Our next guest for the Sundowner Mix series is Parisian selector and Dj Hengstenberg. Get to know more about him and his inspiration, and enjoy one hour of an emotional, fun and quirky selection that he prepared for us.
Ines: Hi Julien, how are you?
Julien: Hi there, thanks for the invite, right now things are pretty good. Just came back to Berlin after island hopping around the Cyclades for the past few weeks, enjoying quality time with family, friends and myself. I’m super grateful that I could finally unplug. It took some time to kick back and relax as the past months/year have been quite hectic to say the least, but hey, we’ve pretty much all been through rough tides lately. All in all, the most important things are there: love, health and music.
Ines: That’s nice words to hear. So first of all, how would you describe your sound?
Julien: It’s constantly evolving since it stems from external inputs which I then process and translate through my own lense of interpretation. As the track “Formenverwandler” from Der Zyklus puts it: “shape shifting from place to place, bending time, curving space”.
My journey took me through a variety of musical phases, often related to the places where I lived and the people I encountered. For example in Paris with clubs like Concrete and parties in suburbs’ warehouses. Then Berlin and mainly CDV/Hoppetosse, Heideglühen and Panorama Bar. Then Frankfurt with Robert Johnson and parties I was organising with the Hansa crew in Silbergold. And finally back in Berlin after 3 years.
My collection built up over time and the tracks that stuck with me usually tend to tell a story on their own. Right now and through this podcast, I connected with what could be described as a more, quirky, groovy, acidy, round melodic bass lines, sometimes bizarre kind of sound while keeping it dance floor-oriented.
Ines: Are there any particular online or physical stores you consider favorites?
Julien: Te Iubesc, in Paris. So many records rarely leaving my bag are coming from there. The 2nd hand selection was really on point, shop owner Dawidu was going the extra mile to fill up the shelves with hidden gems from every corner of the world.
Gosu, in Frankfurt. I have a special tie to this record shop as it’s the first place I hit when I came to live in the city. I came to live there for a year and at the time I didn’t know anybody. I was blessed to immediately be welcomed with open arms by the local crew and quickly had the chance to actively contribute to the scene.
Libertine, in Berlin. Although today I usually find most of my stuff on Discogs, I always find something worth getting when I go to Yoshi’s place. A few other shops where I enjoy digging are Bikini Wax, Kimchi and Marla.
Ines: Did you have a concept in mind for the creation of this podcast?
Julien: It was more about capturing the essence of my current perceptions. Process-wise I took a piece of paper and drew an horizontal line with an arrow to the right to represent the timeline. Then I started placing words and emotions around it, like downtempo around the beginning, bpm jump around 1/4th, quirky techno around 3/4th and melancholic melodies around the end. Then I started placing records fitting these buzzwords and fine-tuned the selection based on how well they transitioned together.
Structurally, I would say that there are 3 distinct parts with “bridge” tracks making the connection, first block being slow, happened to be 115bpm, then escalated to 130bpm with more groovy sounds, to get to a more peak time techno-ish vibe.
Ines: How do you think that this moment we are living in, is going to impact the music scene in the future?
Julien: Positively I’m hoping. Sure there are obvious challenges that will have to be overcome to preserve the culture. But I believe that the people making the scene will go past them as they always have. I believe that many are yearning for authenticity, closeness and inspiration and this is precisely what the scene’s values bring to the table. At least this is what it brought me throughout the years. Today more than ever, there is a need for spaces of inclusion where free spirits and creative minds gather to express themselves and celebrate diversity. It’s up to each individual to keep our collective minds open, and the music scene has, is and always will be a medium for that.
Ines: Do you have any plans in the short term or plans for the future?
Julien: Hard to plan with the uncertainty today but one thing is for sure is that I’ll keep sharing as much positivity as I can around me, support my family, friends and people in general, trying to make my little corner of the world a bit better. Music-wise I’m taking it as it comes, we’ll see what happens next.
Ines: Ok and last question Julien, tell me a track that reminds you of your childhood.
New order – Crystal
Ines: Thank you so much for your lovely words and positive vibes Julien, and hope to see you on the dance floor soon!