Niederflur: Techno with an attitude
Cologne based duo Niederflur has been releasing mind blowing techno music since the early 90’s.

They are already a cult name within the Minus label discography. Also under the name Misc., they released such gems of techno under the Sender umbrella.

They recently decided to work under their own label Niederflur tracks and ‘Bipolar’ is their debut. Niederflur will never stop experimenting and releasing techno music with an attitude! 

I want to start with how you know each other and how started doing music together?
There’s an old but true story about how we met: We were working mostly nightshifts in a Videostore together, listening to music from the CD-rental-part of the shop and watching all kinds of movies.

That´s how we got to know each other´s taste in music & films. Then we decided to work on our own drum & bass tracks at first in Christopher´s little home studio, but also were experimenting with techno, downbeat and hip-hop. That lead to our first release ever; a drum & bass record in 1997.

You have so many monikers like, Clubsessel, Monophace, Misc. and Niederflur. Do you think separation among creation by different names gives you more chance to reach different audiences?
Some of these are long gone projects from the past, that gave us the possibility at that particular time to release different styles of music like drum & bass, ambient or stomping techno.

We were always into different styles of music, testing stuff out, mixing genres. Niederflur is the most active moniker up to this date, everything else is on hold or history already.

What are the histories behind the Misc. and Niederflur names?
Niederflur is a german word for a special low-floor-tram we discovered when we moved to Cologne in 1998.

The whole Niederflur concept evolved around the idea to record sounds from the Cologne subway including the weird sounding tape-recorded announcer´s voice, which can be heard in the early Minus-releases. So the name had to have something to do with the concept hence the name Niederflur. The concept is long gone now, but the name still remains.

Misc. is what we thought would be a cool techno name when we started the project in 2000. It´s kind of wordplay, since we were never only into one musical genre, we wanted to say: You don’t know, what you´ll get buying this record! it´s different things!

How did you get in touch with Sender Records and Minus?
Minus was the first techno-label we ever contacted. This was 1999 after we finished the first 4 Niederflur tracks ever after we produced a bunch of drum & bass 12"s.

This ancient time long before Soundcloud and other services, we had to burn a CD and sent it over to Windsor, Ontario, Canada via airmail. It was a real long shot. It wasn´t before 6-8 week went by when we found an email by Richie Hawtin in our mailbox (yes, we had email already at that time!) and wouldn´t believe our eyes.
He signed everything we had produced until he contacted us right away. Later we learned from Clark Warner, Minus former Label-Manager, that our material caused quite a fuss with the lot of the Canadian producers and DJ´s at that time.

Sender was one of the labels we liked from the start and we hit the label-owner Benno up with some of our new music in 2000.

There is an obvious techno trend around. Old dark days are back. What was in your mind in setting up your own label and turning towards Niederflur side of life?
Yeah, and we love it. Dark is lovely when done with style. But trends come and go. Minimal is now almost a cuss-word, labels don´t want their music filed under minimal at Beatport no more after minimal-techno has been the superhot thing for 5 years or so.

Labels try to use trends to boost their sales but nowadays some are afraid to try something new or different. That´s why we founded Niederflur Tracks: To do whatever we want whenever we want! No label A&R telling us what to change in the music or how to configure the release. Of course we would and will work with other labels, but it´s a convenient thing to have an output at all times.

How long did it take you to finish your debut "Bipolar"?
From the first track until the last finishing touches it must have been around 2 years.

Why did you choose such a name?
We know it´s also a mental disease, but what we had in mind was to say: This is an album that has two poles, two sides. One being the weirdo break-beat part of the album, and one being the more straight dancy side of it.

It´s in a way the schizophrenia we both come from: The early love for breakbeat music & straight techno at the same time. Other than for example in the UK, we always felt that in Germany these two things always stood very far away from each other, were separated from start.

Do you have a special track or tracks that you like more or which has a special story?
For the very early track "Barbarossaplatz", which featured a vocal-sample of the same name, we had to pass the same train-station 5 times to record the announcer´s voice.

To avoid other noisy distractions in the recorded signal, we had to go by night with full recording gear (mic & portable sampler). But every time the station was announced, we missed parts of it or the announcement was interrupted.
Which got us waiting for the same tram for hours & hours, in fact all night. All this for the weird voice saying: "Barbarossaplatz".

Are there new / forthcoming projects?
Yes! We are of course currently working on new Niederflur releases.
We are working on the details for a new release on the soon to be relaunched Sender label. And it looks like Christopher is going to release some of his solo-stuff on Sci+Tec. So we are good to go for 2011!

Any remixes?
We did one remix for Terrence Fixmer´s album and one for the Snork enterprises, Relax2000 output that are coming out now.

What do you think about the current progression of the techno music scene and club scene in general?
Techno in it´s diversity is still a undisputed genre that constantly gives birth to new sounds and ideas. But it´s hard to make these new music be heard and recognized.

It´s just too much data to handle for anyone involved. The club scene had a rough 2010, the crisis struck hard on the underground scene affecting smaller clubs and labels the hardest.  It´s going to get better, but vinyl sales will never come back. Oh well…

Will you continue to release stuff under Misc. name?
Not right now. maybe later.

Are you still based in Cologne or are you already based in Berlin too?
No, we´re still in Cologne. Cologne is not Berlin. We love Berlin. But Cologne is okay, too!

Interview: Christopher Çolak
31 August 2011


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