Ostgut Ton has been established in 2005 by Berlin-based DJ Nick Hoppner, who gave it the name of then-late Ostgut Club on the banks of the Spree, which was closed in favor of commercial building after running from 1998 to 2003.
The Ostgut Ton label was created as an off-shoot of the most important and the most loved techno club in the world – Berghain, which became the offspring of Ostgut Club after it’s closure.
It became one of the labels, which created the techno scene in the last ten years. Sticking to the residents-only policy, the label has stated it’s place in the scene and won. The releases coming out on Ostgut Ton are becoming historically important.
Nick Hoppner recalls how he started the label:
“Then, after Berghain had been running for a few months I approached the club’s management and asked them if they still thought doing a label would be a good idea. When they said yes I told them, “I could probably run it for you.” That’s how it started. In the beginning, the idea was to release CDs, which we kicked off with Berghain 01 by André Galluzzi, who at the time was the biggest name and therefore the most obvious choice.”
The artwork used for the covers is a result of work of Yusuf Etiman – the art director together with artists and photographers. All the covers are recognizable, especially if you think of Ben Klock’s releases, which feature hand-drawn illustrations. “It took a while until I actually listened to the music. When it finally reached the point that we weren’t just carrying out orders but rather coming up with ideas ourselves, Nick started sending the music to me in order to communicate the feeling of the album—whether it was dark or something more colorful. In the beginning all of the flyers and cover art were two-tone, which was clearly a stylistic decision. I then had to think about whether it should be blue, green or red, depending on what best fit the music. From catalog number ten onwards, I started listening to the music, but only as a form of abstract inspiration.”
To every resident of the club / label, there is a story. Tama Sumo and Boris, as well as Nick Hoppner himself, were there from the beginning, and Dettmann go it the way, which every techno DJ in the world is dreaming of – he knew someone, who passed his mix to someone in Berghain and hop – he is there. But no, not anyone can do that. Dettmann is an exceptional artist, who creates techno soundscapes which take the listeners far beyond the musical structure.
He actually said one of the most important phrases in techno industry:
“Happy music is easy to consume; you can just put yourself in the music and see what happens. It’s passive; you don’t have to do anything for it. With techno, it is not only dark but also very subtle and intense. It can make you lose your mind, make you freak totally out.”
That’s probably one of the things which build up Ostgut Ton’s “face” in the industry. They are not trying to entertain; they provide true music which makes you think.