Lena Willikens has graced the sweaty dancefloors of Cologne and Düsseldorf for years now. Equal parts DJ, producer and radio host, she is an established Friday night, vinyl-in-tow resident at Düsseldorf’s Salon des Amateurs, a member of the Cómeme clan and a regular contributor to that label’s monthly “Sentimental Flashback” internet mix.
In early 2015, Willikens’ first solo EP, Phantom Delia, a composite of ghost-house, outernational rhythmic patterns and drone-based EBM, was put out by Cómeme following a couple of one-off releases such as the ghost-wave track “High Holes” on Düsseldorf’s Slowboy records and a soundtrack to the film “Japanese Girls from the Harbour”, composed using theremin, loop pedals and turntables.
Willikens’ aesthetic both as DJ and producer balances on the dotted line between the danceable and the alien. Her artistic decisions are informed by an attraction to tracks whose appealing repetitive momentum is held at an arm’s length by obscurity and rawness, resulting in a tension especially difficult to resist. Willikens’ non-committal approach to genre bestrides proto-techno, industrial boogie, left-field disco, rough house and non-Western traditional dance music. Although all the while loyal to her native German Rheinland, her busy touring schedule has incorporated regular appearances at Hamburg’s Golden Pudel, London’s Corsica Studios, Berlin’s Panorama Bar, and tours through the UK, Spain, Eastern Europe and both South and North America.