Ellen Allien Interview: Freedom Is Key
- Published on Wednesday, 11 June 2014 12:10
Wherever you find Ellen Allien, you find movement. Born in Berlin, living and working in Berlin and Ibiza, one of the planet’s most dynamic party scenes, her artistic home stands for one thing above all: freedom, in every aspect. DJ, musician, label manager, t-shirt designer and creative all-rounder Ellen Allien has carved out her own space in all these roles, creating a unique universe. For a long time now, Ellen Allien has been regarded as a fixed star in the electronic music galaxy. She is an extraordinary creature, a one-of-a-kind artist without whom Berlin’s vibrant electronic club landscape wouldn’t be the same. Fortunately someone thought of a suitably extraterrestrial name for her right at the start of her career: Allien. No name will ever suit her better and MEOKO couldn't be happier to talk with her...
It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to interview you, where are you now and what are you up to?
At the moment I am in Ibiza, I moved here again last week. The whole winter I was in Berlin and very active, doing music and managing my label.
Now it is summer time and my residency at Circo Loco starts and the sea is close.
What is it like owning the BPitch Control label?
There is a lot of work and love involved. It is fun and exciting and also risky. It takes a lot of time to run the label and as long as I can finance the costs I will continue. I see it more and more like a hobby than a business.
Some of the artists are more of the experimental kind rather than pure techno... We Love, Joy Wellboy and Dillon to name a few. Each has a very unique sound, what is it that draws you to them?
I always tried to sign outstanding artists for BPitch Control, music and musicians who are touching my sensibility. Sometimes it was a great success sometimes not so much. The most exciting part, is how they grew and how different countries react to the music.
Your own sound often takes different shapes and forms, it’s explorational. Is this something you like to put as a priority when creating something?
Yes, my music is between club and listening. Sounds and analogue instruments like keyboards blend well with my emotional world...this is a great and joyful adventure for me.
You’re a resident in dynamic party scenes such as Ibiza. Where would you say you've attracted more of an audience or is it just different types of crowds?
Also in Berlin...here are the nights longer and a bit more crazy and the line ups are better organized.
Ibiza gives me positive energy I can’t explain that I think it’s the sea.
The sea keeps the island independent and cuts in away the energies of the other countries around.
You tour a lot. How do find the energy for so many different places? Does each different date in each different town/country give you a different kind of energy? Where are absolutely excited to play at again? Where have you never played but would love to play?
I would love to play in Africa for free entrance, this I would love to do...
All these different countries and energies with the people having different dreams and education is something I like. I have to understand this in the first 30 min. Mostly it works, there were only like 10 times the last 10 years when it was difficult for me to understand the crowd, this was mostly due to the a wrong behaviour of the promoter or some of the people. In general I can concentrate to feel the room and the crowd and it is a real pleasure for me to become one with the crowd.
Your sound feels very diverse within your sets, is this something that you aim for or does this reflect from something else?
I am mixing classics with new unreleased music, Detroit sound, house, tech, acid with breaks and groovy or industrials beats. My spectrum is huge...that’s why I love it so much. I find so much good music and it’s a challenge to mix it together.
The best moments are if the mix creates a new track. The red line of the set, the ups and downs the way I am pushing. It took years to arrive to this point.
So, Eastern Electrics Festival. Have you played there before? Do you have any surprises or plans for the showcase you'd like to share?
Yes sure...some new tracks of myself and the new Dettmann Rmx for Dillon and Seth Troxler did a bomb remix for Douglas Greed...and...hot tunes in the bag.
You own your own fashion range. How did that come up? Do you design the garments yourself or is it a collaboration with others?
For the T-shirt line I am working with different graphic designers. The ideas are mine and they are then developed with them. At the moment I am working with Pfadfinderei, Devide Sita and Blessing. They are very different...
You seem to have a very appreciable inclination to freedom which you practise through the label, the fashion range, and of course your own music. Was it difficult to climb your way up to where you are now through the motive of freedom? Do artists on the label have the same kind of creative freedom?
Creative freedom is important in order to create. The role of BPitch Control is just to help them to release their music. If we feel the music the artist the person and we think it would be important to listen for other people we want to share it.
We release their stuff. If we have bad sales and the artist put pressure on us and starts telling us it’s our fault that they are not successful we stop working with them because then it’s important for them to find their own way to grow. They need experiences. It is very important that you feel good as an artist with the people you are working with and also for us it is important...then we have a good result.
Your last EP is called ''Free Nation'' is there a reason behind this? Some sort of conceptual meaning?
My dream is that humans are free...that we could live where we want and how we want to...we can’t...but its good to throw it out into the world.
In addition to the above, what are you currently working on? Anything interesting on the cards?
My new single is in the box. Here are some snippets:
I also did a remix for Shinedoe, it will be released on her label intacto:
Catch Ellen Allien play at Eastern Electrics on Saturday 2nd of August.