DJ Hell never really wanted to play records for a living. The Bavarian techno king and electroclash pioneer lived, ate and breathed football until his late teens, when other late-night distractions turned his head.
Nightclubbing led to DJing and producing, and since the mid Nineties he’s run one of Europe’s coolest labels, International DeeJay Gigolos. Their latest release is a mix from the owner himself, an Italo-disco collection called ‘HellBoys’, originally intended for release by Playboy, but in limbo for five years. “It was never released and finally I thought, I put a lot of work and passion in there, so I’m gonna release it myself,” he says.
He remains equally as passionate about the beautiful game though; following his beloved Bayern Munich with an almost religious devotion, still playing the game semi-regularly and even funding his local team. He wouldn’t tell us what they’re called, though.
I had my moments
Lacing Up His Boots…
“A good player would never say he was a good player, but I had my moments. I was playing in the team that picked the best players in the area, and I was scouted by some soccer managers. I would have liked to go on, but then you turn 18 and suddenly there are other interests coming. I went into nightclubs, and I’m still there.
Also, all my friends quit at that time. We were getting into the first team but they didn’t let us play, even though we were better and stronger, because the first team had played for 10 years together. So we were fed up with that. I still play but last year I didn’t so much, because I was crazy touring. In the summer I was injured and I had some trouble playing. You get these stupid guys who go out there thinking, “let’s do him.””
Going Back to his Roots
“I’m sponsoring my team, back where I learned to play soccer. My name is on the jerseys, which is pretty funny. They’re in the third or fourth league, really amateur status, but my childhood was spent there, so finally I decided to be a sponsor and help them. I have a soccer coaching license; I can coach kids and younger teams, and maybe later on I’ll coach a women’s team. Would it be weird being coached by DJ Hell? No, my name shouldn’t be at the forefront. I’m just a guy who understands soccer.”
The DJ/Footy Clash
“My last game, when I was around 17 or 18, there was the question, should I play for the team, or go to a concert by Kraftwerk? I had never seen them, and everyone was going, so it was a big decision. But I decided not to go to the concert and played for my team instead. It turned out to be the right decision, as later on I opened shows for Kraftwerk.”
A Brief Defection
...we lost it in the last minute, it was crazy
“I am completely Bayern Munch, but there was a period in the Eighties where I went to 1860 Munich. All my friends were into 1860 because this was always the working-class club, and Bayern was always superrich and famous. Bayern have the biggest following in Germany, but also a lot of people hate them. It was the worst thing you could do, changing teams, but now I can talk about it. I’m in contact with the ticketing guy at Bayern Munich, so when I want to see a game I just call him, and he picks me up, so that’s a nice position to be in.”
The DJ/Footy Crossover
“There was one disaster when we lost to Manchester United in the Champions League final. I was in Barcelona, where the final was played, and Adidas asked me to play at the ‘afterparty’ – they invite people from all around the world to go there, watch the game and, of course, celebrate Bayern Munich’s win. But I was there and I’ll never forget it, we lost it in the last minute, it was crazy. So I played at this party, and it was really kind of depressing. Did I play lots of mournful records? No, I played my regular set. But I’ll never forget it.”
Hell at the Euros
“Germany have qualified for the European Championships next year and I know which hotel the team will be using. The tournament is in Switzerland and Austria, which is not far from Munich, so I’m already planning the big tour. I’ll speak to some club managers, play in Zurich, Berne, Strasbourg and Vienna, where I already play a lot. I’ll be there for four weeks, supporting not only Germany but the other good teams, then playing records at night-time. It’s a good mix.”
The Legend: Bayern’s Left-Wing Right-Back, Paul Breitner
“Uli Hoeness runs the team side of Bayern now, and he and Paul Breitner were very good friends, they shared a room together. They had the Seventies style: Breitner had the afro and Hoeness had, like, long hair, and they looked really cool. Even what they were talking about was interesting. Breitner was famous for doing a picture with [Chinese leader] Mao Zedong – I think he posed with a poster of Mao in the background, so they were linked for ever. After they did this picture everyone said “this is a strange guy. You need to take care of this guy, because he’s very political,” and for a soccer player, this was not a regular thing. But the last couple of years, he was always criticising. This became his main thing. He did a newspaper deal, and he was talking on TV a lot, criticising. Everybody hated him for it.”