matt Friel says:

    you rock, nuff said!!

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