The story of Giegling is the stuff of techno dreams. The German
label started life as a small club in Weimar that was briefly run by five
students at Bauhaus University in 2008. The group of friends only put on four
nights before the club was shut down, but what happened on those nights was
enough for them to know they had something special.
‘At this time we were very young, in our early 20s, and we just
got this opportunity to run this club where we used to go ourselves before’ co-founder DJ Dustin tells us. ‘We didn’t have any
permission from the government, we just did it how we wanted. And it was like
total freedom we had there, actually. One room was very small, a former kitchen I think, it looked like a bathroom. There was a jazz band playing in this tiny room, and then ten people fit in. This was the third floor, for instance.'
The label was born from the club’s demise and has grown to become
one of the hottest dance music labels of recent years. The signature Giegling
sound could be described as melancholic nostalgia – at least, these are the
emotions that many of their tracks evoke. In a previous interview Dustin said ‘It's the feeling of seeing a sunset’. We gave him another shot at putting his finger on what Giegling is striving for: 'The feeling we want to capture is hard to describe. It relates to freedom, youth and a bit of anarchy and utopia.'
One reason for the high praise the label has received (they
were named Resident Advisor’s label of the year in 2014) is their attention to
detail. Like many dance labels they only release on Vinyl, but there is a lot more that goes into each of their releases. 'Actually, seen totally rationally from the outside, pressing music on vinyl nowadays is very irrational in terms of effort, time and availability' Dustin says. 'But once you go that whole path of pressing music onto vinyl it creates so much more value for the music. For us the artwork of the records plays a very important role and from the beginning on we had the idea that for Giegling we wanted every single record of the limited first-press editions to be individual.
'To give one example: for the last five releases, the covers have been made by a printing machine that we’ve built ourselves. It was supposed to be a milling machine actually, so it is an x/y table where you can put a pen inside and the pen draws something on the cover. We built an assembly line for this ourselves so the whole process was kind of semi-automated. Still this concept was like man meets machine. After the outlines of some abstract pictures where drawn onto the covers by the printing machine we gave those covers into different institutions where the people coloured different areas on the covers. The people could interpret the drawing in their certain way and make every cover unique. The institutions we worked with were a jail, kindergartens, old people's houses and workshops for mentally disabled people.
‘This whole thing, that we put so much effort and thought behind it, makes it of so much more worth than if it’s just a digital file. The music is so valuable for us that we want to put all this energy and irrational effort into it.'
The label are part of a breed who also choose to shy away
from most social media and have a very limited online presence. ‘We don’t
really have social media channels', Dustin says. ‘It was never like a
masterplan, to stay undercover to be commercially successful. It just happened
naturally. I think part of our mindset, which relates to understatement and the idea of less is more, we took from our time at Bauhaus University in Weimar, and this let us go down this path on the internet. Our website is a very important for us. We wanted to have it as clear as possible... it's a little window to our world where we post mixes of Giegling artists, videos, pictures and other stuff.'
There's no denying that the label were flavour of the month back in 2014, and without the sudden global recognition that was thrust upon them maybe they wouldn't be flying out to make their Mainland debut this Friday. 'It was a turning point for sure, especially after the label of the year position', Dustin admits. 'We mostly noticed it in turns of an increasing amount of bookings, and it that was very good for us. We were afraid that people won’t like it any more, because the early fans of the label I think were more music nerds who were proud to have found out about the label. And now it’s known and kind of established and people read about it and so on, so those people we worried might lose interest. I still don’t know, because you never know what people think. I just hope that our fans stick to us because we haven’t changed anything actually, the whole hype came more from the outside.'
Eight years on, trying to capture the feeling of those original Weimar parties is still what drives them. ‘We try to have this atmosphere or this
feeling which makes you free of every doubt or make you escape your everyday
life; to make your mind a bit more free. If the Giegling party is like it
should be then everyone will take something home and hopefully will remember it
for a long time.’ Eloquent descriptions aside, the label puts out fantastic
techno. Representatives Dustin and ATEQ ought to make the first mainland
Giegling appearance a night to remember.
See event details below, and listen to a mix Giegling put together for Resident Advisor here.