The cover of the ‘Protest’ EP, due for release shortly on Eomac’s Eotrax label, features the words ‘resist’ and ‘persist’ ad infinitum. Aside from being the titles to the two original tracks the EP is centred around, its message is one of out-and-out resistance, steamrolling through the darkest excesses of apocalyptic techno. Defiant battle cries, thudding kick drums, gauzy atmospherics and warped sonar transmissions feature in two dense and foreboding warehouse tracks, backed by remixes from former Eotrax signee LAIR and Orphx collaborator Christina Sealey.
Resistance to what, you might ask? Well, the offering is written by two Berlin residents, Kaltès and Nene Hatun, aka Nene H. Kaltès has been curating the all-female line-ups of the female:pressure parties at Berlin’s Tresor since they began in 2013, which might give some indication of where this aforementioned dissent is directed. The parties have seen Kaltès book everyone from female:pressure founder Electric Indigo to Paula Temple and Adriana Lopez. She is also responsible for this fantastic article on Electronic Beats from a few years back, tackling the criticisms of all-female line-ups and highlighting their importance as a political act.
Nene H., on the other hand, originally grew up in Turkey and studied composition in Ankara, Tel Aviv and Stuttgart. She has delivered everything from bit-washed minimal to circuit board R&B on labels like Seagrave and Salem Rashid’s Bedouin Records.
With the release due out in the next few weeks, we invited the pair to contribute to our That Time When series and discuss five of their most memorable gigging experiences.
My very first concert was Rémy Bricka. I was three years old. A family member took me there to surprise me as apparently I liked that shit. I remember a crappy venue with lots of children clapping offbeat to Rémy’s performance. ‘Performance’ is the word here as Rémy was known to simultaneously play a drum, a mandolin and a number of special ‘effects’. A few doves were released at the climax of his show, while fireworks exploded.
The birds were obviously scared but no one seemed to care – not to mention the poor rabbit on his shoulder! I felt so sorry for the animals and so angry at the rest of the world for standing there not doing anything. I threw a tantrum and yelled at him to stop and free the birds. The aunt accompanying me was very embarrassed so she tried to get me out, but I fought hard and became the change I wanted to see in the world… I think I kind of succeeded that time, as I took over the show. I even lost my balloon in the turmoil! I obviously needed to attend that concert, but gosh, that gig was the worst. I hate that gig. Forever.
One of my all time favourite gig is one I played for female:pressure at Tresor in Berlin in 2014. Paula Temple and The Lady Machine were playing right before me; I was quite nervous. But damn, they both played absolutely killer sets. The Lady Machine has rare technical skills and a great knowledge of music which makes her a monster on the dancefloor. She’s fast, precise and consistent. Very impressive. I can of course say the same about Paula.
Both these artists – despite their remarkable talent – are profoundly kind, humble, supportive and loving people. So instead of being crushed by such imposing acts to follow, I was totally lifted up and ended up playing a great set too. That night was on fire. Altogether we created something very special. I remember this strong sense of resistance floating in the air; it was palpable. Underground meant something that night. When I have doubts about my work, I just tap into that moment, and I know exactly why I do what I do.
The last gig I played was at Säule Berghain for the very first Eotrax label night. It was definitely a milestone in my career and a night I’ll remember. It’s always an adventure to release a record, but when you do so surrounded by artists you adore, it becomes absolutely magical. Eomac and Arad (who together as Lakker) happen to be amongst my favourite producers, so of course that was quite meaningful. I’m very happy I could see LAIR’s first live show, it was outstanding. I realised that with techno I perform a sort of catharsis, a purge of emotions, a reset. LAIR’s music works the other way around. It puts you back where you are supposed to be, right at the centre of yourself. It’s a transcendental alignment and a confirmation, should we need one, that music can heal and is a form of love.
Mick Harris played right before me at Berlin Atonal this summer. I think this was one of the most powerful live sets I’ve ever experienced. Building the richness of the sound layer by layer, alongside the transitions among the architecture of Kraftwerk; it was a masterpiece. I am very picky with live sets and the most fascinating thing for me is when I don’t really know how the artist has done something. That feeling motivates me to push my sound further.
I was pissed that I couldn’t enjoy it properly, because I was playing right after him and trying to focus at the same time. But that whole Berlin Atonal in 2017 was a very special one. My other favourite from that year was Puce Mary; her music made so much sense.
At that time I was still studying classical piano in Stuttgart. Gonjasufi’s music was the kind of thing that I needed; he was proving me wrong on the theory that Turkish music doesn’t have any access in Western countries. He would put out tracks full of Anatolian psychedelia that my ears feel like they were home. I was composing, doing field recordings and had already written some musique concrète pieces back then, but I didn’t quite know how to produce. It made me curious about sampling and inspired me in a way.
When we saw that he was coming to Stuttgart, we of course bought the tickets. The day comes, we go to the venue. He starts the gig. Me and my friend Tine are already in the front line. Then there is this dude from his crew who stands near me and offers me a toke from the spliff he rolls. Having grown up in Turkey, that offer was probably the second or third time I had smoked weed. I take up the offer and all of a sudden get too stoned; the Eastern influences come in and out; too many emotions; my legs disappear; I am totally paralysed. I had to leave maybe ten minutes after he started, I don’t even know how I got out of there. I waited outside for another friend to come and pick me up. One woman apparently yelled at me for sitting somewhere I wasn’t supposed to sit or something, but I don’t remember that either, the friend who came to pick me up saw this happening. I just remember that I really couldn’t move my legs for very long time. Afterwards Tine told me it was an amazing gig.