On this 24th birthday, Berlin based DJ Wankelmut aka Jacob Dilssner uploaded his bootleg remix of Asaf Avidan under the name ‘Reckoning Song / One day’. The title conquered the charts and reached double platinum status in Germany. It also topped the singles charts in eight European countries and was the most downloaded track of Beatport 2012. 1,5 million Singles were sold and it was played 150+ million times on Youtube. Not a bad effort.
Tell Jacob, for those who don’t know, tell us where you’re based plus how long have you been producing and Djing? How did you come up with your Wankelmut moniker? And what does it mean?
I was born in East Berlin in the 80s and still live there now. DJing started around 2010 when I bought a mixer and two 1210 technics turntables which is the classic setup. Shortly afterwards I started doing edits, bootlegs etc. to get some special music for my DJ sessions which I used to do at small underground clubs in Berlin. I went a lot of clubs like Bar 25, Berghain or Watergate and learned my lessons. Wankelmut pretty much reflects my personality which is Yin and Yang but can also be best of both worlds.
It’s hard to put labels on most producers these days but how would you define your musical style? Does your music tell a story? Or are you writing more stuff for the dancefloor?
Since I have tracks on the radio but also regular club plays I am quite versatile. As a DJ I focus on Underground house music with a UK flavour. This works very well for me and represents pretty much my own likes in club music. You will not hear me playing trance or breakbeats. I respect that but that’s not my style. With the radio singles there is always a little story to tell by the singers I work with. For me it’s quite important that the lyrical content makes sense. That should not be nonsense.
You’ve released the third volume of your ‘Wankelmoods’ compilation. What do these compilations actually represent and why the long gap in-between this one from the last?
It sums up a DJ Session with Wankelmut. It is designed as a musical journey which keeps the listener entertained. That’s pretty much the same which you can expect from a club set I do everywhere in Europe. I am always working with the crowd to make people happy. The long gap came from being constantly on road playing gigs all over the world. I simply could not find the time to set that Wankelmoods #3 up. I have a high quality expectations level and I wanted it to be real good.
Your music was streamed over 82,167,30 times according to Spotify. How much did you earn from that?
I have no idea. I am well aware of my overall royalty statements and I know that my management is in full control of that. I am quite happy with my income from those records and I feel that Spotify is the most important player to get our music heard.
Do you think it’s possible to earn more from Spotify than Beatport with an album these days? And do you think the future of the industry is moving more towards a streaming model?
I think that both Spotify and Beatport are not really about albums. Both highlight tracks much more than complete albums. It seems that a good playlist is about to replace a good album which is a shame. But at the end of the day the people out there want hit records much more than concept albums. I still believe that there is enough potential to do albums in lots of genres but with club music that’s not the ultimate goal. Speaking about earnings: Yes, I think that you can earn a lot with Spotify but you need to be into it and you have to work hard to get things going there.
When you look at some of the successes you’ve had in your career so far, which ones do you think define you most and why?
I did the ‘One Day’ Remix for Asaf Avidan which went to #1 in eight European countries and sold 3 Mio. singles. This track put Wankelmut on the map right at the beginning of my career. Of course the MK Remix for my single ‘My Head is a Jungle’ is another milestone in my career. For example in UK that’s much more an anthem then ‘One Day’.
The dance music scene in Germany is huge and it’s not all just about playing in Berlin. Talk to us about your favourite places to play out side Berlin. Who are your favourite names locally, plus how often are you playing these clubs?
Germany is my hometurf so I play as much as possible. It’s difficult to name clubs since there are a lot. I just randomly pick four ones which I really enjoy to play:
Bob Beamon / Munich
Übel & Gefährlich / Hamburg
Loft Club / Mannheim
Odonien / Cologne
All of them are totally different but all have great vibes and good well educated crowds. Good fun to play there.
Tell us about your DJ setup when you’re performing and do you have any plans to perform live?
I have no intention to play live. The DJ role is much better for me. I play with MacBook, CDJ’s and a small setup of controller. Everything is mixed on the spot. Nothing prepared etc. I still believe that the vibe in the club and with the crowd is having a main impact in me mixing tracks and creating a sequence which leads to the fact that every night is different.
How many album tour dates do you have in the diary and do you have any new releases that fans can look forward to soon?
I play throughout all summer 2018 under the Wankelmoods banner. There will be a new single in May including a great remix package. Additionally I will also do a couple of remixes.