Hell is on the seventh floor
DJ Hell in the Dortmunder U View club
A reknowned star like DJ Hell in the Dortmunder U – why should that be less important than the media art exhibitions in the Museum Ostwall or in the HMKV in the floor below the den VIEW-Club?
Every now and then, even Dortmund catches a whiff of coolness – and the U tower plays an increasingly considerable role when that happens… You can see art from the Centre Pompidou in the U: cool. The U features unwieldy media art: that’s sometimes exhausting, but also most inspiring (just check out the current exhibition “Gone To Croatan”). Soon, they’ll show Japanese Anime films which hopefully will attract a bigger audience: would be great. And where else can you see such things? That DJ Hell finally is booked in the lounge club VIEW on the seventh floor of the U: absolutely adequate.
Sitting in the U, you should’t separate E(ntertainment) from E(ducation)
A side note: in case you follow the local papers, you’ll have pity with the U – its public image is pretty lousy. „The“ Dortmund resident considers it too expensive, too unfinished, and too untended – and why all this weird art when hardly anyone’s looking at it anyway? Well, the U has to live with it, and it has to prove (time will tell) that it is a genuine beacon indeed. It would be worse – but who would think of such a thing? – if possible hairline cracks in its internal structure would become trenches and, say, the players organising all the high culture events would look down on the disco people in the VIEW… Of course, that’s just a weird imagination, nothing more!! So much for the side-note…
..because you should always be aware of the following fact: Sitting in the U, you shouldn’t separate E(ntertainment) from E(ducation). Apart from the illegal Rave parties which were celebrated in the run-down tower which provided it with a solid unruly spirit, DJ culture is of course an obvious and popular form of media art. And DJ Hell with his often glamorous, disco-inspired Sound of Munich is one of this art’s most exposed representatives, working where the fields of fashion, art, and style meet. The man has already designed man’s underpants with Austrian designers Wendy & Jim, has been inspired by fashion czar Martin Margiela, and works as a DJ for Michael Michalsky. The DJ and entrepreneur with the real name Helmut Geier is 48 years old, marking a fossil state in his guild, has called his label for contemporary electronic music International DJ Gigolos.
Gigolo vs. blue collar type
Actually, his gig in the VIEW wasn’t attended by the Düsseldorf vernissage audience some would have liked to see here – although some obviously impressed Düsseldorfers were also present. A lot of sports wear, high heels galore, but no gentlemen in close-fitting tailored suits – Dortmund is still a champagne glass away from metropolitan style. Well, the gigolo character has its origin in the Twenties respectively in Berlin between the two WWs anyway. The dance with perfect manners is almost extinct these days, as is the Dandy. In the Ruhr, we have a more down-to-earth kind of man, the blue collar bloke, and Hell alludes to that. He may be drinking champagne while working, but he doesn’t do it in a suit. The gentleman DJ who has become a bit plumper wears a washed-out grey t-shirt with rolled-up sleeves and answers the question if he coordinates his choice of music and the respective gig location pretty laconically: „I condense emotions, and good, sophisticated, innovative music is always in demand – and that also applies to Dortmund. I’d like to consider myself down-to-earth. And these days, Borussia Dortmund, your football team, has the biggest national glamour factor at all.“
Down-to-earth is the new glamour
Great answer: down-to-earth is the new glamour. And his work corresponds with his words. At two o’clock in the morning, the resident DJ leaves the turntables to him, and things become muscular and serious very quick. The man who likes to refer to Warhol’s Factory and the common denominators between the various arts, and who likes to polish the image of the seemingly long outdated concept „total work of art, turns down the lights, reduces the high frequencies and lets the basses and bas drums pump – for minutes. Red: black: heart: pump: red: black: heart. In between this, he says something on the topic of total work of art: „The impulse or the development of ideas –in any given fields- mostly feeds off the complexity of thinking and acting. Electronic music was once meant to break existing rules and, most important, to redefine the club culture. 2011, we’re again at a point where we basically have to start fighting against existing rules and processes, and define new formulas for all areas, such as club, music, press, world wide web, dee-jaying …“
After sipping at his glass of champagne, Hell admits: „I am old-fashioned because of my age – that comes with the territory.“ But he’s not too old to find some new aspects in concepts like “pop music as a pattern for society”. By the way, Hell doesn’t need any creative quarter for his work. Whether it may be a thriving, urban district, a farm, or a boring house complex – „it doesn’t matter in which surrounding you act. Music as a carrier of ideas knows no boundaries.“ Well, the latter is a quote from Kraftwerk – yet still true…
photos in text: Electric Chair, Daniel Grutz