Helena Hauff rose from Hamburg’s Golden Pudel to the international ranks of the underground and became revered for her industrial harshnesses and hard-edged electro-techno, delivered through stirring vinyl-only sets. “I learned on vinyl, and part of my love for DJing was an obsession with turntables. I love the feel and sound of it,” she says. “I probably have technical issues 70 percent of the time. But I’m so emotionally attached to my records that I just can’t stop. Also, I feel like it’s a nice skill to have and I don’t want it to die out in a way,” she adds.
Hauff’s self-willed obsession with vinyl is one of the reasons Kern Vol.5 is the longest mix she has ever recorded. “It turned out really difficult to fit all the unreleased tracks into one mix,” she says. But finding ways in self- imposed restrictions is what charges Hauff’s work with the sense of unabashed experimentation. “In a way, the unreleased tracks dictated the way and forced me into a certain sound and structure within the mix.”
Hauff’s mix for Berlin’s Tresor is being released at the time when the nights out have been replaced with nights in, computer screens doubling as a sonic portal. Even though some venues have been opening up and illicit raves have started to happen against Covid-19 regulations (from outdoor rave at Hasenheide Park in Berlin to hidden beach parties in Portugal), most of the venues remain shut. Can virtual raves be a viable alternative to live performance? “No, it fucking can’t,” Hauff says. “We need clubs and festivals, we need to be with people and socialise, we need to stay awake till 9 in the morning and wake up in a wet tent and puke our guts out after too much warm beer.” Something to look forward to.