Last week I got a chance to shoot over some questions to the legendary DJ Hell, an icon of the electronic music and fashion worlds and an influence to dance music lovers around the globe. The man has been credited by many as the founder of the electroclash scene in Germany in the mid-90’s, and has collaborated with multiple artists over the years including Bryan Ferry and Peter Kruder. At the end of this month Hell will be releasing an eclectic, yet brilliantly assembled, mix on Get Physical titled Body Language Volume 9. Make sure to get your mits on it upon its release at the end of August. For now, check out these quick six…
gottadancedirty™: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions with us. To start off, what is your usual drink order? This question has become somewhat of a tradition here at GDD.
DJ Hell: I drink only Apfelschorle or coffee.
GDD™: You’ve collaborated with some fashion icons throughout the years. How do you think electronic music and fashion influence each other? More so than other musical genres? What would you say is the connection between the two?
Hell: Music and fashion were always one action -both sides get inspired and live together very well. It is not something that is just related to electronic music, but all musical genres. People go out to clubs or festivals and of course like to get dressed or jump into another identity.
GDD™: Do you have any crazy stories about the underground scene in either West and East Germany before the fall of the Wall? How do you think the contemporary Berlin club scene has retained some of the qualities and vibe of an “underground club?”
Hell: When the wall came down this was the start of the German techno scene and culture, the people from the East were more than ready to party and techno music was the soundtrack. There were illegal parties with 2000 people dancing in the dark somewhere in Berlin to the sound of the drum and a strobelight. I’m still proud that I was – and am till now – a part of the scene. Now bar 25 – berghain or watergate are ruling, but there is still a great power of the Berlin underground vibe all over, its just not as easy as 20 years ago to find these parties.
GDD™: How was your experience working with Bryan Ferry for ‘You Can Dance’? Do you enjoy collaborating with other artists in your productions?
Hell: Collaborating is the only way I can get more experience and learn from the masters. For my work I choose the most professional people possible, so it was a great experience to work with the most charismatic singer of all time, meet him and also work with him behind the scenes. I am still trying to work with Mr. Bowie and Mr. Eno for my next album.
GDD™: Why did you choose to release this mix on Get Physical? What do you think the relevance is of artists releasing mix CDs these days?
Hell: Get Physical is simply one of my fave labels the last 6 years and I am really good friends with all of them. It was a pleasure for me to go this way and show my, lets say, house side more. I have been playing house music as a DJ since 85, when farley jackmaster phunk and jm silk released their first records, when we didn’t know what this so called house music should be called and where it had its roots . My spirit and love were always with this music and now i can show this again in this mix.
GDD™: In what kinds of ways have the advancements in technology affected your producing and/or DJing over the years? Do you think everyone having the opportunity to produce a track has overall enhanced electronic music today?
Hell: To me the formula has not changed much since back in the days. A good track is a good track and if its good enough and has something to say i play it. In Chicago they say -let the records speak and I think it’s still all about music and how you bring it into a club and how you present it to the crowd.
GDD™: Thanks again for your time we really appreciate it.
Again, make sure to grab Body Language at the end of the month; below is the tracklisting.
Body Language 9:
1. Christian Prommer – “Sueño Latino” (DJ Hell – All U Need Is Love Remix) 2. Baby Ford + Eon – “Dead Eye” 3. Kirk Degiorgio – “Nairobi” (Carl Craig Remix) 4. Josh One – “Contemplation” (King Britt Funke Remix) 5. Will Saul & Tam Cooper feat. Ursula Rucker – “Where Is It?” (Re-Loved Dub) 6. DJ Assassin – “Face In The Crowd” (Intellidread Mix) 7. Melody Boy 2000 – “Monotone Fantastique” 8. The Balanescu Quartet – “The Robots” 9. David Sylvian – “Forbidden Colours” 10. Depeche Mode – “Esque” 11. Die Vögel – “Empire” (Original vs. Dixon Edit) 12. Club M.C.M. – “It’s Me” 13. Stereotyp – “Take The Weight” (Peter Kruder Vocal Mix) 14. Clara Moto feat. Mimu – “Silently” (Kirk Degiorgio Remix) 15. Ché – “The Incident” (Wet Dream Mix) 16. DJ Linus – “Are You Ready?” 17. Dollkraut – “Loot” (Original Version) 18. Adam Port – “I Love You” 19. Daniel Wang – “Warped” 20. Walter Murphy – “A Fifth Of Beethoven” 21. Klaus Schulze – “Stardancer” 22. DJ Hell – “Germania” 23. David Bowie & The Pat Metheny Group – “This Is Not America”
Until then, check out this live mix that Hell did at Club Weekend.