I was at a party in Cologne a while ago and someone gave me a mix CD by Ramirez Son. This mix CD has been spinning a lot in my living room and in the car because I liked this smooth but kicking Deep House style very much that he was playing.
A few months later, we were booked for the same party and spent some time backstage together where we chatted a bit about what we do as DJs and why we do it. I liked his view on music, DJing and parties and I also saw that he was quite ambitious, so I asked him for an interview for Sweet Headache.
How did you get into DJing?
I got into contact with electronic music quite early. I would say that the very first Mayday 1995 in Frankfurt was a formative experience for me – I was 16 years old back then. Four years later, I was involved in an internet radio station and started mixing. I didn’t do much DJing and only listened to electronic music in the following years until 2012. A visit to the “Toy” club in Stuttgart brought me closer to the music again and I made the decision to approach this more professionally now.
How would you describe your style?
“I only play what I like and I don’t follow any trends. I dance to my own music and I really enjoy being able to play my own music loud. This is the drug that drives me. Loud music!
My style ranges from Deep House for warm-up gigs and beach parties to banging Tech-House. If it fits, I also like to throw in some UK Garage. I like that style very much right now and not too many DJs in Cologne are playing that style.”
You won two DJ contests last year (FazeMag and MTV Mobile Beats). How did you do that?
“I a good DJ needs to have a good feeling for the right track at the right time, a good understanding of the technology he is using and also some skills in self-marketing. I think it was a mix of these factors in both contests. I simply played what they wanted to hear (especially at the MTV contest). This was about the warmup for the main stage and most others had uploaded a peak time set. I also asked many of my friends and fans to vote for me and listen to my set. It’s all in the mix.”
It seems like you are focussing more on being a DJ instead of producing tracks to get DJ gigs – which seems to work quite well for you. Was that a conscious decision?
“A DJ is by definition not a music producer. I want people to party with me. I’d love to play twice a week in front of 400 people who bounce up and down with me for two hours. As a producer, you don’t have that. You sit in front of your PC and try to make a track. A good DJ is not necessarily a good producer and vice versa. The problem is that mainly producers get booked for clubs even though they are sometimes not so keen on DJing. They make their money off of gigs, and there’s not so much money in selling music. That’s why everything shifted in that direction. I think I will also sit down with some producer friends and see how I can turn my ideas into music.”
How would describe the local music scene to someone who has never been to Cologne?
“I would say there are three different scenes in Cologne. There is one scene that’s not really mainstream, but not really underground either where they play mostly Deep House, Tech House and Minimal. You can find these parties primarily in the “Belgian Quarter”.
Then there is the mainstream House and HipHip scene with some RnB mixed in. You can find this in those polished clubs on inner rings. And then there is one very big club on the right side of the Rhine river where they book all the big headliners in Drum’n’Bass and Progressive House. This one’s a magnet also for people who live around Cologne and not in the city. It’s your choice where you go!”
Which of your gigs so far did you enjoy the most and why?
“The gig at the MTV festival that I won was a highlight for me. It was not just the gig itself, but also the entire environment. Interviews, backstage contacts etc.. This was all new to me and it was super!
Then there was one gig in Düsseldorf in the Salon des Amateurs in March this year. The vibe or the “mojo” was exactly right there. I played 3.5 hours and the crowd completely followed me. The hosts were really happy and I was happy, too. It was one of these everything were everything seemed to be right. A big plus was also that the DJ booth is almost on the dancefloor, that makes this location very special. “
What are your plans for the future?
“I would like to DJ even more. That means I would like to reduce the time I spend on my day job and earn maybe 50-90% of my money with DJing. Even if it’s just for a few years, this is an experience that I want to make.
I also love socializing, chatting with people, writing emails, listening to sets and digging for music. This is just great work you can do from home that has the gig on the weekend as a peak. That would be fantastic! And maybe I can find a booking agency that takes some of this work away from me so that I can focus even more on the music.”
Image by Henning Paustian (used with permission)