Berlin-based DJ Behind Bars presents his My Body EP — an intense techno monolith consisting of two sweaty and darkly layered productions. The EP is charged with pulsating energy that is on the verge of meltdown. My Body showcases subtle rave character and driving rhythms tgat take you on a dark trip through the night alongside unleashed and untold strength.
This time, Behind gets candid about finding freedom through techno, how it has shaped him today, and what to look forward to regarding his projects for the rest of the year.
Welcome Behind Bars, we’re excited to learn more about your journey and music. How are you, and how has your 2022 been?
Hey, it’s a pleasure to meet you guys! My 2022 has been great so far, which to be honest I’m almost hesitant to say, as there is so much going on in the world right now that almost inclines you to feel otherwise — the Ukraine crisis, Corona, inflation — you name it. But — and this is what I’ve felt especially clearly in Berlin this year, there is this “despite all of this” mentality this year. People are just so eager to go out, to meet up, to express themselves, and catch up on what they had been missing out on during the past two years.
Especially in Berlin, a place that’s known for the expressiveness and outward orientation, the streets these days are filled with a vibrancy and energy so intense that it’s almost as if it lifts you off the ground. Quite the liberating feeling to make hard-ass techno hovering 10ft off the ground! So that’s what I did and hopefully will continue to be doing for a long time to come. Please don’t let me sink down, my lovely Berlin!
Tell us how you found your calling for techno. What were your influences during your journey?
So my techno journey started in Hamburg, where I’m from originally, about 10 years ago. There was this club called EGO in Hamburg’s red-light district that was the place to be, known for its deep house vibes and its famous residents (Solomun ring a bell?).
The sound and the vibe completely captivated me. Although in the beginning, I couldn’t really explain to myself how the people would be able to dance the night away even way beyond 5am, which is when I usually went home because I had absolutely zero energy left. I found out soon enough.
So after getting into and enjoying this scene a bit, after one of these nights I woke up in the morning whistling away on a song that I thought I had heard the night before — turns out, this wasn’t a song that actually existed but my mind had completely made up (probably medleying away on all the sounds that I had heard during the club night).
“I woke up in the morning whistling away on a song that I thought I had heard the night before — turns out, this wasn’t a song that actually existed but my mind had completely made up.”
When an artist least expects it, music always finds its way to them.
Because I liked the melody so much I thought okay wouldn’t it be cool to actually make this into a song? So I did some Googling, went on and installed Ableton, recorded my whistling through my really bad gaming headset’s mic, and hit the “convert melody to MIDI” button — voila, this was actually the baseline for my first song. I was hooked. And it went on from there! There’s so much more to tell — but I fear we’re going to need a follow-up interview for that ;).
Speaking of techno, you’re currently living in Berlin, one of the Holy meccas for techno itself. Can you share with us what it is about Berlin’s techno scene that makes it unique? Any favorite memories from performing at the venues in Berlin?
What I appreciate so much about living here is that there really isn’t such a thing as “contradiction”. You could be a lawyer during the day and a DJ at night — who gives a sh**. So what if people elsewhere are trying to put you into categories, do whatever makes you happy. This vibe flows over directly into the vibe of the techno scene. There is this inherent sense of freedom, expression, unity, and transcendence of societal rules and confinements, which is what makes Berlin’s scene unique. It sounds almost trashy or over-used, but honestly, this is what it feels like to me.
“What I appreciate so much about living here is that there really isn’t such a thing as “contradiction”. You could be a lawyer during the day and a DJ at night — who gives a sh**.”
Techno culture in Berlin is never one-size, but a size befitting for all.
Best, best memory from performing: so I had this very very basic loop on repeat with the lows completely turned down because the other CDJ needed some fixing. It took me a few minutes to set everything up and once I got back behind the decks I realized everyone was already up and dancing intensely — despite the fact that first of all this was a 16-bar loop playing but also that there wasn’t any (audible) bass whatsoever. Apparently, people thought this was all there is and had gotten used to it. Little did they know what hit them when I (smiling Joker-like) put that sweet bass back in ….oh boy, what an amazing moment.
Musically, you’ve released your My Body EP that came out on June 24th. First, congrats on the release, we know that you worked hard on it. What was the inspiration behind creating this project?
So I think that during Corona people accumulated a lot internally — there was a lot of frustration and not the usual mechanisms to express themselves and create balance. At the same time, of course, the desire (almost a craving) for expression, freedom, and all the beautiful things that were previously so valued has increased to the point of absurdity. I tapped into these energies and just let myself get carried away. The result is these two tracks.
You also released the EP on your label SÜCHTIG. Can you share with us what pushed you into creating your own label?
First of all, I think of it as a way to bring people together — I have a lot of producer and DJ friends, and many struggle with getting signed to a label these days. I want to unite them and give them a platform, as well as for my own music.
Being an artist is more than just creating and building pieces, but creating and builing a community.
Creating a label means much more control over every aspect of your music, the vibe, the production, and the marketing. Also, you don’t have to wait a year to get your music out there because their release schedules are full.
Owning a label also means more work, but you are given the opportunity to create something more coherent and approachable than if you’d just sign to a random label, or, as it’s widely happening these days, each EP to a different label which each of these labels signing many different artists.
What can your audience expect for the rest of 2022?
I’m in the process of producing new material and am already planning the next releases. But I would be happy to play more and to be able to present my music more on the dancefloor again – that was rather difficult the last two years! I am quite optimistic that this will work out. Maybe even in the U.S. at some point? I’m all up for it!