We’re selecting the best DJs in the business and taking them back to the record shops that mean the most to them. They will then lay down an immensely special set from their record shop of choice, and needless to say, the mix is 100% Vinyl
We caught up with Cassy to discuss influences, record collecting and best vinyl buys before her 100% Vinyl set at Hard Wax. This week after talking to Hard Wax manager and employee of over 12 years Michael, we profile the store itself to capture an insight into one of the most renowned record shops in Europe. Check out Cassy's set below, the full track list can be found here and remember, Hard Wax ships records worldwide so get ordering.
Founded December 1989 by Mark Ernestus, Hard Wax is one of the most well known record shops in Berlin. Specialising in house and techno, it's also the store's grounding in bass, reggae and dub that has made its musical stock stand out from the rest. Hard Wax has the best reggae collection in town.
Famous past employees:
Over the years the likes of Marcel Dettmann, Gernot Bronsert (one half of Modeselektor), DJ Hell, Soundstream and of course Cassy have all worked at the shop.
In a city that has such a wide scope for dance music, staying ahead of the curve is the priority. Being on top of cutting edge sounds is something that the shop's staff, customers, buyers and artists all contribute to. But it's the buyers that really have the massive responsibility. They work with distributors on a weekly or monthly basis, sieve through all the gunk to unearth the best new music and decide whether it is commercially viable.
Hard Wax & Berlin
It would be wrong to say Hard Wax represents the Berlin scene; the city has far too much going on to be able to do that. But in many ways it has created its own scene centered around the store.
Maurizio 'Domina', Head High 'Rave' (produced by René Pawlowitz aka Shed) and most recently Kassem Mosses 'Workshop 19' maxed out their mail order capacity over the years.
The people that come into the store are a combination of the regulars who come in once or twice every week and techno tourists (who are more than welcome). The record shop also has a great online presence which includes material stocked within the shop and digital releases. Often customers will be on the site, realise something isn't available digitally and it will get them into vinyl again.
Located on Paul-Lincke-Ufer 44 a street that runs parallel to Landwehrkanal. The record shop is in the second yard on the third floor of a loft building. Sharing the same floor with one of the original mastering studios in the city Dubplates & Mastering, Hardwax is also surrounded by creative spaces, apartments, restaurants.
Work Vs Pleasure
As most staff members work Saturdays, Friday nights are ruled out. Especially as many club nights don't start until 3am. And those Sunday sessions at Panorama Bar and Berghain often go on until Monday afternoon, which can be dangerous if you have work.
What makes it one of the best
Hard Wax knows its product. In a record shop that is organized by label (rather than genre), it’s the job of the staff to guide you and ensure you don't feel overwhelmed. The staff are the experts, the people that know their tunes and customers as best as they can. In many ways it's an old fashioned approach to shop keeping: understanding the customers' taste and requirements and then fulfilling those needs.
Check out the chart of favourite new releases submitted by Hard Wax staff.
1. Kassem Mosse - Workshop 19. Order from Hard Wax here
2. Doubt - Remember Fono / Beauty - Mistress 003 + 003.5. Oder from Hard Wax here
3. Efdemin - Decay - Dial LP 030. Oder from Hard Wax here
4. Jay Daniel - Karmatic Equations - Wild Oats JD 01. Oder from Hard Wax here
5. DVS1 - Lost Myself - Hush 002. Oder from Hard Wax here
6. Kobosil - MDR 010. Oder from Hard Wax here
7. Chez Damier - Classics - Mojuba G.O.D. 003. Oder from Hard Wax here
8. Deetroit - Secret Passage To The Deep EP - Unknown Deetroit 111. Oder from Hard Wax here
9. The Upsetter Revue - Play On Mr. Music - Drum & Bass UP-001. Oder from Hard Wax here
10. Northern Structures - Crossing Bridges - Sonic Groove 1464. Oder from Hard Wax here
Check out some more wicked shots of Hard Wax below.