Grounded Theory and beyond

Interview with Henning Baer

Grounded Theory and beyond

27-06-2013 | 14.41

If you're a regular visitor of Berlin nightlife, you've probably heard of Grounded Theory: one of the most profilic underground events in the city. They've hosted names such as Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock, Surgeon, Chris Liebing, Function and Redshape. One half of the Grounded Theory team is Berlin DJ/producer Henning Baer. Since he'll be performing at this week's Imprint together with Sandrien and partner in crime Milton Bradley, I decided to ask him a few questions about his label and current projects.
Hi Henning, thanks for having a moment to talk. I've noticed that your Grounded Theory events has gotten quite the reputation the last couple of years. Why and when did you start doing these events?

"It was back in 2009 when I was talking to a close friend of mine about parties, the clubs and the scene here in Berlin. We were both into clubbing for a long time at this point and we both felt that it was about time to do our own things, realize our own ideas. Our idea was to establish a techno night on a Friday outside of the well known clubs. So the planning began and on September 25th 2009 we did out first Grounded Theory with Steve Rachmad, Function & Norman Nodge at Arenaclub."

What do you think sets Grounded Theory aside from the other events in Berlin nightlife?
"We try to present artists that we've personally been enjoying for a long time or discovered recently in combination with other artists. Every line-up went through a process of intense thoughts, such as: "Does it make sense to combine these artists?" Grounded Theory nights are based on the idea of a very intimate get-together with friends and the music we love. A certain hedonistic idea. The visual aspect communicated by the flyer, poster artwork and concept done my our friend Tobias Donat, the planing of each event to the actual party itself; everything is a very close to the heart thing for us. You'll also see many artists who are not playing that night themselves being our guests because we share the same musical vision in a way... We appreciate that a lot, since we like to bring artists together and function as a breeding ground for new ideas. We would never dare to say that other events do not have these certain approaches, but for us these are the main pillars of our project."

This Saturday will be your first time playing here in Trouw. I was curious to find out what you already know or heard about the club and Amsterdam nightlife in general?
"I played once at Studio 80 for the Compound guys, so I got a first impression about the Amsterdam nightlife already. Personally I enjoyed that night very much, so I was really happy to know that I was coming back. I've heard only great things about Trouw. The location itself, the sound system, the crowd. Having heard all these good things about the place makes me really looking forward to the night. Besides that, Trouw is a club where many of the artists I respect played already, so it is even more an honor to come and perform in the same booth."

You'll be performing alongside Sandrien and Milton Bradley. You and Milton Bradley seem to be very close friends. You even started performing and producing together as K209 since 2011. How did this collaboration start?
"Yes, Milton is a very close friend. I would say that we share a very close idea of what we want to express and feel with our music. I have the highest respect for him as he is a very special artist and friend. He is also a Grounded Theory resident from the second party onwards and we share the role of the Grounded Theory resident nowadays. He also taught me a lot about music. He has such a versatile picture of the whole techno thing. Pretty impressive to be honest. 
At a certain point, we were sitting in my studio listening to some tunes I was working on and this one sketch draw our both attention. That's when we worked out a track and the basis for the first K209. Soon we also realized that playing back to back works well together, so K209 as a DJ-team was born. We've played a few shows around the globe so far and I hope there are more to come."

What can we expect from you and your label in the near future?
"The third K209 release will be out next week and available via Hard Wax and many others. This record is a split EP with two tracks of Milton and two of mine. Different than the two releases before, but in the same vein of what we have done so far. You should definitely check it out."

I will! Last question: which tracks inspired you along the way in becoming the artist you are today?
"Quite a few things instantly come to mind. These are the first five tracks I thought of... i'll just let the music speak for itself."

Jiri Ceiver - Osiac (Vogels Funky Sola Mix)
Neil Landstrumm - TAKKS
Obscurum - Dom (Track A)
Wu Tang Clan - Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nuthin' To Fuck With
Teste - The Wipe (5AM Synaptic)

Thanks for the talk Henning. See you soon.
"You're welcome. See you Saturday."

Text: Frans Bootsman