Playful met Lucy at an empty MONOM before his underground label ’Stroboscopic Artefacts’ celebrated its ten years anniversary.
Written by: Amanda Sandström Beijer
The huge space at MONOM is empty as they’re building the coulisse where people will start entering in a couple of hours. We talked to Lucy, the nom de techno of Luca Mortellaro, about his past ten years in the city and about Berlin’s unique energy as well as the club death and of course, his own record-label that has passed the ten year mark.
”I want to create something that is cutting edge. Something that is pushing forward from where the scene is standing at the moment.”
The name Lucy is an old story - not only is it the name attributed to the oldest human remains ever found, it’s also the pseudonym that Luca Mortello used when he was still writing novels and short stories.
”When I ’transformed’ from a writer to a musician, which was a continuation of my way to express myself, I kept the same artistic name.”
Lucy moved to Berlin eleven years ago to start his now ten years old label - Stroboscopic Artefacts.
”I moved to Berlin in 2008 because it was a very open place to start a record label. It isn’t anymore though, but back then it was.
Not only did he release the compilation ‘X - Ten Years of Artefacts’ featuring key artists from the label such as Luke Slater, Rrose, Efdemin, Shifted, Chevel, Alessandro Adriani and also Lucy’s collaborations with Rrose (Lotus Eater) and Speedy J (Zeitgeber). But this January he followed it up with a second release where he revisited four pivotal tracks from the imprint’s catalogue originally by Donato Dozzy, Caterina Barbieri, Lucy, Ben Klock and Xhin.
Hearing all these names, you kind of get a feeling that Lucy isn’t strictly limited to music, but also excels in managing energies between people. Though he might not express it like that.
”When it’s about making music, I can’t be political. I cut it short. If there is no feeling, I’ll end it immediately. I normally have a good ability to feel this, and then I stop it straight away. For example when I feel that things are not spontaneous somehow or if there’s too much expectations or too commercial. I am not interested in that.”
And if you wanna create stuff that is progressive I guess you can’t compromise? Anyway, meeting Lucy I understand that he doesn’t wait around. He’s effective, witty and responsive. I’d like to deduce that he has tremendous respect for underground music and its development.
”The underground music industry is so dynamic. It’s so evolving, so quick and so wild, that for what I want to do, which is creating something that is cutting edge. Something that is pushing forward from where the scene is standing at the moment, and if you want to do that, then you need to be constantly on the alert about what is going on around you. Not only when it comes to absorbing what is going on, but also that you are actively contributing through the platform to that scene. It’s like a two-sided, very complex relationship.”
Outer or inner pressure will often kill inspiration. But to Lucy it’s pretty much the opposite. Though he uses some techniques that come handy when outer and inner pressures are out of balance.
”When I feel that too much is going on inside me emotionally, I need to calm it down somehow and that is where I use a lot of techniques that belong to meditation, yoga and these kinds of things that I am also very passionate about. They’re tools I use to smoothen down some pretty harsh cores of my creativity so that they don’t become self-destructive. I have to be in balance between these tensions.”
”I don’t think there is any other place in Europe that has such a concentration of extreme energies as Berlin”
Having lived in Berlin for more than eleven years, me and Lucy discuss what makes the city a creative hub - what uniqueness you find in Berlin that some of us can’t seem to find elsewhere.
”I think the most amazing thing about the city is a direct consequence of its history. I don’t think there is any other place in Europe that has such a concentration of extreme energies over the past 70-80 years. So todays Berlin is the result of that. I don’t think there are any places, that have so much cultural intensity going on - from World war to Cold war, to a wall dividing the city and then the fall of that wall - to screams of freedom and anarchy. The incredible boom in the artistic community and a very interesting capital that has been protected of gentrification for a while. And all of a sudden it's completely falling in to that trap at a crazy pace. That’s what is interesting to me about Berlin. These kinds of wild energies that go from one place to another. I have never seen it as a balanced place.”
”Even though these people didn’t give a fuck about earning money – it was really mostly about clubbing in a very anarchistic way.”
It’s probably these energies that make people feel free, independent and relaxed here and that attracts tourists from all over the world to its club scene. Although, simultaneously, times are changing and we are facing a phenomenon some call the ’Club death’.
”It’s a big problem that clubs are threatened in Berlin. The same phenomenon that clubs have been feeding on is now also destroying the clubs, in a way. These huge waves of tourism are fueling the city, and for the last 10-15 years there has been so much of this money reaching the underground scene, even though these people didn’t give a fuck about earning money – it was really mostly about clubbing in a very anarchistic way. And it’s not like that anymore. Now instead it’s business plans making their way, and when that kind of money starts to invade a city, it changes. Well the reason why the city started to explode was the same as always. These phenomena in a capitalistic system bring up the other side of the coin. That’s the circle completed, you can’t escape it. You can surely take measures to suspend it, but that’s something that belongs mainly to politicians, sadly. And most of the time they have a very specific mind-set, and they’re not in contact with the underground culture. And the underground is the one big soil of the club scene in Berlin.”
Luca is not the kind of person who prepares himself for what is coming, neither thinking of stuff he did, as ’mistakes he could have avoided’. Instead it’s very important for him to let life be. Same goes when it comes to the Club death - not getting nostalgic but instead looking back with joy as well as forward to the future.
It’s not difficult to understand that his preferred parties in Berlin have been when he himself has performed.
”Label showcases particularly in Berghain. Those have always been very special, because it’s something beyond clubbing. This is a totally special energy board that is always transcending into something else. It’s been extremely beautiful and a big fuel for my creativity as a platform. As well as some of my closing sets, when I have been playing for 13, 14,15 hours for a very open-minded crowd”, he laughs.
Lucys 3 favorite clubs in Berlin:
– Some of the Herrensauna parties