Boris Brejcha may just be the biggest DJ you’ve never heard of. While the German-based musician has been a mainstay of the European club scene for years, he hasn’t managed to permeate most American soundwaves until just recently, having just wrapped up his first stateside tour in 2019. Thankfully, with his recent album Space Diver, hosted on Ultra Records, alongside an upcoming marquee set at Detroit’s esteemed Movement Festival, the cat is finally out of the bag. Brejcha is among the sharpest acts in industry, and a must-see for any earnest dance music maven. His catalog is as deep as it is aurally amorphous. But the latest release serves as an incisive hour-long dissertation on why Brejcha currently resides among dance music’s most exciting names.
If you want to use traditional electronic genres as a scale, you’ll see parallels all over Brejcha’s music. The topline of tracks like “Lieblingsmensch” and “The Future” for example, channel the German producer’s minimal lineage, creating bounds of space on dancefloors that typically brim with audible clutter. On the other end of the spectrum, two of the album’s lead singles “Gravity” and “Never Look Back” capture the undeniable atmosphere of the trance buildup, elevating the tracks with melodies and elements so soft they seem touchable, ideal for those mid-set moments that make live sets so memorable.
The comparisons go on, with progressive elements in “Happinezz,” and the album’s title track. The tracks climb the intensity to an album apex, with pitch-shifting electro-synths that even off-the-wall Steve Aoki would deem high-energy. With that in mind, Space Diver may not hit home to purists of any one genre, or those with a particular dislike for another. But for those who are able to cast a wide net of personal tastes, it falls right in the stylistic potluck sweet spot.
Speaking to Brejcha, who rarely listens to dance music himself, it quickly becomes clear that he isn’t trying to fit into any preexisting niche.
“When I go to the studio I just produce the music how I feel,” says Brejcha. “So it’s not that I go [in] and want to produce techno or something, I just produce from the heart.’
This approach doesn’t only result in a stunning collage of electronic music, but allows Brejcha the confidence and creative freedom to stretch his wings as a musician. It sounds strange to sense an artist’s comfort in his or her creative space just from their end product, but Boris’s work shows a unique ability to head full-steam into an improbable idea, like “Space Diver”‘s funky pre-drop beat structure, with untethered finesse. He is uncannily comfortable in the unorthodox.
With all of this talk about walking the line between genres, it’s only fitting for Brejcha to have created his own—High-tech minimal. Of course, some take it upon themselves dissect and question the terminology (I’m looking at you, techno purists). But the term is really as much his own definition as it is an invitation for listeners to call the Fckng Serious label boss’s music whatever the fck they want. This approach of “Here’s some quality tunes, label ‘em what you want,” has clearly paid dividends though, as the recent traction has positioned him on some of the biggest stages in the world next to the biggest acts in all of dance music. Go to YouTube and filter the search for “Live DJ set” by view count in the past year and you’ll not only see Brejcha positioned among EDM gargantuans like Tiësto and David Guetta, but sitting at the top of the heap with his 2019 Grand Palais Cercle set.
The results may seem effortless, but Brejcha’s success tells a story about finding what you love and committing yourself to it.
“It was my dream to become a musician…” says Brejcha. “I mean, I work almost all day but I love it, so it’s totally okay.”
His recent explosion on the global scene might paint him as a newcomer, but 15 years of releases and more than half a dozen LPs reveal an artist that has truly earned his stake. Taking a trip down memory lane, the very first video on Boris’s artist YouTube channel shows him playing a small Brazilian show back in 2008:
“It was the first gig in my life, with the shitty, small mask,” he says.
Scroll back up the page and it becomes evident that his entire journey to the top is cataloged for the world to see, from a semi-nude promo shot with his girlfriend at the time juxtaposed with his larger-than-life 2018 Tomorrowland set, which has amassed over 30 million views.
“It’s crazy man,” he says, reflecting. “I remember one time when I was in the studio with my ex-girlfriend and my best friends in the earlier days, just chatting around and doing some shitty things and some shitty videos just to upload to YouTube for 200 or 300 views.”
As the lyrics of “The Future” say however, “The future starts from here.” And between fostering the next generation of talent through his own label, Fcking Serious, and admitting to “another 2 or 3 albums” worth of material, it looks like we can all expect a little more Boris Brejcha in our futures.
After much anticipation, Space Diver is now out Ultra Records.