Ralf Kollmann alongside co-founder Anja Schneider has steered the path of mobilee records up to the highly respected levels it’s at today. With the label’s 10 year anniversary on the horizon we caught up with one of Europe’s leading taste-makers in the house and techno circuit…
Hi Ralf. What was your musical background, and what were you doing at the time you started mobilee records?
My electronic musical background comes mainly from being a passionate raver since I discovered techno for myself in the early nineties. I kind of ‘studied’ it and sucked in every little thing related to this new movement and youth culture. It was the time when people were still reading music magazines completely from the 1st to the last page. Well, at least I did… including the imprint/publishing info and every other bit and piece. I guess my Father’s record collection had already set the vibe for me when I was ten, with the usual Krautrock suspects – Kraftwerk or Jean-Michelle-Jarre. Before I met Anja Schneider in Berlin and before we started the label together, I worked in advertisement. In the beginning mobilee was meant to be a side project, but developed into a full time business in lightspeed and is a 360 music and entertainment company with 5 employees nowadays.
Running a big label like mobilee, have you ever been inclined to get into the studio and make tracks for yourself or were you more interested in the business side?
I am interested in all aspects of electronic dance music, but I must admit that I got lost in managing all this stuff instead of spending time in the studio. Many friends and producers invited me to do something together in the past years. But thanks for making me think about it again. Maybe it’s a good project for the 10th mobilee anniversary… That´s next year by the way!
We’ve heard about the beach parties and the roof top ones, as well as the warehouse parties, but what’s been the best mobilee party you have done so far?
Everybody at mobilee has its favorite city and type of venue. I feel very connected to our annual rooftop events at Barcelona´s Hotel Diagonal during Sonar. It;s my personal highlight every year. Since last season we have the license to do additional rooftop events over the year at the Hotel and this is my secret tip as its super cosy and intimate without the sonar event hopping stress. People who are joining this date are very focused on the music and this special moment together with 236 other people (did I mention the maximum capacity of 237 people yet?). The mission is to dance, dance, dance and smile.
How influential has the culture and lifestyle in Berlin been in the evolution of mobilee?
It probably helped a lot to gain attention during the ‘Berlin minimal hype’ almost ten years ago. We have a fantastic club environment and music infrastructure here in Berlin. Some main figures from the underground dance music scene moved to the capital in the last ten years. It became a playground for many creative minds. Living costs are affordable. Clubs are owned and directed by passionate people from the scene. No closing hours. Many things came together, but the rest of the world is keeping up and Berlin is not the non-plus ultra anymore unfortunately. New York, London, Rio, Budapest, Warsaw, Capetown and many other cities are keeping up and have a fresh creative scenes. Dance Music is taking over every corner of the Planet in it’s good and it’s bad manifestations. Mobilee has been international since the beginning. We have so many friends and fans from around the world and there influence is dominating to our evolution these days.
What artists is the imprint pushing at the moment, and what are you excited to release on the label in 2014?
We extended our roster end of last year to get some fresh spirits and welcomed Lee van Dowski from Geneva, Igor Vicente from Antwerp and Ranacat from London. They are all debuting on mobilee in the next months and will join us for showcases and especially our big Sonar get together. The long awaited new Sebo K release is coming out next month, fresh music from Rodriguez Jr.´s studio just arrived in our inbox, Re.You and And.Id are also busy in the studio. On top of that our sister label Leena Music is going strong at the moment with releases from Ross Evans (or Tapesh & Maximiljan.)
What’s your best memory from time you have spent in London?
When it comes to London memories the list is long. I travelled to London a lot a while ago just for fun and meeting good friends I made there. Thanks to my friend Hadeel, I saw Prince playing live at the Millennium dome. Third row in front of the stage! I remember good times a Fabric and recently I really enjoyed the Jaded afterhours, where I’ve played a couple of times.
What are you most looking forward to about taking mobilee to the next Cocoon London show?
First of all, we are happy to work with the LWE crew again as they are fantastic. Its great to be a little part of the Cocoon show at building. I guess its gonna be a huge production in co-operation with Sven and his team. It’s good to be reminded what to expect at Amnesia for the 2014 Ibiza season- Good bye Wintertime!
Any other projects you can tell us about?
Mobilee´s annual back to back compilation is coming out end of the month. It’s presented by Ray Okpara and contains a lot of exclusive tracks. He also shared the Studio with Nick Curly, Markus Homm and Nekes for some tracks on the CD. You can catch him in April at The Egg! We also make a little trip to Brighton on April 12th and join the BMC with a mobilee showcase and some Panel action on the conference. But focus on March 22nd first!
Saturday 22nd March: 9pm to 6am
Building SIX, The O2 Peninsula Square, London, SE10 OAX
2. Cocoon vs mobilee
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