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Running a record label these day is a tough business. Running one that’s survived – and thrived – over the past twelve years is an entirely different proposition, and it’s an often-near impossible task that’s only made possible by the professionalism, hard work and dedication of its owners. Monika Kruse – the brains behind Berlin based imprint Terminal M however – is the epitome of such a label owner; a lady of distinction who takes just pride in her work whilst always adhering to a strictly quality-laced musical template.

Kruse is also at an age where she understands the true force of techno music, not least because its power initially acted as a metaphor for the futuristic hope that bonded the two sides of her adopted home city, Berlin, together.  We caught up with the German temptress for a quick chinwag recently, to discuss her GTMK project with Gregor Tresher, her label and her future plans… 

What was the last record you bought? And why?

The last record I bought was a bootleg of a concert of Curtis Mayfield. I am a big fan of the man and his music. I still go to buy records and visit not only electronic music record stores but also second hand used vinyl stores. That is how I grew up… always on the run for good music! 

Can you tell me a bit about your GTMK project? How did that one come to pass?

I’ve released Gregor Tresher’s tracks on my label, Terminal M, for a long time ago now and he actually did his first techno release for my label. We’ve always shared the same taste for music and so we decided to try out how it would be if we entered the studio together. So we did, and we had so much fun that we decided not only to produce a one off EP, but also find a project name; GTMK.

When did you first meet Gregor? Is he somebody who’s had a huge influence on your career? 

I met him at the beginning of 2000 when he was just starting his own productions. He is much younger than I am, so I wasn’t really influenced by him from the start. Actually, over the course of my whole career I can honestly say I’ve never had any big influences. Of course I like some DJs and producers a lot. But my musical taste is so open minded and varied that from ambient to techno that I cannot say that there was a single person who particularly influenced me. If I had to pick one such artist, it would undoubtedly be Sheila E as she was certainly a role model. She is a great drummer, she has a big heart and looks great!

As a DJ what do you see as your role? How has that changed over the years? 

For me it is important to make people happy with my kind of music. With my selection of tunes. I want to help them to forget their problems and give them a little vacation from reality. For me it is important that we all make every night a special one and spread joy.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt when it comes to production over the years?

Don’t put too much compression on the track when you give the track away to the mastering studio. 

You’ve been involved in the scene for nearly 2 decades now. How would you best sum up Berlin back then?

Berlin is still the big LA LA land. Everything is possible, everything goes and it goes for a long time. A few clubs influenced the whole music scene worldwide. In the ’90s it was Tresor, later Ostgut and now it’s Berghain. Clubs like Bar 25 or Kater Holzig set a trend in music and decoration as well. And not to forget the Love Parade, which showed how much fun Germans can have! 



Do you yearn for those days or are you more forward-thinking?

It is never good to stick with the past. Living in the “NOW” is the most important thing! If you cannot enjoy the time which is happening right now you will never be able to enjoy your life. I had great times in the past, which I am happy that I was there at that time. But also I am super happy about nowadays. It is still crazy and the soundsystems are so much better these days.

Did you ever think when you started DJing that you’d still be doing it 20 years later? Or did you realise you were very serious about music from the start?

I was always very serious bout DJing. I think the first generation of Techno DJs were super serious. There was no money involved. No groupies. We did it because it was our passion and not because we wanted to get famous or earn money. When I started DJing I never thought I could live from it. I started 24 years ago and we mostly did not get paid and if we got money, it was not much. Then after just a few years the DJ fees went higher and the whole DJ scene was getting more professional with agencies, tour manager etc. 

And who gave you your first chance? And at what club?

It was a bar in Munich called Babalu bar. I was playing funk, soul and deephouse.

And what tracks, DJs and producers really summed up that time for you?

Everything by Aphex Twin. Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Acidscout, Mr.Fingers, Robert Owens; guys like that.

Do you think it was harder or easier to ‘make it’ as a DJ back then? Were there a lot more DJs who didn’t produce around? 

Back than it was not about “making it” . It was not about numbers or ranking, it was just passion. We just wanted to play. It did not matter where it was, and how bad or good the soundsystem was. We slept at the parents of the promoters, we did a lot of illegal parties. And yes a lot of DJs did not produce, the sets were more important. 

What’s changed for the better? And what’s changed for the worse?

The soundsystems nowadays are mostly great. The organisation is better. Worse is the amount of selling out and emergence of DJs who cannot mix, the ones who just use sync and Traktor. The whole EDM thing is pretty scary, too. 

Tell us a bit about Terminal M, how’s it going?

Terminal M will be 15 years old next year. I am super happy that I get so many good tracks and that so many great DJs are supporting it. When I hear other DJs playing the tunes which are released on Terminal M, for me that is the best thing in the world.

The next release is called: Monika Kruse meets Pig&Dan – Soulcite / Natural High EP.  I visited the guys just after Timewarp and we did two very emotional tracks together. After that, there’s Pele & Shawnecy, then Alexander Aurel, Clio … the list is long!

What keeps you motivated music-wise?

Good tracks of course. The goosebumps which I get when I play.

What is the next project you will be working on? And what else can we look forward to from you?

As I mentioned there will be the release with Pig&dan, than my track “Summer Drops” will be remixed by Nicole Moudaber, Mendo, Uner and Egbert. Gig-wise I am looking forward to the summer in Ibiza. I play again for Carl Cox at Space, for Marco Carola at Amnesia, for Viva Warriors at Sankeys, and there’ll be a Pacha date too. Plus a nice festival in the UK called Eastern Electrics which I’m really looking forward to.

Monika Kruse meets Pig&Dan – Soulstice / Natural High EP is out now on Terminal M. Tickets for Eastern Electrics 2014 on August 2nd can be purchased here: Eastern Electrics 2014 tickets from Skiddle.




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