LABELS: UPON YOU / SMILEY FINGERS / CLAP YOUR HANDS
DJ/producer Gunnar Stiller has seen Berlin transform considerably over the last couple of decades, soaking in influence as well as helping shape its development as a musical force, becoming a fixture of the city’s scene along the way. Whether playing in clubs around the world such as Panorama Bar and Watergate in Berlin, Hive Zurich, Glow Bangkok and Agwa in Sydney or producing his own tracks for respected labels like Upon.You Records, Smiley Fingers, Clap Your Hands and Voltage Musique, Stiller’s technique is deep in character, an outward-reaching combination of techno and techhouse with his trademark funk-tinged basslines.
Born in the sunny seaside town of Rostock, Germany, Gunnar Stiller found a change of scenery when his family moved to Berlin in the early 80s. Moving to such a beautifully chaotic, adventurous city was a key factor in shaping his musical perspective, and with the purchase of his well loved (and now worn out) turntables in the late 90s, he took his first step into a professional artistic career as DJ and producer.
In 2003 while working as manager for Berlin-based event agency No UFOs, Gunnar found himself in the heart of a perfect playground to gain insight and develop his own style, which at the time was focused on deep house, breaks and electro. Inspired by those around him such as Steve Bug, Matthias Tanzmann and Martin Landsky, Stiller quickly began to carve out his own sound that impressed not just the dancers filling the floor but also any promoter and organizer who was paying attention.
Pushing himself toward further success, he founded the artist alliance Edelmut in 2004 along with a few of his friends, an endeavor which quickly gained them notoriety as they played in the city’s top clubs like Watergate, Bar25 and later the infamous KaterHolzig , the latter of which invited Gunnar to become a resident DJ, a position he gladly accepted. On top of this, he became a regular player at the legendary HomeSweetHome sessions. His frequent and often lengthy sets (sometimes in excess of 10 hours) allowed him to explore the boundaries between (and beyond) techno and techhouse, creating a dramatic musical landscape that sets him apart from countless other DJs.
By 2009 Stiller had formed a solid intuition for exactly what moved listeners’ bodies (and spirits) and began his foray into production. His debut release, the Heideberg EP, and its followup the Manaus Madness EP – both on Voltage Musique – landed directly within the Top 5 German club charts, and Marek Hemmann’s remix of “Manaus Madness” was voted the #10 best remix by dance music authority Groove magazine’s 2010 readers’ poll. It was around this time that Gunnar joined Upon.You Records as part of their label and booking roster, releasing a lot more EPs and contributing to the acclaimed label compilation Upon.You Diary, which was compiled by himself in 2014. These where followed by collaborations and remix projects with artists like Solomun, AndHim, Layo & Bushwacka!, Alex Niggemann, Danny Serrano, Ray Okpara, Nikola Gala, Larry Cadge, Samuel Dan, Nakadia or Loko and more released tracks on labels like Clap Your Hands, Smiley Fingers and Time Has Changed.
Meanwhile, Gunnar Stiller’s DJ career picked up exponentially as he established a name for himself outside his native Berlin borders. In the last few years, he has been booked to play at top festivals such as Sonar Festival, Amsterdam Dance Event, Melt! and Sonnemondsterne, in clubs throughout Eastern and Western Europe as well as South America, Asia, Australia and Africa, sharing the booth with the likes of Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Carl Craig, Laurent Garnier and Luciano. If you want to know where the global electronic dance scene is headed next, keep your eyes and ears on Gunnar Stiller…
Hello Gunnar !! How Are You? What do you have scheduled for today?
Hello! I am currently in the studio and working on my new EP for Upon You.
Please tell us a bit about your latest releases!
I already finished 3 remixes for Upon You, Smiley Fingers and Mangue. My last regular EP on Smiley Fingers with remixes by Alexander Aurel and DJ Le Roi came out in autumn.
Which release was the one who gave you the most attention so far?
I would say it was my ‘Manaus Madness EP’ on Voltage Musique with a superb and classic remix by Marek Hemmann. His remix was voted from the Groove Magazine as one of the top 10 remixes in 2010.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming releases! Is there anything special planned for 2017?
As i said, 3 remixes are currently in the pipe and my focus is now on my next release on my family label Upon You. Beside that i am planning to work on 3-4 more EP´s for different labels and some more remixes.
As you are touring a lot, please tell us something about your experience around the globe. What is your favourite city or country and why?
Its such a big gift to have the chance to travel around, meeting new people and getting to know other cultures! Its hard to pick out favourite cities or countries. I love South America, Buenos Aires
for example is such a great city. There are so many incredible cities in the world i´ve been to and i cant wait to explore more in the future!
What was your funniest or craziest experience while touring?
I had so many!! An absolutely crazy one was while i went from Sydney to Subsonic Festival in Australia together with my friends Fabiano and Jens Bond. Driving through the wide bush and our driver was totally on acid. We didn´t really know if we should laugh or cry. Thanks god we made it to the festival without being lost in the nowhere.
What were your TOP 5 gigs so far?
Subsonic Festival in Australia
Several times playing at Panorama Bar
Studio 80 in Amsterdam while ADE
Krysha Mira in Moscow
My 30th Birthday at Watergate
What are your top 5 tracks that are really working the dance floor in your sets at the moment?
Moby – Go (Bart Skills Remix) – Drumcode
Victor Ruiz – Nevermind (Oliver Huntemann Remix) – Senso
Jay Lumen – Are We Clear – Octopus
Distale – Seek (Gunnar Stiller Remix) – Upon You
Alexander Aurel & Danny Serrano – Collapse – Leena
Thank you for your time and this interesting interview!
Stefano Noferini – Repeat – Terminal M
Collective Machine, Philipp Straub – Stalactite – 8Bit
Martin Landsky & Smash TV – Deep In My Soul – Re:Fresh Your Mind
Fabian Schumann & Black Vel – Love Is True (Gunnar Stiller Remix) – Mangue Records
Bizen Lopez – Suburbia – Suruba X
Ron Costa – Barcel –Noir
Metodi Hristov – Speed (Miguel Bastida Remix) – Elrow Music
Distale – Seek (Gunnar Stiller Remix) – Upon You Records
Cold Burn – Molly – Octopus Records
Alexander Aurel – Jupiter – Leena
Pablo Say – Green Melody – Truesoul
Darkrow – Future (Rick Sanders Remix) – Ovest Music
Drunken Kong – Only Way – Tronic
Moby – Go (Bart Skils Remix) – Drumcode