Lena Willikens gets the grooves going on Dekmantel’s Selectors 5th vinyl imprint

Lena Willikens has already established herself as one of the leading contributors to the contemporary club scene. So it came as no surprise, when it was time for the 5th iteration of the Dekmantel’s Selectors vinyl imprint, that Lena would be defining the line up. She has a strong ability to find the hottest grooves from electronic music’s furthest frontiers. Lena, as a resident of Düsseldorf‘s avant-garde musical fixture, Salon des Amateurs, DJ and producer she will sure make an impact on the new release.

The Salon des Amateurs is placed directly underneath Düsseldorf’s famed Kunsthalle and behind a 1971 sculpture by Max Ernst, the Salon is an incendiary melting pot of the city’s rich musical and artistic history. Its world famous Kunstakademie has played home to some of Germany’s great 20th century artistic figures, while its music scene is, well, beyond legendary.

So, for thirteen years the Salon des Amateurs has been one of Europe’s most forward-looking and influential clubs, a hub for musical experimentation and vanguard DJ sets. However, from the outside it doesn’t look much, a glass-sided room set into the brutalist architecture of Düsseldorf’s Kunsthalle – the art museum – which rises above and around. It’s akin to the BFI café on London’s South Bank, or Birmingham’s Central Library. And at 2.30AM on a Friday night the area around is mobbed with marauding, drunken men and women, dressed alike in stag and hen fashion, all bellowing and shrieking.

Lena stated in an interview:

“When I first started at Salon Des Amateurs, I was working as a bouncer by night and waitress by day, serving coffee to guests who would stop in after visiting the Kunsthalle museum in the same building. The venue opens as a café in the afternoon, then morphs into a bar and club in the evening. Daytime duties also included overseeing the music, so I started bringing in my records. That led to some DJ slots, and I began hosting regular Friday nights. Normally, the Salon invites a maximum of two guests to play, and there are no fixed set times. The focus is on sharing good music all night long and, of course, showing off (in an amateurish way) what great records you found recently.”

Detlef Weinrich AKA Tolouse Low Trax is a co-founder of Salon des Amateurs and has been a resident since the beginning. He has one of the most anarchic approaches to music in the Salon scene, not to mention a remarkable avant-garde attitude. After one of his outstanding live sets, I said to him, “Your beat is like a picture puzzle; I never know where the 1 is!” And he replied, “Yeah, because it’s my 1! I always put it where I want it, not where you expect it to be.”

An extensive report on this place can be found here

All in all Lena has put together some of the tracks that have littered her recent DJ sets. Including cuts from JASSS and Borusiade—both of whom we included in our list of artists certain to break through in 2018—plus some classy tunes from Garland and Anatolian Weapons, it’ll be a must-have record for those who like their dance music a little different.


Selectors 005 – Lena Willikens – Dekmantel (DKMNTL-SLCTRS005)

a1. JASSS – Little Lines
a2. Garland – Sepses
a3. Sandoz – Morning Star (Dubmix)
b1. Vromb – Amalgame
b2. Le Matin – Oil
b3. Anatolian Weapons – Disillusioned
c1. Parrish Smith – Minima
c2. Varoshi Fame – Voice Of Command (Chekov Re-Edit)
c3. towLie – Conan
d1. Sysex – Deep Space
d2. Borusiade – Night Dive (An Exercise In Indulgence)
d3. DoseZero – Tribal Dose

Out on April 16, pre-order is available now and will be send two weeks earlier!

Lena Willikens is the kind of artist who’s only capable of following one path – her own. In many ways, she’s the archetypal selector, an unpredictable DJ who often eschews all notions of genre in favor of what she describes as “different temperatures, different time zones, different moods and a healthy portion of chaos.” Although her methods have certainly proven effective on the dancefloor, Willikens also refuses to be bound by its traditional limitations.

That willingness to buck convention also extends to this compilation, as the German DJ and celebrated Salon des Amateurs resident has elected to stock her contribution to the Selectors series with a surprising number of previously unreleased tracks. “I’ve been playing most of these songs for a while now,” she explains. “I benefit from my friends and colleagues who constantly send me their unreleased music. Now I want to give something back by sharing these tracks with everybody.”

Nevertheless, those looking for vintage gems won’t be disappointed, as Willikens has also included a handful of oddball favorites from her record bag. At the same time, she’s made a point to avoid notably rare and expensive tunes. “There are already enough passionate people out there doing a great job digging and reissuing,” she says. Instead, her curatorial instincts have taken her in a much more conceptual direction, which she describes as a “little trip through the dunes.” She adds, “It might be challenging to walk or dance on the sand, so perhaps it’s more comfortable to lay down and glide along without having a certain destination in mind.”