5 Facts / 5 Tracks: Hannes Bieger
Cult Berlin mix engineer, live act and producer Hannes Bieger returns to Poker Flat Recordings for the first time since his 2019 smash ‘Chemistry’. Hannes matches his studio mastery with an innate sense of what the dancefloor needs, and has made a significant impact in the scene with releases on the likes of Bedrock and Awesome Soundwave. Here, he brings two stunning new tracks to the surface via ‘The Heart’ EP.
The title track features the unmistakable vocals of Ursula Rucker – the poet, activist and vocalist from Philadelphia who has graced some truly classic records over the past 2 decades. Bieger provides a slinky deceptive groove for Rucker to deliver her iconic vocals. ‘Santorin’ is an even deeper cut, showcasing Bieger’s deft production via an infectious groove, rolling bass and beautifully restrained modular flourishes.
To coincide with the release of ‘The Heart’ EP, Hannes Bieger tells us 5 facts about himself and 5 tracks that he loves and that have influenced his career.
My first instrument was the guitar. When I was 10, I insisted to start learning electric guitar, not acoustic, as everybody else recommended. I wanted to play with electrons from the first moment onwards!
The name of my first band when I was still at school was Brown Sugar, referencing the Rolling Stones tune. Keith Richards was the primary reason for me at the time to start playing the guitar. He seemed like an alien from another planet to me, but somehow I wanted to be like him…
A few years later I also started taking piano lessons, although I never made it very far. My first ever synth was a Moog Rogue, which I bought around 1997. My dream always had been to own a Minimoog, but I could not afford it back then, so the Rogue was the next best version of it I could find.
As strange as it may sound today, I wasn’t interested in modular synths at all for the most part of my career. In the earlier days, all I cared for was self-contained keyboard synths I could take on stage. My first ever show as a keyboarder I played at Lovelite in Berlin (anyone remember the venue…?) with a Minimoog and a Roland Juno-60.
When I started making electronic music in the mid ’90s I was heavily influenced by Portishead, Kruder & Dorfmeister and the likes. My first ever production setup was centered around an Atari ST (the one with a built-in MIDI jack, but without a hard drive…) and an AKAI S3000i sampler with 24 MB RAM. Copying a few MIDI parts took a minute, and the AKAI was my “hard disk recorder”, so every bit of audio I wanted to use in a track had to fit into the 24 MB memory of the sampler…
Bomb The Bass ‘Bug Powder Dust’ (Kruder & Dorfmeister Session)
In my view this is one of the best electronic music tracks of all time…! The sounds, the groove, the rise and fall of tension, it’s pure perfection. I remember Kruder & Dorfmeister playing this track during the 10th anniversary festival of the Mojo Club in my hometown of Hamburg, right after a huge thunderstorm came through. It was a really, really special moment…
Marcos Valle ‘Previsao do Tempo’
I used to DJ a lot in my career, I even made a living from it in the first year after I moved to Berlin in 1999. However, I never really played House or Techno, it was more what was called “Rare Groove” at the time: Jazz, Soul, Bossa Nova, weird Soundtracks, that kind of stuff. Marcos Valle has always been a favourite of mine, and Previsao do Tempo is such a great tune.
Metro Area ‘Miura’
I only started to care for the straight bass drum after I moved to Berlin. At first I was into Deep House – Masters at Work, Petalpusher, St. Germain, and Metro Area! I really, really loved this album, and I still do. It’s funky and gritty, and both retro and futuristic at the same time, and it sounds as fresh as it did when it came out.
Etienne de Crecy ‘Prix choc’
Another early Deep House favourite of mine. The track is built around the wonderful sample from Grant Green’s ‘Hurt So Bad’ – he is one of my most favourite guitarists, and I have most of his albums on Blue Note on vinyl.
Gabor Szabo ‘Galatea’s Guitar’
When I first got into electronic music via Trip Hop I found it amazing how contemporary that music felt at the time, in the 90s. But at the same time it was also deeply rooted in so much super groovy stuff from the 70s. This track by Gabor Szabo is a perfect example: The deep mood, the groove, the tempo, the repetitive form, the sound of the percussion, the reverbs… it pretty much sounds like a Trip Hop blueprint, including a huge portion of jazz, which I have always welcomed a lot.