For fans of Germany’s techno and house underground, Nick Höppner needs little introduction. Holding a residency at the legendary Panorama Bar before Berghain even opened its doors and until recently, running the venue’s record label Ostgut Ton, the Cuxhaven native has left an indelible mark on the very fabric of Berlin’s dance music landscape.
Now focusing on his own productions, 2017’s Work was arguably his least conventional outing to date – a soul-seeking mélange of house and electronica perched comfortably on the fence between dancefloor-friendly and headphone listening material, it combines the complexity and close attention to sonic detail that have always been a factor of his output with a typically sumptuous palette. All of that aside though, the German’s tastes go beyond the four-to-the-floor sounds he made his name on.
Playing his first Field Maneuvers in 2015, Höppner has since been welcomed into the inner fold as one of the UK festival’s residents. Joining names as illustrious as Elena Colombi, Ben Sims and Mark Archer, the following selections demonstrate the true breadth of his record collection, taking us from King Tubby’s digi-dancehall to Francois K-mixed Balearica and jungle courtesy of early Andy C and Ant Miles project, Origin Unknown.
Field Maneuvers takes place in a secret location from 31st August–2nd September – find out more and book tickets here.
The first track that springs to mind when you think ‘dirty little rave’?
It’s just got all the right ingredients: a clanky FM piano, breaks, it’s fast by today’s standards, it’s got a massive breakdown, pitched up vocals and an overall uplifting vibe.
The record that defines your formative raving years?
I went to techno parties in the early ’90s, but I never quite got it. Jungle blew me away a few years later and this tune here is just one out of many I still like to listen to today.
The record that never leaves your bag?
It’s got a sense of humour, a massive white noise climax and a deadly groove. I literally can’t stop playing it.
The last record you bought?
Classic early digi-dancehall produced by King Tubby. I really love Reggae and opened up Pandora’s box of buying 7″s a while ago.
The record you’ve been playing that begs for a rewind?
Like so many tracks from the Principe Discos camp this is a short and powerful drum track. It always creates lots of energy I wish I could fire up again and again…
Go-to record to save a dancefloor?
This one always got some of the best crowd reactions in the past 6 or 7 months. Anthony Rother kills it on this one. When the synths finally sneak in it’s all over. People love this track to bits.
Best/most annoying request you’ve received from a punter?
When I was starting out as a dj in the 90s, I played the party of a dragonboat festival in Hamburg. While I played Curtis Mayfield I was asked to play something soulful. That night ended in mayhem as I ended up in a headlock, because people didn’t seem to agree with my selections.
You’re booked to close a large festival stage to a crowd of 5000. What do you finish on?
The title says it all.
Same question, but to a crowd of 250.
The original is already outstanding, but Francois K augments it to another level. I ended a few closing sets at Panorama Bar with this one on a Monday morning and every time it’s been a view to behold how this track managed to deeply touch the remaining dancers and to send them home happy.