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Electronic Beats Festival 2012: Sueur de Cologne

Electronic Beats Festival 2012: Sueur de Cologne Flashback: Berlin, Monday morning, busy calls on the telephone. Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince had just called in sick, which meant some creative chaos for the Electronic Beats Cologne Festival booking: how to handle a headliner cancellation situation, how to find a quality replacement for The Kills in a short time, and how to not piss off our guests. This was when we called Marco Niemerski aka Tensnake, and he was in. The anxiety settled down. For a while.

Cologne, Thursday afternoon, sweltering heat. The sun was not just shining bright today, it seemed more as if the whole town was boiling – maybe not the best conditions for an indoor music festival, at least that’s what we thought during the day. But nearly 2,000 of you came out during Electronic Beats Festival Cologne. That’s very much appreciated, especially bearing our announcement earlier this week in mind.



Young British hot shots Citizens! took the festival stage at 9pm. The Kitsuné Maison-bound band from London had their debut album released today, and it was great to see how
A. tight they performed despite of the few number of gigs these twenty-somethings have played to date,
B. charismatic Martyn, Thom, Mike, Lawrence, and Tom are on stage
C. many of the guests connected to their mostly guitar-based setup.


During the changeover Marius Bubat and Georg Conrad from Cologne-hailing COMA dropped tunes, and people started flooding the beer garden, silk-printing custom-made tote bags, trying their luck with the claw crane, or just having a Bratwurst from the brazier.

When The Hundred In The Hands took over at an hour later, the venue was alreay well-packed. Having released their self-titled album on Warp Records two years ago, the Brooklyn duo of Eleanore Everdell and Jason Friedman already had a great foundation for a genre-crossing set – but they took it to another level with their sophomore album, up for release in June. On stage, they seemed like a strange remembrance of The Kills: a girl/boy setup kicking off songs without any hesitation, but with power and passion.


When I started making music in Toronto, I was the only one playing electronic music“, said Austra‘s Katie Stelmanis earlier that day. “Everybody was trying to convince me to play a conventional instrument. But I knew from other countries that it was allowed to use computers instead of guitars.” Good thing she learned from this experience: when Austra brought ‘Lose It’ and ‘Beats and the Pulse’ to the stage, something instantly snapped between them and the audience – a feeling of elation filled the room. Which is, of course, because Austra aren’t based only on neither computers nor guitars, but also very much on vocals, on a human face.


At quarter past midnight, this human face exploded into a grimace of joy: Miike Snow stepped up with a blend of their three year-spanning discography and a crazy stage setup: a custom-made synthesizer took up the stage, with the band arranging themselves around this artifact of music hardware.


We used to remix and to produce a lot of other people’s music and we liked it. But we realized that we wanted things to progress effortlessly“, co-producer Christian Karlsson explained to us. This fleet-footed approach was present at every moment of their live show: these guys are true animals, making every concert a unique experience. It was good to see them back in Cologne after we already had them play for the 2010 edition of EB festival.

We would have loved to produce the new Depeche Mode album“, Karlsson continued during the interview. “We were in the pitch. I think that collaborations could be a new way for Miike Snow: I would like to work with Martin Lee Gore and see what the result would be.” And we would love to bring this kind of collaboration to the stage, that’s for sure! These Swedish guys are great, not only musicwise, but especially great in person – see for yourself:


And then finally it was Tensnake‘s turn. The Hamburg based producer played a very charming and pop-heavy set, but he did so in front of a 80-100 people crowd – what a shame. And yes, this was an ungrateful slot, playing right after the headliner’s last song – specially when it’s already 1:30 on a Friday morning and people have been up all night. Which is why everybody who stuck around, moved their bodies and enjoyed oneself is to thank twice as much.


Anyway, what we really wanted to say is: THANK YOU for coming out last night, thanks for being indulgent with our booking, and thank you for being amazing people, readers, friends and partners! See you next time around!




For now, watch images from our Facebook-enabled photo booth here, follow last night’s conversations and also check out our Festigrams. More festival video material and live recaps will be following soon, so you should subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Photos: © Peyman Azhari / Walter W. Wacht / Electronic Beats

Published May 25, 2012.