Kollektiv Turmstrasse: Goosebumps atmosphere

In a small town in Northern Germany in the early nineties, in a club known for its electronic music, Christian Hilscher was playing his first DJ set and Nico Plagemann was performing his first live set. The two had met through mutual friends, struck a connection thereafter, and would become not only friends for life – but also what is known as Kollektiv Turmstrasse.

Over the years they have developed a sound that is equal parts unique, and equal parts distinct. However, it is one that they grappled with at first. “For a long time we felt that our sound was wrong, because it was different. What we didn’t recognise was that it was the best thing that can happen to an artist in electronic music: namely, to have your own sound,” Nico shared with us. “Now we are in a position to thank God for giving us this inspiration and direction. It’s hard to make a distinct sound – it’s there before you even recognise it.”

Their live sets have a reputation for being something to truly behold. They are the consummate professionals, evident in the brilliant lush melodic ambience that their music generates. “Capturing people for an hour or so is the biggest challenge; there are a lot of things that you have to think of,” Nico offers. “We need a long time to figure out how we can handle a live set together and also have fun playing. It requires lots of concentration and the need to do things at exactly the right moment.” Contrasting this with their DJ sets, which they occasionally unleash on undoubtedly grateful crowds, Nico refers to it as pure love of the music: “you get every record you like; you get to show them to people – while the challenge is doing it in a good mix. The most important thing however, for both DJ and live sets, is the love of the music.”

It was this love for music led to the launching of their own label “Musik Gewinnt Fruende” in 2006 which Christian translates as “music makes friends”. He tells us it was ultimately curiosity that led to its creation. “We never thought about starting a label, but as we became more curious, wondering about how vinyl production is organised, how professional mastering is done, how music happens to get on to vinyl.” Christian indicates that at the beginning of 2006, they held their first vinyl in their hands and as he puts it “things started to happen very fast.” They received requests and offers from different distributors asking them to keep releasing music – and the label was born.

The lads are based in Hamburg, a place that for them, feels like home. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Berlin, or Hamburg, or even Sydney. The important thing is the community, the people around you, your friends,” Nico says.

Their 2010 album Rebellion der Traumer (Rebellion of the Dreamers) released on Connaissseur recordings was a blinder. On the back of massive releases like Tristesse and Grillen im Park and the infamous Let Freedom Ring Rmx for Federlicht’s On the Streets, theirs became a star that was indeed rising through the stratosphere. Reflecting on what is probably their biggest tune, they admit it was one of the hardest remixes they have made. “We needed a long time to finish it, there were about 7-9 different versions, and we didn’t like any of them at first. That the On the Streets Rmx became so big, was a big surprise for us that we never truly expected.”

In 2011 in their first visit to Australia, they played to a packed Shrug crowd in Sydney, a night Nico recalls as being ‘amazing’ and not surprisingly, they are rapt to be back. Comparing the intimate club nights to their bigger festival slots, while Nico humbly admits that “it’s fantastic to see 10,000 or more people dancing in in front of you” their preference appears to be for the smaller more intimate settings. “We love the intimate gigs: the energy is packed, everyone is still with you, there are no words needed. Just the music, the people, and the smiling all over you. Goosebumps atmosphere.” And they definitely bring the goosebumps. Expect plenty of those on this tour.