Following another hard-hitting Montreal performance, Ellen Allien is already well off to new horizons. We’re left with a recording of perhaps the coldest ever Boiler Room set: a slick techno masterclass leaping to and from gems by the likes of Royksopp, Burial, DJ Rush, Héctor Oaks and more. Ellen Allien is as creative and giving in her approach as ever, bringing massive energy to every track, twist, and transition. She sweeps up the set with her latest release, La Musica Es Dios, an uncompromising push forward in her label UFO Inc.’s exploration of new realms. We got the chance to catch up with one of our biggest inspirations to chat about her views on Montreal, Berlin, vinyl club set ups and more – until next time.
HS: We’re catching you fresh out of your Mexico tour. How did the shows go, and what struck you the most about Mexico?
EA: Mexico feels very good! It was a pleasure for me to share music and vibrations here. Each city and area and show was very different. First event in Tulum was the Day Zero festival in the middle of the jungle… with all the trees and nature and cenotes. Nature took over here, and I really felt so grounded and protected surrounded by all the trees and their roots. It’s possible for me to share my music here — you can find lot’s of emotions, good venues and of course amazing spicy food in Mexico! I’m still here, but now on a four week vacation.
HS: What were you most looking forward to in playing in the world’s coldest festival? You visit Montreal regularly, and have even hosted a Vinylism event here – what are your impressions of our local scene?
EA: Igloofest + Boiler Room was very impressive! The location, the sound system and the snow melting on my face during my set – this sensation while mixing was a totally new experience to me! Montreal has a very strong music scene and lot’s of creativity and art. I love playing here because I constantly meet nice people and every time the locations I am playing music in are just outstanding.
HS: Your latest release, ‘La Musica Es Dios’, is a punchy and dark mantra. Why the Spanish title, and what’s most exciting for you about this record?
EA: In the summer I’m based in Ibiza and Berlin, in the winter I’m in Mexico for some weeks, so it just came into my mind. God is mother earth and music for me, that’s what I believe in. It’s important to connect with nature and spirits again.
HS: We haven’t forgotten your gig at the special Exposé Noir edition where Sven Marquardt’s Black Box photo installation was on view. What resonates with you about his photos of Berlin, and the characters he captures?
EA: Fantastic location! Wow, I remember very well! Sven Marquardt has a very strong message in his pictures, he brings out the characters more. I think his pictures are showing what is hidden behind the curtain.
HS: UFO Inc’s been going strong with a steady stream of diverse releases. The tracks are hard-hitting and always find some light. How are you feeling about your latest label’s progress so far, and what can we expect from UFO in 2020?
EA: Just releasing new music. The new UFO Inc. is just released and is from cool New York DJ and producer Heidi Sabertooth. Next record comes from Berlin techno act Alien Rain.
HS: Berlin’s a world leader when it comes to preserving its’ nightlife industry, but in the wake of real estate investments, it’s also facing its fair share of ‘clubsterben’ threats, with spaces like Kitkat and Griessmuehle risking closure. How do you feel about the city’s capacity to protect its nightlife culture, and the resilience of those who keep it alive?
EA: Resistance has a long history in Berlin and that’s a good thing! After the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, the city was in a unique situation and the increasing gentrification in recent years threatens more and more open spaces in the city. Fortunately, politicians are slowly waking up and supporting our culture!
HS: You’ve left the vinyls at home for this tour. Is this the result of club setups changing, or your own desire? How has it changed your creative process behind the decks?
EA: I would love to play more vinyl-only sets, but it’s not possible to carry all the records for two months – it’s too heavy! Wrong set ups with record players are also often a problem. Needles are jumping and sometimes the sound is not good at all. So I don’t play vinyl this time, but I play many tracks I made edits of, in my DJ sets!
HS: With some exciting dates lined up this year (Space Miami, Melt Festival, Coachella), what can we expect from your upcoming shows?
EA: Alien Dance – I’m looking forward to this year so much! 2020 will be epic and I will serve the best music I can. Digging for music is just the best on earth… la musica es dios!