Exclusive Mix & Interview
June 23rd, 2019
Genre: House / Disco / Balearic
Label: Past Foward
Very excited to have you here. Introduce yourself to our audience. Anything special you would like them to know?
Hey, thanks a lot for having me. I’m Hendrik Stein. I live in Berlin and I have an addiction for finding records and playing them to people.
For my day job, I work as a music-buyer for a huge german record retailer and besides that, I co-host a monthly Radio Show called “Past Forward“ on Cashmere Radio together with Kryptic DJ and Menqui. Up until last month, I was also running a party called “Disco Train“ together with Charlie Smooth. And yeah – of course – I DJ from time to time. Sometimes alone, sometimes together with my buddies, and recently more often with my partner Frinda di Lanco.
We understand you recently went through an identity change. Before we get into that, tell us about “ Jochen Discomeyer” What is the history there?
Yeah, that’s true. Jochen Discomeyer has been my DJ name for roughly 15 years now. Back in the day, after finishing my studies, I finally managed to get a new pair of turntables (I sold my first pair to fund my studies). My new job brought me enough money to buy records on a regular basis, so after a few months I felt the urge to play in public and kinda needed to come up with a DJ Name. That was around 2004 and I wasn’t taking myself serious enough to do this under my real name.
I was listening to a lot of Indie at this time and was kinda obsessed with Rock music from Hamburg, where Jochen Distelmeyer was a key-figure. So basically “Jochen Discomeyer” was a play on words which I came up with whilst sitting on the toilet. It was a perfect fit since I always had a sweet spot for Disco music. Besides that, I was really digging this fusion between Indie and Electronic music at this time coming from Labels like DFA in the USA and Soulwax in Belgium.
During the years, my taste in music has been influenced by many artists and labels. There were times when I was obsessed with House and Techno and there was even times when I was into Anatolian Psychedelic music. But Disco music in its full variety was always connecting the dots. So Jochen Discomeyer as a name always made sense to me.
"...selecting records for me has never been so much about their genre, country, period, or when they where made – it’s definitely more about the mood they spread..."
Moving forward - what would you like to accomplish? Is there anything different you will be doing as Hendrik Stein?
Definitely not only Disco music. I’ve always been into Balearic – which in my opinion is more of a feeling than a real genre. It’s about fusing different styles to create a constant flow. In consequence, selecting records for me has never been so much about their genre, country, period, or when they where made – it’s definitely more about the mood they spread and if they are played at the right moment.
Since I met my girlfriend Frinda di Lanco, who shares the same obsession for digging, we have discovered a lot of stuff which is special and definitely worth playing. I recently lost myself in Austro-Pop, Tribal-Trance, Ethno and New-Age music from the 90’s. On our last trip to Spain, we found a lot of great Flamenco and spacey Progressive Rock records.
At some point, I realized that being Jochen Discomeyer and running a Party called “Disco Train“ can’t really express my entire personality and might lead to false assumptions when it comes to bookers and people, who don’t have the time to check my entire Soundcloud to get an impression of what I’m doing. So I went through some kind of identity crisis and learned some important things about myself.
First of all, I realized that I’m crazy about finding special records. Slowly but steadily I built my whole life around this passion. In the beginning, it felt a little strange and forbidden. Working in shady nightclubs where people are taking drugs or getting drunk definitely didn’t match the expectations from the people around me. There were times when I was feeling guilty for the amounts of money I spent on records, whilst friends and family were heading to Asia or the Caribbean Islands for vacation.
So I created an alias which is kinda funny and allowed me to pretend that I’m not really serious about the things I’m doing. But in fact, I am. Working as a music buyer for a record retailer is definitely not a job you find among the jobs offered in a daily newspaper and it has been a long and painful way to get there. Doing a monthly radio show and selecting records for gigs takes a lot of time and preparation. I accepted that I love this kind of work and on this path I realized that there is no need to hide myself behind a fake name. That’s why I decided to be the person I am. There was no need to come up with a different alias, because in the end - everything I do is a part of Hendrik Stein. So hello world, here I am.
Tell us about Berlin. How are you integrating with the city to express your creative outlets?
It has always been clear to me that Berlin is the city where I want to live. I came here in 2001. I’ve grown up in a small town in Brandenburg and the city has always been a one hour train ride away. When my brother moved here in the late 90’s, I had the chance to explore the city and it’s clubs in a time which was very special and which definitely shaped my personality and my understanding of what I call “a good party”.
For me, Berlin is still a great city to live in, but it’s pretty sad that these times are over and that Berlin became different during the years. Some of the best places don’t exist anymore and most of the places, which are still there, are seriously endangered to be sacrificed for posh office buildings or a highway which nobody really needs. Housing became less affordable in the last years whilst the wages are still dangerously low. So in consequence, a lot of the creative dreamers who built this so-called myth of Berlin already left for good. Of course there are still some good places and hubs to meet interesting and like minded people. Cashmere Radio definitely is one of these places and I’m really happy to be a part of this community. And of course, Berlin is still a good place for finding records as long as you’re willing to get your hands dirty and to get up early for flea markets. To be honest, I don’t see myself still living here in 10 years but time will tell and I still love a lot of things about this place.
Favorite clubs to play? Any memorable moments you wish to share?
There are quite a few places and events that pop up here – maybe too much to mention all of them. First of all, recording the Past Forward shows at Cashmere is one of my favorite settings for playing special music to open minded people. Our first show there was an extended 8-hours-ride with around 30 people dancing barefoot and singing along with Claudia Barrys “Love for the Sake of Love“.
Of course, Crack Bellmer has been an extension of my living room for the past 5 years. It’s a magic thing when you play after the main act and feel the connection with the crowd after a long running party. Suddenly – just because it feels like the right time – you play a weird German Schlager tune with a Spanish guitar and this warm yellow light flashes through the windows. You can see the arms waving in the air and the smiles on the faces of the dancers.
Then there is ://about blank. Which is in my opinion, one of the best clubs in the city and is definitely the greatest place for an open air - day-time dance in Summer. Especially the parties of the Warning and Get Deep (RIP) crews are stuck in my heart forever. Playing in the garden for one of the last Get Deep Parties was like a dream becoming a reality. I was nervous as hell and Charlie Smooth – the friend I was supposed to play with – didn’t feel well. So I had to play the gig on my own – which made me even more nervous. Actually, I can’t really remember what I did there but recently I met one of the dancers who attended the party and he told me that he’s still getting goose bumps when he’s remembering this morning.
Last but not least, there is this little private festival in the outskirts of Berlin which some close friends of mine are organizing. For a few years, it became a tradition that I play an unofficial after hour in some kind of bedouin tent. It usually ends on late Monday morning and is the most crazy setting you can imagine. For me, it’s the most special night of the year and an occasion to play my obscurest records to an audience, who embrace even the weirdest stuff.
"I accepted that I love this kind of work and on this path I realized that there is no need to hide myself behind a fake name."
Hendrik, Tell us something about you that the audience at your performance might not ever know.
Haha. That’s a good question! I always have a USB-Stick in my bag to feel well prepared. But I almost never use it.
In a few sentences. Tell us about this mix you made for us. Where did you get your inspiration? Is there anything special you want the audience to know?
I’m a perfectionist when it comes to recording mixes. Normally, I start around 2 or 3 specific records, which are setting the tone for the rest of the mix. This time it was about some mystical but positive jungle-vibe. Then it takes ages to find the other records, which fit the mood and a lot of motivation to start the actual recording session. It’s also a justification for ordering some expensive records on Discogs, which usually arrive when the mix is finished. So I guess you guys were doing me a favor on giving me a deadline for this one, haha.