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Kölsch

Over the last 20 years, Danish DJ and producer Rune Reilly Kölsch has gone about his business using a stack of different monikers. Since stepping out from Artificial Funk – the production duo founded with his half-brother, Johannes Torpe – the Copenhagen native has varyingly gone by Rune RK, Rune, Enur and Ink & Needle. Recently, he’s been experimenting with sprightly, melodic techno, which resulted in last year’s 1977 LP, credited to Kölsch.  In addition to his production pursuits, Kölsch spends his weekends crossing borders for the purpose of DJing. No matter what name he’s wearing, when Kölsch gets behind the decks he knows what to do. “It’s supposed to be a party, it’s supposed to be fun and it’s supposed to be an emotional experience as well,” he says. “I think it’s personally extremely boring to listen to a DJ set for two hours that is similar or the same.

 
Kölsch heads our way this week for the Stereosonic festival tour. Stereosonic features acts from all across the spectrum, including contemporary electronic stars Skrillex and Calvin Harris, as well as underground crossover success stories Booka Shade and Markus Schulz.   Kölsch is something of an underground mainstay, but he’s certainly not an unknown. In the early 2000s, Rune’s single Calabria was a hit on the European and US charts, while Kölsch’s notoriety as a DJ led to a sold-out Australian club tour this May. Despite these achievements, Kölsch has never been hell-bent on celebrity. “For me it’s all about what feels right and what’s the right thing to do,” he says. “I completely understand why DJs are so popular, but I think it’s not really the DJ that is the star. It’s always the music and the show. It seems a lot of DJs get a lot of superstardom, which isn’t really theirs. Essentially we’re all just playing other people’s records.”  
 
To coincide with his return to Australia, Melbourne’s Balance Music asked Kölsch to put together an 80-minute DJ mix. Balance Presents Kölsch is a journey through the maestro’s diverse taste, featuring the likes of Galaxy 2 Galaxy, Radiohead and Caribou. Shortly before the mix concludes, it unexpectedly detours into a remix of Coldplay’s A Sky Full Of Stars, which Kölsch transforms into a minimal, melancholic creeper. This sort of genre-bending is indicative of Kölsch’s attitude towards DJing. “I think it’s important that when you DJ you use the tools that you have to actually create something that is going somewhere, that is constantly moving and that has different dynamics at different times. It’s all about balance. I think it’s important for a DJ to manipulate the moods, and something has to happen.    “I need the vocals, I need the melodies, I need the moods and the different intensities. Singing is super-important. You get that feeling that something’s happening. My ambition is to bring that back to the table. I think it’s been lacking for a while.”  
 
Kölsch spent a fair chunk of time preparing the Balance mix, but when he’s in front of a live audience, he stays attuned to the whims of the moment. “It’s all about the vibe of the people and what feels right in that second, and nothing else,” he says. “That’s the purity and that’s the beauty of a DJ set. You can actually be flexible to accommodate what the situation demands of you and of the crowd. I think it’s so important that people indulge in the moment and let that moment be now and nothing else. That’s the beauty of life, and for me, that’s the beauty of DJing as well.”
 
BY AUGUSTUS WELBY

Catch Kölsch at Stereosonic with Tiesto, Scuba, Duke Dumont, Skrillex, Alesso, Steve Aoki and many more on Saturday December 6 and Sunday December 7 at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Balance Presents Kölsch is out now through Balance.