Interview of Lena Willikens
Before the Nuit Électronique 3 of Maintenant 2016 (October, 15th in Rennes), Electroni[k] interviewed Lena Willikens, signed on Cómeme (label of Matias Aguayo) and resident at Salon des Amateurs (famous nightclub in Düsseldorf).
Hello Lena and thank you for your time,
– You were studying visual arts at Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie, what made you eventually choose music?
Actually I didn’t choose music, it just happened. First I started to bring my records to Salon Des Amateurs, just to play music while I was working as a bartender. After a while I started to organize parties there and so one was following the other.
– Can you tell us more about Le Salon and what in your view makes it so unique?
Salon Des Amateurs is a place where people expect the unexpected! I musically grew up with that joy to be able to share the music I love and with the will to surprise people.
– What would be the most important thing you learned from your long-lasting residency there?
Maybe the fact that is more important to tell an exciting story and find the right timing for a punch line, then worrying too much about technical skills.
– In 2012, Comeme approached you with an offer: running your own show on the label’s radio. In Sentimental Flashback, you play more intimate and less dancefloor-oriented selections.
I really appreciate it, when I have the chance to play listening stuff. The dancefloor provides a lot of energy but at the same time it can limit you as well. I try to take every chance I have, to play also non-dancefloor music, which I have a lot of in my private collection – and I’m always glad to share this music as well!
– You play exclusively on vinyl, are you crate-digging — in the good oldfashioned way — or do you also use new tools such as Discogs?
Regularly going to flea markets, vinyl fairs, etc., is very time consuming. Unfortunately I don’t always have enough time for that as I spend more and more time working on remixes and music in general – and also on airports… But Discogs is a great platform and market to find stuff I´m looking for. That said: I still prefer digging in a good record store. At a record store the chance is definitely higher that magic can happen, when a record finds you. I try to go to as many as possible when touring.
– In 2015 you released your first minialbum, Phantom Delia, on Comeme. Was producing music something you have been thinking of for a long time?
I started with playing in band projects before producing my own stuff. Coming from that It felt kind of natural to start doing my own stuff.
– We can hear you play theremin on the track named “Mari Ori”. And prior to this, you were playing it in your experimental/noise band, Titanoboa, with Melani Wratil. How did you come across such a singular instrument?
Some years ago I discovered Pamelia Kurstin, one of the best theremin players around. I invited her to play a theremin solo concert at Salon des Amateurs, which blew me away. Some days later I bought a theremin.
– You dedicated an entire episode of Flashback Sentimental to analog synths. How do you explain that these machines are still much appreciated in the digital ages?
Analog synths have their very own mind and they often do unpredictable things. In these times, where it is so easy to produce music quickly with a software, people seem to appreciate a sound which is more vivid and challenging in a way.
– What projects are you working on at the moment? Should we expect a new record soon?
I produced a couple of remixes which are coming out this year. I remixed tracks by rRoxymore and Oklo Gabon (soon to be released on Huntley and Palmers).I made a remix of “I’m Always Crying” by Aksak Maboul (forthcoming on Crammed Discs) and I remixed a track by Simian Mobile Disco, coming out in autumn on their label Delicacies.
Thanks to Fahir Nazer for the interview
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