Formative Experiences In Early Nineties Cologne: Christian S Talks


Two years since Christian recorded his mix for Ransom Note, we catch up with him to discuss his new record, formative experiences involving cassette recordings of late night techno and playing room 2 in early nineties Cologne.

I grab a half an hour with Christian the day before the release. He explains that he’s freshly returned from a two-week holiday in Italy and is looking forward to throwing a party to celebrate the release with the Cómeme crew. Playing alongside label head Mattias Aguayo the party will be a small affair, in a “Pub, or Dance pub”- reminiscent of his earlier days clubbing.

The record itself was first initiated back in autumn, the label since cherry picked 4 tracks out of 10 productions. Divulging that autumn is his favourite time of year, he expands.

“It is a very melancholic time, but also very fresh.”

We agree that this season tends to have that effect, a time for new projects, and usually a burst of productivity. The name of the new EP, Christian says, comes from what he describes as  “(a) silly game between Matthias and I, we tried to guess what a year in bass drums would be, and that’s what we came up with.” I concur that that seems about accurate.

The EP also shares the same name of a Facebook photo album Christian has gradually been adding to over the last few years, including birds' eye views from airplane windows, snaps of clubs abroad and mundane scenes in places made known to be exotic through small subtleties such as a random cacti, or the edge of a parasol.

Taken from Christian's SIX MILLION BASSDRUMS LATER Facebook album

Having spent my own developmental years at many dingey techno and drum and bass nights an in the mid 2000’s, it is fascinating hearing from someone who was at the forefront of one of the world’s electronic music hotspots from the beginning. Similarly, Christian was first captivated by the musical preferences of an older sibling, in his case borrowing from his collection of Punk, various 60’s music and Hardcore. It was in ‘91 or ‘92 when he got into late night German radio shows. He recalls hearing a raw techno track which got him hooked, recording onto cassette tapes before he discovered that you could “actually buy this music.”

Like many of his peers, Christian lived in a town just outside of Cologne. This microcosm centred around a collective of record stores: Normal, which stocked indie rock; Groove Attack, for drum’n’bass, hip-hop, and miscellaneous dance records; Kompakt, known as Delirium at the time; and A-Musik, that stocked more experimental musings that subsequently formed a record label, amalgated with Georg Odijk’s distribution service.

90's "IZ Club" flyer

Christian describes how he first became involved in the Cologne scene and the influences that continue to inform him as an artist. “Going to house nights at Cologne club “IZ” opened the window into the world of US House. The hosts on Fridays were Michael Mayer (founder of Kompakt) and Tobias Thomas.”

It was here that he played for the first time, however he was strictly limited to the second room. Perhaps these experiences are what led him to dig deep within the genre as he continues to develop his own obscure blend of dancefloor infusions. 

I ask Christian about his other main passion: graphic design.

“I studied design around the time that I first discovered techno on late night radio."

Following this he quickly began to realise the tenuous link between design and music and applied this by designing the flyers for parties he was involved in "to make them look more official”.

Flyer Artwork by Christian (1995)

Christian continues to be designer in chief for a large proportion of Comeme’s artwork and he resides in Cologne to this day.


I ask him how he feels about the town now, and what changes he has witnessed over the years. to which he explains his continuing love for the place. He describes it as small, somewhere you know everyone can easily catch up with friends and dance. It's hard not to reflect on this from a personal perspective. I feel a pang of longing for a lifestyle like this, where a night out in your late twenties/early thirties isn’t a struggle consisting of unavoidable packed out sweaty public transport and frequent last-minute non-attendance, usually due to the millions of commitments and general exhaustion that comes with living in London.

With an air of acceptance, he describes a sense of togetherness that is lacking in today’s version of the Cologne club scene. “There were open air parties, illegal raves- someone would be playing very weird electronica; someone would be playing jungle; the next person would play house. Every room would be hosted by a different record store.” It is rare if not non-existent to find parties now that span across all genres, but Christian thoughtfully acknowledges that this is only to be expected. 


Christian concludes on his resentment of nostalgia in reference to his formative years.

“I don’t like this term, nostalgia, I mean I play a lot of old tracks and everything I have experienced is important for my music now, but there are good things going on in the present.”

A valid metaphor for life in general, I would say. 

Buy "Six Billion Bassdrums Later" HERE

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