Detlef is the third alias for gregarious Greek house artist Alex Georgiandis in almost 25 years, and it’s working like a charm. “This year has been completely crazy. It’s madness. I would have never thought things would go this way,” he says from his self-built home studio in Thessalonikis, the second biggest city in Greece.
“I just did 30–35 gigs in like 60 days. This is the first week I’m home for more than three days,” he adds, sounding a little like a jetlagged young John Travolta on laughing gas. Asked why he chose a German name, he giggles, “Because we were in Germany at the time!”
Starting out in the 1990s, by the early 2000s, Detlef had produced soulful house and tribal house for labels like Twisted America. Since adopting his German moniker in 2011, Detlef’s sound morphed stylistically into hefty, festive bass house that quickly found a home at imprints like Jamie Jones and Lee Foss’ Hot Creations and Green Velvet’s Relief.
“I had big tracks in the past, but this year my music went to another level,” he says. “I had my first #1 on Beatport, which I thought for me was impossible. I used to work with big names in the industry. With this team, I feel like I belong.”
Escape: Psycho Circus 2017 tickets are on sale now.
On Halloween weekend, Detlef will share the stage at Escape: Psycho Circus with his Hot Creations and Relief family. In preparation for the mix, which has a kicking neo-hip-house vibe, Detlef, who has collaborated with Roxanne Shante and counts himself a breakbeat fan, solicited music from fans online. A couple of the tracks submitted actually wound up on the Insomniac mix. It’s not the first time he has done it, either. “I believe in karma,” he says. “I love to help people. If there’s someone that has talent out there, it’s important to get their music to the right ear. I helped a couple acts that are doing amazingly.”
While he won’t mention names, to avoid seeming like he’s taking credit for their success, he does underscore a more practical reason for helping others: “I’m from a country where this kind of music is not popular. There are not a lot of people that you can ask help from. It was many years before I got to know people and could send them music. Since the [Greek] economy went down, the first thing you do is stop going out and spending money. Promoters tried to do parties, but people don’t have money to support their scene. I used to be resident at a party called Decadence and played with all the big guys—Armand Van Helden, Felix da Housecat, Carl Cox, DJ Sneak, even Armin Van Buuren and Tiësto. It was full, but then the economy went down, and the scene went down with it.”
The next logical move for an artist on this trajectory is to start his own label, but Detlef is not in a hurry. Now that he’s worked with Jones and Velvet, he has a more holistic understanding of the responsibility inherent in running a label that succeeds as both business and cultural conduit.
“When people send you music and you want to release it, you have to give the best you can, so the music gets all the exposure it can get. Otherwise, it’s just another label doing nothing,” he says. When he does launch his own imprint, Jones and Velvets’ impact will be significant. “Green Velvet has run his label for 20 years now. All labels have their ups and downs. But Relief was huge then, and it’s huge now. To do that, you have to know what you’re doing.”
As for what he will be doing next, he says, “I’m doing a collaboration that I can’t say at the moment, but it’s a remix for Hot Creations. I have a collaboration EP with different artists, like Lauren Lane and Leon. In February, I have a secret collaboration. Then I’m going to start working on my next EP.”
Even though it’s taken Detlef a while to reach this point, and he’s familiar with the fickle industry’s vicissitudes, he’s still starstruck by it all. “I used to buy a lot of Relief records back in the day—the Preacher, La La Land. If you told me even a year ago I would be playing with them, I wouldn’t believe it. For me, this is surreal. It’s magical. That’s all I can say.”
Escape: Psycho Circus 2017 takes place Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28, at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit the official website.
Detlef Escape: Psycho Circus 2017 Mix Track List:
Franco BA “Saviour”
PAWSA “Twiple Fwet”
Harvard Bass “Girls”
Optick “Tremble” (Rhadow_Remix)
Jay de Lys “Smoking Pot”
Induceve “Warehouse Shit” (Riva Starr Edit)
Tennan “Everyday” (Detlef Remix
Sammy W & Alex E “Anteos”
S-Express “Theme From S-Express” (Detlef UK Version)
James Curd & Fuzzy Cufflinxxx “Balloon Talk”