TLDR: Daniel Bruns on Hamburg’s efforts to create its own identity in the electronic music world.
An influential city responsible for many exceptional deep and tech house DJs and producers, Hamburg has managed to stay true to its own sound throughout the generations. You can hear the city’s unique energy and atmosphere in the music that is being released on labels like Cirque Du Son and Diynamic Music, and in the mixes of DJs such as Adana Twins, Soloumun, and H.O.S.H.
To give more insight on the current underground house scene in Hamburg, and what makes it such a one-of-a-kind location, is Cirque Du Son’s Daniel Bruns. Daniel has been a driving part of the Hamburg scene for decades, a witness and participant in the ever changing musical landscape.
What roles are you currently playing in the underground house scene?
There are a couple of points where I have given new impulses to the northern underground house scene. One of the important aspects in my opinion, is that I have been playing as a DJ in the northern electronic scene for 20 years, and I am one of the scene’s DJs who is continuously working on his music style and incorporating new influences. Another point is my label work, where I get to listen to a lot of demos from fresh and trendsetting artists. With the various imprints of our label group LFO Music we are covering the most important electronic music styles – e.g.. Cirque du Son (Deep and Tech-House), deepdub recordings (Deep Techno to Progressive House), Opium Records (House and Deephouse), Monsoon (Progressive House). Last but not least I do my best to influence the scene with my regular radio shows where I play songs that you won’t expect in my Club-Sets.
What do you think makes the Hamburg scene special?
The Hamburg house scene has been quite influential for the global house scene in the last decades. For years the Hamburg house style is somewhat special – a little bit like an alien landing on earth… on a point where you did not expect it, something is growing and having huge impact. If you look at Diynamic Recordings for example. Solomun and H.O.S.H…. H.O.S.H. and me have been school mates and I’ve known them for years. They have always been faithful for their own style… look at where they are now… they are some of the most important global players in the house scene. So what I want to say is, when the northern guys start something, they will do a very thorough and good job.
Are there any current trends that you hope will continue to grow? Any that you hope will disappear?
There are a lot of things which I would like to mention. This year I traveled a lot to the hotspots of the European house scene – Ibiza, Berlin, Barcelona and Croatia. I got to meet a lot of great people and artists and had the most tremendous experiences on my way, taking part in the birth and rise of new upcoming electronic trends. I deeply hope that the government in Hamburg finally starts to support the electronic scene more, instead of still boycotting the clubs. A lot of clubs are looking for new locations (for diverse reasons beyond the scope of this interview) and they don’t get the permissions to establish new locations and clubs. I hope that this will disappear and the government finally realizes and honors Hamburg’s cultural heritage and future potential for new meeting points for music enthusiasts and cultural scene in general – growing more and more every year. Especially the Hamburg Deep-House scene, which is actually growing more than other styles. A lot of Hamburg DJs are heavily influenced by Berlin nowadays – and I would love to see a strong Hamburg sound gaining more attention again.
Hamburg – just like Munich or Frankfurt – always had its own individual character and style.
I would like that to be represented more. Do not get me wrong – Berlin is the de facto global focal point of electronic music right now – but I would love Hamburg’s own musical identity to solidify a little more again.
Are there any unique challenges to DJing or promoting events in Hamburg?
There are a couple of aspects that come to mind. First of all I would like to mention my own nights. That are: Cirque du Son (Docks), Zoo (Prinzenbar), Techno.Punkt. (Ziegelsaal) and Take us Off (Wasserschaden). These are all very successful event series that I started this year. The main idea with them is to evoke an intimate underground club feeling again. The clubs are good sized with 50-800 guests, so you get to build a proper fan-base and get the chance to work with your own posse. In a small environment people are also more open to new things than in a big hall where a few 1000 people are expecting the certain thing that the superstar DJ stands for. I try to make events where every night is something new – giving the guests a new experience they did not expect.
What have been your favorite events from this year? What are you looking forward to in the coming months?
I would like to mention the Sternbrücken Festival in the Sternschanze area (one of the most hyped quarters of Hamburg). This will be happening simultaneously in four clubs with awesome DJs like Cari Lekebusch, Karotte, Der Dritte Raum and many more on the 23.10 – 26.10. I am also very excited about my own upcoming festival Cirque du Son with artists like Joel Mull, Pig&Dan, Butch and many more – happening in Docks next spring. Watch out for flyers!
At last I would like to mention my own Cirque du Son Radio Show on Frisky Radio – broadcasted at 4:00 EMT on every second Thursday in the month.