Welcome to Club Mel, a semi-regular column by our Editor-In-Chief Mel Ottenberg. This week on Club Mel, we have New York’s new techno legend TT Britt dropping a really hot new techno mix which is great for jogging, partying, fucking, dancing, or just simple techno-appreciating. TT also came over to Club Mel for an IRL glass of water and a ki.
TT: Mel, hello.
MEL OTTENBERG: Wait, this is the first time that a Club Mel’s been done at Club Mel, so welcome to Club Mel, TT.
TT: Post COVID, Club Mel, we’re here.
OTTENBERG: We’re here. We actually met in the middle of COVID. I snapped ONE night and went out, ONCE, and we met. You were bitchy and you gave me all this attitude, and I was like, “Thank god I’m at a party with techno blasting and this stranger is giving me attitude. I need this.”
TT: Oh my god. You were getting me in rare form that night.
OTTENBERG: Attitude was needed.
TT: I’m sure I played an inspiring set, and that explained the bitchiness.
OTTENBERG: You sure did. And when we met, you were sitting on the cooler that contained the single bottle of water that all 800 people there wanted.
TT: I remember that. It was a really special night, on that rooftop.
OTTENBERG: And now, you’ve done an amazing mix for Club Mel. I just want to tell you that it’s a great mix for fucking. I have been using it as my soundtrack.
TT: I’ve tried that too.
OTTENBERG: I have been more than trying it. It’s working—the results are in.
TT: Most ideal.
OTTENBERG: So, what are we into these days? What kind of music are we into right now? What’s the vibe?
TT: The vibe is always changing. I’ve played been playing basically for the past six weeks straight, which is way too much. Maybe I’m a bit drained musically, or techno-wise, but I’m just going classical these days. I just started to take piano lessons two weeks ago.
TT: I’m obsessed. That’s where my ear is right now, using another genre to learn about my genre, instead of just pounding my ear off with techno. When I step back up to play something, I want to approach it in a fresh way.
OTTENBERG: Who are the techno gods for you?
TT: All friends of mine. A friend of mine named Schacke, who played a foundational role in establishing the Copenhagen/Scandinavian sound, is the blueprint for me. DJ IBON, a DJ and producer, is up there for me. There’s also this group of kids coming out of Malmo, Sweden, that makes really fast, hard, trippy, techno. Basically anywhere in Scandinavia is big for me, especially Copenhagen and Malmo.
OTTENBERG: So, Scandinavia is where the hot techno is coming from.
TT: Yeah. The raves are incredible.
OTTENBERG: There are two main reasons I do Club Mel. First, I love DJs. Second, I need new music, because I’ve been listening to the same old-school house music since 10th grade, and the same techno from college. I had so much fun at that party we danced together at with Honcho. That Nowadays club is great.
TT: Yeah, even though you missed my set for that.
OTTENBERG: What time did you play?
TT: Like, 3:00 AM.
OTTENBERG: I was still sleeping.
TT: Because you got there at 7:00 AM.
OTTENBERG: I did, actually. I got eight hours. I’ll show up fresh to your next gig. But it has to be an after-hours, early morning thing, because I can’t handle a nap. A full night’s sleep and then lose your shirt at the rave is the greatest thing in the world.
OTTENBERG: New York was so amazing this summer. We were both here. It was, I think, the greatest feeling I’ve ever had in New York.
TT: I couldn’t agree more.
OTTENBERG: Are we going to dance together again this fall?
TT: I mean, I will provide that opportunity through my party, which is going to happen in a month from now.
OTTENBERG: Is she like a Ridgewood thing, or are we going further?
TT: We used to go much further, but now we’re looking at a space in Manhattan.
OTTENBERG: I’d love that, considering that Club Mel is in Manhattan.
TT: But bookings-wise, I’m actually just playing in the next six weeks. I have nothing in the U.S. for a bit. I have a fab thing coming up in Paris, but that’s not till November. I’m going to play at the Palais de Tokyo.
OTTENBERG: Ooh. Love.
TT: It’s going to be insane.
OTTENBERG: Exciting. I love going out in Paris. I’m going to Paris this weekend. I haven’t left America since I went to the last Berghain Sunday before the apocalypse. You were there, right?
TT: I was there! March 8th.
OTTENBERG: We didn’t know each other, but we later discovered that we were both there at the same time. That was beyond.
TT: Yeah, it really did feel like it was the last Berghain. It was really special. I’m not always crazy about the music there, but that night it was just giving, and giving, and giving.
OTTENBERG: Are we talking about the techno floor? Steffi and the guy after Steffi blew my mind. The whole thing together was flawless. My only regret is that I left around 11:45 PM that Sunday night, when there was this whole new crowd arriving that was giving hyper looks. I was like, “Am I going to regret this later?” and I do. But I was kind of blind by that point. I was like, “I don’t think I’m going to remember it anyway,” and, lo and behold, I don’t. Is throwing parties hard, or is it fun? Were you at Interview’s party the other night? Someone told me you were there.
TT: I was there and I left. I did look for you. It was too much. It was a lot.
TT: I’m sure it was fab. Throwing parties is actually so much work. Yes. To those people who do it on the regular, I’m like, “Hats off to you.” It’s a lot of work, money, and risk involved. But it’s also so fun.
OTTENBERG: Okay, what’s your roster of ’90s-2000s stuff that you’re really obsessed with? For me, it’s old-school Junior and Green Velvet.
TT: For me, it’s DJ Rush. He plays hard techno with cunty vocals. It’s exuding Butch Queen.
OTTENBERG: There’s this really heavily mixed new thing in your sets that I’ve been missing in NYC techno DJs. It’s come back. I’m always like, “Oh, they need old mixes to show them how it’s done,” but y’all are doing it real good. I have no complaints. What do you think has changed?
TT: The past ten years that I’ve been in New York, the DJ culture has always been, “Oh, we’re too cool for a genre, therefore we don’t have a genre, therefore we play all the genres in order to become a genre.” Now there’s a focus mainly on techno, but in ways that really elongate and stretch the definition of techno. Dancing-wise, there’s a lot more longevity with techno. Everything else just tires people out.
OTTENBERG: When I first moved here, the jukeboxes were filled with punk, no wave, and a little bit of pop to be ironic. Then I turned my head for one second, and suddenly the only thing you could hear anywhere in New York City was Britney. No shade on Britney.
TT: I’m not out at 3:00 AM to hear Britney. I’m not up at 4:00 AM losing sleep to hear something that you could hear on the radio…
OTTENBERG: …Or at the supermarket. But now she’s coming back around, no?
TT: Clubs and spaces-wise, yeah. It is. Basement and Nowadays, as they grow, really fuse more and more with the community.
OTTENBERG: I’m so into both of those. I’d never been to Nowadays before that thing that you and I hung out at, and I just thought it was such a great place.
TT: I feel such a sense of community there. Even during the pandemic, they would organize things just to let people know, “Hey, you still have a community. You can’t use our dance floor, but come and watch a movie here.” It was comforting.
OTTENBERG: TT, who should I be up on? What other mixes I should be fucking to and working out to?
TT: I feel like quest?onmarc could be amazing for this. I don’t know if you know them.
OTTENBERG: I don’t.
TT: A fab DJ producer who got their start in ballroom and now makes techno, but in a pretty cunty way. It’s blowing up in a pretty big way. I’m trying to think who else in New York.
OTTENBERG: What are you most gagged on in Scandinavia? The only person I know in Scandinavia is Robyn, who is the gaggiest of gags. Robyn, please come on Club Mel.
TT: Oh my god, there’s this kid out of Berlin— or, I guess he lives in Potsdam— named DEV. Whoa. He’s producing the craziest stuff. His mixes are just storytelling.
OTTENBERG: I’m going to find you, Dev. I’m finding you. Is there anything else you want to talk about?
TT: I’m hoping that the energy that we’ve felt going put over the past few months post-COVID continues. It feels good going to things during fashion week, or to events that I would normally cringe at. I’m like, “Wait, I’m really enjoying this.” There’s a level of authenticity right now that I hope continues. I hope we don’t go back into hating each other again or being like, “Oh, too many people there. I’m not going to go to that.”
OTTENBERG: Yeah. There’s a really special feeling that has come in 2021. I want to see where it goes. I can’t say that we’re in a New York renaissance yet, without knowing what’s to come, Or if people are just having a good time.
TT: I guess we’ll see because the art that we’re seeing now is almost all birthed out of COVID. Now that people have this inspiration, how does that perpetuate itself?
OTTENBERG: Exactly. I for one, feel creative in a way that I didn’t before all of this. I was so unhappy during 2020, but I feel like I got something out of it. But again, we need to see where it’s all going. We’re not just like, “Everything’s great,” because it’s clearly not. And there are a lot of weird times to come.
TT: For sure.
OTTENBERG: Anyways, thanks for coming over and chatting.
TT: Happy to be here.
OTTENBERG: Oh wait, I have to take some pictures now.
OTTENBERG: Let’s look glamorous, okay. Bye.