Globetrotting house music wunderkind Andre Hommen is not your average DJ. From his unassuming roots growing up in smalltown Nettetal, Germany, to playing sets with house music juggernaut Dennis Ferrer's Objektivity collective, Hommen has come a long way from mixing music in his bedroom.
While meeting with Ferrer was his lucky break, he has since gained traction playing in underground clubs around the world. In his own words, he now makes "electronic music for grown-ups".
We find out more in an email interview with him before his gig at Kyo in Singapore.
Who are your musical influences?
Well, there are a lot musical influences. The biggest influence for me, and for many other people as well, is Depeche Mode. I am a huge follower from the early days and still try to bring some of their elements into my tracks. In regards to house music, I am definitely influenced by the old US house sound, especially Masters at Work, Kerri Chandler, Frankie Knuckles and more.
What got you hooked on house music?
When I was 12 years old, I discovered a radio show in Germany, which was playing this kind of “new” music on Saturdays after 10pm. So I was really flashed by this show and spent almost all Saturdays at home… just to listen to it.
I didn’t realise that this music was club music and that it was played at the clubs. I got in touch with the DJs playing on that show (thank you, internet) and after a while, they invited me to the radio station (as I couldn’t go into the clubs) and that’s how it all begun basically.
When did you know you wanted to be a DJ?
I was so fascinated by this radio show and the DJs, that I wanted to do the same at home. So I really saved all my money and bought some very “cheap” turntables and a mixer to start deejaying at home.
I spent almost two to three hours every day just mixing vinyl from A to B, then B to A and so on. It was big fun, but it was also hard to find new vinyl as you can’t go into a record store when you are 14 or 15 years old to ask for the brand new stuff. I tried this a few times but they really didn’t take me seriously. So luckily, those radio DJs were giving me their promo vinyl, whenever they got two of the same thing.
You’re now a permanent fixture in the Objektivity crew, but how did you first meet Dennis Ferrer?
It was a case of "right time, right place". I was a fan of Dennis’ and especially of his label Objektivity (the first-ever record ‘The Cube’ by Ferrer & Karizma Ltd had just been released), so I emailed Dennis back and forth and luckily he replied, as by now I realised how hard it is to get him to reply to an email!
At that time I was doing some web-design and Objektivity had no website, so I just created one as I was bored at home one night. I had no idea that this was the beginning of a long relationship. Dennis liked the website so much, that he wanted me to take over more web-related things for Objektivity.
Before long, I was a big part of the day-to-day label-related stuff. I was also deejaying all over Germany by that time and Dennis also knew that I was producing some tracks. He insisted he wanted the next available demo, which immediately got signed to Objektivity (Marashi in 2009, together with Gorge), so I also became an official artiste.
After that, he added me to some label parties and last year, Dennis decided to give me the label manager position of which, of course, I am very proud.
Andre Hommen's remix of his guru Dennis Ferrer's 'Mind Ur Step'
You’ve gained a bit of a reputation as an excellent warm-up DJ, but now you have DJs warming up for you. On which side of the lineup do you prefer to be?
I really like that warm-up position. The most frequently-asked question is if I ever get tired of playing warm-ups, but I have to say that I really like it, because the warm-up is the most important part of the night.
I love to see when the dancefloor gets crowded with each track you play. I really like to build up my DJ sets and start very deep and slow and take it from there, depending on people's reaction.
When Dennis decided to book me as his "preferred warm-up" to play most of his parties, I was very careful but after two gigs, he told me that I have to bang it out at least at the last 30 minutes as people have to remember me, too.
So it's a delicate balance between making the best possible impact and doing that in a certain, reserved way. Like, for example, I was recently playing at a club in Paris right before Cadenza's Andrea Oliva. I was playing very deep and very reserved and I got the most and best feedback on any warm-up set ever.
But I also like the position of the peak-time (headline) DJ as you can play whatever you want, and especially when the people are giving you great feedback, it’s just one of the best feelings ever.
Which do you prefer playing: underground clubs or big venues? Why?
Well I like both… you can have a great vibe in an underground club but also in a big venue. It all depends on the sound. If the sound is good and the people are going for it, then it doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. But if I had to decide, I would prefer the underground club as I like it more small and intimate…
The last time you were in Singapore, you were touring with Dennis Ferrer. Now you’re on a solo tour. What can we expect from your set at Kyo?
That’s hard to say right now... I am only saying that I have a lot of new and also unreleased tracks, which I will play for sure. I am getting a lot demos for Objektivity, which I am trying out while on tour. That’s the only way to see if a record works or not.
How would you describe your signature sound?
I am somewhere between deep- and tech-house, kind of in the middle of that and not faster than 124 bpm. But you can also call it “electronic music for grown-ups”.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Well I am heavily touring since two months and didn’t really spend time in the studio. I will be still on tour until the end of October but after that, I will hit the studio hard as I have to finish my upcoming EP for Objektivity.
Are you excited about being back in Singapore?
I am very excited to be back in Singapore. I really love the city and the vibe. I’ve been to Singapore two times before and couldn’t see anything as we were on a very busy tour, so this time, I am staying a day longer to finally go into the city (to love it even more).