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Monika Kruse interview


With so much uncertainty thrust upon us this year, we took the chance to ask one of techno’s most prominent figures some of the toughest questions. Monika Kruse has paved the way for Techno lovers across the globe for years, while constantly shaping the scene by heading her own label, Terminal M. one of Techno's pioneers and first international touring artists. We discuss the impacts of Covid-19 and the current state of the industry, feeling a connection to the artists on her label and much more.

24/7: What is one thing you wish was different about the current state of the music industry?
Monika: "Right now for me too much exposure given to DJs is based on social media. It is not anymore the music which counts, the talent of a producer or a DJ. If a DJ has a lot of clicks and followers, the promoters book him/her regardless of the talent. Some DJs got famous because of their appearance on social media and not because of their real connection to music, which I think is very sad. Other DJs or producers who are really talented but don't have high follower numbers never have the chance of getting the respect or standing they deserve. When Techno was born, there was no phone or somebody who took pictures on the dancefloor, there was no internet that created a hype, it was only about the music. If you were talented you made your career. It is crazy that even so-called "underground“ DJs like some Berghain residents are travelling with a professional photographer to take great pictures to get more clicks and views. This is not Techno for me. This is a sell out and overground especially if you pretend to be "underground“. Techno became the same as the Pop Music business. Managers, followers and image are the keys to becoming successful. This is not what I like at all." 

24/7: What is the most important factor in your decision making when it comes to choosing music to release on your label?

"Somehow the track has to touch me. It can be a funky groove, a good melody or a bass line. And it should not be a copy of another track or artist. I like artists to have their own style. And it is important for me that the artist is not releasing on many other labels. I invest money and time in every signing, I want to have a family on my label. If I get the feeling people just use Terminal M as a platform but don't feel connected to my label, I don't sign them either." 


24/7: Which type of label do you feel is important for the music industry, major labels or independent ones?

"I would say the independent ones. Major ones are mostly commercial, for them the most important thing is to sell the music, but not to let the artist have the freedom to express her/himself. The independent ones mostly just do it for the music and to support the artist, even if the artist or product brings money or not." 


24/7: Do you feel like women are as equally represented as men in today's industry?

"No. There is still so much sexism in techno. Still female DJs are judged differently. We female DJs are never seen just as DJs but as female DJs. I often hear the sentence "From all other girl DJs this girl is the best...which means they separate us from the male DJs. You would never hear anyone saying Carl, from all male DJs I like you most etc… . We still are not playing in the same league. Plus, if you look at the lineups at festivals, there is still a dominance of male DJs. Even so, there are many great girls. There are many more examples… the list is too long to list them all." 


24/7: How confident are you that the music industry can bounce back from this year's Covid crisis?

"Normally, I am a very positive thinking person. But right now, I am very concerned about the whole situation for the club scene. I don't know how many clubs or festivals will survive the lockdown. I am afraid the Pandemic will continue until mid next year minimum, until people can get a vaccine. Which club can survive that long without any financial help?" 


24/7: Do you feel that musicians in today’s age are placed on too high of a pedestal?

"I started in the early 90's to play Techno, we DJs did it because of our love for music. It was a wonderful and special time. It was about the music, to get lost in the music and to connect with other people. It feels unreal for me that now some DJs are Superstars."


24/7: Do you feel like enough musicians have spoken up about Black Lives Matter, especially when considering nearly every major style of music was created by blacks?

"Sorry, I can't really answer that question, I don't know how many people wrote something and what. I am not often on social media, I don't really spend a lot of time anymore checking posts of other people. For me, it is too time consuming and there is so much fakeness. I prefer to talk to my friends and colleagues in person. But I think it is important that everyone speaks and acts against racism!"


24/7: What has been the one thing that you are most proud of in your career thus far?

"I am grateful that due to my job I met so many nice and interesting people. Some of them became really good friends, and I would say that this is the best achievement in my life. My Friends." 


24/7: Given the current state of affairs in the United States, how do you think this will impact the music industry moving forward given the fact that nearly 80% of independent music venues will most likely be shut down by the end of the year due to the US not handling Covid as well as other countries?

"As I mentioned before, I think the damage for the clubscene worldwide will be immense. Even countries like Germany which handled the Covid situation quite well are still not opening the clubs indoors. So everywhere there will be a big loss of clubs. It is a very depressing situation to be honest." 


24/7: Considering the amount of live streams out there these days due to Covid, how do you see technology becoming an even greater factor in the music industry moving forward?

"To be honest I am not a big fan of live streams. For me Techno is a club culture, you dance together, Techno needs to be heard loud in a club, you need to lose yourself in the music, you will never get the same feeling dancing alone at home. In my personal opinion, I don’t need these streams. If I want to listen to Techno, I can hear a set on Soundcloud, but I don’t need to see the DJ filmed - that is another step towards stardom." 


Author: Techno 24/7

Pic: Monika Kruse

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