5 Steps With Alex Niggemann
There are few DJ’s and producers who have worked as hard for their success as Alex Niggemann. Gambling his future career on becoming a success story within the extremely competitive Berlin electronic music scene, this is a man who oozes confidence because he truly believes in what he is doing. No trend chasing, Alex has always tried to impress fans and critics alike with his eclectic tastes for music ignoring genre boundaries whilst applying his relentless perfectionism to all of his projects across the sonic spectrum. Now the head of two well respected imprints, Soulfooled and Aeon we thought we’d catch up with Alex and get him to share 5 pivotal episodes and decisions he’s made in his life that not only shaped him as a DJ and producer but as a man.
Although I was the typical Hip Hop boy in my teenage, doing style-writing, breakdance and lyrics, I remember, the first record I’ve ever bought was a House tune. Only now I realize that this changed a lot in regards to my musical perspective. Usually someone who was into Hip Hop never listened to House or Techno at my age, not to mention start buying electronic music. So without even knowing, my passion and love for this genre was born even before I got into Rap music for a few years. At this time I felt that love for music doesn’t know any genre boundaries and that there was so much more to discover. At some point I found myself at my first Techno party, which flashed me so much fresh material and interesting sounds. I got so fascinated by the sound and definitely experienced a feeling about music that I never had before. This experience changed me a lot. I remember everything exactly as if it just happened yesterday. Ken Ishii was playing this night and he did an amazing job; never really taking a break even though he was playing with more than two decks. He moved the crowd like I’ve never seen in any other concert before and everybody went completely crazy. I watched him play for 4 hours that night, and it was then at that moment when I realized that DJing is not only about mixing records but so much more than that and I felt the urge to find out more about this myself.
Moving to Berlin
With this love and passion for music starting very early and growing bigger throughout my teenage years, it was just a matter of time before I felt that I want to create something myself, so I started to produce my own music. I was lucky to have had piano lessons since I was 4 years old, involving a solid classical piano education and musical background which definitely proved valuable when it came to creating some own tunes and helped the creative process a lot. But soon I had to find out that creativity is limited when there’s a lack of technical knowledge. Since I’m well-known for my perfectionism (even today I don’t leave my studio before a track is perfect in my eyes), it was inevitable that the fact I wasn’t always able to implement my ideas would frustrate me. So the wish to increase my knowledge grew bigger and bigger. When my high school graduation came closer, of course the question came up what to do after. Working in a safe position in my fathers company or going the more risky, exciting way of realizing my own dreams? Although I was never sure If I’d be able to turn my passion for music into a ‘real’ job I could live from, I decided upon option 2. The plan was to study audio engineering. Finding out a good university for this was situated in Berlin made my decision easy “what could be better than increasing my knowledge and living in the Mekka of electronic music?!” No sooner said than done, I moved to Berlin immediately, got to know many interesting people who pursued the same dream and shared the love and passion for this music including the crew from Get Physical with Booka Shade, M.A.N.D.Y. and DJ T. being a few of them. My then production partner and I sent them a few of our tunes and they often gave us remix parts of their tracks just to try out stuff and learn new skills. After I finally have finished a first mix, I gave the track to Arno & Walter from Booka Shade hoping to get some feedback and tips, that could help me refining my skills. Contrary to all my expectations they only asked me if I’d be up for appearing on a release together with them, Radio Slave and Tiefschwarz. This was just overwhelming andone of the best days in my life which changed so much! I’m still more than happy, thankful and impressed that they gave me such a chance. Big shout out to those guys!