5 Minutes With… Oliver Huntemann

Oliver Huntemann is a German minimal techno maestro and DUBFIRE collaborator. Following Amon Tobin‘s ISAM project, Oliver Huntemann was next to push audio visual boundaries, creating his live sets in full view of the audience through the revolutionary Reactable system. The Reactable system is designed to make live electronic music engage with an audience; something that Huntemann has become renowned for. Huntemann has just released his highly anticipated upcoming EP ‘Schwarzlicht und Filmriss’, which came out in June 2015 with a series of events in Ibiza playing alongside such names as SOLOMON, Sven Vath, DJ Koze and Mano Le Tough. His signature sound is revered by techno fans globally; many putting this down to his ability to innovate whilst staying true to the roots of the music.

Oliver Huntemann will be playing KOKO, Camden at the forthcoming Playground event, 22 August. We caught up with him ahead of the show to talk techno, Senso and Hamburg VS Berlin.

Hi, Oliver Huntemann. Where are you speaking to us from today?

I’m writing from the balcony of my hotel in Cesme, close to Izmir in Turkey, where I have a gig tonight.

You launched your label Senso Sounds back in 2014, how’s everything going with that? Are there any releases coming up that we should be looking out for?

It’s a lot of work but it goes pretty well. Senso Sounds 011 is just released. We’re talking about my new single, Schwarzlicht & Filmriss or in English, Blacklight & Mind Lapse. Senso Sounds 012 will be an EP from my good friend André Winter, to be released end of summer. But surely you should look out for all Senso Sounds singles as we already have a great collection of finest tunes released over the past twelve months.

What was the music scene in Hamburg like when you were growing up there? How would you say it has progressed since then?

I grew up in Oldenburg not in Hamburg. But you’re right, Hamburg is my hometown. We kind of have a stable music scene. Basically more indie and rock but also techno and electronic music. Solomun and the Dyinamic crew are fore example based in Hamburg too. The nordic folk are very loyal. We don’t follow that much trends or booms. The ‘Place to be’ venues are changing and clubs re-open under a new name and with a new design but the amount of constant electronic music venues stay more or less the same. Also we have a strong open-air scene and many temporary projects, which keep a constant change and movement.

What made you choose to stay there as opposed to somewhere like Berlin, where a lot of DJ’s/producers tend to flock to?

I simply never asked myself to leave Hamburg. Berlin is nice, I like to be there, but I don‘t feel the need to live there. This big demand of moving down to Berlin or living there for a while is more in the interest of younger people. I saw already a lot and have the benefit to be an established artist with a network. I don‘t necessary need to be in Berlin to meet certain people or “open doors”. I feel comfortable with my friends, team and environment in Hamburg and I love this city. Also it’s kind of a wrong perception people have in mind about Berlin. You don’t go to Berlin as a producer and get successful or stick to “Important” people overnight. If you go to Berlin as a young, non established artist be prepared to jump into a sea full of sharks.

The popularity of techno has skyrocketed in recent years and a lot of people seem to be in two minds as to whether it’s been a good thing or whether in some cases it’s damaged the authenticity. What’s your opinion on this? Were you surprised when techno suddenly became so in demand?

Well, talking about techno it depends who you are talking to. It is a matter of definition and the definition of it is quite different. I prefer to think positive and I guess it’s a good thing in general that our culture and the belonging lifestyle grows. I’m sorry, this ‘EDM kills all good music‘ discussion and similar topics are quite odd, I’m out here.

How much does a crowd effect the way you feel about a set?

Working with the crowd and build a connection is very important and one core point that makes a good DJ in my eyes. Feelings about sets are drifting. Sometimes I’m not so happy with my set but the reactions of the crowd shows the opposite. Sometimes I think my set was good but I couldn’t get a close connection to the crowd. I don’t worry about my mixing skills, it’s more the drama or questions of would it have worked better, if I’d have played that or this track on a certain point. DJ’ing is filigrane work and two hours are a short timeframe. To tell a good story I usually prefer to play longer sets.

We love the video for your track ‘Schnitzel’ and it’s not everyday that you see electronic music with such an elaborate music video. Do you think it is important to create an accompanying video that compliments the music?

I don’t think it’s necessary important, good music will find it’s way. But I love to do one nice video when I have an idea to visualise the track.

 If you weren’t making electronic music, what do you think you would be doing?

Luckily I never needed to think about it. I think about what I do in the future but that’s all based on what I’ve done in the past and what I do now. Everything else seems waste of time to me.

You’ve already got four successful studio albums under your belt, do you think you’ll be making another one any time soon?

I feel the grow of many ideas for another album and I guess I will start working on it after summer.

What can we expect to hear from your set at KOKO?

I’m looking much forward to my visit at KOKO in London. Some great artists are on the bill. I expect a long hot night!

Oliver Huntemann will be playing at KOKO, 22 August, alongside Gary Beck, Juan Atkins, Gregor Tresher, Dubspeeka and Agents of Time. Click here for tickets. 

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