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Poll 2019: Paul Kalkbrenner

Paul Kalkbrenner

Emerging from the Berlin techno scene during the late ’90s, Paul Kalkbrenner first became known thanks to releases on Ellen Allien’s Bpitch Control label. However, the trajectory for the German DJ changed when he landed the lead role in the 2004 cult movie ‘Berlin Calling’ — a project that he was also providing the soundtrack to. This sequence of events propelled him onto the mainstream stage, where he has remained ever since.

Kalkbrenner’s energetic live show saw him selected to appear at the ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate, where he performed to over 400,000 people. He also possesses a rare ability to fuse raw techno with radio-friendly melodies and vocals, audible on his 2018 album ‘Parts Of Life’. Despite this mainstream success, Kalkbrenner has not forgotten his underground roots, and most recently, Paul Woolford remixed ‘No Goodbye’, turning the German artist’s original into a piano house anthem.

Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2019-10-18 11:04

Best known for: 
‘Berlin Calling’, energetic live shows and a series of artist albums.

Poll 2018: Paul Kalkbrenner

Paul Kalkbrenner

From: Berlin
DJ style: “No DJ, live.”
Best known for: “Live techno.”

Emerging on Ellen Allien’s BPitch label during the tail end of the ‘90s, Paul Kalbrenner has become one of techno’s biggest global artists. The Berlin producer has achieved this by focusing on album production and an unexpected career side-step: in 2004, the film director Hannes Stoehr commissioned him to provide the soundtrack for the movie Berlin Calling. This led to Kalkbrenner performing in the leading role. The film became a surprise hit, and drew audiences all around Europe. Crucially for Kalbrenner, the soundtrack went platinum and the single ‘Sky & Sand’ spent over 120 consecutive weeks in the German singles charts.

While a documentary about Kalkbrenner’s life on the road followed in 2010, he has exclusively focused on his own production work, releasing a total of eight studio albums to date.

Kalkbrenner’s energetic live shows have played a key part in his ascent, and in recent years he has shared festival stages with mainstream acts like Florence & The Machine, Iggy Pop and Blur.

This ability to rock a crowd even drew attention from the German government, and in 2014 they asked him to play a headline show in front of the Brandenburg Gate as part of the ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Kalkbrenner performed to over 400,000 people at the event.

Last year, he celebrated his underground roots with his ‘Back To The Future’ mixtape series, a trilogy that chronicles his personal history of electronic music’s arrival to Germany. The series went viral, amassing over 1.5million downloads. A 10-date country tour sold out within minutes.

2018 saw him release his eighth studio album, ‘Parts Of Life’, a deeply personal work that embodies his entrancing techno sound.


Questions Top100 DJs 2004 - Becca Antoon - 2018-10-10 13:04