Ellen Allien has been a staple of the techno scene for nearly three decades, DJing, producing and eventually with her label BPitch Control for the past 18 years. After a busy summer and fall with ADE and various label events including her Vinylism shows where she takes over a record shop and DJs, she is ready to settle into another Berlin winter. Before a steady diet of European club shows, we have her this weekend for two gigs in the United States including tonight at Good Room in Brooklyn and then tomorrow at TV Lounge in Detroit.
With these gigs coming up, we caught up with Allien to chat about her recent album Nost and the expansive remix package, her actual disdain for alien movies, favorite record stores in the United States, spinning vinyl and more.
How did you pick the artists on your NOST RMXS LP?
My album NOST was released on BPitch last may this year and I started to ask the artists I play in clubs to remix the tracks…the remixes are dope I think, I play all of them in clubs or listen to them while walking down the streets of Berlin.
What are your favorite songs to play out now from the package?
From my Nost album, "Physical," "MMA," "Innocence" as well as "Call Me" remix by Emanuel Top, "Innocence" remix by Truncate and "Call Me" remix by K Hand.
You’re a big proponent of vinyl, do you see the current resurgence of vinyl being just a phase of something that actually has legs?
VINYLISM is a project I do for music lovers who love to hang out in record stores and dig for vinyls. I think a record shop is a very important place for communication and if the record store is dope, you can find great music. In Berlin, I regularly go to Spacehall, in Holland to Klone and in London to Phonica. Those are the stores I buy most of my vinyls…You know, sometimes I can play records in clubs but often due to technical issues it is not possible.
For the uninitiated, what is the most challenging part about spinning on vinyl?
The way of mixing is a bit different and many tracks are pressed only on vinyl. To play them, I would need to digitalize them to play on cdj’s.
What advise would you give other DJs looking to start a label?
Trust yourself and release the music you love…is the first goal. Then dope music, design fitting to the style, good mastering and the perfect distribution for the sound.
The early 1990s was a formative time for music, notably electronic music in Berlin. What is something that really stands out to about the way the two sides of the city grew together through music?
Our club scene and the way we enjoy techno…in the past the promoter could find outstanding location with no curfew...very good club designs and the music was and is techno acid and house. The scene became very huge, we grew together and met in clubs and bars to build up a new Berlin, with hope and positivity.
What are your favorite record stores in the United States?
Halycon, Superior Elevation, Submerge, Rough Trade...
What are your favorite alien movies?
I only like the music and actors of these movies...and the aliens. I don’t like the stories they are mostly too violent. I think the alien movies often promote wars, I hate all movies with blood. The world we are living in wants to live in peace and freedom and not with wars, guns and dangerous aliens...I like friendly aliens, from aliens we can learn, they are living on other planets in peace and I hope we don’t find them so that they can still live in peace.
What is something people might not know about you?
That I love my job. :-)
What else do you have coming up?
I just did a Depeche Mode and a Mount Kimbie remix, released on Warp at the moment. I am working on a single project with Kyoka, a Japanese female producer. She does a lot of abstract stuff on raster for example. I also just finished a techno single and some other projects- which I can’t talk about now, but for sure there will be alot of new Ellen Allien things coming up!