Interview by: Renee Hartig & Joe Sheppard
Most of us get into techno music simply by experiencing that one night which blows your mind away. Suddenly you enter into this unforgettable world and it is hard to leave so quickly.
After getting into the scene Marius Lehnert kept practicing his own skills as a DJ and producer. Even while studying German and History at the university in Stuttgart he couldn’t help but get into the culture of German techno.
So here’s bringing to you the next winter artist spotlight feature: Marius Lehnert.
Voices from the Undrgrnd:
How did you start to get your name out as a techno DJ?
Basically by networking with club owners and promoters. Also by handing out mix tapes to the people at the clubs. In 2007 I had the first opportunity to play at a club in Stuttgart, Club Play. Then once I started to make some money I didn’t have to go to school anymore – I just could focus on playing more. Let’s try to practice the DJ job as the main time job. And then I could also start producing and promoting [events].
Tell us about some of your latest releases.
Well there were two releases in the last year. One with Alexander Maier [who is playing here tonight at Club 27 in Tübingen], and the other with Marc Schaefer. Specifically, the track with Marc Shaefer, The Cave really captured our attention. This track was released on vinyl with BluFin records.
How long were you a resident DJ at Stuttgart’s Rocker 33?
I played there for about 6 years. Rocker 33 doesn’t exist anymore though. It just closed about a year ago. Actually Keine Musik DJs and Âme played at the closing party along with all the resident DJs. That party lasted about 38 hours. It was the best club in Stuttgart.
Assuming then you also played at Rocker 33’s closing party?
Of course! It was amazing – all three floors were open. In 2012 Groove Magazine’s readers rated it as the third best club in Germany just following Robert Johnson in Frankfurt.
When did you make the transition from DJ to producer?
The first years I was all DJing. I found it interesting though to not only mix tracks but also to produce them. So I started having sessions with Alexander Maier; he’s been producing for more than 20 years in an amazing studio with all the equipment you need. I was running with him and the first release came out in 2010.
Would you say he had an influence on your music?
Yeah, for the first productions, yes I would say. But normally he is producing house music, and the stuff I did with him was more techno. So we both had influences on each other. He had the big knowledge of producing and I had the ideas in my mind. It was a good fusion.
Do you prefer to produce more tracks on your own or collaborate with others?
It’s more fun to be with someone in the studio. For 7 or 8 hours with a friend talking and producing it is much better.
Let us hear a track that you produced.
Track Produced by Marius Lehnert and Chris Hirose
Backstage Note: the only published track with Chris Hirose.
Everybody has had those first experiences with electronic music that really drew him or her into the scene. Describe for us your first experience.
When I started going to clubs, listening to techno, it was early 2000s, maybe 2001, 2002…for electronic music [techno]. It was a club called Prag. In that period of time it was the most important club for techno sounds all over Europe- one of the most important clubs. I was going there like every Saturday. Every Saturday. That had a lot of influence on the stuff I was DJing at that time and also now. That was the club I was raised with.
You were recently at SEMF (Stuttgart Electronic Music Festival) last December. How many years have you played there?
From 2007 on I was playing there every year. SEMF first began in 2006.
From SEMF’s original location in Esslingen how does that compare to playing at the Messe Center at the Stuttgart airport?
The Messe is totally amazing. You know from year to year it’s getting more professional. Now it is a real, real established festival; people from all over the world are coming to play there. Last year I had like the best playtime, regarding the years before. When I started to play it was already packed and when I finished it was so crowded like 3- or 4,000 people. Such a great vibe. Definitely a highlight of last year.
So you already said you’re a promoter and big into organizing events.
How do you go about publicizing them?
It was a big development over the past years. I started organizing events in 2007. I was like a really young promoter who didn’t know anything. I did it together with a good friend from Australia when he was living in Germany. We started this event, and in the first few months we were printing and putting up posters, running through the streets in Stuttgart by night. Putting posters on every corner.
Then social media was created…
In the beginning there were not so many promoters who were promoting their events on Facebook or Myspace. I prefer to print flyers and post on Facebook sometimes – I am old school and new school.
How is the turnout for Discotronic nights?
But I established my events over the years. People always know when is a Discotronic night because it will always be a good party, a good headliner. So I had amazing acts like Joris Voorn, Dominik Eulberg, Marek Hemmann you know all the guys.
You were just like “hey guys come play at my event?”
These connections you are only able to have when you are doing this sh*t for years. Then you know these guys, you met them here or there. You just say let’s do it. Then you’re looking forward to collaborating and playing together.
What is your favorite festival to play at?
What about your favorite club?
Rocker 33 when it was open, now it’s Kowalski [in Stuttgart].
Do you find as a DJ it is difficult to match your sound with the crowd?
It depends. It is always a different situation. In my opinion you are not always able to prepare your set. Maybe you can have in mind what will be your first track. But then you have to have good music taste and be able to mix. For me as a good DJ you always have to feel what the audience wants. You have the tracks you like, of course, but you always have to watch and feel what is the right track in this moment.
What’s your usual set up in the booth?
I play on vinyl plus USB on CDJs. I was always against having a laptop in front of me. I usually have two turntables, two CDJs and one mixer. That’s my setup for each show
Do you already know what kind of tracks you’re gonna play tonight?
I never do that. At big festivals I’ll always ask, okay what will I play first? That is the only thing in my mind- the first track. But then it is open. For tonight I have no idea, we’ll just have to wait and see. ..
Connect with Marius Lehnert