All posts filed under “Interview

Mixtape and Interview: Jannis Hannover


As a DJ, Jannis Hannover is barely legal. Being only 18 years old he can already look back to gigs in clubs like Studio 672, Roxy Club, Reineke Fuchs, Chalet in Berlin as well as countless open-air and bar-venues in the area of Cologne. His record collection spreads from Bill Evans to Drexciya and his DJ-sets impress through their fascinating mixture of Soul, Funk, Afro-Jazz, Detroit- and Acid-House. Since he graduated from high school this spring, he spends his days either at the piano, in the record-shop or in front of Ableton-Live. We see a bright future ahead (and are secretly hoping that this kid will make us all rich one day). Check out his laid-back 60-minute mix, keeping on the spirit of the last ALAAF and KICKIN´ Sunday Groove.

What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix? 
Actually I wanted to make a sort of easy listening mixtape, but after the first tracks it just hit me, so the mix gets kind of rough in the middle.
I had recorded a quite similar mix about 3 weeks ago after spending a weekend in Berlin. Obviously I found a lot of nice records there, so when I was back home I just hit the record button and tried them out. When I recorded it again I just changed 3 or 4 songs and now the mix contains about 6 tracks I got at OYE and The Recordloft.

Can you tell us a little more about some tracks you selected?
“No Disrimination” by Tony Allen (8:58) has quickly become one of my favourite records. I’m a big fan of African Music and when I listen to the recordings of guys like Tony or Fela Kuti at home I often can´t help myself to start dancing and singing.

Another track I want to mention is “Sound Drome” by Gene Hunt (25:32). It has been rereleased last year on a Rush Hour Compilation honoring the infamous Muzic Box. It’s a massive clubbanger and I can’t wait to play it on a heavy system somewhere!

For your age you have a very diverse taste of music – how come?
I guess one of the most essential moments in the development of my musical taste probably was when my brother showed me a lifemix of Theo Parrish and Emlie Omar playing at the Soul Spectrum party at Djoon, Paris. It contains 5 hours of Funk, Jazz and Soul and it hit me right away! Before that I was mainly listening to bad electronic music, so it was something totally new to me. Since then I grew a specific love for Funk and Soul as well as for genre-hopping DJ’s.

You´re only 18 but already live a pretty wild nightlife. Do you get any trouble at home?
Haha no, when I tell my mum the time I got home the last night she always pretends to be shocked, but she is kind of inconsequent and actually never tells me when to be back, so it’s really relaxed at home. I think by now she just got used to it.

You just graduated from high school. What are your plans for the future?
I still don’t know the exact plans, but I’m sure that I definitely want to do something with music, because it’s the only thing that really catches my interest at the moment. I´m a big fan of Jazz music and at the time I try to improve my piano-playing, but I’m still searching for the right thing to study in the future.

Tags: Interview, Mixtape

Guest Mixtape and Interview: Sven Howland

Sven Bild!

This months Guest-Mixtape comes from one of Cologne’s top young-gun’s: Sven Howland. Sven was about 4 years old when Tobias Thomas and Michael Mayer were about to turn Cologne’s nightlife upside down with their legendary TOTAL CONFUSION party at Studio 672. Now, 16 years later, Sven is a resident DJ just at that party and has played alongside great artists such as Motor City Drum Ensemble, Barnt, Thomas Fehlmann and many more. Sven carries on the idea of the Cologne-school that a DJ-set should mainly be about telling a story, taking the audience on a musical and emotional journey. For his ALAAF and KICKIN’ Mixtape he has chosen some beautiful melodious and spherical as well as some deep and percussive tracks for you to dream, dance, love.

What was you initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
I started by getting all of my current favorite records out of the shelve. Then during the process of recording, I spontaneously added some songs which I did not consider in the first place. So it became a mixture between some of my current favorites and some lovely b-sides.

Can you tell us more about some of the tracks you selected?
There are two tracks in the mix that I especially like to listen to. One of them is “Silver Chalice” by Golden Teacher (Optimo Music). The mixture of wild drums and synth sounds creates a real special flavor.
Then there is the Roman Flügel Remix of DJ Kozes “Amygdala”. I think that Koze produced the best album of the last year – and just recently the Roman Flügel Remix was released. The track is building up very slowly and creates an incredible aura in the process.

You´re only 20 years old but have already been a resident at one of Colognes most prestigious partys TOTAL CONFUSION for two years. How did it get to this early knightly accolade?
It all happened really fast. I had just recorded and uploaded my second mix “Howland”. Shortly after it Tobias Thomas commented on the mix and said he really liked it, which of course made me very happy. Right after that I received a mail from Tobias in which he asked me if I would like to play at the annual Karneval-Open-air party at Aachener Weiher. I had never played in front of a big crowd before that day, but then I was just like: What the hell! Well, seems like it has been the right decision.

How did Cologne and the KOMPAKT label influence your musical taste?
Already at the age of 16 I used to sneak in at the TOTAL CONFUSION party at Bogen 2 which was always really special to me back then. I discovered something totally new and fresh there and these experiences definitely had a huge impact on my musical taste. Another important influence where the guys from Aroma Pitch with their openair parties (the infamous Sun Wanted) and then, later on, at Cologne Sessions.

You´ve already played a lot of warm-up sets and therefore had the chance to hang out with some great artist. Is there anybody who impressed you not only as an artist but also personally?
Danilo (Motor City Drum Ensemble) and Thomas Fehlmann really impressed me. I had a very interesting conversation with MCDE when we had dinner before the party – he is a very open and friendly person.
In case of Thomas Fehlmann I was just stunned by the energy and the passion of the man. Being 57 years old he still puts on a live-show which blasts you away!


Tags: Interview, Mixtape

Mixtape and Interview: Simon Hein


Simon Hein actually wanted to become an engineer but then his parents asked him to get a save job so he started DJing four years ago. We’re very happy he did, since Simon brings in a well needed portion of roughness into our gang. Being the most friendly guy you can imagine, Simon lives out his evil side behind the turntables, dropping raw and powerful underground tracks from labels like L.I.E.S., Wild Oats, Don’t be afraid and so on. His affinity for mathematics shows up in his precise mixing-technique and his very original mode of sorting records (via BPM!). Simon will make you sweat this Friday at Etepetete Beatgekitzel in Cologne. As a lil’ amuse-gueule check out his fantastic 60-minute mix: ALAAF and KICKIN’ No. 16!

What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
I wanted to create a mix that sounds grounded, motivating and really electronic. So I selected about 30 new and relevant records of which I thought they would meet these requirements. During the recording I decided spontaneously which ones to use and in which order to put them. In the end the mix got somewhat rougher than intended, so I think you can enjoy it most while working out or driving on the Autobahn.

Can you tell us more about some of the tracks you selected?
The first track I want to mention is called ‘The Life Beyond This World’ produced by G Strings (25:00 – 28:30). It’s a really strong piece of hypnotic Ghetto Tech. The bass is constantly punching you and makes it very hard not to move. ‘Warning! This Music Is Very Motivating! Beware!’ is printed on the cover. Yep, I’ll sign that! MGun’s ‘The Race’ is an evil beast (46:30 – 50:30). You need the right attitude for this one. Otherwise it will probably scare the hell out of you if you listen to it on a big sound system. After all that rough stuff I wanted to end the mix with something nice. Urban Textures ‘Voltaic’ is 5 minutes of pure bliss (57:00 – 1:02:16).

Your first mixtapes (back then as DJ Schwimmbutz) sounded much different from the sound you’re playing today. How would you evaluate your development as a DJ?
I would say that DJ Schwimmbutz was just beginning to recognize how big the diversity of electronic music or house music is. I used Virtual DJ to put these mixtapes together. It was just fun. Then my roommate Tim brought along an old record player and I started to collect some vinyls. Meanwhile we headed to the Cologne Sessions once a month, which definitely influenced my taste in electronic music a lot. So I got to know more and more about house music. Throughout this process I accumulated several records of which I’d say retrospectively: This is quality.

You’re studying engineering at RWHT Aachen. Most people would probably say that maths and constructing are a complete antithesis to House music. Would you agree?
I think one of the basic ideas behind house music is that it’s made for everyone. I wouldn’t say that you can’t be into house music and engineering at the same time. Kerri Chandler once said that he probably would have become an engineer if he wasn’t a DJ. And he is not the worst one, is he?

What was your greatest experience as a DJ?
My greatest experience was probably last summer, when Hugo and me performed at a beautiful open-air party at ‘Schräge Wiese’. I wasn’t expecting much but then the party turned into quite a nice rave. I played about 10 hours and from a certain point it felt like I could play whatever I like. Everyone had a good time.

Who was the last DJ that really impressed you with his performance?
I think that was in fact DJ Yogo from Tel Aviv at Cologne Sessions. He blew the crowd away with some really powerful house music.

Tags: Interview, Mixtape

Guest Mixtape and Interview: Aroma Pitch


It’s now seven years ago that Magnus von Welck, Jesse Scherwitz and Julius Richter invested their pocket money into some gear and started jamming in Magnus’ basement. Nowadays their schedule is jam-packed with DJ and live gigs in places like Cologne, Berlin, Brussels, Oslo, Austin and – coming up – Dimensions Festival in Pula. Their mixture of rough Detroit-influenced rhythms, soulful synthesizer cords and playful acid-lines made us dancing wildly countless times – usually at their own party “Cologne Sessions”, our most favorite venue in town which you should definitely check out once coming to Cologne. Berlin residents can see them play at least once a month at Humboldthain. Check out their beautiful 60-minute ALAAF and KICKIN’ guest mix, also featuring an exclusive track from their upcoming “High Five EP”, which will be released on their own A•P•R• label in July!

What was your initial idea or roadmap for this mixtape?
Basically we played records we just got and which we’d like to listen to at home. Nevertheless we’re trying not to drift too far away from the musical style that we would play in a club. Our approach was rather spontaneous. Each one played one record, rotation-principle. By the way: this was the first time that we recorded a mix at the Humboldthain club in Berlin, so we could listen to the music on a big soundsystem.

Most of the time you guys DJ as a duet or as a trio. What do you find so exiting about playing back-to-back?
DJ’ing together is just so much fun! We love to surprise and share the joy with each other. Also, we can always talk the set over while playing and we have more time to dance and enjoy the music!

Can you name any producers you really like and who inspire you for your own music?
Just to name a few: Kyle Hall, Funkineven, Greg Beato, Omar S, Drexciya, Juju & Jordash, Efdemin, Floating Points, Jay Daniel, Shed, Cobblestone Jazz … and last but not least Magic Mountain High. Their last gig at our Cologne Sessions was really inspiring because of the way they improvised and interacted spontaneously during their live-set.

Since you’ve started you were always a DJ-trio as well as a live act. In which way do these disciplines affect each other in your case?
They definitely influence each other: Of course your favorite tracks will inspire you in your own work, and as a DJ you’re always hunting for new music. On the other hand, by producing your own music you develop greater attention and a better ear for single elements as well as the whole structure of a track, therefore you really learn to appreciate good songs. You’re able to say: “I liked that particular element, for this reason … ”. And being a good listener teaches you a lot for your own productions.

You’ve been on the road quite a lot in the last months, you’ve been to the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, and this summers highlight will probably be the Dimensions festival in Croatia …
We are really grateful for these great opportunities to get around in the world. Being on the road together is especially beautiful, once again because a joy that’s shared is a joy made double. By the way, for keeping the balance, being three people is quite helpful. The Romans already knew about the advantages of triumvirat …

The podcast features the track “Austin” from your new EP “High Five”. What can you tell us about the track and the EP?
“Austin” came up spontaneously during a live-gig. When we listened to the recording we liked it and decided to release it. So we re-recorded “Austin” at another live-session in our studio. The record (A•P•R• 002) will include four more tracks and will be available in two or three weeks – unfortunately a little later as planned due to a delay at the manufacturer’s side. Next Saturday (21.06.) we will celebrate the release at Gewölbe, everybody who reads this: We would love to have you there! We’re looking very forward to this, as well as to our after-show set at the ALAAF and KICKIN’ Sunday Groove the following day!

Text + Interview: Jannis

Tags: Interview, Mixtape