Some people crave the public adulation and trappings of stardom that a successful career in the electronic music industry can bring. Some people are too busy being creative to worry about these things. With some people, when you scratch beneath the surface, unfortunately there is little substance to talk about. Then there are some people who have come in under the radar, conscientiously building great things in their own quiet way. These are the true masters, people who, when you dig deeper, you find famous productions, genius collaborations, exciting record labels and legendary club nights. Germany’s Alex Flatner is such a person, he may not yet be a household name but his career achievements so far are way beyond impressive.
Anyone seeking a role model for how to operate successfully and with longevity in the electronic dance music industry today, should study Alex Flatner, the art of multi-tasking across disciplines has been honed to perfection by this congenial, self-effacing man from Munich. He runs his highly successful underground labels, Gedankensport and Circle Music; works as an A&R manager for labels including Harthouse and Plastic City; is a producer of immense talent and a highly regarded DJ who travels all over the globe at weekends.
Alex Flatner’s first commercial release was in 1997 (Alex Flatner vs Mr Mono - This Transmission Com'On - Atomic Circle), having started to produce music in 1992 for his own enjoyment. A chance meeting with Corvin Dalek, A&R for the Berlin based MFS label (Paul van Dyk, Mijk van Dijk, Marcos Lopez, Marco Zaffarano), resulted in his first big hit, “Pounds & Penz”, played by Pete Tong, Timo Maas, Carl Cox and many other's. The record sold more then 50K copies (on vinyl) and was licensed to many compilations.
Such huge success led to remix and production opportunities for Warners, Sony, EMI, London Records, Black Nation, Blue Amazon, News and many, many more. A personal highlight for Alex Flatner is his creative reworking of “Crystal” by New Order, a version much loved by Bernard Sumner.
An introduction to the world of DJing came about by accident in 1995, when a new club opened (Electric Delicate) in his hometown of Munich. The DJ didn’t turn up one Saturday night, so Alex ended up spinning some records to keep the crowd entertained. He was so popular that he was asked to become resident DJ, the night becoming one of the most popular in the city at that time. Crucially, this new creative outlet in addition to his productions led to Alex Flatner’s name becoming known outside Germany. These days he can regularly be found behind the decks in Istanbul, Rome, Berlin (Watergate), Paris, Madrid (Fabrik), Bloemendaal (Woodstock 69), Rotterdam and many other major clubbing cities around the globe.
Always wanting to learn and develop his skills further, Alex took on the role of A&R in 2002. Signing many projects for the Monoid label and also taking care of things for Plastic City and Harthouse. Up to now, he has signed more then 3000 releases for Fine Audio, Monoid, Plastic City, Harthouse, Mole Listening Pearls, Circle Music, Gedankensport, Galvanic, Compressed and for many other imprints.
In 2006 Alex Flatner moved from Munich to Mannheim, where he has continued to be based to this day, working across his many disciplines. A steady flow of highly charged, intensely creative productions on Toni Rios’ Soap Records (“Oriental Dreams”, 2008), Sven Väth’s Cocoon (“Make Up Your Mind” 2009), Steve Bug’s Poker Flat Recordings (“Dinosaurs”, 2010 and “This” 2011) and Daniel Schlender’s Result Recordings (“Blossom”, 2011), have marked him as a producer of immense talent. The licensing and inclusion of his tracks on mix compilations by Locodice (“In The Lab”) and Sven Väth (“Ninth Season”), and may more, have steadily built respect and profile around the world.
When you dig a little deeper and discover a stunning array of recent remixes, including: Gui Boratto “Atol” (Harthouse), Terry Lee Brown Junior “Pulsar” (Plastic City), Steve Lawler “Almerina” (Harthouse), Mike Vamp “High On Heels” (Top Model), Alejandro Vivanco “Vita Jo” (Eukatech), David Keno “Stars Above” (Keno), amongst many, you realise Alex Flatner has his finger firmly on the pulse of electronic dance music. Additional studio and collaborations with the likes of Lopazz, Reboot, Santos, Simon Baker, Oliver Klein, Ken Ishii, Joey Beltram, Anderson Noise, Einzelkind and Martin Eyerer show that here is a producer who thrives on creative relationships, always seeking to experiment and develop as an artist.
Since starting his own Circle Music imprint in 2004, Alex has worked hard to release amazing music from an astonishing array of international artists, including Gui Boratto, Sébastien Léger, Valentino Kanzyani, Umek, Anderson Noise, Robert Babicz, Leandro Gamez, Michel de Hey, Santos, Joey Beltram, Bryan Zentz, and may more, alongside his own productions and those with studio collaborator Lopazz. In 2007 he released a fabulous label compilation mix CD (World Of Circle) linked with touring through France, India, Spain, Croatia, Germany, Poland and Russia. A further “Best Of Circle” label compilation appeared in 2009 and 2012 will see Alex Flatner release a new Circle compilation in the emerging nu-disco style. Also, look out for exciting Circle releases from Daniel Bortz and Slok feat. My Favourite Robot with remixes by Subb-an and Lopazz
Whilst establishing Circle Music, Alex also realised that he also needed an outlet to explore possibilities with more pure house orientated music. Launched in 2006, Gedankensport has overseen the emergence of superb releases from Vox Sola, Evil Hinko, Piemont, Pelle Buys, Christopher Rau, Daniel Bortz, Matiss. Having two distinct platforms to release a wide variety of great music has given both labels the creative freedom to thrive and develop over the years.
In early 2012, Alex Flatner and Lopazz (best known for the quality, avant-garde club music he’s released on labels like Get Physical, Cocoon, Pokerflat) have been locked in the studio at every available opportunity creating their debut artist album, a project that will feature some surprising collaborators.
This creative meeting of minds began after they became good friends when Lopazz did a remix for Gedankensport and his wife (who has worked on several projects with Compost Records) recorded her Spanish vocals for Alex’s track “The Voice” (Circle Music, 2007). Alex then wrote “Perfect Circles” (Circle Music, 2008) featuring the voice of Lopazz, which received much big name DJ support, including Sven Väth, who played the track for a whole summer season in Ibiza and licensed it to his yearly Cocoon mix compilation. This huge success resulted in further work together for Cocoon (“Make Up Your Mind”, 2009) and then “Dinosaurs” (2010) for Steve Bug’s Poker Flat Recordings. Their next single release is scheduled for release on Get Physical at the end of April 2012. After such illustrious beginnings, the debut album by Alex Flatner and Lopazz is sure to be one of the musical highlights of the year.