I was beginning to understand what Bob Dylan meant when he said, “I
accept chaos. I am not sure whether it accepts me.” After proving to be rather difficult to get a hold of (ie. sleeping through our scheduled phone interview) I wondered if maybe the iconic Berlin DJ slash Producer Kaos was just not that into me. Admittedly though, scheduling an interview for midday was probably a little ambitious, given the lifestyle of any hardworking DJ – not to mention a party boy like Kaos. Indeed, my boys had pre-warned me, “are you kidding? Kaos has had more late nights than Norman Mailer, more women than Mark Philippoussis, and enough drugs to sink the Titanic – in weight alone.”
I know now he was never going to pick up that call, and when I finally tracked him down the man concurred, “shit yeah, we go out Thursday, come home Monday… if at all. Berlin is the kind of city where you can party all week!”
With this attitude, his disco orientation and production where-with-all, over the years Kaos has become a key player in Berlin’s underground scene – no small feat in a place saturated with talent… and party animals.
From his beat meanderings on the renowned Compost label in the early nineties as the central figure of Turntable Terranova, Kaos has stuck to his guns and made his mark on the scene. His debut solo album, released on !K7 in 2005, featured the vocal talents of Erlend Oye of Whitest Boy Alive, Matt Safer from The Rapture and Captain Comatose; it punctuates a string of remixes, for groups like Chk Chk Chk (“I just cut out the vocals. Ha!”) and Roxy Music (“Here of course I left them in!”). Citing 70s and 80s Krautrock artists Klaus Schulze and Ashra Temple among his influences, a common thread with Kaos is his respect for the ‘old school’. From his clubbing preferences to his taste in music, Kaos is all about the traditional.
Having held a residency at beautiful old discotheque Cookies for close on a decade, he says that there are also a lot of “new things going on” in Berlin, but firmly maintains his loyalty to the older, well established clubs with “none of that minimal shit”.
In terms of music re-branding and the humdrum of the marketing machine, the story is much the same – when I tentatively asked his opinion on ‘nu-disco’ (I had to ask) he exploded, “fuck new disco or nu disco, or whatever it’s called! Fuck nu rave! Fuck that shit!” This attitude is understandable. For a guy like Kaos who is still spinning strong after over a decade, the frustration of an industry that is “totally
drying out in terms of quality, consisting of so many short-lived bands” must be, lets say, ‘problematic’. One who has stood his ground and let the market come to him, Kaos is adamant that nothing has changed in terms of his own style of music: “it’s all the same!” In terms of method this is certainly true – he holds no patience for what he labels the new generation of “laptop” DJs.
Having previously released on Kitsune, Eskimo and Playhouse ect, Kaos’ commitment has landed him a new deal with an album scheduled for early 2010. In the meantime, his first 12” on the iconic imprint, 'Love the Nite Away' (rong, DFA), is already receiving rapturous reviews while parked in best seller charts and holding down 'best new song' on pitchfork.com. Set to embark on his second Australian tour, I close by asking him what else we can we expect from Kaos in the future? “Good times. Solid, good times.”