ALEX Niggemann is an artist who refuses to be pigeon holed.
While his sound delves into the deeper aspects of electronica, his ability to fuse the best of both old and new influences, to create an entirely new sound that leaves behind rigid definitions is the mark of a true visionary.
He launched his label AEON back in 2013 and it has since become an important reference point for DJs all over the world who are looking for electronic music with a touch of class. Music that has the spirit of timeless house and techno but is at the same time forward thinking.
Alex has also launched an impressive event series under the AEON moniker selling out shows across Europe including at the reknowned Watergate in Berlin where the Düsseldorf born artist resides. The AEON show at ADE was a definite highlight in Amsterdam this Autumn.
We caught up with Alex recently to discuss his views on the current state of dance music, his AEON label and showcases and what makes him tick.
You recently pulled off a very successful (by all accounts) showcase at ADE, congratulations. Why do you think it was so well received?
I think it is always about a lot of different things. I truly believe though that the lineup made a big impact. We/AEON have done a few events in Amsterdam already, but this was our best line up so far. It was just pure quality from start to finish and I think that people realised that. Another big impact was the work of the whole team, which was fantastic, not to forget the promoters who we’ve worked with before and did a great job.
What was the standout set?
Robag Wruhme’s set did it for me. Denis Horvat also did a great job as always.
I wanted to touch on the current state of the sound in Ibiza (and indeed not just Ibiza as it has saturated London’s top event’s) and the dominance of one dimensional techno. I guess you might say that there’s nothing wrong with any particular genre but what’s your opinion on why and how it has become so prominent?
I actually disagree that a certain sound has complete dominance, in Ibiza or anywhere else. It has for sure become prominent again, as every kind of subgenre in electronic music has a revival once in a few years time again. No one will or at least has so far reinvented the wheel. 2-3 years ago, they called everything deep house (although most of it wasn’t), now they call it techno again, although most of it isn’t. But I think the point is that the scene that we are in is cyclical, trends come and go, but good music is constant.
This dominance of a particular sound happens time and time again. What challenges do you face in the industry when you do not adhere to that sound and keep your own motivations and directions and how you continuously prevail?
In the entertainment industry, same as in every industry always, politics is always something you face. It’s not only about if you are a good producer or DJ anymore. Therefore the big challenge is how to make sure that quality is still the most important thing. The best DJs or producers are not necessarily those who you will find in the rankings or featured. So it is hard for a lot of artists to be just able to show their skills and potential to the people, as they just don’t get a platform to do so. My advice to them is to just stay true to yourself and believe in what you are doing.
Why do other artists give in to it and switch up so easily?
I can’t really talk about other artists. Some of them just liked it already and are happy to do this music again or begin to like it and are inspired. Some of them may just do it for the quick success. I’m just happy that we are having more melodies back in this beautiful music, as it’s where my heart is musically.
I couldn’t make your last set at The Little Festival but I was at Avante Garde in the summer and heard you steal the show with a trance-state-like set of hypnotic melodic groove with tracks such as Pulse Train and Today Tomorrow And Yesterday.
Actually the AEON team were actually playing all night before Adriatique started at 5am and so it had a big influence on the whole event. I wouldn’t say we or I stole the show. We just did what we do and it ended up as a very very good night.
Is there a difference in taste here in the UK vs other countries and cities you visit?
I wouldn’t put it all in one box, but yeah, you can definitely say that you guys are defined by a certain sound, we call “UK-sound“. But in general, there are events in Berlin, that do that kinda music too, and of course in London you have Berlin style techno events. It’s just about how big it is in a certain territory. But that has to do with the history of Electronic Music. All countries have grown in their own unique way based on their early influences of dance music, whatever the genre.
Now, you’ve just released AEON Audio’s next mini compilation: Lost Tapes vol.2. Tell us about it. What’s its purpose and direction? Who are the artists of note that you have selected tracks from?
For us it was clear that we wanna use this release in two ways. Making sure to feature the inner core with TVA, Denis Horvat, Speaking Minds & me, while also giving friends and newcomers a chance to show their skills. The label doesn’t stand for a certain sub genre, but for a vibe that the music and all the artists share, I like diversity, same as I’d like it on a line up, when I go out myself and therefore it makes sense, as well when it comes to own events, to mirror this in the music and artists we release. So we just wanted to have a platform to feature the whole team and also feature some music that perhaps we wouldn’t release on an EP for example.
What drives your desire to keep things fun?
Challenge is the motivation for me. I like to explore new things, techniques/instruments and try them out to while producing and make sure that track doesn’t sound like the one before.
And I always finish off with a few quick fire questions, so here goes:
Where do you see yourself, your label, AEON Audio, and the industry in 5 years?
Hopefully still able to keep people interested in our music and to showcase it to more and more people, to share our passion, and continue to travel the world and have fun with the fam.
Three artists to watch out for in 2018…
Make sure to keep updated on our AEON releases, then you’ll find out 😉
What is your favourite Berlin club to visit and then to play?
Watergate and Panorama Bar.
When can we catch you back in the UK?
NYE, I play for Anomalia in a stunning venue. A church! You should check it out.
What bpm is perfect for peak time sets?
Lost Tapes Volume 2 is out now on AEON Audio. Grab your copy here.