Berlin’s Erta Ale joins the Twirl! roster this September with a new single entitled ‘For Real’, backed with remixes from Gordo and P.Leone.
Shaun J. Wright & Alinka’s Twirl imprint has been steadily developing over the past few years with regular output from the duo themselves and the likes of Kim Ann Foxman, Spencer Parker, Physical Therapy, Luke Solomon and Eli Escobar amongst others featured in the catalogue. Here though we see the duo welcome Erta Ale onto the roster, a Berlin based producer and DJ, founder of Solenoid Records and it’s affiliated radio project, and resident DJ for the Berlin based collective Octavibes.
Gordo’s remix adds an organic flair to things rhythmically as loosely flowing percussion runs alongside airy pads and soft strings wandering throughout.
Hi Erta, thanks for taking the time to speak with us, you’re about to release your new single ‘For Real’ on Shaun J. Wright & Alinka’s Twirl! imprint, for those yet to hear it could you tell us a bit about this track, how it came together and your relationship with the label owners?
I met both in Panorama Bar on a Sunday afternoon a few years ago. I was already following them because I liked their productions and their style behind the decks and invited them to create a podcast for Solenoid Radio. After a while I sent them a couple of my own tracks because I wanted to show them my new productions. It started just like that, super easy.
You’re currently based in Berlin where you’ve been for over a decade now, gradually perfecting your craft as a producer and DJ. No doubt the thriving electronic music scene of the city has played a vital role in your current approach to electronic music but could you tell us a bit about your early years and what influenced you in electronic music before re-locating to the German capital?
Before moving to Berlin I was working as a classical composer. I studied composition at the conservatory of music in Rome but in that Time (2006) I started to lose inspiration for what I was doing. I didn’t know what I was looking for but obviously I needed a change, so I decided to move to Berlin without any plan and without expectations. I immediately fell in love with the city and with the electronic music scene. At the beginning I was more involved in experimental, ambient, electronic music, maybe it was the easier connection with my previous musical experience but almost immediately I discovered my passion for dance music. I always loved dancing but I never thought to produce dance music.
You run the Solenoid Records label and it’s affiliate radio show which has welcomed the likes of Eduardo De La Calle, Hakim Murphy, HEAR and many more to play, could you tell us a bit about the concept behind this, your Discogs page states ‘Music for sensible minds and strange creatures’, could you elaborate a bit further on what you mean by this?
Solenoid Records was a consequence of Solenoid Radio. I started the radio together with my girlfriend Tara Deacon (who really is a strange creature), she was “the voice” of the radio introducing every artist and was also doing all the design (she is still helping me a lot with that). At the moment Solenoid Radio/Records is moving slowly due to different projects I am busy with , but especially because I want be totally concentrated in my activities as a dj and producer. I realized that I have to be really focused in just a couple of things, and what I really love to do now is DJing and producing. I’m playing my machines and producing music every day. I’m doing that full-time. I’m doing what I love.
What are some of your favourite things about Berlin’s electronic music culture? I see you’re playing pretty regularly at a spot called KitKat, and also the infamous Salon Zur Wilden Reante, for those yet to experience these places could you walk us through the venues and what they offer to the scene?
In Berlin you can find whatever you want. In terms of variety of electronic music I think it’s incomparable with the rest of other cities. But what I really like here is the “club culture”. It’s not just about the freedom but more about the details: you can dance with the music you like, you are free to do whatever you want but in the same time it’s not just about being fucked up. In most of the clubs here in Berlin you are not completely alone, people here are taking care of each others. It’s about dancing, expressing yourself, sharing the passion for this kind of music with other people but it’s also to be respectful and not judgmental. It’s about helping and respecting the others. There are too many things to say about club culture in Berlin, but only after a while and only through personal experience you can really understand why the scene here is so special and unique.
What does the future hold for Erta Ale productions and DJ sets, and also any news to share on upcoming Solenoid happenings?
How I said, I’m playing and producing every single day, house music but also techno, ambient and experimental. I need to be creative in a lot of difference musical way. As a dj, I’m also trying to bring my music also of Berlin. Last year I was in South Africa for three months playing in several clubs between Cape Town and Johannesburg. In September I will be playing in Sofia for the first time and soon there after also in Madrid. I would like to increase my international reputation. In these days I’m producing a lot of strong, dark techno and planning to release a third EP on vinyl for Solenoid Records, but I can’t give more details yet.
Lastly, is there anything outside of music that’s been drawing your attention lately you’d like to share, art, literature, nature or anything else from the world and beyond?
Traveling is very important for me. I’m going back to Johannesburg in December and would like to showcase Techno as we know it in Europe. The last time I played in Johannesburg, I realized how hungry people are for techno and I’m really looking forward to bringing this energy again. I really like connecting everything with music. Traveling, reading, meeting new people. Right now music is the connection, the fil rouge between all the aspects of my life… and I’m really happy for that.
Erta Ale’s ‘For Real’ is out on Twirl! 14th September 2018.