Category: MUSIC


Hands Dent May 5elect5 EssentialsDent May’s music takes you always to a blissful and warmer place. Following his heart and his old friends, the Mississippi-raised singer songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalists relocated to sunny Los Angeles 2 years ago. Dent’s latest LP “Across The Multiverse” is filled with dreamy psychedelic pop which takes you on a cosmic trip back to a breezy summer day in the 70s. The lyrics are smart and humorous just like him off-stage, his music videos, his short biography (“hotel bar lounge singer, daytime tv talk show host, tarot reader to the stars”) and his essentials. His backpack is packed with “on the road must-haves” he has refined over the years touring around the world. The selection seems to describe him well: a creative professional with creature comforts we all are too familiar with: a healthy addiction to Chapsticks lip balm or Ricola cough drops.

1. NOTEBOOK (NO BRAND): I used to buy fancy leather notebooks, but I was too afraid to write in them because they were so pretty. Now I buy the cheapest I can find. I use them to jot down songwriting ideas, make set lists and keep track of practical stuff. The pen is from Santa Anita Park, a horse racing track I frequent in Arcadia, CA.

2. SUNGLASSES (MOSCOT, CHECK HERE): These are my Moscot clip-on sunglasses. I’ve been through so many because I always lose and break them.

3. LIP BALM (CHAPSTICK, CHECK HERE): Most fans of my music know that I’m hopelessly addicted to Chapstick. I’m talking two tubes per week. I also made my own lip balm to sell at the merch table, but it sold out super fast.

4. COUGH DROPS (RICOLA, CHECK HERE): I’m constantly popping Ricola for my singing voice. I actually went to their website the other day and there’s all these testimonials from celebs like Bruno Mars and Nicki Minaj about how they can’t sing without it. I’m not even sure if it helps, but I like them.

5. TRAVELLING MEDICINE CABINET (OWN COLLECTION): Anyone who’s traveled with me knows I’m insanely afraid of getting sick and losing my voice, so I keep pretty much every possible type of over-the-counter medication on me at all times. This is actually my significantly pared down collection for touring Europe. I had even more with me in the US.

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Hands Pandaijing 5elect5 EssentialsPan Daijing. It’s not only the artist’s name but also stands for a singular art form because there is no genre or label that can sum up her work. Pan’s live performances take place at galleries, museums, theaters and underground venues – the space becomes a part of the experience for her and the audience to connect. Her album Lack 惊蛰 on Berlin-based label PAN is merely a teaser into her world of extremes creating an appetite for more. Pan’s work can be violent, dissonant and dark but with delicate elements, moments of relief and silence. The high contrast of her work, however, feel almost meditative and allow the artist and the audience to become more intimate. It’s a smart technique Pan has full control over because she directs and builds her shows to every detail ranging from lighting, costumes and visuals.

Born and raised in China, Pan moved to Berlin 2 years ago after receiving a sound design degree in San Francisco and starting her musical career back in China’s art and performance scene. We were able to catch her in between international tours and a trip back home to China. Dressed in black leather from head to toe, she shared with us that wearing leather gives her comfort and has become the outfit of choice on stage. Spending time with her family and eating home-cooked meals are equally essential to her creative process as the selection of items shown below. Although her work is so international, avant-garde and borderless – her roots and inspiration are in China and will always stay in China.

Essentials Pan Daijing 5elect5

1. CALENDAR (FIND IN CHINA): Chinese year calendar with photos of ancient antiques. Good remind of the day.

2. CANDY (FIND IN CHINA): Sugar free throat candy made with classic throat healing recipe in china.

3. OIL (WING LONG, FIND IN CHINA): Red flower oil helps with muscle pain and wounds. Must have for frequent travellers and heavy sports life. Intense smell also refresh the brain.

4. VIBRATOR (FIND YOUR OWN): Vibrates away all the stress. Quick pleasure.

5. SYNTHESIZER (ATOMO SYNTH, CHECK HERE): Favorite piece of gear of all time.

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Hands Pyur 5elect5 EssentialsPyur aka Sophie Schnell is fast and fearless. Reaching out to Scuba to offer her vocals to landing a job at his label Hotflush Records and this year getting signed to the Hotflush artist roster. Her debut LP Epoch Sinus seems to be only the opening chapter to the world of Pyur. The album’s sound is so diverse and beautifully crafted that it deserves its own genre. Sophie’s sound design is deep and mystical, drawing inspiration from classical music, nature and anything she “sees” while making music. Her creative process and work is both visual and sonic and this experience is shared with her audience by releasing a video piece for each track on the album.

We met Sophie at her studio / apartment in Berlin. The moment we stepped into her space, it was like entering another cosmic dimension and we understood immediately where her music was coming from. Her studio was filled with “Pyur” material such as crystals, ocean inspired decorations, candles, beautiful textiles and mysterious art work. On the contrary, Sophie also told us that she produces a lot of music for commercials and films because she enjoys the challenge to be creative within a limited time frame. Her essentials are the items that channel Pyur’s creative energy to be fast and fearless at her studio and on the road.

Essentials Pyur 5elect5

1. HARD DRIVE (INTENSO, BUY HERE): My musical and visual projects tend to get so large that I have to outsource most of my data, to be able to keep on working without crashing my poor laptop. On this hard drive is EVERYTHING. So I take good care of it.

2. CRYSTALS (PERSONAL COLLECTION): These are a selection of stones I carry around, the Pyramid one I use a lot for artworks, the others I like because of how they feel. I think of stones as inverted rooms, that I can enter. I learn from their process of becoming what they are.

3. MIDI KEYBOARD (M-AUDIO, CHECK HERE): This is my little travelling midi-keyboard. It’s good enough! And there used to be more stones on it. They are real Swarovskis, my stepfather used to work there a while ago. The rest of the stones must still stick around somewhere in suitcases, flats and other countries..

4. ALPHA DISC (GIFT): I use this Alpha-Disk (developed by Lissy Götz) to change my mind every now and then. There are many sentences and affirmations for re-programming the „highways“ of the brain arranged in a circle and I close my eyes and point to one and read it and feel it inside and then I often feel quite different afterwards. It’s good when I feel stuck.

4. BOOK (THE ROYAL TOMBS OF EGYPT, BUY HERE): I have a habit of travelling with heavy books, most recently books about ancient Egypt. I can easily get lost in the mystical and beautiful artworks and beliefs from that time. It’s quite inspiring for me. It’s forms and signs seem more futuristic than from a long time ago. The sarcophagi remind me of star gates. The knowledge of  ancient Egypt is somehow on an intuitive level a big part of my music.

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Hands Sieren 5elect5 EssentialsSieren aka Matthias Frick can be added to the list of the creatives we have met with multiple talents. Despite being based in the Techno capital Berlin, Matthias never stopped pursing his love for UK influenced bass music, field recording and experimental soundscapes. The richly textured and intricately programmed warm sound of his latest record Ascension EP on Apollo Recordings, the ambient division of renown R&S Records, shows his continuous evolution of  the “Sieren” sound and identity.  Most of the artists seem to achieve this level of professionalism only working as a full-time musician, but Matthias told us that he is actually a full-time product / software developer at one of the leading music software and hardware companies named Ableton by day. While being blessed with such musical talent, Matthias confessed that he currently enjoys having the luxury of doing both.

Matthias moved to a new studio / apartment in Berlin only few months ago but we were impressed by his clean and minimalistic set up. The subtle scent of an air purifier added to the cozy atmosphere and we couldn’t stop but notice his key to success: structure and self-awareness. The furniture, the polished selection of studio gear and the essentials he chose to share with us are all honest collections of simply things he truly likes and appreciates just like the two career paths he has chosen for himself.

Essentials Sieren 5elect5

1. HEADPHONES (SONY, BUY HERE): I’m not gonna talk about the Lightning Adapter, because that being another essential is a whole different story. But the Sony headphones have been a loyal companion of mine for a couple of reasons: I listen to all my music when I’m travelling on those and thus I’ve gotten so used to them, that I also use them for making music on the go. They are quite cheap, yet very great sounding and easily replaceable in case you lose them, since almost every major store carries them.

2. EARPLUGS (OHROPAX, BUY HERE): As a result from living with too many flatmates whose sole purpose was to audition for Jurassic Park (preferable at night) I’ve grown so used to them, that I can basically not live without them. Personally I found them to be the most effective acoustically (almost too good to actually wear them in a club) and also most pleasant to wear.

3. JU-06 (ROLAND, BUY HERE): Roland quite nailed it with the Boutique series. I always wanted a Juno 106 but somehow passed the window where they were still affordable. This one gets as close as it gets to the original in my opinion and ever since I got it half a year ago it has already heavily informed my productions.

4. NECKLACE (ICON, CHECK HERE): I wish I could say there’s some sentimental value attached to this one, but I do like the design and combination of geometrical shapes with elements of nature.

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Hands Francois X 5elect5 EssentialsParisian producer and DJ Francois X is one of the reasons why the French capital is having an electronic music revival. Since 2011 Dement3d, a party series he and HBT worked on together, helped defining the Techno scene by inviting guests such as Sandwell District, Planetary Assault System, Marcel Dettman, Mortiz Von Oswald and Silent Servant. With a growing following as well as a big push by friend and mentor DJ DEEP, who is known for his Deeply Rooted parties and imprint, he got into the art of producing and releasing his own music. This all sounds very organic and like an easy dream come true but Francois X had several careers before he reached this point. When he told us that he had worked as a day trader, owned a fashion label and played tennis on a professional level, we could understand why he was so humble and down-to-earth despite the big success. Calling himself a “Ninja”, he was very aware of his musical passion now turned into a full-time career as well as the industry and its evolution. Maybe his musical understanding and sensibility helped him and HBT shape their own label (also called Dement3d) polished and avant-garde catalogue by releasing records with artists like DSCRD, Polar Inertia, Ligovskoï and Hiss:1292.

The Ninja’s selection of essentials are humble but narrate his path to this current point in life. Meeting Francois X and hearing about his career, we got to believe that everything happens for a reason. Traces from his previous careers and now hectic touring schedule can be found in the items such as the very international selection of tea bags because he just came back from a series of gigs in Asia.

Essentials Francois X 5elect5

1. TEA BAGS (VARIATION FOUND AT HOTELS): The perfect tea flavors for my travels are green ginger or yellow. They gives me a certain kind of quietness.

2. GUM (STIMOROL, CHECK HERE): I need it and “stimorol” has the perfect taste. They are fresh! And they are sometimes good for anti-stress. Too much travelling!

3. MUSCLE PAIN CREAM (LUMBALGINE, CHECK HERE): I was and still am an intensive tennis player (did a lot of competition) so my body and especially my back and knees are a bit injured and I am sometimes in pain. If I want to be in good shape I need to put it before every gig.

4. BATTERY CHARGER (TEKNISER, BUY HERE): My top one essential item. When you combine the intensive use of iPhone during travels, it s the thing you need the most in your life. My phone is my personal assistant (riders travel ticket …) so i need it to be always on.

5. POCKET TORCH (NO BRAND): Most of the time my gigs are in dark clubs and to keep it that way I always ask no to use too much lights. So my pocket torch is helps me to find stuff in the dark!

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Hands Noah Slee 5elect5 EssentialsFor New Zealand born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Noah Slee had a busy year and it will get even busier in 2018. Releasing the debut album “Otherland” on Majestic Casual Records and playing at major festivals around the world was a big step in his career. Based in Berlin 6 months out of the year, Noah has found two place he can call “home”. The life between two countries seem to reflect his character and music well: genre-bending, respectful and open. His take on soul and RnB is fresh but accessible and so is his approach to writing the lyrics which are about the depth of communication, love and honesty.

When photographing his essentials, it seemed to be an easy task for Noah to gather the items because they were simply his favorite things. Especially the collection of Converse sneakers was quite impressive. He owned the same model in multiple colors, various editions, and several worn states. Even the hummus he brought out of the fridge came in several flavors because he loved them all.

Essentials Noah Slee 5elect5

1. JOURNAL (NO BRAND): Always keep me accountable in its own weird way, which is weird cos its just a journal but I guess the therapy and outlet it gives me its more than a just a journal. Mainly concepts, ideas, poems and of course lyrics. I’m too lazy to do the everyday dear diary thing 

2. HUMMUS (CHECK YOUR LOCAL STORE): Is my new favourite food since moving to Berlin. In NZ I didn’t really try hummus but some of my besties in the city have treated me to traditional Arabic food in their homes and I seriously almost have it with everything now its ridiculous. haha

3. SNEAKERS (CONVERSE, CHECK HERE): Past few years I’ve mainly been rocking chucks, proud member of the ‘Taylor Gang’ and it goes easily with all my clothes.

4. MASCHINE (NATIVE INSTRUMENTS, BUY HERE): I use this baby live all the time and it’s never let me down.

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Hands Perel 5elect5 EssentialsBerlin-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.

Essentials Perel 5elect5

1. PERFUME (CHANEL, CHECK HERE): 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, CHECK HERE): Dark eye circles are essential part of my  business.

4. HARD DRIVE (TOSHIBA, BUY HERE): It’s my brain actually. All my music is on that disk.

5. DELAY (TC-HELICON, BUY HERE): No live vocals without this baby.

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