I grew up feeling surrounded by the Wall. I lived on the small island of West Berlin. Border controls on Sunday excursions, the rummaging through bags, the military. It was scary. The island of West Berlin was a destination for creative minds in search of alternatives. Music was and still is my outlet. Alongside tinkling on the electric organ, teaching myself how to read notes and my jukebox with a collection of singles in my room, my ears were first intrigued by the revolution of Neue Deutsche Welle. It was fantastic! For the first time people were singing in the language, you could hear out on the street: Ideal, Grauzone, Nina Hagen pop meets punk. Things happened so fast. Minimal sounds made from machines entered the charts.
For me Kraftwerk’s Model changed everything. I discovered that pop also worked without any frills. My side of Berlin provided a home for the curious, those who were going against the flow. However, it was only when the Wall came down that Berlin became Berlin again - the city that lets me breathe. After spending a whole year in London I realized that despite the acid jazz house euphoria there, only one place felt like home Berlin, the city of possibilities. Being able to breathe, to drive and walk wherever and with whomever I wanted. And no more borders. I was immediately fascinated by East Berlin, by this atmosphere of curiosity and get-up-and-go. There was room for experiments. Electronic music united East and West.
I started to focus on music and art. At first that meant playing the saxophone, learning about fashion, hanging out in rehearsal rooms and train as acrobat. To finance it all, I worked behind the bar in the Fischlabor, which happened to be the meeting point of the up-and-coming music network. I mixed my first tapes and suddenly became part of the emerging Berlin techno scene, which started out in empty industrial buildings, houses and cellars. Ellen became Ellen Allien. Courage Berlin nightlife. I had my own radio show on KISS FM, worked at the Delirium record store and finally founded my first label Braincandy. It felt as if music had swallowed me whole. With Braincandy I made a serious attempt at releasing the kind of abstract techno I liked best. Id had enough of compromising. Some of it was just the courage to pave my own way. The closing down of the first big Berlin techno clubs was a setback for the scene, though I interpreted it as a sign to get something new going in the midst of disorientation. The party series BPitch Control was a good start. I wanted to hang on to the music, to materialize it, so I founded BPitch Control Records. The parties were no longer just memories; now people could take them home, too. The label was mainly an organ for me and other people who I found talented and worth supporting. To me, BPitch control is glamour, community and exchange platform all at the same time.
Traveling with my record case, living out of the suitcase. The hotel is my home. Experiencing new worlds and cultures and accepting them; understanding, how things work in other places. Sharing views and politics. A club unites people without words. The music speaks. Recognizing the beauty of the world and absorbing the otherness. Home is far away and not important. The unknown attracts my attention - and I want to know it!