A Sit Down With DJ Kollektiv Turmstrasse
Kollektiv Turmstrasse is a story of two people crossing paths who couldnt be anything but best friends. Christian Hilscher and Nico Plagemann where musicians in their own right before becoming a duo who fatefully became friends after being booked to play at the same party in 1998. Due to the fact that there werent many music nerds in their area of Germany at the time, it was somewhat inevitable that the pair would form a duo. Since that fateful night in 98, Christian and Nico have become renown across the world with their minimal techno taste.
"Everything that is fun and exciting is just the thing."
The majority of German and also international musicians are currently living in Berlin. Why did you stay in your hometown?
After moving away from the provincial backwater, Hamburg was the first large city for us. The first years we were here were extremely exciting and formative. Much of what came out of us and our project, had its origins here. And you have a family, friends and an inflatable pool in the garden. So we have to admit that. Besides that, we have got enough experience in Berlin and the capital is always worth a visit. But for us the musical leaning of the city, or the high concentration of the clubs and artists, was never motivation enough to relocate the whole of our lives to there.
You play some DJ sets. Do you always play them together, or do you split up?
Right, now and then we leave the midi controllers at home and stand behind the DJ players. This change also does us good and provides new impulses in the studio. If we split up, whether live or DJ, then this has mostly private reasons. Often there are other commitments that can not be pushed or the immune system has let one of us down again.
Knowing each other so well and having been in the game for several years - do you still prepare for each gig? Are there any rituals you share before going on stage?
Not for every gig, except we have to make big changings on our live set.. After playing live for the last 8 years there are certain habits. Our ritual is the vodka shot we drink before every single gig during our setup.
Which of your releases has given you the most satisfaction and why?
Looking back its tracks like Grillen Im Park, Tristesse or Let Freedom Ring that we owe the most positive club feedback to. Recently speaking it is our album Rebellion Der Träumer that we are most proud of. Proud because this was an important step for us and just up to the very end we werent sure about how our fans would react to the slightly different sound of the Turmstrasse collective. There is so much energy, work, passion and help of many of our friends in this album. Rebellion Der Träumer kept us busy for a good two years. Looking back we now see what became of it and that our first doubts were quite unjustified and we also gained some extra audience. Yes, you can say thats a great feeling.
Who have been the most influential people in your musical development?
We had many people who influenced us. In the beginning there was a small club, which was a kind of living room for us. This club, named Die Gerberei, influenced us musically. We met many people there, and through these new contacts finally got our first gigs.
How would you describe the effect that your music should trigger for the listener?
As a musician you always wish, of course, to inspire people with your music. It's a certain type of communication, a track can sweep an audience away. And its important to us to develop a certain kind of timelessness, which is something you cant really plan. Sometimes you get the feeling you're working in the right direction. But basically, we are pretty selfish when we are in the studio. We make our music in the first place for ourselves. With our concept, we try to implement our ideals without putting the focus too much on clubs and dancefloors. We try to avoid trends and we also attempt not to be influenced by the current music market.
How do you typically work? Do you go into the studio with a full pre-set idea for a new track or do you play around until you find the right vibe and develop an idea around it on the spot?
Both.. Sometimes you have a concreate idea and sometimes you despair with the realization. And sometimes you play around and you get the dazzling idea.. The difficulty for us is to finish all these ideas and stuff we started and to convert to finished pieces.
Tell us about your studio, which sequencers do you use? With what hardware/software do you mainly work? What machine would you consider the best part of your kit?
Ableton is really important for us on stage and also in the studio. Weve used Ableton for many years as a sequencer and yes we love it. Ableton is really enormous and we could tell you all the insider secrets and facts but in the end, this is the good thing, because its no secret. Also we use some synths and EFX units which, you have to change at regular intervals. So as we mentioned before, we love technology and we love to test and check out new things.
I've heard that you've been influenced by the music of Basic Channel, what exactly has fascinated you about the music so much?
The sound of Basic Channel is synonymous for a certain time. When we say that we were influenced by Basic Channel, we mean much more the phase that was very influential for us ... When we started to care about electronic music, it went beyond normal consumption. The identification with the warm dub sounds was closer to us at the time and corresponded more to what we also wanted to achieve or implement in the studio. We still love dub productions, old or new. It is the timeless, catchy warmth and hypnotic, which makes the fascination so.
Australia is a unique spot for outdoor festivals as our bush lands are a definitive part of the country? What have you heard about Australian bush festivals?
We heard a lot about it and on one of our last visits we were right in the middle of dirt, sand, dust and wind. When we came back home and unpacked our equipment we had fine sand in the cracks many weeks later. We are well prepared this time!
In your hometown you are very well connected, but how does it work when you play somewhere else?
Sometimes it's a bit like gambling. If you are in a new city for the first time, when you see a new club, a new promoter, an evening like that can go very well, but not necessarily. So if it's not good, we wish we could take a bit more control. It's often about fitting all the little pieces together, into a coherent whole. There are countless factors that have to fit for a good show.
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