We celebrate 400 Exchanges with the Hamburg assassin.
For a top-flight DJ and producer, Helena Hauff is remarkably relatable. Despite moving from the grotty confines of Hamburg's Golden Pudel to big festival stages in the space of a few years, the German artist seems immune to the charms of fame. Nowadays, it feels natural when she receives relatively mainstream accolades, like when her BBC Essential Mix was voted the best of 2017. So it's easy to forget that she's pushing a particularly wild strain of music in uncompromising fashion, placing gnashing electro by acidic techno and chugging EBM. As her star has risen, she's become a beacon of authenticity, making her one of the best-loved DJs to emerge in recent memory.
Though she has a laid-back demeanour, Hauff's success is the result of obsession and hard work. Ever since she bought Radioactive Man's debut album on CD, she's been laser-focused on growing as a DJ and producer. Before she supported Actress in Hamburg, which led to her breakout EP on Werkdiscs, Hauff was playing anywhere she could—she even admits to being booted off the decks during one ill-fated festival set. In this conversation with Will Lynch for the 400th RA Exchange, she confesses that if she had to stop DJing tomorrow, she'd probably go back to working in a bar or collecting unemployment insurance.
Helena Hauff is performing at this year's Movement Festival in Detroit.