Butch in Residence (Watergate)

We asked Butch about his experiences as a resident at Watergate in Berlin, and quizzed him on his role within the club.

Becca Frankland

Date published: 22nd Oct 2015

Image: Butch

You think of Berlin, you think of clubbing. The German capital has built an unshakable reputation as one of the biggest party destinations not only in Europe, but in the world. 

Watergate, the split-level rave hot spot, looks out onto the River Spree within Berlin's Keuzenberg area. The club continuously curates line ups filled with the best names in underground house and techno, and the residents reflect the exciting and innovate musical direction that is supported by the venue. 

The club has secured residents DJs in the shape of Sebo K, Matthias Meyer, Jimi Jules and also Butch. Not one to be pigeonholed into the tech house bracket, Butch's sound and attitude is so much more than that. It's an exploration through all avenues of electronic, delving deeper into the funkier side of house and the darker side of techno.

He's had solid releases on Desolat, Cocoon and Watergate Records, garnering a reputation as one of the scene's most valuable producers. Butch has also mixed Watergate 08 compilation album, concreting his relationship with one of the most popular nightlife spots in the world (watch below). We asked Butch a few questions on his role as a resident...

Why do you think that the role of a resident DJ is so crucial to a successful club night?

I once read that 80% of guests to Broadway shows are regulars, people who come from New York themselves and loved the productions there. That really blew my mind, because I had always assumed Broadway just lived off tourists.

I think the same statistic is roughly true for clubs, when I play a club frequently I see many of the same faces time and time again, which I love. A resident is like a connecting figure for a vibrant scene. He or she brings all the crazy motherfuckers and lovely party-people together.

What do you think your duty is as a resident?

I think historically the resident DJ has to be the one digging up new great music as well as forgotten old treasures. His or her job is to musically enlighten the people. Plus they are the center of the party, the music is one of the main reasons why most people come to the club. The music connects us all on the floor, so that’s where the responsibility lies.

Tell us about the very first time you played at Watergate...

Watergate was celebrating a friend’s birthday and we were having a crazy time. I just couldn’t hold back and just started playing. The people from the club listened up and liked what they heard and things developed from there. I wouldn’t swap that night for anything in the world, it was an insane experience.

How do you think that you represent the club and its music policy?

I play what I love, so in a way I really only represent myself. I guess that is what Watergate wants from their artists, so in a way, me being myself is the policy Watergate follows.

For a long time the resident DJ was overshadowed by the headline act but the scene has come to appreciate and acknowledge them again, with many club nights adopting well known residents for series. Why do you think it's changed?

That’s a good question. I think it has to do with compatibility. When a club really digs the artist’s work, the DJ loves the vibe and the sound-system and the crowd is receptive and comes back for more, then it just makes sense.

What track in your collection always sets the tone for the night at Watergate?

Every time it is a different tune. So many factors play into that. I think the biggest risk as a resident DJ is wanting to relive an experience you once had in that club. With Watergate, I am aware how special every single gig there is, so I really want to live in the now and not in nostalgia.

How do your sets differ from when you're playing as a resident to when you’re playing headline gigs?

The biggest bonus of a night at Watergate is I have more time. As a headliner I get up to three hours max, usually. At Watergate I get to do what I want all night long. I indulge in that and take every opportunity to experiment.

What has been your favourite moment playing as a resident DJ at Watergate?

The guys from Watergate are lovely and really let me mould the evening any way I want to. I love the trust on their part and cherish the freedom that comes with that.

Like this? Try Giles Smith in Residence (secretsundaze)