Alex Niggemann’s AEON label mirrors the peak time DJs sets that the supremely talented Berliner plays, focused on conjuring up the spirit of classic and timeless house and techno, updating it and creating new boundless possibilities for the future.
Launched in April 2013, AEON references back to Alex’s roots – the music which inspired him to start his career as a DJ and producer – a label created as a platform to release music that stands for quality and originality. Music that fits perfectly into peak-time sets, with multiple musical dimensions – steering clear of being too obvious, or just being purely functional.
For those people with open minds and open ears, electronic music doesn’t really have borders – blurring the boundaries between house and techno is a given – creativity and experimentation without restrictions and expectations is what allows artists to make exceptional music that becomes timeless and treasured.
Alex carefully selects each AEON release to move his vision forward, showcasing and building an ever-evolving family of exceptionally talented artists and like-minded souls – including Denmark’s Denis Horvat, Belgium’s Jona, Italy’s Speaking Minds and Paraguay’s P.Lopez, alongside his own musical masterpieces.
AEON is a home to cutting-edge artists who are bold enough to breathe life into their productions with true emotion. AEON stands for people who walk their own path, who dance just the way they feel, celebrating and being passionate about what they do without following hype, or rules, or trends.
Alex kindly agreed to a chat with us here at Decoded to discuss his labels, artists, promoting music and future plans for AEON.
Firstly, to clarify things, you run two labels – AEON and Soulfooled. What are the musical differences between the two?
AEON focuses clearly on peak time music. It has a more techno-ish and darker vibe while still being melancholic, but also doesn’t necessarily need to be very hard. In some ways it is a mixture of the music that inspired me to start DJing back in the day, complemented with more modern influences. The Soulfooled label releases music with warm, deep and melancholic sounds. If you want the most basic categorization, you could say AEON is Techno/Techhouse label and Soulfooled is a Deep House label.
How has running both labels better positioned you in the industry?
I definitely think people see you with different eyes, if you successfully run a label alongside your DJ/Producer career. I can’t really judge where it has positioned me, but what I can say, is that it helped a lot in terms of bookers/promoters being able to categorize better now what I play. I can imagine it was harder to judge for a lot of people before, as I always try to create something different and don’t stick to a certain style/rhythm/groove in the music I produce. The sound of the labels definitely stands for the music I play at different times/events.
Your AEON mix features some amazing artists from Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Paraguay and Ukraine – how did you originally discover them all?
That’s the advantage of traveling as a DJ – you meet a lot of people all around the world, talk a lot, get suggestions and also see a lot of DJs play that you have never listened to before. Sometimes, someone just hands you a memory stick or CD in the DJ booth, sometimes I ask artists that I like, or have just discovered, to send music and, for sure, there are a lot of demos just sent to my email every day. The WWW makes it so easy to get in touch or send music for everywhere in the world nowadays.
For someone who is not familiar with the label yet, is there one AEON release or one artist that you think defines the label’s ethos?
I try to make sure that all of them do – that’s the most important thing. We share a certain understanding, a certain style of music and a certain personality that AEON stands for. That’s why you don’t see too much rotation in the roster. The artists that are on it are 100% identifying with our philosophy and the music – that’s what makes it special. If we’re speaking about certain tracks that define AEON music, it would be somewhere in between “Yaounde”, “Cedevita”, “Abaton” & ”Stellar”.
Who do you look at amongst your peers and think they are doing things absolutely right, being humble with integrity and professionalism?
Luckily, so far, I can tell you that about almost all the artists that have appeared on the label. Even though no one is always doing everything right! How do we learn otherwise? Unfortunately, in general there are not too many people in this world owning all these attitudes, or let’s say, most just do as long as they need to reach a certain goal. And, even more unfortunate, is that those who do, don’t really come far in business. That’s also a reason why I founded my labels. To give those people, who do fantastic music, but who aren’t that headstrong and maybe a bit shy business-wise, the support they deserve. Loyalty and integrity are attitudes that are not really common anymore nowadays. A simple example: it is not so that the most talented/skilled people are ruling the world. Usually the people with power, money and a good network are those who do. Too often, it is all about politics/money nowadays, even in the so-called “underground” music scene.
What would you say are the 3 most crucial aspects to staying relevant in today’s scene?
Well, relating to the topic mentioned above I should say money, publicity and being unconscionable (laughs). Speaking personally – believing in yourself, working hard and being open for changes/new ideas. The world will carry on turning with or without you. To say “in the past everything was better” doesn’t help, facing the future with all its changes – whether liking them or not – and picking out selected developments, will help, for sure. Living only in the past lets you die there.
What are your preferred online platforms for promoting, buying and selling music and why?
For promoting, there are several magazines that have their own web platforms, so we are constantly collaborating with them. But, I still think promoting your music directly to your fans through Facebook is still the most efficient. I buy the music that I play through whatpeopleplay or Beatport, because I usually get everything I want there first. The music I listen to in my private life I buy on iTunes or stream it through Spotify, just because usually you find everything on these platforms. Those are also the ones where AEON and I as an artist sell the most.
Outside of dance music what else do you listen to?
Different stuff… I like Dr Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Tupac & Nas etc. a lot. I also like rock from the likes of Fu Fighters & Kings of Leon, or pop/electronica, such as: Woodkid, Moderat, Little Dragon & London Grammar. I also listen to classical music and jazz, to relax.
If you could choose one festival to play, anywhere in the world, which one would it be and why?
There are too many good ones! So, it would be hard and not fair to choose only one.
Lastly, what is in the pipeline for AEON in the coming months?
Up next there’s a Techno EP from P.Lopez, including a remix from Berghain’s resident Tobias. Then, another EP from myself in October, Jona’s first full EP on AEON (which will be followed by an album), and new EPs from Denis Horvat and Speaking Minds.
Decoded Magazine Radio presented by Ian Dillon
01. Ramon Tapia & Stavroz – Havana (Guy J Remix) [Bedrock Records]
02. Ziger – Out There (Original Mix) [Plattenbank]
03. Hunter Game & Pisetzky – Dystopia (Original Mix) [Last Night On Earth]
04. Diyo – Underwater (Original Mix) [Juicebox Music]
05. Sam Pauli & Reiver – Aspice (Olivier Weiter Edition) [Chapter 24]
06. Laura Jones – Imagination Unreal (Paul Du Lac Rhythm Remix) [Leftfield]
07. Mariano Mellino – Mockenbrucke (Original Mix) [Sudbeat]
08. Hunter Game – Utopia (Original Mix) [Last Night On Earth]
09. Pedro Aguiar – Intelecto (Original Mix) [Sudbeat]
Alex Niggemann AEON Label Showcase Mix
01. Francys – Behind my Shade
02. Qbeck – Hoovered
03. Speaking Minds – Desolate Highway
04. Jona – Traffic
05. Francys – Memories (Marco Resmann Remix)
06. Alex Niggemann – Abaton
07. Denis Horvat – Cedevita
08. Speaking Minds – Yaounde
09. Alex Niggemann – Stellar
10. P. Lopez – The Same Beat
11. P.Lopez & Octavio – Magnet
01/08: Innervisions Radio: 5pm-7pm GMT www.innervisionsradio.co.uk
01/08: Midnight Express FM: 10pm-12am CST (GMT-6) www.midnightexpressfm.com
03/08: LeChic.FM: 10pm-12am GMT www.lechic.fm
05/08: Mio Radio: 3pm-5pm UTC (GMT+2) www.mioradio.net
05/08: Nube Music: 4pm-6pm ART (GMT-3) www.nube-music.com
06/08: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11) www.bondifm.com.au
06/08: Tenzi FM: 8pm-10pm IST (GMT+5.5) www.tenzi.fm
06/08: Radio Ettlingen: 2pm-4pm (GMT+1) www.radioettlingen.de
07/08: DNA: 10pm-12am ART (GMT-3) www.dnaradiofm.com
07/08: Tempo Radio (Red Stream): 10pm-12am CST (GMT-6) www.tempo-radio.com
11/08: Studio Lux FM: 11pm-1am CEST (GMT+1) www.studioluxfm.com
13/08: Radio Bondi FM: 1pm AEDT (GMT+11) www.bondifm.com.au
14/08: BeatLounge Radio: 4pm-6pm PST (GMT-8) www.beatloungeradio.com
14/08: Danceradio.ca: 6am-8pm EDT (GMT-4) www.danceradio.ca
On rotation: Inside My House Radio www.insidemyhouseradio.com