Live in the tunnel


Here’s a nice find – a one hour performance with Amelie Lens, well yes in a tunnel. Perhaps more fitting than one would suspect. The Belgian DJ has really put her self on the map, especially with her recent releases.

Being one of the biggest names in techno, Antwerp-born Amelie Lens’ascension to festival main stages and dancefloor destruction worldwide has been meteoric. And as she has launchesd her own label LENSKE.

“I used to go clubbing alone because none of my friends had the same interest in music as me,” she begins, “but because of that I met so many people within the scene who are still my friends today.”

Her recent hour-long set live in the Tunnel—a project from Studio Brussels radio—has all these qualities in abundance. Perched inside an illuminated room, Lens rips through some tightly coiled techno and modern acid perfect for the alleys of your mind.

Having only started developing an interest in music as a teenager (mostly listening to Nine Inch Nails and Underworld) Amelie’s earliest clubbing experiences were seeing Boys Noize and Ellen Allien around the age of 15. After turning 16, she went to one of Europe’s biggest festivals, Dour, and the experience was “life-changing”.

“For the first time I felt really passionate and connected to music,” Amelie remembers. “As soon as I got home, I started reading about the history of electronic music and discovered so many new artists and labels. It was like a whole new world opened for me; I made playlists in iTunes, putting tracks in an order that I liked, kind of like a podcast but not mixed,” she laughs of her formative years.

After all, across a slew of releases—initially for Second State and, more recently, Lenske Records—the Antwerp producer has shown a knack for making stripped-back, concentrated techno grooves perfect for long, bleary-eyed travels into the vortex.

Lens’ DJ sets are likewise tightly mixed, head-down affairs: dark and condensed, nudging themselves onto the next beat and phrase.

In April 2018 a collaborative EP with Regal came on his label Involve, and in May she released a joint EP with Farrago (as well as a remix from Kobosil) on her own label LENSKE… all whilst working to a 15-gigs-per-month schedule!

When Lens turned her full focus on music, she rose staggeringly fast. Richie Hawtin remembers seeing her at a showcase at ADE 2017 and being blown away. “I saw that she was surrounded by a bunch of mostly male DJs and delegates all just stood there watching her. I know how much I hate it when you’re trying to play and there are people just standing motionless behind you – it’s so annoying! So I [decided] to go on the dancefloor and dance. I couldn’t see Amelie from where I was and was sucked into the music she was playing, a mix of old and new strong techno records, tough but not hard, fast and throbbing, hypnotic and energised. Honestly, it was really refreshing to hear a techno set that wasn’t too abrasive and didn’t make you feel like you should be marching instead of dancing. It was definitely intense, but there was an underlying groove that made it fun and infectious.”