The other side of Ellen Allien

Ellen Allien, born Ellen Fraatz, is a German electronic musician, music producer and founder of BPitch Control music label. She lives in Berlin, Germany, but travels extensively. She started DJ-ing in 1992, and from the beginning untill now, Ellen played in almost every club in the world.

The world is Ellen Allien's canvas, and what a colourful picture she paints. Thriving on imagination and inspiration, the Berliner is continually shifting shapes and blossoming under an impressive variety of creative lights. Whether she's producing music that challenges the electronic world, or adhering to her globe-encompassing DJing schedule, or managing the phenomenal BPitch Control, or designing for her unique new fashion label - Ellen Allien, a veritable force to be reckoned with, is artistically infinite.

She began carving a path for herself after the Berlin wall came down and her beloved city opened wide to new possibilities, including the innovative beat that got the East and West dancing together: techno. After her days as a disillusioned hip hopper, she was instantly hooked by techno's allure and fell deep into a wild love affair with electronic music and machines.

Moving and evocative, Ellen Allien has attributed human elements to the infallibly machine-like; it's almost possible to hear poetry in wordless music as each instrument sings a heart-pulling love song to the beat. Similar to how she manages to find pop sensibilities in the most unpopular ideas, the mix combines as many different sounds as it does contradictory elements: the music wraps warmly around speakers sounding raw yet delicate, playful yet rigorous, touchable yet entirely intangible.

Beat Factor: For those who didn't catch yet the material from The Time Out magazine, what's the other side of Berlin, from your point of view?

The most important thing is to find happyness. There are many ways to it and the worst thing is to give up the hope to find it.
Ellen Allien: It's a DVD and CD compilation about Berlin. I compiled a CD with tracks that present Berlin to me. There is David Bowie's German version of "Heroes", AGF, Monolake, Quarks, Miss Kittin, Richie Hawtin ... The DVD is like a city tour and I am the guide. I show my favorite spots, shops, restaurants and so on.

Beat Factor: In May you'll release the Fabric mix CD. How the B Pitch Control label boss got in touch with the Fabric brand?

Ellen Allien: I have been playing there since quite some time now. They invited me and other artist from my label. And last year they asked me to do a mix for them. I was really happy about that offer because I really like the Fabric. The management and the soundsystem are unbelievable.

Beat Factor: What this CD reflects and how big a deal was for you to compile it?

Ellen Allien: I grapped in my recent record bag and also wanted to use tracks that I would play at the Fabric. It became a very emotional mix – which I like and can do best. And there are also my favorite tracks from last year combined with my favorite tracks right now.

Beat Factor: What's the main idea behind the record label B Pitch Control? Did you anticipate its success when you made it?

Ellen Allien: I wanted to release music that moves people and things. Bpitch Control is like an island for me and the artists. It gives us freedom to do the music we want to do.

Beat Factor: How much responsibility do you think involves owning a record label?

Ellen Allien: A lot of responsibility! You have to make sure that the artists feel comfortable. You have to encourage them, push them, and comfort them. It's sometimes like being a mother. And you always have to keep your eyes open for new music, new artists, new trends. Especially nowadays it's really difficult to run a label so we always try to stay modern and adapt to changes quickly.

Beat Factor: According to your biography, "the hotel is your home". Do you still have energy and time for your own?

Ellen Allien: Yes. I do a lot of Yoga and still see my friends regularly. I work a lot, yes, but this is my passion. I love the life I am leading – making music, finding music, the label team, the artists, my fashion line ... it all belongs together and is part of my life. It makes sense to me and is my thrill.

Beat Factor: When it comes about collaborations, your name is mostly mentioned together with Apparat. How did you meet him and start working together?

Features Archive

[2008]

The other side of Ellen Allien
PUBLISHED

April 27, 2007 at 12:19 PM CEST

WORDS

Beat Factor

Ellen Allien: We met at a club a long time ago and became friends which we still are. And at some point we both wanted to work together and therefore went into the studio together and produced "Orchestra of Bubbles". Last summer we started to play live which was a lot of fun as well. I learned a lot from all this.

Beat Factor: Did you ever found yourself in a ridiculous position or situation?

Ellen Allien: Yes, of course. There are a lot of stories ... But I am flexible and get out of these situations pretty quickly.

Beat Factor: You are known for your connection with fashion. How do you design your own clothes? What inspires you?

Ellen Allien: My inspiration is my life style. Fashion is something very emotional for me. I start to draw and invent shapes and forms. It's really exciting.

Beat Factor: How much money do you spend on clothes today?

Ellen Allien: I can't tell, it depends. I always try not to go too far. I mostly buy small brands, upcoming designers. I also don't drink coffee at Starbucks.

Beat Factor: Do you have any favorite quote that you'd like to share with the readers?

Ellen Allien: The most important thing is to find happyness. There are many ways to it and the worst thing is to give up the hope to find it.

Beat Factor: If you'll have to decide between making music and designing clothes, what would you choose and why?

Ellen Allien: Music. It's my life.

Beat Factor: Did ever happened to see somebody on the street or in a club wearing something from your line?

Ellen Allien: Yes, and it makes me smile.

Beat Factor: Will you play in Romania this year?

Ellen Allien: Yes, hopefully!

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