Mark Reeder

Approved by the Communist Party: Mauerstadt


Mark Reeder with Stolen overlooking Chengdu.


Since “B Movie” Mark Reeder is officially the best known Exil-Berliner of all times. The Manchester born musician came to Berlin in 1978 and explored equaly the East and West part of the city – and still does so until today.
Recently Reeder released his new album “Mauerstadt”, featuring remixes and collaborations with the ones like New Order, Ekkoes, Maja Pierro and Queen of Hearts.
Mark Reeder will play a dj set during Atonal Festival in Berlin on Thursday 17th of August at OHM.

Mark-Reeder_mark-tse-tungMark, your new album is titled “Mauerstadt” – obviously a hint on Berlin. How much is the city present within the collaboratios on the album?
I think the influence of Berlin on my music is probably huge, yet at the same time, something of a natural proccess. I gain most of my own inspiration from simply walking around this city. It has always had that affect on me. Although I don’t make traditional techno music, my music is still electronic, with the occassional techno element and fused with a touch of twangy guitars and growling bass. Overall, it has a retro-modern sound.
When artists ask me to work with them, or ask for a remix, they obviously want to have that retro-berlin feeling. The basic idea behind Mauerstadt was one of unity. The Mauerstadt was about division but my album is about collaboration and bringing unlikely artist and musical styles together.


Mark Reeder in Dali, China (Photo by Ni Bing)

You are just back from China, where you screened your success flic “B Movie” and procuded two bands. Could you give us some informations abput the context you showed the movie? And how did those band came in touch with you?
I have had contacts with China since the mid 90s. My first business encounter was around 1996 when a new Chinese label there wanted to release an MFS compilation in China, but they could only pay the advance with 2 tons of tinned strawberries! – I had to decline, as i am allergic to strawberries.
Meanwhile, so much has changed there in the music and club scene and it is very similar to everywhere else these days (Techno, HipHop, Rock).
Once the word was out that I was coming over to China, I received a request from a great, young band of working class lads from Chengdu called Stolen, who asked me to produce their new EP. They were already aware of my music and said they thought i’d be the ideal person, as their sound is dark and electronic driven with guitars and bass, much like my own. They are totally dedicated and very ambitious. I had a lot of fun working with these amusing lads.



Chengdu is such a wonderful city, somehow it reminded me of Manchester in many ways, but surrounded by beautiful mountains. Stolen are undoubtedly the leading band of a new crop of young Chinese artists who are starting to define a new era in chinese music. We actually found there were pockets of new musical resistance everywhere we went on our tour, but in Chengdu, they actually have a proper little scene emerging, mixing electronic with rock elements, with bands like Hormones or Stolen leading the way. I think it’s exciting for China, as they have never had their own original music scene before.

The second group I produced are an all girl band called Hang On The Box from Beijing. They had a definitive idea of what kind of sound they wanted to have and asked me if I would help them to produce it. They make a very special style of music and although it was quite a chellenge to do, it was equally as enjoyable. I just tried to keep it as much as possible to the way they sound.

The film was very well received as a personal historical document, about what went on in our walled-in city. I think it was very inspirational to many of the viewers, as they are now trying to build something individual musically as oppose to simply copying as most bands have done over the past twenty odd years.
I was actually supposed to go there to perform and show the film last year, but I broke my spine in a bike accident and had to wait until i had recovered.
The tour was organised by my DJ friend Ni Bing, who Iv´e known for nearly 20 years, together with the help of the Goethe Institut. We showed the film in unconventional locations or clubs, where Ni Bing and I would DJ after each scereening and I also DJ’d at two fantastic festivals, in Chengdu and Beijing. We mainly showed B-Movie in live venues where bands usually perform as that was more appropriate than a cinema and also we screened it at the first private University in Wuhan, where I gave a workshop and lecture. When we arrived in Nanjing, we had a request from the Communist Party General Secretary of Jiangsu province, if he could come and watch the film. Obviously, we couldnt refuse. Luckily, he loved the film and even stayed for my Dj set, otherwise i would probably be giving this interview from a Gulag.

Mark-Reeder_05Mark, you gonna play a dj set during Atonal Festival – what to expect from that?
I performed at the very first Atonal in the 1980s with my band Die Unbekannten, so my relationship with this festival goes back a long way. When Dimitri took over the Kraftwerk, I suggested that he rekindle the Atonal, as the space is absolutely perfect for such an industrial event. So I played at the first event there too.
This time I will play a mixture of old and weird and new and weird music and some of my own tracks, I imagine.

Mark Reeder will play a dj set during Atonal Festival in Berlin on Thursday 17th of August at OHM.

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