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Interview: Holgi Star, an all-round music-meister

We here at Tanzgemeinschaft had a chat with Holger Gutwal who goes by the moniker DJ Holgi Star. During our talk we were overwhelmed by his activities now and in the past: dj’ing, running a label, organising events, booking agent. You name it, he does it. Talking about a busy bee!

Maybe first some background about this all-round music-meister! It was 1989 when Holger moved to Berlin and got acquainted with the techno culture over there. As the Berlin scene is well-know for it’s diversity he got to know the insides & oudsites from every possible point of view. First great milestone was as he started working for Frontpage magazine, the most important print media at that time. In the mid-nineties, as a founder of Timing Records, he became a pioneer of breakbeat music. Yet he is also known as the heart and soul behind the Berlin labels Kiddaz.FM, Stylerockets, Rompecabeza, Micro.fon and Playmate Music.

As a producer, Holgi Star takes profits from his huge repertoire and his know-how of the last two decades he carriers with him. Beside numerous solo projects he released with DJ Emerson, Dave Shokh, Tony Rohr and Holger Flinsch. With the latter he also performed as the duo Flinsch’n’Nielson.
The “Holgi Star Sound” from back in the days was produced with his friend Harry Axt aka Daniel Steinberg, who got discovered by Holgi and promoted via Kiddaz.FM and Rompecabeza.

In 2003 his debut album Holgi Star – Star Wars was a real bomb all around the globe. In Japan the crowd was so obsessed with the title track, that it was downloaded a thousandfold as a ringtone. A club tour with 15 cities in Brazil made him built up a good reputation in South America. But during all those travels he never disregarded producing in the studio. So he made remixes for Die Ärzte (Rock’n’Roll Übermensch), Sonic Groove owner Frankie Bones and Evil C & Dave the Hustler.

On the mixtape “Roadtrip”, released in 2008, Holgi Star presents himself on top of his form, sticking to his true style: pumping techno with a lot of soul. An awesome DJ … nothin’ more to say.

In 2009 his “Defender EP” got much attention and several remixes were released on his own imprint Kiddaz.FM. One year later the EP got remixed by artists like Drumcode Act Ascion, Hanne & Lore and Falko Niestolik who gave it a fresh and different sound and style. He met Pierre Deutschmann and as they had the same idea about music they started to collaborate. In those all-night studio sessions, productions like his remix of Hattrick on Bridesmaids were created.

Here is the original by Pierre Deutschman:

These days he is making productions with Pierre Deutschmann and Oliver Schories. The characteristic Holgi Star Sound is influenced by all the experience he made in the last 20 years and can be described as a mixture of techno, tech-house and several other tunes.

Enough with the introduction. Let’s do some talking. Meanwhile listen to some of his music.

Tell us, how’s Berlin and especially Neukölln? Is it a nice place to be a DJ, booking agent & label owner?
Berlin is definitely a good place to life and work, especially as a booking agent and label owner. Here is where the whole community meets, there are plenty of good clubs, the mood is creative and the summers are excessive – perfect conditions to work as you see. But the development of Neukölln looks critical to me as this area is changing from a no-go zone to a trendy area with all the positive but also negative sides like higher rents, changing inhabitants and stuffy neighbors. I have the bad feeling that this area will mostly change in a negative way.

You have been in business for years now. How did it all start out for you?
For me, everything started when I moved to Berlin 25 years ago. I got in touch with the small electronic scene very quicklyback then, which manifested itself in clubs like the old Tresor, Planet and numerous illegal raves. That touch changed my life obviously, and still does now.

Can you describe yourself in three words?
Tight, Straight, Curious.

How do you friends perceive your music?
As it always was: straight and uncompromising – I call it Techno!

Who were some of the first DJs/producers you ever saw that made you want to do it yourself? What did they do to make it sound like magic for you?
There where a lot – mostly DJs from the first area used to inspire me a lot here in Berlin. But the biggest influence was definitely the music itself which was something new, something never heard before – this was just magical enough for me.

What is your favourite piece of gear? And why?
Sounds pretty boring but it’s true: my laptop and my phone. Booth things give me the possibility to work and live my passion from all over the world

What’s your favorite place for inspiration in Berlin?
Tempelhof Airport, a vast area in the city. The former Airport is now an open space for everyone to use. I often enjoy the wideness of the area, which is a perfect way to get new thoughts and calm down.

You’ll be in South America, touring in Brazil. What are looking forward to most?
It’s my sixth time in Brazil now, so I already know the most spots. But I’m always looking forward to play there and explore that beautiful country with all the amazing food and interesting people of course. I just enjoy to experience that country as an artist, it’s like clicking the reset button!

What’s next? What are your plans for the future?
On the one hand side, I’m growing my techno alter ego HOLGER NIELSON – there are plenty of new releases coming up which I’m really proud of. But on the other hand my tech-house project HOLGI STAR also gstuffets new on Kiddaz.FM etc. We are growing our network constantly and are working on the next parties here in Berlin, of course. Summing it all up: we are always developing and I’m giving my best to fill my network with more life every single day.

Here is the 10th release on the Berlin based Ragnarök imprint. EP comes from Holger Nielson & DeKai and is called Roadtrip. The EP contains 3 dark techno tunes with an underground sound. Enjoy.

Holgi Star Holgi Star

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