Ahead of his show for Hot Plate @ Fluxbau in Berlin this Friday, I sat down yesterday with Achim Brandenburg, better known as house music hero ‘Prosumer’, to see how he was doing.
1. Let’s start with the most crazy or exotic gig you’ve had in the last year?
Let’s say Dimensions Festival this year was the craziest thing. I love Croatia, it’s a very beautiful country the nature around there is amazing, and the venue was absolutely crazy, this beautiful old fort. Good people, amazing line-up, and the best sound I’ve seen so far at a festival. The highlight for me was dancing to the set of Mr Scruff on the beach. I was almost shocked at how good the sound could be at a festival!
2. So you left Berlin and you’re living in Edinburgh now since February, how did you choose this city?
I started thinking what do I want and I realised OK, I love to be by the sea, it always gives me good energy, but to live in Germany beside the sea with a good airport nearby is not possible so I started looking at other options. When I realised it could not be Germany then I started thinking about is my French good enough, but decided that if it was not English, I would have to spend too much time learning a new language. I looked at close to London and that didn’t work out, then last year September – October I spent two months to see if I wanted to do it in Edinburgh and I thought “Yes! I want to live here”. Also if you look out my window here now you can see this Harry Potter style castle!
3. How are you dealing with the Scottish accent?
Well the Edinburgh accent is not so strong as the Glaswegian one, I remember being in Glasgow for the first time I was almost crying because I couldn’t understand people and here the accent is pretty mild and I’ve gotten used to it. It’s rare that I have to ask somebody “Sorry what were you saying?”.
4 So you came to the attention of the world through your production and your DJ residency in Panorama Bar and Berghain, my friends have told me to ask you about what happened when you left there, so what can you tell us about that?
Yeah, you must have realised that in no interview I have revealed the story of what has been going on there. Yeah I mean, in life you sometimes stop walking the same roads together in relationships, and I guess that’s all that needs to be said about it I guess. Of course I had fabulous years there and that will always be very dear to my heart, and it is always something I miss as well, but at the same time it’s always good to move on. It was an amicable split.
5. When was the last time you felt that Berlin loves you?
Yeah I wouldn’t have lived there for such a long time if I didn’t get this feeling. I think still one of the most fabulous days of the year is the one first day of the year when the weather is great again and everybody is out on the street and there is this electricty in the air which you can feel. That’s one of my strongest Berlin memories every year, that first day/night when the city is back from the winter. There will always be this big feeling of love for moments like that in Berlin. For years I loved living there, I think it’s an intense city, but I think when it shows you the cold shoulder it does that very very well.
6. Any specific times when you felt Berlin was showing you a cold shoulder?
Oh come on, if for six weeks in the winter there is nothing but a grey soup out there and everyone is losing all the colour and happiness and energy from their faces and people are just depressed because there is not a single cloud visible, just this grey something. That’s quite hard.
7. What are some of the little things that you miss in Berlin?
Well for days I am thinking about Trattoria Venezia on Liegnitzerstrasse and to go back there and have a pizza, haha. For me it’s places like that make Berlin so great, unique and quite unaltered by the last years.
8. So you do a quiz at Südblock what can you tell me about that?
It’s the fourth Tuesday of the month except for in December because we didn’t want to do it on Christmas Eve. I just enjoy a nice pub quiz, I was in the United States recently and I was driving with some friends through the countryside, past a sign saying ‘Trivia Night’ and the three of us looked at each other and thought “Let’s do this!”. We went to the middle of nowhere for this quiz and had a great time and I thought I would like to do that more often, and I think that’s something that’s missing in Berlin, so I spoke to Kerstin – DJ Tama Sumo – so we thought let’s give it a try and the people seemed to like it so we are now in our second year having fun.
9. I love Südblock, especially for brunch, do you have a favourite place for brunch?
I haven’t been to brunch in Berlin for a long time. I really like Südblock, it’s such a good place. More places in Kreuzberg used to be like Südblock where more people were mixing, where you had the Turkish people living at Kotti mixing with the trendy hipster crowd and a bit of everyone coming together. More of Kreuzberg and Neukolln used to be like that, I think unfortunately that changed a bit, but that means I am more happy for Südblock to be there and to put that on the map.
10. What was the last record you heard that made you, or someone around you, cry?
Ahaha do you really want to get into the subject of crying records with me? I might start again right now! Last weekend I was sick in bed and was watching the 50th anniversary of the British National Theatre in London. There was a big event with all kinds of amazing actors, and there was Dame Judi Dench performing ‘Send in The Clowns’ haha, I was crying like crazy.
11. Wow yeah that is a very emotive song, how about a house record that did the same?
One that stood out was in a record shop in San Francisco, the guy working there showed me some stuff and said he had a really nice record, he put it on and the first two bars of the record made me cry instantly. He came round to me and gave me a hug and said “the same happened to me” haha! It was ‘Steve Parks – Still Thinking of You’.
12. Are there any young DJs or producers out there that are not yet well know that you are a big fan of, that you can see becoming successful in the future?
There are so many good people out there that I am still so surprised that they don’t rule the world yet! I’m a big fan of TR One, they are doing great stuff. I am curious what this new Sound Signature kid, Jay Daniel, will do. I think Illum Sphere is putting out an album if I saw correctly, I am very excited about that, I love his stuff.
13. Can you tell me one big world issue that’s been on your mind lately, that has nothing to with music?
Haha endless stuff! I wonder a lot where society is headed at the moment. It’s a weird thing where we are at a point where people in general are getting more tolerant and open and praising other people living in a different way, praising living in a world where we all deserve to be, even though we don’t do everything the exactly the same. Then at the same time, while I have the feeling that the majority of people are moving in the right direction, it’s scary how the extremists are on the move again and how easy it is. I mean if you look at Russia and what’s going on with the new gay laws, the mechanics of it are exactly the same as what Hitler did in Germany and the world is still turning a blind eye to it. I am also worried that our society becomes more misogynistic again, it can be quite a sexist world.
13. Ok last question, and thank you so much for your time. What is the one record that you bought in the last 2 years that hasn’t left your bag since you got it?
Hahaha, I think it would have to be the one I played in last year’s Boiler Room set. It’s ‘Abstract Eye – The Unseen’ on Valentine Connexion Records.
For more information on Prosumer’s show in Fluxbau this weekend, as part of the bigger Bermuda music festival in Berlin, check out the event page here.