Video, 21 min. HD

In Expert Talk DJ Acid Maria and DJ Christine Lang talk shop about their profession. The expert talk covers the technical aesthetic conditions and criteria of DJing. For example, they speak of the difference between playing vinyl as opposed to working with the computer. How much influence does technology have on aesthetics? Electronic music styles are compared with one another. Does the repetitive, four-four based beat have anything to do with the principle of film montage? While the melodious bass musics like drum’n’bass and dubstep might be more marked by dramaturgical charactertistics? Female expert talk, unless the topic is the social in general, is hardly present at all in the media. On one level, Expert Talk creates a stage for an interesting discussion between two expert DJs with over 15 years of experience–Acid Maria and Christine Lang–and on a second level, it exposes the media forms of representations of the feminine determined by subversive mechanisms of exclusion.


Expert Talk was premiered in the exhibition:
February 12-March 12, 2011,
Galerie Funke

Transcript (excerpt):

DJ Christine Lang: When did you start DJing?


DJ Acid Maria: I started in 1992. I also remember the date exactly, because it was Happy Saint Nicholas Day... It was an initional spark. Since then I never had an experience like that, I instantly knew that this was the right thing to do.


DJ Christine Lang: I started DJing around the same time, in 1993, in a mainstream disco, in front of 2000 people. Every town in westgermany had this kind of disco, which played all kinds of music for all the kids in town. I had to play 20 minutes of hiphop, 20 minutes of techno, 20 minutes of independent music...


DJ Acid Maria: How did you get this job? What brought you to djing?


DJ Christine Lang: There was a free job announced and I did a proper application for it. The job in that disco teached me keeping a crowd dancing... I guess this is a good school for DJing in underground culture, too.


DJ Acid Maria: Keeping people dancing is a kind of dictum and pressure. As a DJ you feel it badly, if you created this moment when people start thinking: let’s go to the bar to get a drink... As a clubber and consumer you don`t really know that a break - not as a concept in music, but as a blank gap – is really a disaster. It’s like a test card in television.


DJ Christine Lang: In the past I often had bad dreams about that situation: 2000 people dancing and I do not find the next record to play...


DJ Acid Maria: That’s the primal scene, a catastrophe! That’s not supposed to happen. Actually is it bad to break down the flow you built up before, if you don’t keep on track.



DJ Acid Maria: Many people go clubbing due to the social aspect, they want to have drinks, talk and dance. And I asked myself, what I am doing there, as a DJ? You feel kind of lonesome, like being in a bubble. But it is a positive kind of solitude. I like the concentration on realtime. I process certain signals coming from the dancefloor, which give me inspiration for what to do in a given moment. How to get from track A to B? What should I mix in? Sometimes I cut, sometimes I mix a lot, it depends on my form on the day and of the specific technical circumstances. But being in this bubble I feel disturbed, if somebody tries to talk to then.


DJ Christine Lang: I believe, that there is more interaction with the crowd in soundsystem cultures than in techno. Maybe that’s why I don`t feel like being in a bubble. I would say, that I am absolutely inside the music: just me and the music. I stop thinking and I waft away. That is the great thing about DJing.




DJ Christine Lang: We both play different music styles and we are both teachers. You teach film editing and I teach film dramaturgy. This is no coincidence, isn’t it?


DJ Acid Maria: I thought about it too, and when I’m listening to you, how you model your dj set, I see a difference. I guess I work more associatively.


DJ Christine Lang: So you don`t necessarily know what you will play in 20 minutes?


DJ Acid Maria: No, I only know just the next record, at a max the one after that one.


DJ Christine Lang: Well, that is different with me. I often have a goal I want to achieve, and I set kind of key points - somehow like plotpoints - and think about the route leading to that point. There are always different possible combinations – like in a genealogy tree - either I take this way or another to get to the same point. I organize my records in patterns, in packages.

There are certain musical elements that constitute similarities between tracks and offer connections and transitions from one track to the next, recommend a sequence. Melodies or sounds or the heavyness of the bass – I put much emphasis on the bass. I also need the concentration and can`t talk while djing, because I have in addition to the above to take in what´s happening in the room, the athmosphere etc. to be able to decide which pattern to chose next. Will I go harder, more structural, can I become a little more melancholic already...?


DJ Acid Maria: Sentimental, at least....


DJ Christine Lang: ...but you must not do that too early. Never before 4 o`clock..


DJ Acid Maria: ...or else it becomes kitsch. You also have to take care not have shot your bolt by playing a song too early.

There is always total chaos in my box, which sometimes is a real drag, but then again I think I need this kick from the adrenalin: will I find the right track in time....?


DJ Christine Lang: Did you ever put a record back...?


DJ Acid Maria: Yes, for instance this favorite record of mine – I realized it is shortrer than I thought, and I had to play it again!


DJ Christine Lang: It is like coughing once, and nobody will realize....


DJ Acid Maria: That`s when you need a microphone...


DJ Christine Lang: I often have an MC with me who I can ask to fill such a gap – that`s great!

The kind of dramaturgy depends on the musical genre. Three days party in a row you basically have in techno and electro. I personally switched to drum`n bass in `95, and since then played the following styles founded there: 2Step, Dubstep, Bassline – that is a different dranaturgy, and the parties only go until 6 o`clock the next morning, never for three days. This seems to be mirrored in the music itself – electro-tracks being more repetitive, while a dubstep-track is constructed like a fiction film – each track is very specifically constructed.




DJ Acid Maria: The feeling for timing and the specific room on the specific evening with that night`s crowd – all that is very important. You are swimming in this kind of primeval soup....


DJ Christine Lang: Primeval soup – great term! Around thirty, I was wondering was I going to dj still at sixty?And I realized, that you can`t really verbalize how great a party was in retrospect. I had nights, when I thought this is as good as it gets, it`s totally singular and phantastic and life-defining – and a couple years later it is simply forgotten, and nothing remains of it.That is the sad thing about djing, and the great thing at the same time. It all happens in the moment, it can`t be reproduced or preserved medially. Like listening to a recording of what felt like an ultimately brilliant night while it was happening – and then I listen to it the next day on tape, and nothing remained! Except for the mistakes – nobody realized in the moment, the crowd was excited, but listening to the tape you think you are the world`s worst dj!


DJ Acid Maria: It is the live effect, it is "realtime-art". On one hand, it is frustrating, that nothing remains, on the other that makes it so special – you have to be there, in the moment!




DJ Acid Maria: Can you name a record that made you a dj? The key record?


DJ Acid Maria: There is rather a "cloud" of records – but I might name one „Round Two“, the label is called Mainstreet Records - and it is something for the early morning hours, preferably with the sun coming up. It is a laid back track - you can listen to it sitting around, but you can also dance to it in a relaxed way.


DJ Christine Lang: I brought a record along which made me change from the mainstream disco to the "underground". It is: A Guy Called Gerald „Black Secret Technology“ from 1995- the year in which Jungle became drum`n’bass.


DJ Christine Lang: Another record I wanted to play for you is probably the one I played the most, both sides of it, almost every time I was ever spinning records. It is from 2002 and has co-founded dubstep "avant la lettre".


DJ Acid Maria: This one has a super-long intro. This is my peak time and favorite record at this point. I like to slow it down a little – it is by Ramadan Man and is called "Work them". I re-discovered dubstep with it!


DJ Christine Lang: My current favorite is something between dub step and bassline – DJ Zink, an old companion in "my drum `n bass carreer" since the 90s, who was part of the genesis of the genre as well as all its mutations, ending up with bassline just now – maybe you find it a little chavy...


DJ Acid Maria: No, it`s cool... it has many references, carrying and quoting a lot of musical history, so it also has a meta level....Therefor I don`t find it chavy, even though it uses some often used elements to stay on the safe side, not taking any risks....


DJ Christine Lang: I think that is characteristic for productions in drum`n’bass, dubstep or bassline – they all make quotes. I wonder if that`s also the case with techno – certain sound quotes and citations that indicate a genre a track belongs to. Which would mean that all contemporary music is referential.