Ellen Allien on BPitch Control, Her New LP, and Women in EDM
As a female artist, have you found it challenging to get ahead in the male-dominated EDM scene? Do you think women are on their way to making a bigger impact?
Many women are making music nowadays: singers, songwriters, women that make EDM. Now the doors are open and women trust themselves much more than they used to. Women just go their natural way. I think men are more aggressive in the way they are searching for success. They are longing for the power, while in my opinion women normally make music much more in order to express themselves.
How did you first get involved in fashion? What's been going on with your fashion line lately?
A long time ago, actually. I started to study tailoring, but then music got stronger and I became a DJ. Then I ran my own radio show. I used to work in a record store, and now I own and run my own label and booking agency. At a certain point, basically when I had a bit more time, the passion for fashion came back and I started founding Ellen Allien fashion. I first made total looks, but now I've decided to concentrate on t-shirts. I would call myself a t-shirt designer. I love it.
Your latest album LISm is based on music you scored for a dance performance piece. How did you approach the writing and production on this differently than with past projects? Did you study the choreography of the dance performance and use that as a reference for the writing and arrangements?
The starting point for LISm came in 2010 when two choreographers and dancers asked me to compose music for their dance performance "Drama per Musica." The performance took place in March 2011, under the direction of Alexandre Roccoli and Sevérine Rième, as part of the Spectacles Vivants Festival at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. After that, I let the music "rest" on my hard drive for more than one year, till I started to rework it in winter 2012.
After six months in Ibiza -- I had a residency at DC10 during the entire summer -- I moved back to Berlin, and I started to record new sounds for my new soundtrack LISm. The story, the message, and the content of LISm are completely new -- I just took the music I produced for "Drama per Musica" as an inspiration. Thatʼs how I got back to the studio in 2012, together with Bruno Pronsato, recording new vocals, instruments, and composing new sound collages.
LISm is a very personal soundtrack that represents my inner world. During one year of my life, I attended a dance school where they would teach everything, from acrobatics to art history. Thatʼs when I first worked together with dancers and choreographers. And during my career, I have regularly continued to do so. For "Bim" from my album Sool, for example, I worked together with the dancer and choreographer Morgan Berenguer. Also in "Trash Scapes" from Berlinette, I worked with dancers. The last one was the video for "Take Me Out," taken from my last single Galactic Horse.
How was the music performed during the actual March 2011 show in Paris? Was there an orchestra? Or was it an exclusively electronic performance?
It was a contemporary dance performance, with three dancers on stage creating noises through their movements that were recorded and reproduced live during the show. The show was very electronic -- I would say industrial, from both an aesthetic and musical point of view. The soundtrack itself was a bit more techno than LISm.
Is it possible that there will be more live performances of this dance piece in the future?
So what's next for you? Any forthcoming projects or releases we should look out for?
At the end of March 2013, BPitch Control will release a new compilation featuring various artists, titled Where the Wind Blows. I compiled it, choosing from many "new" artists such as Joy Wellboy, Eating Snow, David K, Thomas Barfod and many more. I am satisfied with the result! A German artist, Carsten Fock, made the gorgeous cover artwork.
The new Ellen Allien fashion collection "Shadow Dance" will come out in the next weeks. End of April will see the launch of the Moleskine special edition with my track "Journeys." The next months will also see some brand new releases from artists like David K, Safety Scissors (yes, they are back!), Douglas Greed (AKA Eating Snow), and some singles from Viadrina, Bruno Pronsato, and soon also new stuff made by Ellen Allien.
Ellen Allien and Martin Buttrich. Saturday, January 26. Story, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The show starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $30 to $40 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-538-2424 or visit storymiami.com.
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