Techno on High Heels – Scarlett Etienne at Watergate Berlin
The name Scarlett somehow automatically reminds of Rhett Butler, cotton plantations near Atlanta and Yankees trying to knock about the Confederates. But when putting the ten Oscars awarded tome “Gone with the Wind” against a musical background, then Rhett disappears, Atlanta becomes Berlin and the cotton plantations transform into the Watergate. Though, a Scarlett remains, decently knocking our confederates of the nightlife socks off: Gone with the Beat.
Personally I bumped into Miss Etienne last time back in 2006, when sharing a taxi to reach the festival site of the Polish Creamfields near Wroclaw. At that time she scored with contributing one of the first dj mixes to a series of podcasts hosted by then in Germany still widely unknown Resident Advisor, a community whose central characters still don’t know what the Alex is, even today, after relocating to Berlin and despite their manic-generic Berlin affinity.
Of course her career already runs a bit longer, but if watching only the time from 2006 until now, then you can quickly realise that young woman’s comet-like advancement. If you want to book her today, then at least you have to approach Excession. Thus her schedule is surely not the idlest one.
The evening started at Bar23, whose patrons come along daily or pretty infrequently. The reason is simple: regarding the alcoholic cocktail footing bartender Andreas is often quite, if even not to say too generous ;-) Optically the style of that small locality reminds of the pubs of Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires’ most cool and trendy district. Hence Bar23’s atmosphere is more than raising the cups, even if the likeably grooving deep house in the background is often quickly blurring the count of drunken beers, caipis and mojitos. In terms of music culture these timeless and amusing grooves, played live by various underground DJs, are making that place being not shorter than Watergate’s Waterfloor. Bar23 is definitely playing in the Premier League when it’s about having a perfect warm-up for a long Berlin night.
Having reached the Watergate shortly after half past twelve, a smaller mass of people was already queuing and eagerly awaiting their admittance. Expectingly that queue grew in the following hours minute-wise and at two o’clock the club started to become packed. Again Berlin’s unwritten 2-o’clock-law confirmed itself :-) On the Waterfloor the guys of Mind the Crap were at work all night. However, that early, at some minutes to 1:00, they still were searching for the perfect initial groove. The main floor entered the race a bit later, when Yes! initiator Mitja Prinz kicked off the night by dropping excellently driving and grooving deep house tunes. His opening set was the incarnation of what I am expecting from a warm-up: a perfect blend of deep and atmospheric, but yet kicking and loopy electronic music, that’s gathering momentum and setting the place on fire slowly but most powerful.
“These high heels… My feet hurt like hell but at least I can see over the decks”, Scarlett smilingly says. And by saying that, she already was waiting in the wings to take over the Watergate main floor from Mitja Prinz. Women working behind the decks often see themselves being confronted with unsubstantial discussions about musical values and making use of female attributes. But some expressive feminine charms just belong to women with a class. Beside all things called musical values, THAT is the certain dash of flirt that makes the grain of difference in a world full of DJs. Thus, shortly before entering the DJ booth and taking over Watergate’s steering, Scarlett dressed up herself for us to the nines in an absolutely lady-like manner; gave her lips a red refresh, powdered her teint gently and adjusted her adorable skirt.
When seeing each other last time, Scarlettini still carried tons of vinyl with her. Technical evolution played a bit against those 12″ measuring black discs, so today she’s travelling light. Her entire musical repertoire is stored on a red MacBook and Traktor Scratch is used to mingle dance floor, techno beats and people. Until the early morning hours Scarlett was dishing up a wild melange of progressive techno. In particular the people went crazy when several Rekids productions, or better to say pure Radio Slave, got dropped. Once again Watergate’s crystal clear sound system and the amazing LED ceiling were the perfect setting for ranting, raving and having a big big time along with tunes from Smith & Selway, Dubfire and Danny Tenaglia. There’s not much to think of some Resident Advisor peeps, but on the occasion of Scarletts podcast one of the RA airheads nailed it down quite well: “That Girl is a Bomb!” Well, in that case he’s just simply right.
As a photographer you’re unavoidably having an impact on a party’s privacy. In terms of clubs like the Watergate, with a general ban on photos and videos, that is difficult in an additional way. The photos I am taking are always exclusive and are product of a tight cooperation with the owner and artists. They shall cover the span between a complete medial abstinence and photographical presence, true to the motto: Hey, there ARE some current impressions around. The ban on photos and videos is still in effect!
Despite a really dark club and permanently changing lights, I abstain from using disturbing flashlights as far as possible. Even when using up-to-date tech gear, that results in a noticeable higher image noise and slightly blurry images, of course. The photos are deliberately focusing on the artists, the dance floor and the illumination. In my case nobody has to worry to come across an unpleasant photo the day after, cause what happens in the club, stays in the club!