Henry Johnstone, Sydney - Australia - on 19/7/12
When we invited Berlin expat Michelle Owen to kick-off our new 'Art Of The Warm Up' series, she enthusiastically remarked that warm up sets are her favourite to play. With a busy schedule that entails playing at revered clubs like Watergate, Arena and Panorama Bar, it's little wonder that such is the case for the Sydney bred DJ and producer.
Cutting her teeth behind the counters of Sydney record stores Central Station and Savage Records, to working with Ben Watt at his esteemed Buzzin Fly imprint and Soho’s famed Phonica Records store in London, and finally being lured to Berlin to work at Beatport, Michelle's resume has sculpted her a vast knowledge of house music. And, as you'll hear in this exclusive mix for Pulse, an ability for sleek programming.
Pulse: The warm up set is often said to be a lost art these days, especially with the proliferation of festivals throughout the world. However I get the feeling that it isn't so much of a problem in Berlin. Or am I wrong? Michelle Owen: I think it depends on the club no matter where you are in the world. Places like Watergate and Panorama Bar in Berlin will always have people on the floor from the start because they are internationally acclaimed clubs, tourists come early to assure they get in. Festivals are completely different kind of programing.
Where is your favourite venue to play a warm up set in Berlin and outside of it? Most recently it's Watergate on the Waterfloor and elsewhere it's Flux in Leeds - although this was a headliner gig, but I would gladly play any slot at for these guys. One of the best parties I've ever experienced and such great music loving people. Usually you don't play a warm up set when someone from another country is paying money to have you as a guest.
Can you recall the best warm up you played? Who was it in support of? There are a few. In Sydney I warmed up for DJ T and Claude Von Stroke. Both highlights because at the time Sydney only got this calibre of artist every quarter or so. Most recently Waterfloor at Watergate and warming up for Darhasn from Metro Area at Snowbombing
You told us that warm up sets are your favourite to play. Why? I think warm up sets are really important. If the warm up set doesn't flow well then it can stir the evening. It sets the vibe for the evening. Plus I always get the chance to push different sounds and experiment a little.
Who was behind the most impressive warm up set you've witnessed? Has to be Shonky at Panorama Bar this year playing 12-5am. I danced all night! He played the perfect set to be honest. He is very talented!
Can you tell us about the mix you've recorded for us? I have pulled together a few tracks from my recent Watergate and Snowbombing gigs. I always like a mixture of old and new. The mix is only 1 hour long so in the end it was quite hard for me to decide what to put on it. I usually play 2-3 hours for a warm up so its a taste of a few styles I guess.
Do you have any personal rules when you play this type of set? YES! No peak time tracks or loooong breakdowns. But sometimes I will have a set planned and then I'll change my mind as soon as I start to play. The joy of having Traktor allows me this freedom.
Do you do any research before a warm up gig? Yes, always. Check out the line-up, see who else is playing and make sure I don't play any of their tracks!
In that same breath, how much of it is down to particular vibes and circumstances on the night? Quite a bit. You could have a set all planned out, but if I get the feeling the crowd aren't into it I'll mix it up. Try to play a few different sounds and see what they pick up on. I always try and place myself in their shoes.
Listen to Michelle Owen on Pulse Radio
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