Every August, Berlin’s stalwart KILLEKILL techno outpost hosts a week-long festival to showcase and unite talent from the city’s highly developed field and beyond. Krake culls DJs from local crews like the artistic minds behind Neukolln’s Sameheads bar and imports talent from France and the UK, and events include label markets and parties at famous clubs like Suicide Circus and the Berghain Kantine. This year it’s bigger than ever, as they’ve added an art installation at Urban Spree and will host a workshop with Ableton. We asked KILLEKILL boss Nico Deuster to help us sort through the many arms of the Krake Festival for the super-special functions.
Monday, August 3: KRAKE Opening with Monolake, DAT Politics and 5XL @ Urban Spree 18:00
For the opening night of the festival, we usually try to book live performers, experimental visual arts and some special gimmicks to create a night that’s as wild and eclectic as the whole festival. This year we have DAT Politics from France, which to us is one of the most interesting electronic bands on the planet. They were a bit out of focus recently, but they have a new album soon and a remix for our personal superhero, David Lynch, so the timing seemed perfect to include them. Another highlight that night will be 5XL, a collaboration among five young musicians who are all involved in other successful projects and use this alias for techno live jams. We’ll also open the Krake art exhibition that night, which will be open all week long and features Destructive Observation Field by Monolake’s Robert Henke and a multicolor laser beam that burns a plastic plate to create expanding and contracting forms that have a semi-organic appearance.
Tuesday, August 4: Label Boutique @ Urban Spree 14:00
In order to create a platform for Berlin’s vivid electronic music scene, we contacted our favorite local labels, record stores and agencies to set up a market where you can browse releases and merchandise for rarities and goodies. There will also be DJ sets, a panel on music rights management in modern times and a live performance by Julia Drouhin, who creates chocolate records with hits from dead musicians that can be heard and eaten by the audience.
Wednesday, August 5: Bodies & Minds @ Berghain Kantine
Our Wednesday night at the Berghain Kantine is a classic; it’s where the whole KILLEKILL story started, and it has been a part of every edition of the Krake Festival so far. This year, we’re cooperating with BODIES, a Berlin collective that has set up a few impressive nights in Berlin that combine extreme body performances with techno. On the musical side of things, we’ll present live sets by INNER8 and Ken Karter, and later the KILLEKILL DJs will take over, including Alienata, who has built a solid reputation with her extraordinary selection and outstanding sensibility for the crowd, KILLEKILL boss hog DJ Flush (that’s me) and Fist Van Odor, who’s a freak who’ll teach you how to be one, too.
Thursday, August 6: Krake x Ableton Workshops @ Urban Spree
You’re invited to a day of creative workshops and music-making hosted by Ableton. Eomac and Arad, AKA Lakker, will present in-depth track deconstructions and insights into performing on-stage with Live. Ableton Product Specialist Jesse Abayomi will demonstrate Ableton Push and its workflow, and workshop participants will be able to try Push for themselves at the Push Playground. To round things out, the Ableton User Group Berlin will present a live laptop/hardware jam hosted by Ableton Certified Trainers Maya Sternel and Brian Smith.
Friday, August 7: Krake Club Night @ Suicide Circus
On Friday, the final stage—Krake weekend—begins! One of the performances I’m looking forward to the most is Cassegrain & Tin Man, a cooperation that combines both their distinctive sounds: moodern techno and classic connoisseur techno, respectively. After some outstanding releases, they’ve finally set up a live show together, and we’re really proud to have them. I’m also particularly looking forward to rRoxymore’s performance on the open air floor, as her Boiler Room set really fascinated when I saw it. Super subtle house with an experimental touch, plus her beautiful voice—just great!
Saturday, August 8: The Kraken @ Suicide Circus and Urban Spree
Saturday night’s peak combines the professional club situation of Suicide Circus with Urban Spree’s DIY style. It’ll be a four-dimensional blast filled with great music from subtle electronica and ambient to the freakiest shit in techno or electro, outstanding visual art and everything in between. There’s a floor for the UK bass sound featuring Eomac, Arad, Kamikaze Space Programme, Bintus and Untold, the latter of whom we consider one of the most progressive electronic music producers in recent years. He has a new and extremely reduced A/V show, which we’re super excited about. The second highlight of the night takes place on the electro floor, which will be headlined by legendary project Hypnobeat, who modestly claim to have invented techno in the early ’80s. Regardless of the claim’s veracity, their multi-drum machine percussive session is a unique experience. But what really makes this night special is the diversity on offer with all the local networks. Last year, the atmosphere that permeates the huge playground in the middle of Berlin left me standing with my mouth open time and again.
Sunday, August 9: Closing Party
After long discussions about whether we really need this, we’ve finally decided to set up a little closing party that’s exclusive to the team, artists and those who hold full festival passes. Personally, I think it’ll be a highlight for me, as my job will be done and I’ll finally be able to relax and enjoy the music. The lineup is secret, but strong!
Buy tickets to Krake Festival here. Cover photo by Jo Ruckelshausen.
Melt! Festival in Germany is a solid bet. Held on a former mining site where 20th-century machinery looms over stages, its bookings run the gamut from underground techno DJs to pop stars, presented on reliably monstrous soundsystems. Ahead of this year’s event, which takes place between July 16 and 19, we enlisted Melt!’s very busy head of booking, Stefan Lehmkuhl, to share some of his personal highlights across all its stages.
We’re all looking forward to Santigold and Hercules & Love Affair on opening night, but I feel I should point out the Trevor Horn Band as I fear some people don’t even know who the fuck that is. He wrote “Video Killed the Radio Star,” “Relax” from Frankie Goes to Hollywood and “Slave to the Rhythm,” just to name a few major hits, and of course he’ll play all those. Be ready for ‘80s vibes and guilty pleasures!
Friday, July 17: Modeselektor, Jamie xx, London Grammar and Nils Frahm
Going through Friday’s line-up involves too many decisions. If I were a visitor, you’d find me here: From 17:00 to 21:45 I’d have my feet in the lake by our beach, listening to full sets from Modeselektor, with a small interruption for South African house vibes from Culoe de Song on the Big Wheel stage. Then I’d catch Jamie xx at sunset before running over to Years & Years at 21:45 on the Gemini stage. Calm down with London Grammar on the Mainstage at 23:30, stay for Nils Frahm and finish off with a Bonobo DJ set back at the beach.
Saturday, July 18: The Black Madonna, Lena Willikens, David August and Kylie Minogue
Saturday is full of legends. I’d start my day around 14:00 at the Sleepless floor with The Black Madonna and Lena Willikens. Then I’d head to see David August live and XXXY at Big Wheel from 19:00 to 22:00. Unfortunately that would mean missing Cakes da Killa, but he’s playing in Berlin in two weeks time. Of course, I’d catch the legendary Giorgio Moroder and Kylie Minogue on the Mainstage around midnight. Damn, it clashes with Siriusmodeselektor—I almost hate myself for programming this. Sven Väth is a good choice for the sun coming up toward the end of his set. He’s never played Melt! before so I cant miss his debut.
Sunday, July 19: Ibeyi and Ellen Allien
Sundays always include some sure shots for my personal top Melt! moments, like the annual matinee slot at 4 p.m. when all stages (except the Sleepless floor) focus on rather quiet bands. After catching Jose Gonzalez and Rhye in past years, I’m looking forward to seeing Ibeyi follow Kings of Convenience this year. The other important moment for me is Ellen Allien’s annual closing set. We’ve done this for the last ten years, and this year she’ll play a four-hour set.
Selfishly, I like really getting involved with Sleepless floor after the headliners have played and nothing really can go wrong anymore. You’ll find me somewhere there until Ellen hands the reigns over to Steve Rachmad at 6 a.m. I’d also recommend that everyone check out Damian Lazarus & the Ancient Moons for sunset around 21:30. I saw his first live set in Ibiza this year, and it was fantastic.
Header image: Robert Winter
Photo by Douglas Wojciechowsk and courtesy of Movement Detroit.
In a country where an “electronic music festival” can mean hordes of teenage kandi ravers and neon SEX DRUGS AND DUBSTEP tanks, Movement Detroit is a crucial anomaly. Over the past 15 years, it has become the United States’ only large-scale dance music event that focuses on Detroit’s techno pioneers and other artists who don’t quite fit the bill for a typical American EDM blowout. This year’s installment launches on Saturday, May 23 with a lineup that includes hundreds of DJs and producers, including Carl Craig, Ryan Elliott and Joy Orbison, not to mention a slew of after parties every night after the fun at Hart Plaza winds down. The endless opportunities can paralyze even a veteran festivalgoer, so we tapped Detroit local and longtime Movement attendee Brendan Gillen, who runs the Interdimensional Transmissions label and founded the group Ectomorph, to help us navigate the bill. Here are his picks for Movement’s must-see performances and after bashes.
Saturday, May 23 @ The RBMA Stage: Rick Wilhite, 15:00
Rick Wilhite is the godson and one of the original Three Chairs, his group with Moodymann, Theo Parrish and Marcellus Pittman. He’s the real deal, a Detroit head whose roots stretch to the beginning. He’s also throwing an after-hours on Friday with all four members of Three Chairs.
Saturday, May 23 @ The RBMA Stage: Octave One Live, 19:00
On the same stage that day, Octave One will bring an entire studio with them to play live. It’s actually a really dynamic show. My favorite track from them is “I Believe,” which has lyrics from Anthony Shake Shakir. It’s a pivotal record that marked the dawn of Transmat’s next generation. Mike Banks gave them the responsibility of marketing “Knights of the Jaguar,” and they got Derrick May to come out of retirement to make a remix for that. They showed up at his hotel, called him from the lobby and were like, “Hey man, you still wanna do that remix? OK great, we’re in the lobby and we have all your equipment.”
Saturday, May 23 @ The Beatport Stage: Atom™ & Tobias, 20:00
The stages at Movement have different characters. Beatport’s usually the place where you’ll catch Seth Troxler or Magda or something like that, so it’s surprising to me they booked Atom™ and Tobias. Regardless, that’s one of the best live shows you can catch in electronic music. There are about ten great live techno acts, and on Saturday we’ve got two of them.
Saturday, May 23 @ The THUMP Stage: The Detroit Love Showcase with Urban Tribe, Recloose, Carl Craig and Mad Mike Banks
The Detroit Love showcase opens with Urban Tribe, an unsung project by DJ Stingray that’s also one of the most futuristic. Recloose is also a hometown hero. He’s lived in New Zealand for a long time and finally moved back to Brooklyn, so it’s great to have him again. Then Carl Craig will close it out with Mike Banks—I haven’t seen them play together yet, but people who have seen the project were blown away. Mike brings the church to it.
Saturday, May 23 @ The Underground Stage: Kangding Ray (15:30) and Regis (22:00)
Regis is closing out the first night at the Underground stage. If you like that techno thing, he’s one of the Official 12 Inventors of Techno. And Kangding Ray’s live show is absolutely out of this world.
Sunday, May 24 @ The RBMA Stage: Waajeed, 17:00
Waajeed’s contributions to the Dirt Tech Reck label as Jeedo expanded his musical repetoire to include a hybrid form of techno that combines Detroit hip-hop and bass music. He’s real Detroit hip-hop, which is a rare thing. There’s far too little of it. Who knows how he’ll play; he’s so across the board.
Sunday, May 24 @ The THUMP Stage: The Ghostly International Showcase
The huge deal for me that day is the “Untitled” portion of the Ghostly International showcase. The Untitled showcase is the heroes. It’s a celebration of the Midwest mavericks and what they launched. Untitled was the name of a night with Johnny O, who used teamed up with [Ghostly founder] Sam Valenti and put together a tag team with Matthew Dear, Tadd Mullinix, Derek Plaslaiko and Mike Servito. Then Todd Osborn got into regular rotation. And it’d be insane not to mention Ryan Elliott, who was usually Matt Dear’s tag-team partner. He’s part of this too. To me, Ryan is the heart of Ghostly, and he was my favorite DJ in Detroit.
Sunday, May 24 @ Tangent Gallery: Interdimensional Transmissions & The Bunker NY Present No Way Back
There are up to 50 after parties each night, which is a miracle because on any other night of the year it’s a feat to pull over 300 people. I saw Marcel Dettmann play for 15 people. But during the festival, it’s possible to have well over 500 people at a party. For one weekend every year, there’s an illusion that we’re a part of the world on that level. On Sunday there will be ten after parties where the promoters make a real profit, and this city is a place where people break even. That night I have my own after party called No Way Back. The first time we threw the party, we used an old bank with an unfinished ceiling, so it rained on the dance floor, which turned into a legendary aspect.
When I moved to Detroit from Ann Arbor, I thought, “Where is the nightlife that I dreamed of and used to come to?” So I threw a party that referenced what had inspired me about the ’90s—not the crappy part; the amazing part where it felt like everything was possible. No Way Back spawned into this huge organic thing, and each year it gets a little bit bigger. Everybody’s there to see the masters performing on a major soundsystem in a fully transformed place, decorated with a level of attention that we used to put in the ’90s when rave was still outlawed here. It references all that, and it’s a rare chance to see the pre-industry version of Detroit late-night partying. This year, the reaction has been even huger, so we added a second room of mental stimulation music, outer space music. We got John Elliott from Spectrum Spools to do his debut DJ set.
Monday, May 25 @ The RBMA Stage: DJ Godfather, 15:30
DJ Godfather’s set at Movement is a Detroit tradition, and he does it every year. He plays sinful music that makes you go nuts, whether it’s ghetto house, booty bass, or ghetto tech. It’ll be an hour of aural pornography, and it’s the only thing happening here that touches on one of Detroit’s flagships at the end of the ’90s.
Monday, May 25 @ The Sixth Stage: Shawn Rudiman (21:00) and Detroit Techno Militia (21:30)
Shawn Rudiman is doing an all-hardware live show on the mysterious Sixth Stage. He’s a stalwart from our crazy underground scene. He’s got records out, and they’re great, but he’s 50 times better as a live performer. He’s living, breathing Detroit techno, and the Detroit techno everyone wishes there was more of. After that Detroit Techno Militia will close out with a half-hour tag team. They’re going to use six turntables and all play over each other, but it’s fluid and incredible. I’ve never seen any other group pull it off. They know the music and they know each other, so it’s something bizarre and special. All these weird anomalies can only happen in Detroit.
Photo by Jacob Khrist.
There are two parts of Weather: OFF, which runs May 27-31 in venues around Paris, and ON, a three-day music festival in the Plain de Jeux du Polygon park that starts June 4. The main idea for OFF is to show a little bit of the Parisian scene and the active artists in it to people who come from other countries. For the first two editions of Weather, we did the OFF events during the same week as the main festival, but this year we decided to separate them and do OFF one week before ON. We thought it would be good to split them because we’re not able to be involved enough with the shows as we’re so busy the main events, and also because ON ends up competing with OFF. Most people were going to Weather Festival ON, and that took away from the audience that would have gone to OFF, which wasn’t fair because both are great. Here are some OFF and ON events I’m excited about.
Wednesday, May 27 @ Institut du Monde Arabe, 19:30
On Wednesday, we’re opening the OFF Festival with a special private event at the Institut du Monde Arabe. We’re used to working with them because we did a Weather Festival special on Boiler Room at that location, and it’s really beautiful there. We’ll start the evening with a screening of the movie Man From Tomorrow by Jacqueline Caux with original compositions by Jeff Mills. Mills will be there with Caux to do a conference. People will be able to ask them questions, and maybe they’ll do a little debate or conversation. After that, we’ll go on the rooftop of the Institut, where DJ Deep and Roman Poncet will do their first-ever joint live performance as Sergie Rezza. We’re collaborating with RBMA on this event, so we’re going to live stream it so that everyone can attend and see it live on the Internet. And to end the night, Pepe Braddock will play.
Thursday, May 28 @ La Gaîté Lyrique, 21:30
We got permission from the government to host OFF events, like debates and master classes, at La Gaîté Lyrique, which is a cultural center that does a lot of very experimental live performances. They’re setting up a room for us with a 360 degree screen all around it to project VJed visuals. It’s going to be a real experience, and Voices from the Lake is the best live act to see in those conditions. Donato Dozzy and Neel will do a special two-hour set for it that will go from ambient to techno. I think it’ll be really trippy. Heleen Blanken, who used to work with Ben Klock on his Klockworks show, will do a special video performance just for that night.
The most important event of Weather’s OFF Festival is the Mini-Weather. It’ll be an afternoon event at Concrete dedicated to kids and families with a roller disco park, karaoke, and games while some artists play for the kids and their parents. We’ve done some events for kids in the past, but they were mostly master classes; last year we had Margaret Dygas teach them about music. This year we wanted to do something a little bigger, like a real party for kids. It’s free for them and five euro for their parents, so the parents can go and dance while their kids take a class in vogue dancing or play games.
Thursday, June 4 @ Bois de Vincennes: Derrick May Live Orchestra
Weather 2015’s opening concert is going to be really huge—there will be 45 people onstage. It’ll be Derrick May, pianist Francesco Tristano, and Dzijan Emin, the conductor of the Orchestre Lamoureux, which is a very old Parisian orchestra founded in 1881. They’re very interested in working with techno music and adapting it to classical instruments, and it’s going to be a very impressive performance. The main festival starts the day after.
Friday, June 5 @ Scène Automne: Jeff Mills
For me, one of the most exciting artists to play at ON is Jeff Mills. He’s doing a regular techno DJ set, and I think just before his set he’ll be giving autographs to people for one euro or so. The money will go to a charity, probably one that helps the poor, although it’s not confirmed which one.
Friday, June 5 @ Scène Hiver: Herbert Live
Matthew Herbert is one of my favorite artists ever, so I’m really excited to see him play at Weather. He stopped making music under the name Herbert years ago, and since then he’s released music under different names. Now he’s back with a new album, The Shakes, which comes out on May 29, right before Weather Festival. He’s going to present the record with a live band of 10 musicians.
Friday, June 5 @ Scène Hiver: Ron Morelli & Low Jack & Vatican Shadow
My third recommendation for ON is another exclusive live show by Ron Morelli, Vatican Shadow and Low Jack. The performance doesn’t even exist yet, so they’re going to come to Paris two weeks before the festival and go into the Red Bull studios to create a live set for us. Those three artists have a really special musical vision, and it’s a pretty crazy one, so their live set is going to be really interesting.
Saturday, June 6 @ the Scène Modular: Blawan Presents Ternescan Chambers
This year I wanted to have a special stage at the festival that’s dedicated to modular synth performances. At first I booked Blawan for his live act with Pariah, Karenn—they’re going to play on Friday. Then Blawan’s manager told me that he was working on a live set with his modular gear, and that he was really interested in presenting it at Weather. I’m a big fan of Blawan so I immediately said yes, but I don’t have much information about it. I don’t really know the direction he’ll take, if it’ll be rhythmic or ambient. It’ll be a surprise, and I think it’s cool like that.