Berlin-based producer, DJ and singer Annegret Fiedler aka Perel has made some smart decisions in her career. From the selection of labels she chose to work with to the impressive list of exclusive mixes and artist collaborations, she has slowly paved the way to make her dream come true: an album release on the famous label DFA Records — the “dance floor institution” founded by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy. The success story did not happen overnight. Musical breakthroughs are like lotteries and patience as well as endurance is required to eventually hit the jackpot, or not. Speaking to Annegret, we noticed how much she cared about her supporting fans and the strong network behind the brand Perel. She brings the perfect balance of fun and professionalism and her essentials show the same. The carefully curated collection of items are iconic yet practical and necessary for her to keep the show going.
1. PERFUME (CHANEL, CHECKHERE): Real disco sweat needs a proper answer.
2. GLASSES (VINTAGE, NO BRAND):This lady is about about 30 years handmade in Italy.
3. CONCEALER (BENEFIT, CHECKHERE):Dark eye circles are essential part of my business.
4. HARD DRIVE (TOSHIBA, BUYHERE):It’s my brain actually. All my music is on that disk.
5. DELAY (TC-HELICON, BUYHERE): No live vocals without this baby.
French producer Hermione Frank aka rRoxymore has found many homes to her diverse creative sound. Growing up in an environment full of Jazz and classical music, she appreciates the full spectrum of rhythm and sound which she stayed true to in her DJ and live performances. Her sound is always fresh, pushing boundaries because she is never afraid of trying something new. She’s released on Human Level, Cómeme, Huntleys + Palmers, Nachtdigital, Don’t Be Afraid, and on Noise Manifesto as part of Decon/Recon alongside label boss Paula Temple, Rostron and Oni Ayhun.
Hermione likes the unknown territories in music and finding comfort in discomfort, and her essentials support her in doing so: a selection of items she feels close to and has build a relationship with.
1. SUNGLASSES (RAY-BAN, FINDHERE): It is not about being vain , but I’m quiet sensitive to sunny bright light. So I can’t really travel without sunglasses in my pockets.
2. NOTEBOOK (NO BRAND): It is always in my suitcase , I like to be able to write down ideas, sketches while I’m travelling. Also it is a way to keep me connected with a pen & paper. Things that we use less and less.
3. SANDALS (NO BRAND): I think I have been everywhere on this planet, with these “Tropezienne”, I have them for more then 10 years now … I have other summer shoes, but always going back to them.
4. MINTS (TICTAC, CHECKHERE): My favourite mint, always in my pocket . Also to prevent any motion sickness (*___*)
Barbara Klein is a Berlin-based Polish musician, videographer and photographer. She established her career and reputation working with Techno legend Richie Hawtin and captured his his global tours in the form of tour diaries, event recaps and conceptual films. Other work includes collaboration with Soundwalk Collective (who we also covered on 5elect5), Yamaha , Spotify and now Native Instruments, one of the industry leading companies in music technology. For the early morning photoshoot, we met Barbara at her cozy apartment in the heart of Kreuzberg. Unlike her body of work that tends to speak a dark and mysterious language, she was warm and kind, offering us a cup of coffee and slices of fresh watermelon. Her essentials are a selection of items that give insight into her background, family as well as herself – revealing a strong connection to her passion turned into a profession . When she asked whether cigarettes or colourful cute socks with animals were better for the shoot, we obviously went for the socks. She then pulled out her large collection of socks for us to choose from which made us think that we had learned another side of Barbara who usually is dressed in all black outfits.
1. VINTAGE CAMERA (PRAKTICA, CHECKHERE): Leaving home without a camera gives me an anxiety attack. Lately it’s mostly analog one outside of work situation, because I love the ritual of watching family albums together.
2. COFFEE (NO BRAND, JUST COFFEE): Coffee and liquids in general. In higher than average amounts.
3. TOY CAMERA (KIKKERLAND, BUYHERE): Got this little beauty right after moving to Berlin from a friend, who convinced me I have enough talent and power to make a living out of my photography, which at time time was just a hobby. Today it’s a reminder to have fun while working hard.
4. SOCKS (TUTUANNA, ALWAYS BUYHERE): My outfit is all black most of the time, except of the socks. This obsession started on a trip to Japan, from where I brought 30 pairs back home. Funky socks seem to uplift not only me, they always bring smile to people who notice them. I think life is too short for black socks.
Mumbai-native Sanaya Ardeshir aka Sandunes is a music activist. As a producer, composer and musician known for her diverse blend of electronica which combines eclectic sensibilities with progressive electronic elements, she recently released a digital album on Bandcamp and a track for Red Bull 20 Before 17. As a certified Ableton trainer, she advocates accessibility and exposure around music-making by giving workshops and lectures about music production and performance. As a founding member of DASTA – an Indian artist collective, Sanaya challenges the thinking behind music making norms by hosting community platforms to connect music makers and artists. Last but not least, as a resident of the Border Movement, an initiative by the Goethe Institute, she is spending this summer in Berlin to help bridge and raise awareness for South Asian music. What keeps her going? The answer lies probably in the selection of her essentials: a perfect balance of creativity, energy and health.
1. DARK CHOCOLATE (VIVANI, BUYHERE): Perhaps very dark chocolate is an acquired taste, so let’s just say I’ve acquired it. It’s a bit of a ritual for me, one I need to engage with at least everyday, and I think it helps me feel like I’m at home even when I’m in a foreign country or in a hotel for a gig or a project. It’s usually the first thing I’d buy when I’m in a new place too. Over the years I’ve been moving up the scale of …darkness and 92% is my new sweet-spot.
2. BAG OF NUTS (LOCAL MARKETS): I do this always – it’s my hangry-hack and also makes me feel secure over long flights and airport pitstops because I’m sort of always hungry. Honestly though – you’re as likely to find me out and about without my phone or wallet as you are without a bag of nuts. I try and find a local supermarket that let’s you pick-n-mix your own. Good spots have been Regal Plus in Bombay (Bandra) -my local. Holland & barrets in London, Whole Foods in New York and in Berlin, the local Turkish supermarkets have been the best.
3. FIELD RECORDER (ZOOM, BUYHERE): I’m not making music anymore that doesn’t include field recordings, and this is my tool. I worked on a project last year called ‘Searching for Sound’ and spent about 6 days with a field recorder plugged into my ears all over Bombay. What I came away with was the thought that you really never know when the opportunity to collect awesome sounds is going to spring itself upon you – so these days I’m always sort of prepared.
The H5n is an amazing size, and has a great function of recording a double backup file at a lower gain level so *in case* anything’s distorting in real time, your field recorder’s really got your back.
4. YOGA MAT (MANDUKA, BUYHERE): Yoga goes everywhere I go, and so does this mat. It’s a really special mat – the only one I know of that folds up like a towel – super convenient to pack in my suitcase and take all over the world, especially when you need to travel light because .. synthesisers.
If you know Richie Hawtin, you are most likely familiar with Ali Demirel’s work. As the creative director, visual architect and engineer, Ali is the man behind all the visual aspects on and around the stage for Plastikman, M-nus, Enter and othercollaborations with Richie Hawtin. Together they have created identities and experiences that are not only entertaining for the audience but also applies innovative and cutting-edge technology. Ali’s stage designs and live visuals have true revolutionized the music industry. It was no surprise to us that he had a degree in nuclear engineering and architecture as his work seems to always incorporate scientific imagery and structural compositions with a clever twist that makes his work speak more “art” than simply “background visuals”. His selection of essentials might be proof that it does not need much to come up with creative concepts: ideas, positive energy and comfort. The only wall between the ideas and the breakthrough is the artist him/ herself and only patience, persistence and curiosity allows for the idea to grow.
1. PENCIL (NO BRAND): I think by drawing. A good pencil is crucial for me. Whenever I have an idea, I sketch it, and as I’m sketching, the idea becomes clear and develops. Sometimes I do not even have an idea but start sketching random things, then an idea comes.
2. BRACELET (FAMILY GIFT): Reminds me to be patient, and that life is an endless loop. This is a special one from my father. Made from amber, has some positive effects by touching.
3. SNEAKERS (CONVERSE, BUYHERE): A comfortable, practical and well designed leather sneaker.
Marc Houle: live act, producer, musician and label owner from Canada. Raised in Windsor, Ontario, his musical influences came from his trips across the river to Detroit discovering the sound of analog synths, drum machines and Techno. While most live acts started to play DJ sets, Marc stayed true to his craft of shaping the sound and performing live which might be the secret to his long successful career and high reputation in the industry. He started his career as a key member of Richie Hawtin’s Minus label family and gained a strong following to then pursue a new home to start his own family of music: Items & Things. With his latest release Sinister Mind, the first part of a trilogy LP, he found a new format to assess his musical journey and to reflect on his sound he has developed over the past 10 years. He calls it an “autobiographical studio project”.
For the photo shoot, we visited Marc at his modern and spacious apartment in Berlin. Greeted by a Totoro door mat and his dog named Kitty, we already felt like seeing a different side of the artist Marc Houle who usually is portrayed as the dark, untouchable and mysterious Techno veteran. We were equally impressed to find a wide selection of essentials already prepared and laid out for us to choose from. Each item came with a great story and we noticed immediately that Marc is not just a music enthusiast but also an amazing host and storyteller. His essentials represent his current passions in life and what inspires him most: music, cooking, and his dog Kitty.
1. DOG COLLAR (NO BRAND): The collar actually belongs to my dog not me but she’s amazing and makes me so damn happy. (hi Kitty!)
2. MUSIC PLAYER (FIIO, BUYHERE): The ipod looking thing is a Fiio X1. It’s less than 100 bucks and you can throw an SD card in full of wav, flac, mp3, ape etc. The D/A converter is better than a regular phone and stuff sounds great on it. Plus after a long plane ride i dont end up with a dead phone battery.
3. TR-8 (ROLAND, BUYHERE): The TR-8 is skinned with a custom Commodore 64 template my brother Dave made for me. It’s the most important thing i have on stage and as beat up as it looks, it sounds great.
4. KNIVES (MAC, CHECKHERE): I cook almost every meal I eat and a sharp knife is my best tool. The MAC knife was a Christmas gift from my sister so it’s very special while the Shun was a gift to myself so not as special. Keep em sharp and cutting is a blast.
Vancouver born and raised Ekali, aka Nathan Shaw, started his musical career playing bass in the award-winning band Said the Whale. When his solo project got selected to participate the renown Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo in 2014, a new chapter opened for him personally and musically. It didn’t take long until he was contacted by Drake’s team to sample one of his tracks he had uploaded on Soundcloud for the Canadian rapper’s mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”. Nathan doesn’t only know how to produce and remix top chart hits to add that recognizable “Ekali” flavor, a mixture of soulful catchy bass and smooth R&B, but has also figured out how to heat up the stage at small and big venues worldwide.
On the night of the photo shoot, Nathan had just flown in from his previous gig and mentioned that he has not been home in almost 3 months. What caught our attention was to see how attentive he was with all the fans that came up to him for a chat, to share demos on USB sticks, a photo or simply a hand shake. Despite the success he has gained in less than 2 years and the fast-paced life on the road, Nathan appears to have found the balance and selection of items that keeps him focused and level-headed. His essentials are pragmatic, yet romantic in a sense of being the one constant that fuels his inspiration and energy wherever he tours and is away from home.
1. ADAPTER (APPLE, CHECKHERE): I always make sure to pack this adaptor when I travel internationally, that way I can charge my mac and other devices whenever.
2. EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE (WESTERN DIGITAL, CHECKHERE): I always make sure to pack this external as well. With all the traveling I do, I need to be able to work from a plane, train, hotel, or even a car.
3. CANDY (JELLY BEANS, CHECKHERE): Jelly beans are definitely my favorite candy. I try to find these wherever I can.
4. T-SHIRT (ACAPULCO GOLD, CHECKHERE): This is my favorite baseball jersey T-shirt to wear. I’m sure my fans have seen it on me a million times by now!