Interview: Church of Hell

Dj Hell article picturePhotos by Carlos Oblivion

German electronic music champion, DJ Hell, played three shows this weekend in the USA, one in SF on the Thursday, the next one in Chicago for Friday and lastly in LA on the Saturday – for an event organised in an old church in a sketchy and authentic part of downtown by Cali. warehouse rave connoisseurs Corey Sleazemore & Richie Panic from Lights Down Low. And a great occasion for a follow-up on the LSD series From LA to Berlin.
And to give you an idea of how the show went, here are some comments found on Facebook: “DJ Hell killed it”, “…and DJ HELL smashed my head in”, “Had the most amazing time of my… Life” among others.
Hell joined us in the girls’ bathroom for a quick interview before his set, the man was calm and composed, not in the least disturbed by the incessant in and out of girls powdering their nose and peaking at the star of the night.

So how do you do it? It’s been years that you play, travel, stay up, play again…
– Hum, you know, you just do it. Yeah, it’s my third show in a row tonite… The music keeps you going of course. But there’s no secret, you have to eat healthy, I don’t drink or use drugs and I like to exercise a lot, I also sleep a lot when I can.
I saw a picture of you with a riffle, is that for sports?
– That gun is very old, I found it in a house in Germany, the people who had this house kept many old things, it’s maybe even from WWI. I like shooting targets for sports, it’s very good for concentration, you have to stay focused. I used to do it as a child, shooting targets, I’d like to do it again. But I wouldn’t shoot animals, never.
Is that because you are a spiritual person?
– I’d like to think so. Yes I am spiritual in some ways. I was raised Catholic, so there’s that. But nowadays, everybody sees and takes things from different people and beliefs. I travel a lot, I am especially interested in beliefs in Asia and South America. So I take things from here and there and make my own religion in a way. You could call it Church of Hell! I’m kidding but yes, I have my own way of thinking about this.
Are you political, why did you choose to support the FEMEN?
– Why do you think? This is very important, the situation in Ukraine is changing and they have solutions to many questions. We did many actions together, I saw they were getting big very fast and I believe they have the power to change things. I hope that when the government changes in Ukraine they can have a place and influence politicians as advisors. And they grow on an international level too.
You clearly like to collaborate with people from different horizons out of the realm of techno music, like Bryan Ferry or Patrick Mohr, why is that?
– For Bryan Ferry, I just asked him and he said yes. I was very happy to work with one of my favorite singers and I was surprised he knew that much about electronic-techno music. It was a great experience. Patrick, we are friends, he grew up in the same area as I did, I like his clothes, I often wear them for gigs, and we worked on designing things together, tee-shirts, a bag… maybe we do more things together in the future. I like to design, I have even designed sunglasses, right now I am working on a hotel room – you know I almost live in hotels, so they asked me to do that and it is interesting for me. In the future I want to work on movies, maybe directing. 
How do you feel about being amongst young people wherever you play, does it make you feel wiser or more skilful?
– I don’t think about it like this. I don’t notice the difference. People are people, maybe they know my music and I inspire them, maybe I hear them play on the night and they inspire me or they make me dance, and we connect – or maybe we don’t. My skills? I hope I still have good technical skills… but the most important is to connect, do something with people, if people dance and have a good time, this is it.
Is that why you play big and small gigs too?
– I play where I have to play, my bookers choose places and I like both big and small gigs. Actually I think it is important for DJs to come back to clubs and parties like here tonight. DJs are not meant to play on stage at big festivals for thousands of people, this is not the way to go. Creating an atmosphere, playing different musics in the set, making the crowd dance, this is DJ culture and it belongs in clubs.