LABELS: UPON.YOU RECORDS / 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 in Berlin, Studio 80 Amsterdam, Glow Bangkok and Agwa in Sydney or producing his own tracks for respected labels like Upon.You Records, Clap Your Hands or Voltage Musique, Stiller’s technique is deep in character, an outward-reaching combination of techno and house 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 and Matthias Tanzmann, 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, Bar 25 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 which continue to this day. His frequent and often lengthy sets (sometimes in excess of 10 hours) allowed him to explore the boundaries between (and beyond) techno and house, 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 will be compiled by himself in 2014. These where followed by collaborations and remix projects with artists like Solomun, AndHim, Layo & Bushwacka!, Alex Niggemann, Nikola Gala, Samuel Dan or Loko and more released tracks on labels like Clap Your Hands 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, 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?
I just arrived in studio to work on a new ep!
Please tell us a bit about your latest releases!
To be honest, I was a bit lazy in the last 2-3 months… But we released in November our yearly Upon You Diary which I have compiled this time. Great and exclusive tracks from artist like Alex Niggemann, Danny Serrano, Marco Resmann, Ruede Hagelstein, Okain and many more. Also I made a remix for Yapacc on Lucidflow Records which came out in December. My upcoming ep on Clap Your Hands is on the way and will come out in March.
Which release was the one who gave you the most international attention?
I would say it was my “Manaus Madness EP” on Voltage Musique with a stunning Marek Hemmann remix, followed by my “Lust EP” on Upon You Records, including a remix by Alex Niggemann.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming releases! Is there anything special planned for 2015?
As I areadly said, there is lot of work waiting for me this year. An EP on Clap Your Hands is coming in March as well as remixes for Danny Serrano on My Favourite Freaks Music, one for Larry Cadge on Smiley Fingers and another one for Eskimo on Schallbox. All coming out in April.
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?
Well, my favorite city will be always my hometown Berlin! 🙂 But there are a lot of great cities I really love to play in. Amsterdam, Zurich or Barcelona are fantastic! Moscow is very interesting and I was totally impressed from Buenos Aires. It’s always a great experience to travel into new cities which I visit for the first time.
What was your funniest or craziest experience while touring?
This is a hard question I can´t really answer on. There are too many funny, crazy, weird and strange situations to pick out one! 🙂
Your vita is simply impressive. What does Berlin and Upon.You means to you?
Berlin is my hometown, where it all started for me and Upon You Records is my second family which helped me to come to where I am now. 🙂
What were your TOP 5 gigs in 2014?
hmmm, I would say…
Panorama Bar / Berlin (July)
The Gärten / Beirut (August)
Hive Club / Zurich (September)
Watergate / Berlin (September)
Sass Club / Vienna (March)
What are your top 5 tracks that are really working the dance floor in your sets at the moment?
Reset Robot – Coral – Moan
Rhymos – Volcan – Whistleblower Records
Lee van Dowski – Lee’s Mobile – Mobilee
Joss & D. Lamar – Revolution (Metodi Hristov) – Artreform
Landsky & Resmann – Lava – Upon You
Thank you for your time and this interesting interview!
Interview by M.in
Marino Canal – Downtrip – Sanity
East End Dubs – Summa Dis (Snilloc Remix) – Metroline Limited
Roberto Apodaca & Guti Legatto – Devils Lair (George Vala Remix) – Tres 14 Music
Toni Varga & Matthew Lima – Step Up – Time Has Changed
Outway – We Don´t Wait (Ellroy Remix) – Pild Records
Gunnar Stiller – Lazy Daze – Upon You Records
Doomwork – La Nuit Dansate – Audiomatique
AFFKT – Rantanplan (Pirupa Remix) – Kling Klong
Gunnar Stiller – Snow Cone – Upon You Records
Martin Eyerer & Markus Homm – The Duke – Saved
Reset Robot – Coral – Moan
Joss & D.Lamar – Reevolution (Metodi Hristov Remix) – Artreform
Danny Serrano – Above – Material
Chus & Ceballos, Oscar De Rivera – Blowing Minds (Ben Seagren & Alex Sibley Remix) – Stereo Productions