A fixture in Resident Advisor’s Top-10 DJs for the best part of a decade, Ben Klock needs little introduction. Having become a Berghain resident in 2005, he has since established himself at the forefront of Berlin’s modern Techno movement, an ever-present symbol of the city’s vast musical landscape. His long-standing relationship with the notorious Techno institution has formed the backdrop to his success, providing an invaluable platform that has allowed him to become one of the most in-demand DJ-producers of the current generation.
Q: Do you feel like all goals have been conquered? What does an electronic artist dream of after having performed at Coachella, after winning BBC’s Essential Mix of the Year award, after celebrating a ten year anniversary of his own label?
A: Winning the Essential Mix was definitely a much bigger deal for me than playing at Coachella where techno is really just a very small thing compared to festivals in Europe or elsewhere. It didn’t feel like an important gig at all. It’s just that people talk about it more because it’s Coachella. But yes I achieved a lot of my dreams and goals. But a goal or a big challenge can also be to stay on top of the game, to remain relevant. In this way I’m still very ambitious and I’m always looking for new music to keep it fresh. That never changes. And since Klockworks is a small label there is always the potential to grow and to come up with new ideas for the Klockworks showcases in terms of production, visuals and just the whole experience.
Q: You have been DJ-ing for over 15 years and have been playing at the worlds biggest venues for a decade now. Has your attitude towards your own work changed over time? I mean, people become DJs out of love for music, out of a hobby, playing at underground parties for a group of like-minded people. Does this connection between the artist and the crowd remain when you play for thousands of people?
A: Of course the connection to the crowd is a bit different if you play in a 500 capacity club or on a stage in front of 10,000 people. I love the intimate vibe in a club, I love feeling the people close to me. That’s also why I always tell promoters to put the stage not too high and not too far away from the crowd. You just feel better and more connected when you’re close and in the end you play better, because you get immediate support. So I always love when a big festival feels a bit like a club and not so much like a stage for rock bands. In the end techno comes from the club culture.
Q: How do you feel, really, when you are playing on stage?
A: There can be many different feelings and it depends on so many things, on the place, the sound, the crowd, what’s going on in my life at the time. Being on stage can be like a therapy when you have difficult times in your life. You can have the most amazing feelings ever, when you have a good flow and you connect perfectly to the crowd and forget about everything else. Of course it’s also very challenging, because I always want to give my very best and when I feel that it’s one of those nights when it doesn’t really click, you feel terrible. I feel sometimes that everything less than amazing is not acceptable for me. But yeah, when the flow is there, it’s just the best thing in the world!
Q: Do you have any aspiration to write music that differs from your habitual minimalistic style? Are you ever in the mood to play something more in your face or raw and aggressive? Is there anything you cannot do because of your status of a techno star?
A: The question is how to define minimalistic. I do play a wide range of styles within this musical genre, sometimes aggressive, raw, sometimes more housy. It really all depends on the mood and where the flow takes me. In terms of what I can do or not I feel pretty free. I’m actually in the nice position that people know me for my DJing now and I don’t really HAVE to produce anything if i don’t want to. I don’t have to show anymore what my style is, so I think I’m pretty much free to do what I want now when I produce. So let’s see where the journey takes me.