The veteran DJ and producer shares the key influences that shaped his career, turning a young music aficionado into one of the main figures behind Berlin’s institution Ostgut Ton.
When Nick moved to Berlin back in 2001, he didn’t expect to end up being involved with what many consider today’s electronic music mecca, yet he has been the driving force behind the Ostgut Ton label since its inception in 2005.
On top of his job at Ostgut and monthly residencies at Berghain / Panorama Bar, Nick has also managed to find time to release a respectable amount of 12s on labels such as Kompakt, Echocord and, most recently, Cin Cin. Balancing a touring schedule with quality studio time is one of the biggest challenges professional DJs have to face this days. For this reason, Höppner decided to leave his full time job as Ostgut Ton’s label manager in 2012 to focus on his DJing and, more importantly, spending more time in the studio.The result was his critically acclaimed debut album Folk in 2015, and now his forthcoming sophomore LP, Work.
With all this experience under his belt, Nick seemed the perfect candidate to chat about Background Noise.
John Peel & The Uk Indie Top 40
On Sunday nights, Radio Bremen 4, a youth radio station I was listening to from my small home town by the North Sea, aired these two shows in turns. I made a lot of musical discoveries here, some have stayed with me all my life. This is where I also heard Stakker “Stakker Humanoid” and Human Resource “Dominator” for the very first time. I remember being blown away by it as it sounded utterly alien and out of place amongst the dominating indierock and pop-sounds of the late 80s. These two songs also inspired my first electronic project called “Junta” which produced exactly one track made with a Tracker on an Amiga.
My cousin Kay-Uwe
My cousin enrolled in a course at SAE to become an audio engineer in the early 90s, not long after I left my home town for the big city of Hamburg. When he completed his course, he scored a job in a small studio mainly recording rock bands. But they also had an Akai S3000. Sometimes on weekends, when the studio was empty, we would sneak in there trying to make clumsy jungle with badly looped Wu Tang Clan rap samples. We also saved some money, bought an Atari, a cheapo synth (Yamaha CS-1X), the first Novation Drumstation and the Lexicon MPX100. I’m still using the latter two.
You can look down at me all you want, but my first proper rave was a Psy-Trance one and I loved every second of it. The year was 1993, in a field between Hamburg and Berlin VooV Experience attracted an insane crowd of freaks, psychonauts, neo-hippies and drop outs. It also drew the local rural population from the area and made for some really interesting encounters. I can’t remember much about the music, but that sense of communion and being in awe of the fact that this was a truly alternative offering only experienced by a rather small group of people has stayed with me until today.
Relying on a piece of new equipment to boost your creativity all the time, can get dangerously expensive very quickly. And let’s be honest, it’s also pretty lame. Yet the effect of a bit of new gear, no matter if it’s a worn out distortion pedal or a fully fledged polyphonic analog synth, is undeniable.
Berlin and my discovery of Panorama Bar’s first incarnation
I have to admit, I’ve never really been a raver until I moved to Berlin in 2001. Yes, I loved the music and I also dabbled with djing, but I have never felt the transformative pull of a perfect dancefloor filled with people who expertly enjoyed themselves and each other. The old Ostgut/Panorama Bar has been my dance epiphany and I am still grateful for all the things it opened my eyes and mind to!