An Introduction To… Kleine Reise
A few weekends back, R$N made the short trip across the pond to the wondrous environs of Europes most indulgent clubbing destination, the hallowed nocturnal utopia of Berlin. In addition to the obligatory visits to Berghain, Katerholzig et al, top of the agenda was a trip to the Salon Zur Wilden Renate – Renate for short – to commemorate the third release from burgeoning tech-house label Kleine Reise, an offshoot of the close-knit collective responsible for the now sadly defunct club of the same name.
Nestled in the heart of uber-trendy Kreuzberg and situated in the industrial surroundings of a converted bathhouse, the Kleine Reise club played host to a series of house party-esque shindigs set up by a small fraternity of DJ-producers consisting of Peter Power, Dara ONeill and Patrick Reddy. The clubs intimate, sweaty vibe and eclectic music policy gained it the reputation of one of the more relaxed yet quirky spots on the Berlin landscape during its relatively brief existence. Thankfully for the devoted following it garnered, the masterminds behind the club shifted their energy into establishing a family-oriented label putting out releases from those core members that reflected that broad-based modus operandi.
It seems natural, then, for the party to relocate to an equally quirky venue sculpted around the house party vibe, the three-floor, multiple-room un-renovated space of Renate, with the KR boys setting up shop in the Roter Raum (red room). Joining together to celebrate the release of KRR003, the first solo release by originator Peter Power and a solid EP of deep house tinged with flavours of acid, were Canadian composer Hrdvision who features on remix duties on the EP, Patrick Reddy and relative unknowns Brady & Le Fox who closed proceedings. We caught up with the Kleine Reise boys to talk new directions, GEMA, and recreating that elusive house party vibe.
For someone whos never visited the Kleine Reise club before, how would you describe the vibe?
The Kleine Reise club was like an extension of our own homes. We were mostly enjoying house parties at the time we opened it and as it is reasonably rare in Berlin to find yourself at a house-party due to the 24hr nature of the clubbing scene here – we figured we’d give it a house-party vibe to make up for it.
Kleine reise meaning “little travel” seems a pertinent name. What’s the significance?
A more faithful translation would probably be “little trip’. Well the club itself was small, if you got 250 people in there things were getting very up close and very sweaty (which was generally real nice) and it was also divided up into contrasting rooms. There was the warm bar area, the dance floor, the trippy red room, the dark room, and one or two secret areas in-between. Plus it’s a cute name isn’t it? We wanted a German name. We’re in Germany.
I’ve heard it once described as like a club inside someone’s living room, such is the intimacy and close knit nature of the crowd. Is that something you’ve orchestrated intentionally?
I guess this evolved naturally from the house party vibe we were enjoying.
How has the situation with GEMA affected the club? Have you personally seen a change in the clubbing landscape?
GEMA is an absolute joke and a bane to clubs, labels and most importantly to consumers and audiences. We’re all on the internet every day finding new music and following links and personally as a label owner I want people to find our music online. I want them to hear it. We aren’t registered with GEMA. Whatever about how GEMA are destroying nightclubs, they’re also just making life for everybody in Germany that little more dull. They are a huge orginisation with awful ideas on how to pay themselves before they pay any artists but the big ones.
I met with the representative from GEMA when they came to set-up our monthly payments and he was one of the most ignorant people I’ve ever had to deal with in the industry. They are parasites infecting the industry, they don’t care about it. I tried to talk to him in general terms about GEMA and he just straight-up ignored me. There was only me and him in the room sitting at a table with forms laid out infront of us. He ignored my questions, filled out the forms and left. I wonder what his favourite band or artist was.
So the club has given birth to the label. Does Kleine Reise Records exist solely as a housing for the music of all the KR family, or will you be opening it up to the wider world in the future?
We’re lucky enough to be finding the music we love within our group of friends at the moment. But we don’t have any boundares, we are always open to demo submissions. The main problem in that regard so far is receiving emails that are quite obviously CC:’d with a hundred other labels. I think we’re looking for our relationships to be a little more personal. Anyone on our wavelength who wish to journey with us we will gladly support.
Peter, KR003 is your first solo release yet it shows maturity beyond your experience. How long have you been producing and from what do you take most influence?
I’ve been tinkering with music for about 7 years now.
I guess of late i am influenced by the feeling of dance floor unity that flourished in the 90’s, luminaries such as Thomas Banglater and Masters At Work who cut up and stripped down samples to create pure, wholesome and engrossing grooves. Nowadays this vibe has been diluted by the diversity of technology but there are still artists like Andres and Soundstream who are keeping the torch lit.
And then of course there is the biggest influence of all; Mother Nature, the universe is one big breathing organism. echoing this i like to use a lot of natural sounds to sculpt and breathe life into music. Big love to Bjork who effortlessly flies the flag for Mother Nature
Youve in the past described the label as being “free from the shackles of any particular genre”. What can we expect to hear from the unexpected?
I guess as you said expecting the unexpected is the sagest advice, each record a unique little trip, pregnant with personality.
The Love Heave EP is out now on Kleine Reise Records. Full details here.