You don’t speak a word of the local tongue, but you want to get trollied in safe hands. There’s the “rustically-decorated”, Celtic-swirled pub named after a randomly-chosen Irish author, or there’s the embassy – neither are inspiring options. Berlin visitors are lucky enough to have a wholly more impressive hub of Irishness upon visit. Kleine Reise club, and its younger sibling Loftus Hall, have been representing house-happy Hibernos in the German capital since the exodus of its founding members Dara Drea O’Neill, Patrick Reddy and Peter Power in the noughties Dublin hipster diaspora. The club’s kudos grows with this month’s release of its first Kleine Reise Records 12 inch, a hypnotic, summer-inflected collection of three tracks from its founding members. The KR boys Skyped us ahead of the release.
How long have the pair of you been making tracks?
Dara: I started eight years ago, on Fruity Loops in work when I was supposed to be doing graphic design in an office. So I had made all these tracks before I’d even thought about performing or DJing. Then I started performing them live, and stopped completely for the last three years or so. But now I’m going to be DJing with vinyl, I don’t want to do electronic stuff live anymore. I’m working on songwriting, playing on piano live and singing.
Peter: Since I was a baby.
So how come the label now? Was it in the plans when you started Kleine Reise?
Peter: We’ve been talking about for a year and a half now or so, it seems like a natural step. We were so busy before we didn’t have a chance to focus on it, we do move quite slowly.
Dara: We also wanted to be careful about what we’re releasing and be 100% behind what we had, instead of just releasing a record for the sake of it. It took us a long time, but we have a distribution deal now that means we’re going to be releasing four or five records a year. We’re looking for submissions from people for that.
Is the next release sorted?
Dara: We have two lined up. One is an old friend from Ireland, which we’re trying to keep close to our chests. He hasn’t been released before, he’s very protective of the music, and the quality of it. So we’re coaxing him into releasing. He’s a genius basically.
Peter: I’m working on my own one too. We don’t want to release straight dancefloor music.
You’re launching the EP in Berlin, but there’s also a release party in Dublin. Do you come back often, or has it been a while?
Dara: It’ll be the first time in a long, long time. I don’t think I’ve played there for a couple of years. The last time I played was in the Pod.
Peter: What happened then, Dara? Dara: What happened then… Eh. I shouldn’t go into this. [Unprintable anecdote regarding a bottle of whiskey and general nakedness].
Playing in Dublin is obviously a hell of a lot different from Berlin to play in.
Dara: It was a shock when I was talking to the booker in the Grand Social about closing times. I mean, I knew it in my head, but when I was told about stopping at a quarter to three and I started adding the time together, with three of us playing together… Well, how has that ever worked?
The KR Family EP is available now, and is launching in the Grand Social on the 18th May.
5 More Nightclub-Labels
Irrefutably the bridge between the broken cities of Detroit and Berlin in the early 90s, Tresor laid the groundwork for opening up the German capital as the new centre of pioneering club music. Releases from Jeff Mills, Drexciya, and its Techno Alliance compilations are pivotal, though the club/label is undoubtedly now in decline.
This London’s club brief administration in 2010 was bewildering given its stratospheric rise as the city’s premier club since its inception ten years earlier. Its monthly releases are a genre-straddling who’s who of club music – just hope they don’t try and open any more debt-magnet super-clubs in inaccessible parts of London again.
Back when Berghain was more overtly casual ride-orientated it was known as Ostgut. Its label, named in its honour, is distinctly more highbrow, including a soundtrack to the Berlin State Ballet, as well as releases from Berlin dons Ben Klock, Shed, and Marcel Dettmann.
Bodytonic’s flagship club is now 7 years in existence, and though its sister label is only a babby, it’s home to Dublin’s most impressive recent house releases, TR-One’s It Ain’t Hard To Tell, and New Jackson’s monstrous Night Mail. More please!
So your probably don’t visit Frankfurt very often, let alone clubs in the outskirts of it. But the RJ is well-known for not just its kingly soundsystem, but the series of mixes it releases from its visiting DJs (including Prins Thomas and Ivan Smagghe), and 12 inches from local talent.
Words: Daniel Gray