Published on | by CCPAR0
Setting a course in Berlin
Born in Greifswald, Germany, the first decisive direction for the Alexander Kowalski was the move to Berlin with his family in the 1980s. He spent his formative years as teenager in the city where the fall of the wall and resulting chaotic and creative sense of freedom initiated a worldwide reputation that is today legendary. Alexander was drawn to the
buoyant Berlin techno scene that would spawn so many outstanding producers and DJs of his generation. Soon he was regularly buying the newest techno and house records from Detroit and Chicago at the Berlin record store Hard Wax, which opened in 1989 and become a focal point in the scene.
Motivated by a coincidence, Alexander began a musical self-discovery although he was raised without learning to play a musical instrument or reading musical notes. He found a tracker software for the Amiga 500 on a floppy disk that also contained an editable demo file with primitive remixes of Depeche Mode songs. After a few playful attempts with the
tracker, Alexander realized that he had found the potential to express himself creatively and refine his own musical language. Together with a friend he began to construct a home studio where he soon produced his first demos.
Tresor Berlin – Beginning of a career as live act
In the summer of 1997 Alexander Kowalski struck his first coup debuting in the legendary Tresor Club, the international magnet and heart of the techno city Berlin. With this performance he established himself as a 100% live artist: the sweat-inducing energy of his live act and the interaction with the euphoric audience shaped his career from the getgo, and shifted Alexander in the proximity of rock bands that he admired. The successful gig opened important doors for him, and the clairaudient Tresor label management soon released the first official vital signs from the new talent. His track “The Wide Theatre”, under the pseudonym DisX3 appeared on Pacou’s assembled compilation “Headquarters – New Faces”.
Three techno classics for Kanzleramt
This was followed by performances in clubs and at smaller festivals, and Alexander began to successfully collaborate with other musicians on projects like DoubleX with Stassy from the Berlin producer-duo Sender Berlin. As an exciting new live act he quickly garnered critical echoes and in 1999 he found himself under contract with Heiko Laux for his label Kanzleramt. The alliance proved to be ideal. In the following years Alexander Kowalski –now releasing under his given name – established himself as a top international attraction on the leading German techno label.
In 2001 “Echoes” was released, Alexander’s sensational debut album in which his visionary dubtechno design was presented, breathing new life into the spirit of Detroit and showing an impressive love of detail towards sound aesthetic. The following year with “Progress”, his second long-player, he succeeded in his breakthrough. On the album Alexander showed for the first time his virtuous skill, blending sophisticated techno arrangements with melodic vocal lines. The track “All I Got To Know” with singer Raz Ohara emerged as a hit during that year’s club and festival season. In 2003 “Response” was released, the album that conclusively cemented Alexander Kowalski’s reputation as one of the most important new producers and live acts. The material from these three albums and a repertoire of hits like “Lock Me Up” feat. Turner, “Belo Horizonte” or “Speaker Attack” brought about his headlining at Dortmund’s Mayday, at Time Warp,
Melt!, SonneMondSterne and other large festivals where he caused a furor, resulting in numerous awards and top standings in Groove and Raveline magazines’ year charts.
Furthermore he also proved his exceptional talent as a remixer for acts like Dave Gahan, Agoria, Paul Kalkbrenner, Sascha Funke or Len Faki.
“Changes” – Alexander‘s most ambitious album project Although he was overwhelmed with bookings and remix requests, Alexander’s own recording projects still became more ambitious. The rich musical vocabulary, professional work process and studio technology, which he now had available allowed him the implementation of daring ideas. With his fourth album “Changes” in 2006 he surprised his audience and critics by releasing it on Different, a branch of the worldwide accomplished label PIAS. It is his most diversified album to date, that shows broad stylistic variety and also some surprising pop-oriented material. Among the highlights on the album are collaborations with singers Fritz Kalkbrenner, Barca Braxant and Khan, as well as with producers Joris Voorn and Funk D’Void.
For Alexander Kowalski the album is the natural progression of what had begun with the first vocal arrangements on “Progress” and “Response”. Also “Changes” created a bridge to the distinct emotionality of rock music – his second musical passion. Time after time Alexander referred to the influential impact of rock bands such as Muse or Radiohead. On “Changes” he experiences like never before his fondness for rock’s emotive melody lines and sophisticated, harmonious suspense wrapped in techno songs and opulent arrangements.
Damage Music – The latest chapter
Disillusioned by the structural constraints and diverging marketing goals of Different / PIAS, Alexander Kowalski left the label in order to maintain his artistic integrity. The already finished follow-up album to “Changes” remained unreleased. In 2009 he released the single “Damage” and thereafter ended his cooperation with Different. At the same time this stage marked for him the beginning of a new chapter in his artistic biography. The title and artwork for the single provided the inspiration for him to breathe life into his new label Damage Music Berlin in 2009, enabling him complete artistic and economic freedom for the first time.
At first Alexander intended to use the label exclusively as a platform for his own creations but then he decided to induce strong ties with close musician friends and likeminded artists. The first eight releases by Alexander Kowalski and artists such as Dirty Doering, Vince Watson, Extraweit, Diego Hestettler, David Durango and Dosem have been enthusiastically received by the international press, DJs and fans. Subsequently Damage Music Berlin has established itself as an international highlight in the German techno scene.
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