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Explore Robert Johnson’s Early-’00s Heyday With This Photo Essay By Frankfurt DJ Flug 8

Frankfurt artist Flug 8 documents the city as it looked during its "craziest and most intense time."

The Frankfurt DJ and producer Flug 8 (a.k.a. Daniel Herrmann) has been documenting the city’s underground scene for more than a decade. Ahead of his forthcoming kosmische-indebted release, Hypnotische, on Ransom Note Records, he wrote a few words about his experience being a pivotal part of the institution Robert Johnson, his role in the Offenbach label Klang Elektronik and took some photos of the club—as well as his colleagues Dixon, Ata, Roman Flügel, Acid Pauli and Heiko MSO—and the city in its early 2000s heyday.

“These photos were taken between 2007 and early 2009, the same time the music that now makes up Hypnotische was created. Back then I’d just returned from touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who I’d created live footage for. The shift from 5-star hotels and huge stadiums to my living situation in the slum of Offenbach could not have been bigger. At the time, the Robert Johnson club was at its peak, and I hung out with all kinds of creative people there who were on the rise to fame. Some of them became friends for life. Little did I know what else would come to be. How everything would expand.

When I left the Klang Elektronik office in the early mornings, where Michael Laven and Heiko MSO had a studio, I sometimes went to strange little pubs or visited my neighbours. We had wealth and poverty all around us. Perhaps I went there because of the contrast to my guarded childhood… because I am curious and seeking of nature. However, the spirit of Offenbach at the time was beaming with energy, art and craziness. Good or bad, we were all just trying to live together, finding a rhythm that connected us. I was clearly trying to find myself and my identity within the extreme contrast of living. In my loneliness I often sat in my flat, working with a synthesizer that I had just bought with money from touring the world. Everything seemed like an endless loop, with impressions and contrast. Just waiting to create new things to bring to the studio the next day. To start again. That’s what it felt like. Surviving the night to meet a new day! I have a huge amount of respect for everyone I met, greeted and created atmosphere with during that time.

The vocals to the track “Walls” were created much later in 2012, in the same studio belonging to Michael Laven, by then my close friend. He also engineered and recorded the vocals. I had just met the Danish singer and composer Kristina Kristoffersen aka Mono Girl. We bonded instantly, and I asked her if she could find words and a melody for the track, as I felt like something was missing. She created the lyrics from our many talks and walks around Offenbach, and so this particular time frame closed and was finally put to rest. A time on the edge, so intense and hypnotic.”

ata roman flügel daniel herrmann
heiko mso pascal feos
Fotobox with Acid Pauli Fotobox
Downtown Offenbach
Hochplateau Offenbach
Offenbach Downtown
Michael Laven

Flug 8’s album, Hynotische, will be available on Bandcamp as a free download on April 19. You can purchase it on all streaming platforms on April 26. 

Published April 16, 2019. Words by Daniel Herrmann, photos by Daniel Herrmann.