As Tokyo recovers from o-shogatsu, January is a subdued time on the local club scene, with tours by international DJs at a minimum. But Warehouse702 isn’t letting the winter blues get to it—DJ/producer Sebo K will be lighting it up to help you burn off all that New Year’s mochi. The Berliner has been a pivotal figure in German techno for over a decade, starting out at Alec Empire’s UK-style breakbeat night Bass Terror, then shifting his groove to Chicago house and US techno. Now cutting tracks on Anja Schneider’s powerful label Mobilee, Sebo K is acclaimed for championing house within Berlin’s largely techno-loving fraternity. The results have paid off—he’s now resident DJ at the city’s music hub Watergate (the club with the coolest ceiling ever), from where he recently released the infectious, trendsetting mix Watergate CD 04.
What are the challenges in standing out from the many techno artists in Berlin?
Honestly, I’m not trying to create a challenge [sic] with any other DJs. I’m just playing music that I love for the crowd. For me, it’s all about love for the music.
What approach did you take with Watergate CD 04?
I wanted to create a mix that’s nice to listen to at home but would also work in a club. The idea was to provide some exclusive edits by friends—some of my personal favorites from the past—and mix it up with some great current tracks.
The mix has strong house elements…
Yeah, that’s true. But Watergate is not only a techno club; they’ve always featured house music. At my residency, I always invite guests who play lots of house music.
Tell us about the working environment at Mobilee…
Anja Schneider, the label boss, is an old friend of mine. All the artists on the roster are really nice people, so actually it’s like a family affair.
What direction will Berlin electronic music head in 2010?
Right now, house is very popular. Let’s see what happens after!
For you, what are the elements of an ideal club set?
The main thing is that the crowd has fun. A DJ should be a little flexible—within reason—but of course that doesn’t mean you should play tracks you don’t like. I think the role of DJs is to entertain the crowd, not to profile themselves. When the people are happy, that’s the ideal for me.
What are your impressions of Tokyo?
I’m a big fan of Tokyo. The people in the techno scene seem really into the music. I had such a great time last time I played, so I’m really looking forward to the gig in January!
What can we expect from your upcoming set?
Some good music and a great time!
Watergate CD 04 is available on Watergate (www.water-gate.de).
Lab Special. Deep house, tech house: DJs Sebo K, Herba, etc. Jan 16, from 11pm, ¥3,500. Azabu-Juban. Tel: 03-6230-0343. www.warehouse702.com