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  • Interview: Ellen Allien

    Wed, 20 Jun 2007 17:38:43

    Interview: Ellen Allien - Label owner, fashion designer, creator of sweaty club mixes... is there anything Ellen Allien can't do?

    Ever since the wall tumbled, techno maven Ellen Allien has been igniting Berlin's booming electronic music scene, fostering diverse talent through her label Bpitch Control and churning out acclaimed solo albums like 2003's electropop gem Berlinette and 2005's minimal masterpiece Thrills. In 2006, the fab fräulein further upped her game, collaborating with soundscape architect Apparat on the turbo-charged epic Orchestra of Bubbles.

    This year, Allien put her venerable DJ skills to work, mixing the latest installment, Fabric 34, in the London megaclub's esteemed CD series. The Berlin vet took a break from her busy touring schedule, record label duties and fashion design work to talk techno with ARTISTdirect.

    Over the years Fabric has built up an extensive back catalogue of talented DJs. Your mix really stands out; it's dark but also dewy and swelling with energy. What did you want to bring to the table with your mix?

    I did the mix the way I would DJ in a club. It's a very emotional mix. I used records that didn't leave my record bag last year and mixed them with brand new stuff. It's between minimal, house, emo tech, indie songs and IDM. I am always trying to transfer emotions in my sets without having to play stupid chart-breaker hits.

    Fabric 34 is comprised of your favorite records from this past year. Why did you choose to only use new tracks?

    The mix reflects my sets right now. I buy a lot of new records these days; it's always fun for me to be in my favorite record store and listen to new stuff. There are a lot of good producers right now, and a lot of good dance tracks. I love to dance!

    These days, it seems like DJs only use cutting-edge technology to create their music, but Fabric 34 is an analog set, one that you mixed by hand. Why was it important to you to stick to the basics?

    Well, I think the sound is warmer when it's an analog mix. It doesn't have to be perfectly cut. I love when tracks fade into each other. A lot of digital mixes sound too cold to me. The technology definitely changes the style of DJing. I am also mixing analog while I DJ, so I wanted to do the Fabric mix analog as well. I wanted to really show my DJ style.

    Where did you record the mix? What was the atmosphere?

    I recorded it at home, when I came back from a gig. I only mixed it once. I already played some of the tracks I planned on for the mix at some of my sets to see how they work. And now I can just put the CD in and have a drink when I DJ. [laughs]

    How does an 80-minute CD mix translate the energy of your famously epic DJ sets?

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