DANIELLE DE PICCIOTTO plays a rare show in London on 3 August for Cold Lips at The Social, as part of the free Prison Tan summer series. Describing herself as an interdisciplinary artist, her current live show combines spoken word with electronics and visuals, and her new beautiful new album, Deliverance is a gatefold vinyl and book, produced by former-journalist, John Robb of The Membranes, and founder of Louder Than War.
Very well known to the Berlin underground, she’s been called the It Girl of Berlin, as co-founder of Berlin’s LOVE PARADE, the epic street party that united hundreds of thousands as East and West Berlin came together.
Danielle’s first book, The Beauty of Transgression, catalogues the experience of moving from New York as a fashion student, to the home of Blixa Bargeld (whom she collabs with as Crime and the City Solution), and many a Bad Seed, making music as the wall’s bricks were starting to fall with the repetitive beats from the West, and events by Tresor founder, Dimitri Hegemann, former Factory Records Berlin-rep Mark Reeder (MFS Sounds).
Her second book, We Are Gypsies Now moved away from words, and into a graphic reflection, which combines her unique fem-sado-goth-folk art with the story of giving up her home to go on the road, for five years, before returning to Berlin, where her studio is a his and hers with her husband, Alexander Hacke, of industrial pioneers Einsturzende Neubauten. Together they also tour as HackeDePicciotto.
Support on Saturday at Prison Tan comes from Alexander Hacke with an exclusive, super-rare, super-interesting DJ set, and Vagrant Lovers, the duo of editor and poet Kirsty Allison, and associate editor, the musician Gil De Ray. There will also be poetry from 7pm from London’s finest poets Wild Daughter’s Stuart McKenzie, Niall McDevitt, Paul Sakoilsky, Patrick Lyons. THESE GUYS REALLY ARE LEADERS. AND BRINGING UP THE REAR: Swiss Cindy (Cindy Fournier), Jamie McKerrick, Rush Wick – and whoever else is in the room. Maybe you? If you wanna read – give us a shout, and get down early. We’ll also hear from Richard Cabut, whose book, Dark Entries is the first book created by Cold Lips, and features photography by Millie Radakovic.
I see you as pretty goth, with your sado-folk art, and working with musicians like Mick Harvey, being part of Crime and the City Solution, and collab with your husband as HackeDePicciotto. But in recognition of 90s love, which is going on in Berlin, with the massive 90s expo, and The Saatchi Gallery here doing the Sweet Harmony takeover with art from everyone from Seth Troxler to Jeremy Deller (whose phenom Everybody In The Place documentary, which kinda sees the 90s as a place before the Orwell prison of now airs on the BBC on Friday 2 August – weekend sorted). What did acid house symbolise to you at the time?
Acid house was the beginning of a huge shift in music. I heard it in 1988 in London together with Dr Motte with whom I initiated the Berlin Love Parade in 1989 and loved the new combinations of sound & rhythm. You could feel a new era was starting in music and that more was yet to come.
What is the most emblematic experience you have from the rave era?
I remember dancing at one of the first rave parties in Berlin and thinking how everything else suddenly sounded old fashioned. We seemed to synchronise differently as if the sound waves were impacting our brain waves in a new psychedelic way.
Did you think rave would change the world?
Back then I did not think on such a large scale. But the Love Parade in Berlin became so huge that it suddenly attracted hundreds of thousands of people it was obvious that we had touched some kind of nerve in time and that something special was happening. Like an acupuncture needle in our reality it made everything go electric.
Yes, a completely new era had started not only in electronic music but all areas of digital art, culture, communication. Before and after 1989 are two different worlds. Especially in Berlin because the wall fell at the same time and we suddenly had a new city, a new sound, a new look and we all went wild experimenting on all of these levels. It was the most exciting time in my life.
What’s your feeling on the influence of the movement now? How has it defined you?
My perception of music has been intermingled with electronics ever since. I have gone back to playing “real” instruments but merging them with rhythms, sounds and effects that I record or generate electronically. I like the way new electronic music is emerging now which is more inclusive of instruments and melodies than the original rave music was so there is a continual shift and development of sound which I enjoy very much.
Is acid house dead?
I am not part of that scene anymore. I am interested in sound, drone, spoken word and experimental electronic music more than raving nowadays.
Do you think we are in more or less cosmic or psychedelic times?
I think we are mainly living in very political times today. It reminds me of the early eighties which were very political, dealing with the Cold War and other atrocities. Musically times like this are always very interesting because they usually surpass plain entertainment and try to speak about more than love & sex.
How has this summer compared to your previous summers of love?
Our summers are very influenced by climate change now a days. People are speaking more about it on a daily basis and this influences festivals as well. I am happy to say that most festivals I played at this summer were very conscious about the environment and mainly offered vegan or vegetarian food on paper plates with bamboo cutlery and no plastic bags to be seen anywhere. We tried taking trains as often as possible and so did most of the other artists. The feeling of all of us in the entertainment business trying to be sustainable as much as possible was very bonding and similar to the feeling of dancing on a rave together. “We are all one” can be expressed and lived in so many beautiful ways.
THE PARTY IS FREE ON SATURDAY – for you, and people like us.