Interview: “Urban living sometimes provokes distortions…” 909originals chats to Ellen Allien about her new album, AurAA
Few artists go as hand in hand with Berlin techno as Ellen Allien – having honed her craft at venues such as The Bunker, Tresor, and E-Werk in the early 1990s, she established the BPitch label in 1999, one of the German capital’s signature imprints.
As well as managing BPitch, which is now into its 21st year, Allien established a new label, UFO Inc., in 2018, which has been described as an ‘incubator for rough, raw techno‘ – an uncompromising cousin to BPitch’s often ethereal electronica.
A dynamic selector, Allien is a regular at international venues such as Fabric, DC10, Barcelona’s Nitsa and Amsterdam’s The Shelter, as well as running her own bi-monthly ‘WeAreNotAlone’ raves at Berlin’s Griessmühle, which sadly closed its doors in January.
Since her debut long player Stadtkind in 2001, Allien has also proven to be a prolific producer, with early releases such as Berlinette (2003) and Thrills (2005) establishing her as a consistent crafter of quality techno.
Her latest album, AurAA, was released last week, and follows hot on the heels of last year’s Alientronic and 2017’s Nost.
And if the first single from the album, True Romantics, is anything to go by, it’s exactly what you might expect from one of techno’s most reliable producers.
A constant source of new ideas, energy and inspiration, Allien is an artist whose comprehensive knowledge and intuitive approach to music is part of her genetic makeup.
909originals caught up with her for a quick chat.
Q. Hi Ellen, thanks for talking to us. First off, how has the coronavirus lockdown situation been for you? What sort of electronic music scene will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, do you think?
It is very weird. All shows have been cancelled and there have been no new shows until now. I made music and took care of my labels UFO Inc and BPitch. I also made a new track for the compilation of The Third Room, a techno event promoter from Essen, called C19 Bitch.
The good news is that Griessmühle has found a new location, they are building the club now. We will soon have a new home for our WeAreNotAlone raves.
There’s an otherworldly quality about your new album, AurAA, just as there was with last year’s Alientronic. What influenced the sound/theme of the album?
I just felt like going to the studio and doing new music. I am in a very creative moment and I just let it out.
The album is about our planet and the relation we have to Mother Earth – I am trying to connect with auras and natural vibes.
Urban living sometimes provokes distortions. We are seduced to consume and loose the connection to the real. The album was recorded in 2019 in Berlin, analogue and with modular synths – the vocals sound as if I was floating over planet Earth.
It’s your third album in three years – what has driven this surge in productivity?
It’s my passion to create music. I just did it because I was in a flow, not thinking about it, just doing it… it makes me happy.
You launched the UFO Inc. label last year – in what ways is that being positioned, how is it similar/different to BPitch Control?
UFO Inc is a new platform, for new artists, clubs and music. Epic sounds from a single only label.
This year marks the 21st anniversary of BPitch Control – it’s come of age! What have been some personal highlights for you from over the years?
Every year is a highlight because we are sharing vibes with talented artists, and every day we are working on new ideas and art.