The precise moment that the belief in something new and great could come from the name James Dean Brown came back in 1999. Whilst driving downtown towards a club in Santiago de Chile with close comrades at the forefront of Chilean electronic music, the group experienced one of those elated moments in life and the pun was set to put a new twist on the American film actors’ name and make it internationally recognisable in underground music circles. One of those chronicled circles is that of label extraordinaire, Perlon and the ethos of its founders, Zip and Markus Nikolai. Gathering his knowledge and refining himself next to the frontiers of some of the most innovative house music to this day, James Dean Brown was considered a member of the Perlon family before it had even properly started and once established on the scene, he was regularly chosen to play at the infamous Get Perlonized parties at Berlin's Panorama Bar.
We've heard so much about the magic of a James Dean Brown DJ set from those who have been lucky enough to share the floor with him before. His sets magnify the beautiful cornerstones of his illuminated twenty year career. On Saturday we’re embarking on a Toi Toi hosted journey up in Room Three and to continue with our week long blog takeover from the Toi Toi crew, James Dean Brown gives us his first ever interview on the blog.
I’d like to start by finding out a bit more about your first experiences with music and growing up – that was in Frankfurt right? Can you tell us about that?
I must have been 8 years or so when my father took me to his workplace in Frankfurt, a foundry. There was one big hall filled with a pandemonium of industrial sound which totally stunned me. Generally, my most exciting experiences with music were of strange and unusual, or exotica nature.
Can you tell us why you chose James Dean Brown to go by at the moment?
It's a pun, conceived collectively by Martin Schopf (aka Dandy Jack), Tobias (Freund) and myself in Santiago de Chile while driving downtown towards a club. It must have been in 1999.
What drew you to Berlin, why did you leave Frankfurt? How did you become involved musically in the city?
I left Frankfurt because of job reasons. My mother is a Berliner, she had to leave town when she was young because of the war and always wanted to return but didn't make it. She is happy now that I completed her mission. The city inspires me since the early 80's, its music scene used to arise a certain feeling of distraction and alert that attracts me.
Concepts are big for you when it comes to creativity, can you explain their importance to us in creativity?
Creativity without a concept is like spirit without a body.
What would you say is the philosophy that resonates with the party and music world you’re involved in?
Frankly speaking, the music world I am involved in offers immersion into a psychedelic mood rather than party experience. It works in every genre.
As a writer yourself, what ideas do you think are at the heart of the scene at the moment, what is driving it? Are they good or bad things?
The way I feel it, the idea of cultivating a social routine which is based on medication is too prominent. It changes the attitude towards music in an unfavorable manner, leaving hardly any space for emotional development.
You’ve said before your approach to DJing is not hedonistic, how would you describe the level on which you find pleasure in playing music?
This must be a misunderstanding. In fact, DJing is hedonistic and means pure escapism to me, like a vacation. I find pleasure in handling some tool (turntables) and material (vinyl), and in surprising myself while telling a story the end of which I do not anticipate.
What first connected you with Toi Toi?
"Get Perlonized", Concrete, Paris, April 15th, 2012.
You’re more accustomed to longer sets and I’ve heard that you really come into your own when allowed to play for extended periods, are you finding the time constraint on your set time here as a challenge for you?
My challenge is always to get myself into the zone as quickly and smooth as possible before finding the most exciting route on my rollercoaster ride. This happens within a range between a cordial punch and passionate experiments.
What do you find spending most of your time on now?
Considering installing an altar for Chelsea Wolfe in my apartment.
You’ve now been making and playing music for over two decades – what are the most important lessons you have learned?
Found your own church.
Always remember: never repeat.
You never fall into a hole alone.