1989 was a historically significant year for Germany. Even though the Berlin Wall has since fallen 30 years ago, many of those perceived barriers still exist in our minds with the polarization of groups segregated by status, wealth, ideologies and culture. Counterculture that was birthed and strengthened with the fall of the wall has lived on in techno music of our times.
Those who dig dark, deep sounds will be in for a treat this weekend. Sticking to his guns for the past two decades, Eddie Niguel, techno producer and veteran DJ will be playing alongside one of the biggest names in the German electronic music scene, Roman Flugel as part of the next installment of Escape 56, hosted by Zig Zach’s agency, Blackout.
With underground clubs like Kilo Lounge that have recently announced its financial troubles operating on a prime financial belt, Eddie weighs in on what more is needed for the local underground scene to be strengthened.
Popspoken: Tell us a little bit more about the Escape 65 party with Roman Flugel.
Eddie Niguel: It is an event put together by the Blackout Agency & Jägermeister. The very special event begins with a movie screening, “B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin” which is a documentary about the free-spirited music scene in the divided German capital during the 1980s. This documentary screening is a part of the German Film Festival (Singapore) and is supported by the Goethe-Institut.
The goal of the initiative, which takes place on November 9th, is to create awareness around the significance of the historic event. The date marks the fall of the Berlin wall and serves as a symbol of Germany’s unification—and, for many, the end of communism in Eastern Europe and the Cold War.
Popspoken: What led you to create Integrity Records? How has your journey been so far?
Eddie Niguel: After releasing music with other labels for a few years, I decided that I wanted more control over my own music, that’s the only reason why I started Integrity, but things took a different turn when producer friends started reaching out to support the label. The label now releases music from some very prolific electronic music producers like Fabrice Lig, Karim Sahraoui, Greg Gow, and Kiko Navarro. I also made sure the label supports young emerging talents like our recent signings Mbulelo, Miles Ellis and David Jackson who was only 18 years old when he first appeared on the label. His music is supported by all the big names in the industry today and he’s without a doubt a future star in the making.
The journey’s been great thus far, the label’s releases have seen support from heavyweights Laurent Garnier, Marcel Dettmann, DJ Bone, Adam Beyer, Kölsch, Maceo Plex, James Zabiela, Prins Thomas, Anja Schneider, Maya Jane Coles and many more. It’s not all fun and play though, running the label is hard work and it takes up a lot of my personal time, time that I could have spent on my own music or development for example.
I try hard to find that balance though by making sure that I don’t bite off more than I can chew as I take my obligations seriously. It can also sometimes feel like a thankless job on some days but if you work with the right artists and those relationship turns into a great friendship, that in itself can be a rather rewarding experience.
Popspoken: What more does the Singapore scene need to support underground music?
Eddie Niguel: Less stringent policies and more flexibility from the lawmakers and local authorities will definitely help the clubs and independent promoters here. Government organisations administering grants for the music community should consider using some of the funds that they have and invest them in venues instead to help provide low-cost alternatives for artists/collectives and independent promoters to showcase their events and initiatives. I think this will help immensely and encourage more collectives and artists to showcase their events more often since everyone here knows how expensive renting an event space in Singapore can be.
Popspoken: Share with us the most life changing gig / event you’ve been to.
Eddie Niguel: I wouldn’t call it a life-changing experience but one of the most memorable events that I’ve been to was a no-frills ‘Underworld’ live show here at Suntec Convention Hall. It was special for me because there were so many familiar faces there at the gig and also because I’m a fan and I’ve been known to close my late night/early morning sets with their tune. I’m probably gonna regret sharing this but I’m almost certain that somewhere out there on the WorldWideWeb is a video clip of me playing it.
Popspoken: What are your top 3 current earworms?
Eddie Niguel: Ken Ishii – Abyssal (Beltran’s Mayday Remix)
Dustin Zahn – Stranger (To Stability) (Len Faki X-Break Mix)
ROD – Tatu
Popspoken: What is the trait you most deplore in others.
Eddie Niguel: Untrustworthiness or the lack of integrity.
Popspoken: Which living person do you admire?
Eddie Niguel: I have nothing but admiration for anyone who has overcome adversities in their life to achieve their goals or dreams.
Popspoken: What’s your deepest regret.
Eddie Niguel: I’m sure I have a few if I dig deep enough but there is no point in having regrets. You won’t learn anything if you haven’t made any mistakes, the best thing to do is to learn from them and move on.
Escape 56 ft. Roman Flugel takes place at The Substation this Saturday, get your tickets here.