Releasing music under several different guises on labels like Emotional Rescue, Charlois, Bio Rhythm, Uncanny Valley, Bordello A Parigi and Macadam Mambo, Sneaker DJ has emerged as one of electronic music’s highly idiosyncratic personalities. Graduating from a fascination with the dance sounds of Chicago and Detroit, he dipped a toe into EBM, Italo, minimal synth and new wave waters and never looked back.
Now an unofficial historian and archivist for the long-forgotten, under-appreciated and misunderstood – just check the ‘Beyond The Iron Curtain’ mix he recorded for 716lavie – Sneaker’s DJ sets, edits, original productions open up fresh avenues for discerning music listeners to explore. Clearly no stranger to unearthing a gem on the cheap, the Dresden maverick’s picking out some of his favourite bargain bin finds, starting with letters A through I.
“I must have bought my first electronic dance 12” in 1994 at the age of 14 and kept on enjoying the hunt until the rise of the digital age in the early 2000s when I sold a major part of my collection to finance my studies. I thought that the medium fades into obscurity. But when I decided to try my luck as a musician fever got me again, heftier then ever.
Here are 10 records and their story. On the one hand it’s rather pointless to list records to others that are nowhere to-be-found, so virtually non-available. On the other hand I was asked to submit records that are on YouTube and there are enough bargain records worth to be discovered. However it’s part of the fun to get hold records that are too obscure to be hunted easily online. It’s all in the game!” – Sneaker
1. Alan Vega – Bye Bye Bayou
A present I got from friend Jak staying at his old house for a few days in LA. Jak was playing his live set under his alias Vexation the day before and we listened to US disco and Chicago house talking about common influences and favourites. He is coming to Europe for the first time this spring. All of Jak’s records are breathing experience on the decks, they are scratched big time and by habit I spent some too much time in vain looking for the according sleeves. We found the one for Alan, though – RIP!
2. Krisma – Heroes Of The Sea
That’s the fun of living in a lively town when it comes to electronic music. I found this goody on the street among 200 (neglected) abandoned records in front of a former squat house. I love Berlin.
3. The Caravan – Somewhere In Arabia
I picked this new beat record at Chez Emile in Lyon on a long day waiting for my plane. Owner Léo gave me a good time listening, chatting and enjoying a marvellous Italian sandwich from the deli next door.
4. Cetu Javu – Have In Mind
On the same street close to my flat where I also found the Krisma there is an antiquarian shop where everything breaths past and the lady seems to wanna die on her desk chain smoking all the time. You don’t exactly feel welcome there, so the only two times I tried my luck I pulled this German synth-pop gem. It’s not my favourite, but a precious rare find.
5. Claus Mathias – Relax Komm Tu Es
Another oddity from a pawn shop in Berlin. Just a few months ago I was talking with Bad Boy Baader about this hilarious German cover version of FGTH – here it was in all its beauty tucked away in a dirty, dusty corner of this dark and shady shop.
6. David Carretta – Planetary Attraction (Savas Pascalidis Remix)
It wasn’t actually a find, rather a long consideration. I played that tune a lot in my vinyl gap/digital era in the 2000s. The B2 is hidden away on this overseen record and not a lot of people have or sell it. At some point I yielded to the pressure and bought it on Discogs. Until this day, the Pascalidis productions of that time are a threshold to me in terms of incorporating retro influences in a modern production.
7. Dee D. Jackson – Amor Automatico
This pick is just a placeholder for all the licensed records you have all around the world. I was particularly happy finding disco records in Peru and Mexico, often by artist from Spain (here Anglo-German, though), of course. Just last week I also found a compilation of her hits in Zurich, Switzerland.
One of the most famous examples will be ZYX licensing what they branded Italo disco on their “Italo Boot Mixes”. Early globalism, hehe. Thank you for the music! A (yet secret) remake of an Italo classic by our project Bionda e Lupo will be out along with the reissue on ZYX by mid-2019.
8. Else Nabu – Jagdzeit
The 7″ of German NDWish synth-pop – fronted by the power lady that Else is – I picked for little money from a regular record dealer on my favourite flea market on Arkonaplatz (for the Sunday mood with my girl Bionda – not the digging!). Soon after I ripped it and did an extended edit of the track for myself. On YouTube however I couldn’t find the song, so you’ll get an idea by a track from the LP.
9. Endzeit – Sternenlicht
Digging all the digital archive of the infamous Razormaid mixes this was the only tune worth to be tracked down on vinyl. Pretty obscure and almost annoying it’s also the only track on the EP worth to be noted. It’s groove is fed by a steady 808, so the track actually works well on dancefloor and the collage artwork on the cover is a digger’s dream. 😉
10. Interviews – Thirds
A really good cover of a really good classic. The new production is easier to blend in a mix than the original. When Undermind from the Humboldthain club played the tune I was stunned! He said it’s the promo from the label run by his friend Marius Reisser and while he passed the record to me… That’s how records become priceless to you!
We just covered A-I, but for now, go hunting yourself!
Sneaker plays the Uncanny Valley X Rat Life X Shtum takeover at Salon Zur wilden Renate, Berlin on January 25th – buy tickets here.