What a man! Hugo Hoppmann: Graphic designer, DJ, connoisseur of the art of living! It was mainly him who had the initial idea of founding ALAAF and KICKIN’ three years ago. Ever since his career has been a straight success story: Hugo is a resident at the legendary SIXPACK bar and the great COLOGNE SESSIONS party at STUDIO 672, where people enjoy his straight forward house-sound, always spiced up with a healthy dose of soul, pop and disco from all decades. On weekends he is a powerful party-machine – during the week though Hugo transforms into a Zen-monk of graphic design, working with ascetic discipline and in deep concentration (if you want to know what we’re talking about, try to reach the man on his phone on a Wednesday!). The outcome made him become an internationally known and appreciated designer with clients from all over the world. Being the busy bee he is, it took quite some time to get him to record another mixtape for us. It was worth waiting though – but check it out yourself: ALAAF and KICKIN’ 023!
What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
I started recording the mix in the last week of this year and it turned out to be a cross section through my current musical mind and mood, as well as a personal best-of selection of favorites from 2014. Though I know of the difficulty wanting to please everyone I tried to make a mixtape that could work universally and be enjoyed in various situations – be it while working (or working out), lying on the beach, or just hanging out and getting ready for the party.
From the streets to the beach, down into the jungle, up into space and back again to the club. A journey fueled with lots of love, funk and acid. This was my roadmap …
Can you tell us a little more about some tracks you selected?
Starting point is a beautiful track by Jazz Liberatorz, a group from France I listened to a lot in my youth and rediscovered lately. This smooth opening is followed by the classic “Missing You” of the great Larry Heard. From the waterfront we then dive into the jungle with Julien Jabre, and then go deeper with Glenn Underground’s C.V.O. Trance. I’m a huge GU fan but curiously I discovered this classic track just recently through Jannis when we were jamming at his place.
We then take off from earth with the perfect ‘spacyness’ of Dopplereffekt’s legendary Infophysix jam. From there we go higher and higher with the help of Harvey Sutherland’s banger “Bamboo”. I listened to this one so often in the last weeks and simply don’t get tired of it. Brilliant stuff.
Now we head back to the disco with full speed and a refreshing house production by Phlash & Friends from Italy featuring the lovely Shea Soul on their track “Runnin”. This one is for my crew I went with to Dimensions Festival in Croatia in the summer. San Soda playing it in the morning hours is one of my favorite souvenirs. So many great memories!
We continue with Masters At Work’s “Can’t Get No Sleep”, a timeless house classic from the masterminds of Louie Vega und Kenny “Dope” Gonzales from New York. We stay in Big Apple’s house universe with the mesmerizing “Rave Tip Mix” of “March” by The Look aka Danny Tenaglia & Peter Daou from 1993: This sounds like someone on Ecstasy screaming out all the positive feelings when dancing in a packed club: “It’s dark in here, it’s wet in here, it’s hot in here, I like it here; Get ready for the final journey, you’ll love it, you will live forever.”
Back to the present with the young and talented Miami-based Greg Beato and “Dreamin’” a powerful piece of music with a healthy portion of acid from his great “Who’s The Licho In Charge Ovaa Here” LP on Apron Records. Next stop: Australia and the “Funky Joy” from duo Zanzibar Chanel. Such a crazy good baseline!
After this ride we come down with the relaxing yet funky sounds of the “Rain Forrest”, an all time favorite by Paul Hardcastle from 1985, followed by Central Line’s uplifting “Walking Into Sunshine” in a mix by Larry Levan. To finally please our disco heart I turned to Voyage and their fabulous “I Love You Dancer”, before letting it all fade out into the massive and timeless sound of War and their special instrumental mix of the classic “The World Is A Ghetto”.
You’ve been a resident at COLOGNE SESSIONS for two years now. Tell us about the party.
Cologne Sessions is a regular party we founded in 2011 together with Magnus von Welck (Aroma Pitch) and Michael (Mitch) Kastens. The original concept was to present more live techno acts to Cologne, taking place at Stadtgarten, a venue which has a big jazz (“sessions”) tradition. After a while we decided to do it more frequently and turned the whole thing into a regular techno/house club night, moving down to Studio 672, the legendary club just below the Stadtgarten concert hall.
From the beginning I was responsible for the creative direction and all design matters. Our overall visual direction is based on a radical purity in contrast to the often totally cluttered presentations of other parties. Printed matter are always limited to the most crucial information only: title, name of the artists, date, location. We like it clean and rough.
It seems like being a DJ and a graphic designer is a combination not so uncommon. Do you see any parallels between these art forms?
Yeah, I do think there are parallels and particularly many similarities in the process of creation. The first thing that comes to mind is that both the job of being a designer and DJing is a form of curation. And to create something interesting and unique you have to put your personality into it, find your own style and take risks. It’s all about choosing the right elements at the right time. Be it when painting a picture, building a website or recording a mixtape.
How would you define beauty?
Beauty is what keeps me going yet I have trouble defining it!
2015 is here: What are your plans?
My aim is to push me and my business further and to meet and experience lots new people and places … and I’m looking forward to finally go to New York next month!