From Detroit to Berlin

Interview met Ryan Elliott

From Detroit to Berlin

11-09-2014 | 12.11

Ever since we heard the news that Ryan Elliott would produce the Panorama Bar 06 mix, we were anxious to hear it in its entirety. The Berlin artist, originally from Detroit, would be the first in line to release this famous mix online for free and contains tracks by heavy-hitters like Head High, Roman Flügel, Marcel Dettmann, Mr. G, Tuff City Kids, Terrence Dixon, and Genius of Time. Makam is also present on the mix and invited the man himself to his Club Night Weekender this weekend, which gave us a perfect reason to have a chat with the Berghain/Panorama Bar resident.

Hi Ryan, great to meet you. First off, a small curiosity: what's the first record you ever bought?
"To be honest, I can’t remember the first record I ever bought, but I do remember what record made the first big impact on me. “Dark Side Of The Moon” by Pink Floyd completely blew me away as a youngster. My parents had bought it a few years before I was born and when I was old enough to start consciously listening to music that was one of my favorites. I loved (and still love) how it seems like a continuous story, how it's a little spooky and its use of “electronics” and sound effects throughout."

Growing up in Detroit, who were your main sources of inspiration for making music at that time and how did you get started?
"Detroit radio always had and still has lots of house and techno played in its programs. Even when I go back to Detroit now, I’m always surprised at how much the radio mix shows incorporate house and techno. I guess hearing those songs on the radio since I was young really made an impact on me and inspired me to start making and playing it."

A lot of DJ's and producers have made their way from The States to Berlin in the last decade, and so have you. Do you ever see yourself moving back to Detroit at some point? 
"I love Detroit, I'm proud to be from Detroit and go back there very often. But honestly, I don’t see myself moving back there anytime soon. I spent 33 years there, so it was time for me to see and experience new things. But maybe in time, as I get older, the need to “return home” will start to be more strong."

Berlin has often been hailed as the Mecca of club culture. Have you seen certain changes in the nightlife of Berlin in the years you've been there or has it stayed relatively the same? 
"I’ve gotten this question quite a bit lately. I don’t think the Berlin club scene has changed quite as much as people are saying it has. I have noticed a little bit more “techno tourists” at the clubs, but you can’t blame people from other cities wanting to come to Berlin and experience it themselves."

What do your days off in Berlin look like?
"Resting, spending time with my girlfriend and friends, dinners, exercising, record shopping, laundry - just catching up on life and recharging my batteries for the next weekend usually!"

Would you consider yourself more of a DJ or a producer?
"DJ. But, I will say that as I produce more, I become more comfortable with it and have been enjoying it much more in the past few years."

If I'm correct, you are yet to release a full-length album. Is there a specific reason for this? Can we be expecting you to make one in the near future?
"Yes, you can expect one from me in the future. The reason I haven’t done one yet, is because in the past I didn’t feel it “inside” me. I refuse to do an album as a promotional tool. It needs to be inside you as something that you “feel” and wants and needs to come out. I’m finally starting to have those feelings."

The only time you played here in Trouw was in 2012. Do you remember what that was like for you?
"I had a great time! It’s such a great club. I played with Norman Nodge and we had an excellent night. And, the next morning after breakfast, we went to Rush Hour for some record shopping."

Makam invited you to play at this week's Club Night Weekender here in Trouw. You in turn included his new track Girls Night in your Panorama Bar 06 mix. What do you think of Makam's music?
"Guy is one of my favorite producers. Period. It’s really that simple.  I’m so happy he invited me to play with him at Trouw and it was an honor to include him on my mix."

I love the fact that your Panorama Bar 06 mix incorporates a lot of Berlin artists as well as some Detroit ones. What was the process of making a mix of this grandeur like?
"I wanted to do a mix that was “Ryan Elliott’s” version of what “Panorama Bar” sounds like.  First and foremost, it had to sound like an actual night at the club. A true representation of a night there. And it had to be personal to me - my past, my current, my future. That’s hopefully what I achieved."

As you might be aware of, Trouw will close her doors on January 3rd. If you were to choose the final track of the club, what are the first ideas that pop into your head?
"Newworldaquarium - Trespassers. One of my favorite house songs. It’s happy, sad, gentle, and driving all at once. And it’s very fitting as a last song for Trouw because he is Dutch."

Is there a country, city or specific venue in which you haven't yet performed, but certainly would like to?
"I’ve never played in Romania. That’s one that I would like to see and share my music with."