CRACK | March 29,2018 | EN

Lena Willikens grew up in a bowl – a grey valley poured full with smog and obscured by tall walls. Stuttgart, home to drivers of Porsches and Mercedes Benz. Down in the valley the people could not see beyond themselves, but she could. She could see much further. She could see through the scumbled sky to cities bristling with lights. She could see the ground was shifting.

On the morning we meet in Amsterdam, we start the day with croissants, dipped into large cups of black coffee, between long cigarettes. The city is her new home, and today it’s cold but sparkling. After years bouncing between Cologne and Düsseldorf, she has been drawn to the Dutch capital by its small and supportive scene. It’s the next chapter in a career that has been characterised by movement. Whether Berlin, Montreal or Kyoto, Willikens is used to finding the good record stores, getting to know the interesting people: pulled in different directions by an ever-growing network of club owners, selectors and artists, who in turn gravitate towards her unique creative vision.

It was in Düsseldorf, as an art student in the mid-00s, where Willikens made her first connections as one of a small circle of DJs who founded the Salon Des Amateurs, a modest venue in the bar of an art gallery. She started work there as a bouncer in 2006, soon moving to behind the bar, where she began to play records between serving drinks. Before long she was booking acts and holding down her own residency.