Berlin may be seen as one of the epicentres for modern electronic music, but following closely in their footsteps is the German city of Hamburg. With its own insular scene running for years, the German port town has gained some of its own focus through a close knit community revolving around the cities musical heritage. Kollektiv Turmstrasse – a duo comprised of Nico Plagemann & Christian Hilscher and much loved by the underground house fraternity – are integral to this small & burgeoning scene, with the city’s rugged diversity and musical acceptance evident in their at times down-tempo, reflective aesthetic. Releases on Cocoon, Diynamic and Connaisseur (who unleashed the duo’s debut album Rebellion De Traumer to widespread critical acclaim) all point to a rich and eclectic approach to electronic music, a sound that refuses to be pigeonholed within specified confines or parameters. Malleable and shape-shifting, their sound regularly fluctuates between the dramatic and subtle, the vibrant and melancholic.
Nico & Christian took a few minutes out to catch up with us ahead of their show at London’s Oval Space on March 6th, to discuss their adopted city, their live show and the dynamics that have kept the pair working together for the best part of a decade. They also kindly prepared an exclusive mix for MEOKO, which can be listened to below.
Hi Christian and Nico, thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us. Where did the name “Kollektiv Turmstrasse” stem from?
Turmstrasse was the name of the street we were living years ago in a really small city. That was the beginning and we really didn’t know that this name will go along with us so long…
It seems you guys are inseparable – for how long have you known each other and has your relationship always been so close?
We met each other over 15 years ago and first it was the music why we got together.. Over the years we became close and lasting friends.
Can you share any embarrassing stories about each other ?
When you have lived together for so many years, you share the daily studio routine and travel together the whole weekend then there are for sure a few embarassing situations we could tell ― but who wants to know?? 😉
Knowing each other so well and having been in the game for several years – do you still prepare for each gig? Are there any rituals you share before going on stage?
Not for every gig, except we have to make big changings on our live set.. After playing live for the last 8 years there are certain habits. Our ritual is the vodka shot we drink before every single gig during our setup.
How do you typically work? Do you go into the studio with a full pre-set idea for a new track or do you play around until you find the right vibe and develop an idea around it on the spot?
Both.. Sometimes you have a concreate idea and sometimes you despair with the realization. And sometimes you play around and you get the dazzling idea.. The difficulty for us is to finish all these ideas and stuff we started and to convert to finished pieces.
You’ll be doing a live set at Oval Space on the 6th of March. Any new material you have in store for us Londoners during your set? Any new tracks or new equipment for the live show perhaps?
We worked out a perfect solution within the last years so we won’t come over with a new equipment or something like that. Our equipment is small, compact and handluggage compatible… New tracks or new little ideas will always be with us but it depents on the situation at the club how much we announce to the people or play…
Do you have other dreams, next to the ones you’ve accomplished already?
To finish the new upcoming album, to become and be a good father, to survive the Ibiza Season 2014 and to keep well and fit.
Finally we would like to finish this brief interview with something that is very special to us at MEOKO. We’ve known a lot of people who came across Kollektiv Turmstrasse by a certain video – referring to ‘Tristesse’, which means melancholy. Is there any subtext to the video? Any deeper meaning?
The video and the track is really special and behind this track there was a certain idea which was only known by us. When the video came up in the net, created by a fan as a thank you for us, we were totally overwhelmed… The story and cut of the video is similiar to the pictures and feelings in our minds. Tristesse and the video is a perfect example that you can facilitate something only with your music and a story beginns.. What you have to do is only listen to it!!
Kollektiv Turmstrasse will play live at Oval Space Music on the 6th of March. For tickets and more info about the event HERE.