Steffi’s new Panorama Bar CD has cemented her place as German electronic tastemaker
Steffi remains a constant presence in the world of house and techno, always on tour or playing her long enduring residency at Berlin’s ultimate after dark experience, Panorama Bar. With a broad musical understanding from immersing herself in the cultural swell of underground parties soaring though Berlin this past decade, Steffi has her own conception of how to perform a DJ set, revealing the most subtle details of her record collection that quickly unfurl before disappearing, leaving you with one simple question; “how on earth did she even find that?”
Dutch born Steffi has had quite the remarkable career. Aside from her stake in the aforementioned Panorama Bar, she’s released music via her own labels; Klakson, the relatively new Dolly, and Berghain’s associated label Ostgut Ton, who put together the sophisticated arrangements of her stunning debut album, Yours & Mine in 2011. A perfect encapsulation of the hugely influential label’s vision for quality and absolute individuality.
In May, Osgut Ton returned to unveil Steffi’s Panorama Bar 05 Mix CD. With previous editions mixed by the crème de la crème of the Berlin institution such as Tama Sumo and Cassy, we can whole heartedly say it’s an impressive effort. Featuring moments of true flair and club ready conviction from NYC deep house tastemaker Fred P, through to the filter leftfield house of Juju & Jordash – the canvas Steffi colours lifts us to the euphoric heights of a typical DJ set, without the danger of losing time, or your mind for that matter, in Panorama Bar.
Steffi’s artistic credibility doesn’t stop there, she’s recently joined forces with The Analogue Cops to release and perform as Third Side. Last year the trio released their killer techno jam sessions onto the LP format, entitled Unified Fields on Restoration Records. Without a multitude of distracting computer buttons, their hardware-centric live show is the epicentre of this interview, before Third Side make their debut at fabric on 13th April.
Hi Steffi. How are you enjoying 2013 so far?
I am good thank you. I started 2013 with a nice holiday but I am in full work mode now.
In May you unveil your Panorama Bar 05 mix CD. On your facebook you said you will try to give your best 70 minutes. Do you feel you’ve achieved this?
I am very happy with the result, but I find it a shame I couldn’t compile a double CD. I had so much more to say.
You are following in the great footsteps of Cassy, Tama Sumo and Nick Höppner. Did the Panorama Bar residents give any advice to you before you started the mix CD?
I spoke with Nick about the CD and he explained to me the work process and also shared his experience both from a DJ and label manager’s point of view. He told me how he had compiled his and spoke about ways to approach the mix. I also had a long and helpful talk with Levon Vincent over email as well. He had just done his fabric mix CD and his words were also very valuable. In the end, it’s a process that you have to go through yourself and be content with what you are trying to (re)present to the world.
For those who haven’t witnessed you behind the decks before, is Panorama Bar 05 a good representation of what you play for a dance floor?
Every set I play is different as I don’t commit myself to one style of music when I DJ, so it’s difficult to give you a straight yes or no. What I did have in mind when I put the mix together was to take you on a journey and to take you through different stages like you would experience when you are in a club/on a night out.
You’ve also been busy releasing and performing as Third Side, the live project you share with The Analogue Cops. How did your relationship with the hardware loving pair first blossom?
We got in contact in 2008 and found we had the same passion for Detroit techno/electro and decided to meet one day to exchange some records from our labels. They invited me for a jam session and we instantly felt a great creative vibe in the studio, so we decided to make music together more regularly. For me it was a new and very interesting way of working as we record everything in one take, without using a computer, straight onto tape. It’s very raw and we don’t edit afterwards either. In the beginning I would sometimes ask the boys if we could do a second take because I had the feeling the hi-hats had come earlier or later and they would laugh about that. After a few years I felt able to let go and accept it’s part of the whole process and I learnt to appreciate the charm of this instant way of working.
Over the last three years you’ve released a stream of hardware kicking productions on The Analogue Cops’ label Restoration, launching your debut LP last year titled, Unified Field. Can you pick a couple of tracks from the album to tell us about? For example, Unity and Shit On Me featuring Virginia?
We collaborated with Virginia and ND_Baumecker on this album as they are people we’ve both worked with in the past and are close friends. Both Jackie and Shit On Me are songs relating to funny personal experiences we had with each other. To bring other people in the studio is always an extra creative element for us and most importantly it’s just a lot of fun making music all together. Unity was one of the first tracks we wrote for the album and also the track we decided to release with remixes from Blawan, Nightjars and myself on a 12 inch.
On 13th April, Third Side debut in Room One at fabric. How do you feel about making the transition from the DJ booth where you’ve played there regularly next to Virginia to new stage territory?
I absolutely love playing live. It’s such a different energy. Again we don’t use a computer, so there is so much freedom during our live sets and we write a lot of new music to use for our live shows because we like to do something different every time we play live.
What kind of sensory experience can we hope for from Third Side on the Room One system?
You’ll have to come and find out yourself!
We know Third Side replaces computers for racks of hardware but can you tell us exactly what your live show entails?
Lucretio controls the MPC , I control the mixer with all the sounds, the effects and the Xoxbox and Marieu programmes the 909 and controls the other sampler.
Finally, in the midst of a busy year ahead for you, what are you most looking forward too?
I am looking forward to going into the studio to finish my second album. On a personal level, I have planned quite a few trips to different countries to spend some time outside Berlin.
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Catch Third Side, live at fabric on 13th April. Tickets available here: http://www.fabriclondon.com/club/listing/717
Steffi’s Panorama Bar 05 mix will be released by Ostgut Ton on May 13
Words: Anneka Buckle