Simon Strotmann - Golden Pudel resident - chats on email with Ruf Dug!
Hamburg resident Simon is one of our guests for the Ruf Kutz Video Rave this Friday at Partisan. I've known him for some years now - I contributed a mix to his radio show and subsequently visited Hamburg to DJ with him. We've played together at the Golden Pudel a number of times now and he's one of my favourite DJs in the world and I'm very happy that he's joining us in Manchester this weekend!
I sent him an email with a few questions so that you can find out a little about the man before this Friday!
Ruf Dug: We have DJed together quite a few times now and I am always struck by the many different styles of music you play. Did you always play such a range or did you start by collecting only one genre of music?
Simon Strotmann: Excellent question. I never got the point of playing a South-West-Mongolian-Boogie-Of-1983-Only set. This is just some stupid DJ ego thing. Also listening to the same genre all night simply bores me. In my younger years being influenced by two older brothers I listened to skate punk and alternative, whilst also digging some german rap (yes, that exists) and stoner rock. Via post punk, indie rock and soul i only later discovered the beauty of disco, boogie and house music.
Also my parents didnt have a jazz record collection. I was brought up by vinyl like the "Best of the Beatles", "Nana Mouskouri's Greatest Hits" and a variation of Rondo Veneziano. So it took some trial and error to find out what kind of music I am into. Found out: the good kind of music exists in many genres. Also, I like the soulful stuff.
Ruffy: The Golden Pudel is a world-famous club now but how is it perceived in Hamburg?
Simon: Excellent question. I think some people still don't get the importance of this place, but I don't blame them. When I first visited the Pudel 13 years ago, it was already known in Germany as a very special spot. But when I stepped into the building, I only perceived it as it is: a shabby, smelly, little shithole. I did like it, but I did not get the fuzz about it.
It took some time to figure out the meaning for the local community. As the surroundings got more and more gentrified this little building withstood all real estate storms. To me now it is by far the best place in town. It is a shelter for the odd ones. It is a venue that enables people to try out stuff. With all the bookings by Dial/Smallville, by Phuong Dan, MFOC and all other people who regularly do parties there it has qualitywise become a class of its own.
And now, a year after the Pudel had shut down for almost 1.5 years due to a disastrous fire and some other issues, I am really happy it could continue to bring the noise. Now even more than before, because the club was able to make a clean break. Now the sound is better and people appreciate the club a little more, after knowing how the town feels without it. And i am positive most of the Hamburgians see it the same way. Sounds cheesy but i feel really humbled to be able to play there every now and then.
Ruffy: It seems like there is a nice music community in Hamburg itself - your pals Session Victim and Basso are known to us in Manchester and there are plenty of clubs besides the Pudel - is there anything missing from the scene there?
Simon: Excellent question. Well, there sure are some nice records stores and some producers and djs here in Hamburg, but for the size of the city it still is quite rural. Which also means you get to know most of the people quite quickly - which is a good thing. It is cozy and most of the cultural institutions are still situated around St Pauli. Almost everything is reachable in walking distance.
But regarding the club scene Hamburg is lacking loads of places. Like i mentioned before, to me the Pudel comes first and not many clubs for electronic music follow. I guess Hamburg is a rather conservative town, looking to past achievements not focussing on the future. Everyone keeps talking about how the Beatles started here ("this is the place where the Beatles first took a dumb") and the local government fights to keep the old harbour alive, despite killing nature by unecessarily bringing in all the giant ships, which pollute air and water. I am going off topic.
What I wanted to say: to my opinion the club scene is not very vibrant. One reason for that could be the lack of subsidy for forward thinking subversive off-culture. A second reason could be the general lazyness of Hamburgers. They want to have their clubs in (already mentioned) walking distance, which makes it hard for clubs which are not situated in the most central part of town. Sorry for not making this a Hamburg commercial. I still love it here.
Ruffy: What does Manchester mean to you having never visited?
Simon: Excellent question. Isn't there a band called "Hacienda"? Funny, right? No, seriously. I know a thing or two about Madchester, Factory Records, and all that but i look very much forward to a city tour for getting to know the recent Manchester. Also could you please tell me what the secret digging spots are?
Simon Strotmann DJs at the Ruf Kutz Video Rave at Partisan this Friday from midnight. Pre-party at Eastern Bloc Stevenson Square from 7pm!
Tickets are no longer available for this event