Lifecycles: Helena Hauff
For the first in a new series of features entitled Lifecycles, we hear from DJs, producers and other members of the electronic music community about their life outside the club scene and their daily routine. For the first feature Helena Hauff discusses her love of bouldering, her hometown of Hamburg and her taste for psychedelic rock.
I’m Helena Hauff and I’m from Hamburg.
The past eight months have been horrible, and now it’s sunny, and the pubs, and the bars, and the restaurants have reopened and I’m starting to enjoy life again.
I live in the middle of the city, so it’s quite busy. It’s probably like 3000 people on just our street. It’s these kind of old-style German buildings where it’s like five stories high, and there are tiny flats. We have a tiny little garden in front of our flat, and I really like leaving the house and there being lots of people on the street. I enjoy that. I couldn’t live somewhere in the countryside. Hamburg is really cool because you just leave your house and there are bars and people on the street sitting outside, it’s lively, and I love that. It’s fucking expensive though, it’s just crazy, it’s ridiculously expensive, but I love this city.
I tend to wake up after midday which is just the way it is. I suppose it’s leftover from DJing and I just can’t change. The very first thing I do is I feed the cat, he’s waiting, he’s sitting there meowing, being hungry, so yeah, first thing is feeding the cat. Cigarette and coffee is my breakfast.
Leaving the house, I would go grocery shopping, and then there is this Turkish vegetable shop around the corner, where they have those Turkish pastries, they’re really, really delicious. I like to have a glass of milk and Turkish pastry. That’s probably the first thing I would eat. I mean, I wake up at 2 so it’s neither lunch nor breakfast, right?
I don’t really listen to music in the morning. I like a little bit of quiet, I think my ears have to wake up first. I always listen to music in the afternoon or at night – more at night, when the sun goes down and I put a record on.
I like to listen to a lot of psychedelic rock music. When I listen to techno it’s mainly to find new records to play out. I would either do that in record shops – but they’ve been closed for a while now – or listening to techno online to see what new there is, or trying to find old stuff that I haven’t heard of before, or it’s some psychedelic rock.
I relax sitting around in the living room listening to music, that’s probably how I spend my evenings, yes, sitting, eating something nice, cooking, I love to cook. I love cooking Italian stuff, pasta, stews. I love to make salads, pancakes, all sorts of stuff. It’s mainly Italian, but I like to find new recipes and try them out, and then sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
At home I just wear a tracky, and a t-shirt. I’ve got so many black t-shirts with white prints on them from all the different labels and clubs. I’ve got the biggest collection of that and that’s what I usually wear from home, so any random black t-shirt, usually way too big for me as well. Very comfortable, not very fashionable, but very comfortable.
I love being awake at night. I don’t really like daylight – I mean I like to get a bit of sun, and I like it being warm, but I don’t like being up early in the mornings, it’s horrible, so I’m good working nights.
Before I started touring I was already working in a club, which is the Golden Pudel club in Hamburg. I worked at the bar, and I DJed there. But I would also go there and meet my friends. It’s the place where I would spend most of my time, so maybe in the afternoon if it was summer; meet there, outside, have a beer, sit around. I was always going to the Pudel.
When I was younger I was really into physics as well so I would spend a lot time learning about physics, and now during lockdown I have picked that up a little bit again, and I’ve been watching stuff about Quantum Mechanics, and online lectures. I’ve got a huge interest in physics.
I love to go bouldering, like climbing without a rope. It’s so much fun, and I only got into it in 2019. Also last year I got really badly injured, I fell off one of the climbs, broke my foot and tore all the ligaments, and I couldn’t walk for a year.
I was always a sporty person, but then the thing is you get older and all of a sudden school sports, that’s gone – you know, when you’re younger you would just go and play basketball with your friends, or football or something, and then you leave school and you either have to be in a club to do it, which means you kind of have to be good at it as well. There’s just not that many options. You can do a proper workout in a gym but I’ve always found that really boring. You can do something like yoga or pilates; I’ve tried that but I didn’t like it, and I just didn’t know what to do, and I got really lazy, and then I found the boulderers, ‘Ah fuck, this is really exciting I love this!’
I’m very bad at climbing but I absolutely love it. I’m obsessed with it, so now that it’s back – it reopened 2 weeks ago- I try to go 3 times a week and I just love it. It’s my hobby, yeah.
DJing was the biggest part of my life, and the thing that I probably enjoy the most doing. Ever. It’s just so horrible not being able to do it, and I- some days I just, I’m so sad that it feels completely gone, and for the moment it is completely gone out of my life. Yeah, I miss it. I think I enjoy it as much as I ever have. It’s my biggest passion and I never lost it.
I would pack my record bag; I would usually spend between 2 and 6 hours the day before to go through all my records, see what I want to play, see how things might maybe work together, see where I’m playing and what might work in the club where I’m playing, or the festival, who else is playing… and then I would throw a couple of t-shirts and pair of socks into the same bag, and that’s it.
Interview by: Jodanabel Villain