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Boris Dlugosch

Hamburg, Germany


Lektroluv, Nurvous Records, Peppermint Jam
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The 80’s laid the foundations for electronic music as we still listen to and experience it in clubs. When the classic Disco era crashed, the creative minds that did not want to abandon club music gathered and continued the tradition in different directions, freed from commercial boom necessities. Whoever spent their formative years at that time had not only the privilege of being able to directly follow and shape the defining styles of dance music until the end of the decade, they also witnessed how in the 90’s these proceedings led to House and Techno, and all the connected styles that followed suit. Meaning everything that still rules the floor.

In the youthful years spent in the nightlife of his hometown Hamburg, Boris Dlugosch was right in the middle of those groundbreaking events, as he moved from being a drummer in a heavy metal band to Italo Disco enthusiast, only to quickly embrace whatever was played and celebrated in the clubs. There was particularly one club to play a pivotal role, the seminal Front, where since 1983 the no less seminal DJ Klaus Stockhausen masterfully pulled all the stops. All the origins of today’s electronic music were present, ranging from Electro Funk to Hi-NRG, Italo Disco, New Wave, Synth Pop and the first House records, and were dropped much earlier and much more effectively than in the rest of Europe, and a knowledgeable crowd paid their dues with relentless hedonism. In 1986, at the age of 16, Boris Dlugosch already started his DJ career right there, and he soon proved that he learnt the lessons from his mentor Stockhausen, but he also proved that he had enough talent to develop his own signature. And the according sound was House.

In only a few years House went through considerable changes, and Boris Dlugosch was one of the first DJs outside the US who not only played what happened, but also determined it. From the pioneering Chicago days to Acid House, to the Techno blueprints made in Detroit and the UK later on a whole lot had happened, but from 1991 on Dlugosch concentrated on US Deep and Garage House, showing a drive that particularly in Germany was beyond par. He knew the dynamics the music needed to function at the Front club, and to achieve that he displayed an impressive array of mixing skills that soon set him apart even from the American DJs. Hardly anybody performed acapellas, dub and vocal versions with such virtuosity, and hardly anybody could hold up with the tempo with which he, as sole resident of the night, raised the most obscure underground imports to anthem status. As soon as he entered the booth he reduced everything to rubble, and his crowd loved his sets that lasted for hours, filled with skillfully arranged breaks in styles and moods. Even at that time, it became clear that he had what it takes to influence a whole generation to lasting effects, and thus he did.

Soon the word about Boris Dlugosch’s residency at the Front spread like wildfire beyond the club, and opportunities to spread his ideals concerning music opened wide. He played more regularly outside of Hamburg, and on the radio he also gathered more and more followers. First on a local station, but from 1993 on nationwide, with a weekly two hour show on NJOY which he continues to this day, with enormous influence and a plethora of illustrious guests. As important were his activities for the cause of House as event promoter. He wanted to present the legendary American DJs not only as producers of the music played at Front, but live in action. Thus on his own initiative, legends like David Morales, Masters at Work and Frankie Knuckles came to Germany for the first time, and left important inspiration. Boris Dlugosch not only turned Hamburg into a burgeoning key city for House, he was the one who dedicated himself the most to push the popularization of the sound throughout Germany forward.

These years also saw the beginnings of Dlugosch‘s career as a producer, which soon elevated him to similar heights. The success of his first remixes and collaborations between 1992 and 1995 encouraged him to use his experiences as solo artist, and with the tracks „Keep Pushin” and „Hold Your Head Up High“, he already proved that his efficiency as a DJ translated one-to-one into the studio environment. He achieved massive club hits with this certain classic appeal, and suddenly he found his music in the international charts, and himself in the spotlight of Top Of The Tops, far away from the notorious shielded DJ booth of his Front base. At the same time offers to play international top clubs piled up, and Boris Dlugosch did not hesitate to spread his vision on a level denied to most other DJs of his generation. In a long string of celebrated gigs he travelled the world, and each time he confirmed that he got booked for good reasons. The global DJ circuit enlisted a man of true conviction, and as the clubs and crowds grew on and on, his productions and remixes followed close behind. With Mousse T’s label Peppermint Jam he had a strong foundation, and together with fellow Front DJ Michi Lange he got on a real roll behind club and studio mixers, until the immense success of his version of Moloko’s “Sing It Back” lifted him to even higher spheres. The train ran at full speed.

But it did not run the way he wanted any longer. All the success could not hide the fact that at the end of the 90s house was running out of creative steam. Boris Dlugosch helped it grow with unconditional enthusiasm, and without a doubt he could have just carried on doing so for a long time. But the sound was soon ruling all waves in increasingly commercialized directions and he lost interest to stand for these developments musically. He had the courage to draw the conclusion, looked back to his early days and took up the interests again that brought him into the scene in the first place: Electro, Disco, New Wave. Everything he missed, he now brought back to himself. And what he played in his youth was returning to the club scene in modern interpretations and he recognized an exciting alternative that due to his musical roots he could represent as authentically, and once again he was about to leave big footprints on the international club circuit. In 2004 he set a standard for bridging the gap between past and present by publishing the mix compilation “Bionic Breaks”, and with exemplary verve he set it out to be his near future.

Not many DJs and producers succeed in reinventing themselves when their names get attached to a certain sound. Boris Dlugosch not only succeeded in that aspect, he even provided himself with the freedom to never be in the position to reinvent himself again. After he separated from Peppermint Jam and Michi Lange he went back to the edgy eclecticism of club music’s former days, and brought it back to the clubs on the basis of current Electro House. And again he was so successful with it that it seemed nothing changed in the years between. Boris Dlugosch did not get back into the ring under his own name until 2009, but “Bangkok” was the kind of comeback that wins all the championships. Conquering the playlists from DJ luminaries as diverse and important as A Trak, Erol Alkan, and Pete Tong at Radio 1, the track had as much recognition as his hits in the 90’s, and requests for bookings and remixes were long on par as well.

At the same time Hamburg was in the focus once again for setting standards in club music just as it had been in the golden days of the Front club, but now it was Dlugosch who had paved the way, a legend himself, and talents as Boys Noize, Digitalism, Tensnake or Stimming, as well as labels like Diynamic und Dial referenced his pioneering activities as crucial influence.

This is by all means well deserved, but Boris Dlugosch will hardly rest at that. The massive popularity of Electro House brought the same artistic fatigue as with House in former years, but it did not mean anything for his work anymore. He was already heading for different places and he surpassed any categorization in the process. Able to rely on a vast supply of club experience and musical knowledge he can work any party and any track into any direction he thinks is best for the dancing crowd. And it will be unmistakably his own sound, played at full steam, week in and week out.

A quick-paced scene such as clubland is traditionally unforgiving with people who over the years lose the instinct and passion necessary to remain relevant. With Boris Dlugosch that is more than unlikely, as his idealism and enthusiasm for music is stronger than ever. And in the same way in which he combines the old and the new in his sets, he now connects production technologies, works with vocalists and artists like Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard or Jonathan Pierce of The Drums, and other collaborations are already targeted. An album maybe, time will tell. The next radio show has to be selected, the next club set has to be fine-tuned. He is not rushing at all. He knows how he can push things forward, and how the very same things push him forward.