As anyone who's been to East Berlin club Sisyphos can attest, the musical quality is unparalled, with a vibe to match.
Famous for its thee-day parties, multiple rooms and musical freedom, the club has given rise to several incredible residents, including Fidelity Kastrow, who's set to release her Full Moon Falcon EP on the club's label, Sisyphon.
Featuring remixes from Thomas Schumacher, Dirtybird producer Sacha Robotti, and CLR regular DJ Emerson, the EP spans the darker, melancholic sides of house and techno, with plenty of energy and hypnotic melodies to boot. We've got the premiere of the EP's title track, and we catch up with Kastrow below.
How long have you been a resident for Sisyphos? And when did the club launch this new imprint? I became a Sisyphos resident three years ago, in August 2012, after playing there a couple of times before that, the first time in 2010 on the outdoors beach floor called Strand, when the infamous Wintergarten floor didn't even exist yet and the whole club was still sparsely lit and über-underground. Nowadays, I play about once a month on the big warehouse type floor indoors called Hammahalle. It's been a wonderful experience and musical journey so far, with a lot of freedom to experiment and explore, what I feel is more and more developing into my own sound. Sisyphos launched the label Sisyphon in April 2013 to showcase the sound of its residents and friends. My release will be the fourth on the label."
Has your time at the club inspired this EP at all? Absolutely. It's entirely inspired by Sisyphos, in particular by the sound of Hammahalle, which could broadly be labelled as techno but includes dark, melancholic, hypnotic elements with a rolling rather than marching groove and a somewhat trippy vibe. Sisyphos' crowd always includes lots of magical, special, out-there people, with a strong female energy and almost everyone in the club comes to dance for long hours. I've tried to make music that fits into this ambiance and tested the tracks at the club many times before I felt they were tweaked enough.
The arp on Full On Falcon is fantastic. What did you use to get that sound? Oh hey, thanks. I've used the Arturia CS-80V which is a great software synth recreation of the classic analog Yamaha CS-80 polyphonic synthesizer, which was used for example by Vangelis for the 'Blade Runner' soundtrack, in which almost all the sounds were created from the analog Yamaha CS-80. One of the new additions included in the Arturia CS-80V recreation is the Arpeggiator. The pre-set is 'JMB2_Aciiid'."
Which remix is really doing it for you? Thomas Schumacher has taken 'Full Moon Falcon' to a whole new level and left me speechless when I heard it for the first time, while DJ Emerson gave it a darkness that has touched me deeply and Sacha Robotti's remix has me on my feet dancing the instant I hear it. I love all of them and play all three remixes depending on time and crowd and really couldn't choose one over the others. Very happy with all of them. Couldn't have asked for more.
My experience there was a 16-18 hour stint in a sunny room with lots of couches. I sat with my friends above the DJ booth in a cubby area and got the musical education of a lifetime. We heard everything from Northern Soul to '80s pop to Chicago house. It was indescribably good. Is that fairly normal for the club and its many rooms? Yes, that's quite typical. Sisyphos' music policy is very permissive (though varies from room to room) and the crowd is very open-minded and up for it. One of the greatest things about Sisyphos is the freedom given to DJs to play what they love with loads of flexibility to explore and experiment. Most DJ sets are about four hours long and allow the DJ to test the vibe, build a bond with the crowd and hopefully take everyone on a musical journey beyond the bonds of genres or too restricting floor policies.
At Sisyphos the crowd and vibe are an essential part of what makes the club so special, so line-ups are in a way secondary and officially announced only on the night of the party. The regulars know who's playing from the residents and regular DJs directly and like with most of Berlin's best clubs and parties, it's all about who you know and word of mouth. Meanwhile, all sorts of international DJs play secret surprise sets each party and many people will find out the line up only when they arrive at the club and then message their friends as each three-day party unfolds. There's a real sense of community and belonging at Sisyphos and an atmosphere that makes it safe to let go and go with the flow.
What’s been your favourite moment there from over the years? One of my absolute favourite moments at Sisyphos was when I ended up playing a 10-hour DJ set, kind of accidentally, building an incredible bond with the crowd. Over the hours, I managed to drop a track from The Crow film soundtrack by SPK founder Graeme Revell called 'Pain and Retribution'. When the children's choir in the track was singing and filling the cavernous Funktion One-filled industrial warehouse Hammahalle it was as if otherworldly creatures surrounded us all and I simply burst into tears. It was a beautiful moment and I was so moved by how far the crowd had followed me on this wonderful musical journey and how strongly connected we all felt after so many hours of dancing together…it was amazing!
What are you up to for the rest of this year? Any other releases in the pipeline? Working on more tracks with two shaping up reasonably well. So hopefully will have them ready for remixes this autumn/winter and ready to be released early next year. And a bunch of gigs coming up both at Sisyphos and Amsterdam, London, Vienna...
SAT 19. Sep 15 Cirkus Klauterwerck @ Radion (Amsterdam, NL)
SAT 03. Oct 15 Dual (Vienna, AT)
SAT 10. Oct 15 Egg (London, UK)
SAT 28. Nov 15 Club Smederij (Tilburg, NL)
Fidelity Kastrow's 'Full Moon Falcon' EP will be released on vinyl and digital on September 21st via Sisyphon.