Interview #001 - Marcel Heese
En parallèle de son podcast, Marcel Heese s’est prêté au jeu de nos questions par écrit. Dans cette interview, le boss de Finitude nous parle de son label, ses futures collaborations notamment avec d-func aka Alexander Kowalski, son expérience de soirée parisienne… On y a également abordé des sujets plus « sérieux » comme le devenir du mouvement électronique en tant que « contre-culture » et l’effet de la « gentrification » que connaît la ville de Berlin depuis quelques années sur sa scène techno.
- You’ve experienced both the old and the new tresor club, is there any difference between the two ?
The new one is much bigger so it’s not as intimate as the old one. But in general the vibe is pretty similar I think.
- We really like the name and the logo of finitude, what’s the concept behind this choice ?
I really like the french language (don’t speak it tho) so I wanted to have a french name for my label. I also like the fact that nothing is endless, everything has to end one day – our lives, our planet, the universe and also this label J Coming up with a logo was actually pretty easy. I took the symbol for infinity, removed a small piece, added the name and there you go.
- How would you describe the musical identity you want to put on finitude?
It’s a label for deeper Techno but the music should be playable in a club-context. I want to put out music that fits my DJ sets in first place. Musically the label is mostly influenced by Basic Channel, Maurizio, Sähkö, Jeff Mills, the more hypnotic Planetary Assault Systems tracks and Plastikman. Although the releases will be a bit deeper than typical Tresor basement techno there also might be a peaktime track to be released here and there.
- One of the upcoming releases on finitude is a collaboration with d_func aka Alexander Kowalski, one of germany techno figures, how did the collaboration begin ?
I got to know Alexander through a mutual friend 2 or 3 years ago I think. Since he knew I was DJing and also interested in learning more about music production he invited me to his studio. From that point we’ve been meeting for doing music on a regular base. At first we mostly did melodic tracks, heavily influenced by Detroit Techno. When I started Finitude we also began doing tracks that fit the label.
How do you build your Dj sets when you play at the basement ?
There are two different slots I mostly play at Tresor basement – warm up and closing. When I play the warm up I always start with Ambient, mostly followed by reduced off-beat stuff. Depending on the time I start playing this part is either very short or almost half an hour. When I start at 1 AM the club is already open for one hour and there are quite a lot of people inside already. As they fill the basement floor really quick and are lusting for heavy techno beats there is no point in playing non-danceable music for too long. But when I start at midnight (the very same time the club opens) the floor fills slowly and I have more time for stuff like this. I’ll mostly continue with some bleepy minimalistic or dubby Techno raising the intensity and tempo depending on what I feel from the crowd.
When I play the closing its always 100% spontaneous as I never know how the vibe is and what music people got to hear already during the night. Mostly I slow it down a bit towards the end and play more trippy stuff unless I feel the people still want a big dose of hard-as-nails Techno.
- You had a gig in Paris last year, was it a nice experience? What were you expecting to find in a French techno party?
Yeah, the party in Paris was really nice. They had an outdoor and an indoor floor. The organisers put a lot of effort in it with super lovely decoration and fantastic soundsystems on both floors. I played the closing outdoors and started just after sunset. When I play in a country or city for the very first time, I tend to have no expectations at all beforehand. Just see how the party is going and enjoy the vibe. Tho there was one thing I didn’t expect – seeing harder Techno (not extremely hard stuff but the Robert Hood or Surgeon kind of Techno if you know what I mean) being so popular and attracting so many people.
- How far is the city of Berlin inspiring your musical world?
As it is the place where I spend most of my time it is of course inspiring me in a way but not necessarily through its current trends in music. It’s more through its constantly changing character. I live in the city centre (well, actually it’s one of the many city centres) in the eastern part near Alexanderplatz and everything is changing so fast. When you haven’t been in an area for one year chances are high it looks completely different you see it next time. This might have an indirect influence on my musical world. I can’t stay with the same stuff for too long. Of course the music I like nowadays is not very far away from the stuff I liked 10 years ago when you look at the bigger picture but there are always phases. I like this specific sub-genre more and get bored of it again and then like that other sub-genre more. It’s changing all the city – just like the city.
- Have you heard about this book from Felix Denk and Sven von Thülen, « Der Klang, der Familie » ? What do you think about their message? Do you think that electronic music is not a subculture anymore?
Yeah, I’ve read it when it came out and was totally into it. Finished it within three days which is very quick for my standards as I normally don’t have so much time for reading unfortunately. The problem is what do you define as electronic music. Most of the music nowadays uses electronic instruments. The scene they described in their book stopped being a subcultural thing in the mid-90s at the very lastest in my opinion. Of course there are many scenes today that you can call subculture but the general Technohouse thing isn’t a subculture anymore.
- Is the fact that Berlin is hosting more and more « rich people » and building its economy according to that, impacting the techno culture in Berlin in a negative way?
I don’t think it has that much of a negative impact on the Techno culture in Berlin in general. Of course some clubs had to close unfortunately. Mostly due to noise complaints and rising rent. A prominent example is the SO36 in Kreuzberg which has been existing for more than 30 years. They had been doing Techno parties every Monday night for 20 years but had to stop them few months ago because of continued complaints from neighbours (people who just had moved there recently). They still do there regular concerts tho. But mostly clubs just open somewhere else when they have to close (there are still so many possible locations). Or new clubs open in areas where you haven’t seen Techno clubs before, like Wedding which has gotten more and more popular in recent years. The constant move has always been a part of Berlin Techno culture. So far the scene has always adapted to the changing conditions and I cant see that changing anytime soon.
- What’s your favorite electronic non-Techno track?
There are too many to name but right now I’m really enjoying the most recent Cut Hands album called « Festival Of The Dead ».