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Henning Baer’s Gritty Industrial Techno Can’t Be Stopped

The Berlin DJ and co-founder of Grounded Theory has a new label and EP, out today.

by Jesse Weiss
Apr 18 2016, 8:26pm

Photo by Lisa Wassmann

As a senior resident of Berlin's long-running party and booking agency Grounded Theory, Henning Baer has established himself as one of the top home-grown DJs in the German capital. Back in 2011, Baer founded K209 records, along with his friend and close collaborator Milton Bradley as an outlet for the two to independently release their own rough-and-ready industrial-tinged techno bombs. Over the past five years, Baer has released a number of singles and EPs under his own name for labels like Adam X's Sonic Groove, and Tanstaafl Planets, continually offering raw and jacking tracks that work just as well on a club sound system as they do on your commute home from work.

Now Baer has decided to launch his own imprint, MANHIGH Recordings, taking full control of the aesthetics and art direction of the label to etch in another distinct entry in the ever-expanding canon of contemporary techno music. The first release, Fighting The Dogs is a six-track EP exploring elements of industrial, acid and deep techno through Baer's gritty yet functional approach to his productions. The release also includes a harrowing industrial remix from British underground favorite Blawan. Today, Fighting The Dogs is released on vinyl and digital formats, and we've got the title track streaming right here. THUMP also got in touch with Baer to ask him a few questions about the release, and the impetus to start a new imprint.

THUMP: You've already established a name for yourself as a resident for the legendary Grounded Theory parties in Berlin. How do you think MANHIGH is going to further influence the landscape of techno music in Berlin?
Henning Baer: MANHIGH is the logical consequence of all I have experienced in my career these past years. I think with Grounded Theory we have influenced the landscape to a good extent but it is "only" an event series and a booking agency. It does not generate musical output in the general sense of a label. With MANHIGH I aim to create such a platform for musical output which shall have an impact. It is always my personal approach that if I do something it has to leave footprints.

What is going to set MANHIGH apart from other labels in terms of its aesthetics and art direction?
In the past few months I have experienced a great freedom while setting up the label. It is up to me how I want to do things. Something I haven't had with Grounded Theory or K209, the label I run with Milton Bradley, simply because I don't run these projects on my own. With MANHIGH I experience the chance to channel my influences, things that impress or move me, both musically and aesthetically.

Let's talk about your first release for MANHIGH, Fighting The Dogs, what were some of your influences putting the EP together? Did you have a certain club, place, or vibe in mind where you think these tracks belong best?
Fighting The Dogs is a release that had to be released in exactly the way it is now available. The choice of tracks, the order, plus Blawan's remix make absolute sense to me. This release is more than just a techno single equipped with tools. I didn't write all the tracks in one period. I recorded them starting in 2014 until early 2016 and they led to the first release of this new imprint. I don't think of a certain club, place or vibe. I think they belong everywhere. Everywhere the listeners make them belong to. This can be a DJ set in a club, an afterparty, in our earbuds on the way to work or at home on a Tuesday evening.

Jesse is THUMP's intern, hit him up on Twitter