Further than Techno: The Story Of Tresor Berlin’s Forgotten House Label

I met Dimitri Hegemann in Berlin. We hit it off immediately. He has a great sense of humor, which was the main reason I messed around with Tresor later. The first time I visited Bremen must’ve been 1991 or 1992. I came to Germany with Mike “The Hitman” Wilson to play six gigs. Berlin was wild back then, plus Tresor was already a techno organization. I’m a house producer and DISC JOCKEY, so hearing all this hard songs played at what felt like 150 BPM was a bit strange at first. But Mike and I made it work.

I met a lot of people back then, most notably Dr . Motte. Using the Love Parade, which was still in the infancy in 1990. He said the idea behind the festival has been to spread love out to the streets, and that he was influenced by a track of mine called “ Open Our Eyes”. He claimed that it had opened his eyes, and that this individual now only felt love. Dr . Motte is a real character. He also told me about his label, Space Teddy, and how Space Teddy was delivering him messages. He was certainly out there. I never knew if he was serious about these things delete word. We had a lot of fun on that tour. I stayed in Berlin for 2 months.

Next to the Tresor Records office, there were a couple of areas for artists who played in the club. They were very small, though—the size of a bathroom. Only a bed can fit in one. They called it Hotel Sandman because the only factor you could do there was sleep. I stayed there for that whole journey, and nobody had done that will before. I bought a bicycle in order to cruise around the city and a couple of books because I was reading a great deal back then. I also bought a stereo as well as a TV, and when I left they called the room The Marshall Jefferson Suite. During that trip, Dimitri and I had the idea to work together. He and his daughter had the plan to begin a house sub-label, because Dimitri has a lot of love for Chicago house. The name of the label: KTM (Keep Elements Movin’). And then in 1995, these people invited me to come back to Berlin. Dimitri got some money to fund my trip and to begin creating an album. I think he got a publishing deal with BMG, plus that’ s why I recorded it at their studio in Frankfurt. You could say that Dimitri experienced the role of an executive producer.

I had no idea what I was going do before I went into the studio. I had written and produced the songs on the spot. It took me about a week to finish an album’s worth of songs. In Frankfurt, I stayed with Chris Liebing’ s house, an excellent friend of mine. I actually do one of my biggest songs, “Mushrooms”, with Chris in Frankfurt. Chris and his studio partner [André Walter] were working on a track, and he asked me to go within the vocal booth and test the particular microphone. So I went in plus told a story about tripping upon mushrooms. When I came out they requested me if it was a true story—which it is—and told me that they desired to keep it and maybe do something with it. Before I knew it, they released it on a record and it blew up.

My very first record on KTM was an EP called Hop on It . It was the label’s first release. My album, Day Of The Onion, was the third release. The second release was by Vince Lawrence, whom I had introduced to Dimitri back in Chicago. I was living with your pet at the time. Vince had produced my first-ever record, which came out on my own label, Other Side Records, within 1984 or 1985 and had been called Go Wild Rhythm Tracks by Virgo. To have Vince on the label was a big deal. He’s a big deal in Chicago’s house history. He eventually also released an album upon KTM called Tracks Without A Singer.

As I said before, Dimitri was one of the main reasons why I decided to work with Tresor plus KTM. He had all these crazy tasks and ideas. One was Area Beer, which was a great beer along with comics drawn on the back from the bottles. They had developed a backstory that the beer was brewed later on. It was fun! One time when Dimitri came to Chicago, I wanted to introduce him to a bunch of marketing executives I actually happened to know. I had told all of them about Space Beer and they cherished it. They were like, “ Let’ s take this thing worldwide. This is actually the best thing ever. ” So when he or she came, they tried to chase him down, but Dimitri was playing around, having fun. Once they got a your hands on him and finally met up, these people told him that they wanted to convert Space Beer into a global brand name. They were talking about expanding into China and all of these other territories. And all Dimitri said was, “ Exactly where is the heart? ” Shortly after that will meeting, Dimitri and Achim [Kohlberger], his partner at Tresor, stopped Space Beer. I think myself introducing him to these US professionals alienated him from the project entirely. They wanted a multimillion dollar deal, but he wasn’ big t having it—he wanted a small, fun company. Their offer and aggressiveness really put him off.

Another project he discussed a lot was The Horse. When I was staying at Dimitri’ s place, he told me about it and how excited this individual was. If I remember correctly, the idea was to build a 100-foot equine with a massive sound system installed inside it that could be taken all over Indonesia, like a Trojan Horse—the Trojan Horse of techno. They wanted to get it around Germany and have Love Parade-style open air events with it. However they ran into problems with the local authorities of a lot of cities, so they in no way launched it. I’m not sure if it was actually built. His concepts sometimes took too much energy in order to execute, but this one inspired me to produce a track called “The Horse”. I had an idea of what The Equine could sound like and he put me in a studio right away. It was a small studio in Berlin. I don’ t know whose it was. It was nothing like the BMG studio. “The Horse” eventually came out on the Animals EP on KTM. It was the label’s final release. I’m not sure exactly why they stopped. I think Dimitri’s girl lost interest in it or some thing. The label didn’t last long, but it was fun nevertheless.

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