Berlin-based DJ Ellen Allien takes to the decks this weekend to play for an unusually long 8 hours, unmissable for fans of her experimental techno and those taking notes on how to play an extended set. Here’s her story.

Who is she? DJ, producer, musician, label boss and fashion designer Ellen Allien was born Ellen Fraatz in 1969 in Berlin.

Genres: Techno, minimal, electro, electro-pop.

Career trajectory: After one of her homemade mix tapes fell into the hands of a promoter she started DJing in Berlin in the early 90s, just as the city’s techno scene was developing.  These formative years took place just after the fall of the Wall when the availability of cheap performance spaces in the East Side made it possible for DJs and artists to play without restrictions. Techno replaced hip hop in the underground realm, a welcome change for Allien who viewed the previous scene as overly chauvinistic. Regular gigs at E-Werk and Tresor led to a radio show called Braincandy on Berlin’s Kiss-FM and the creation of a record label of the same name. Braincandy later dissolved and she started the BPitch parties in 1997, before going on to found the label.

Influences: David Bowie’s cameleonic ability, Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’ and the city of Berlin.

Essential tracks: She’s released seven studio albums; her debut Stadkindt in 2001 (which means ‘city child’) was a homage to her beloved hometown. Orchestra of Bubbles (2006) produced with Apparat was voted one of the top 50 albums of the last decade by Resident Advisor, and more recently Dust (2010) featured a more poppy sound, with Allien taking over vocal and guitar duties. She’s also remixed Miss Kittin’s ‘Rippin Kittin’, Beck’s ‘Cellphone’s Dead’ and Felix da Housecat’s ‘Bullet’.

Labels: After a dispute with Braincandy’s distributors she founded BPitch in 1999. Aerea Negrot, whose vocals range from falsetto to baritone and who appears on Hercules and Love Affair’s latest album, energetic hip hop-influenced Modeselektor and ambient-inspired Apparat are just a few of the artists making up BPitch Control’s diverse roster. The label is also responsible for the Boogy Bytes compilations which have featured Seth Troxler and Modeselektor.

Who has she influenced? She is undoubtedly a charging force in Berlin’s electronic music scene, and has been instrumental in the careers of Paul Kalkebrenner, Sascha Funke and Ben Klock.

Other activities: She runs her very own fashion line, now in its eighth collection. Her clothing is inspired by music and club culture, so expect bold, graphic prints on very wearable garments, but no pink or shiny leggings (she hates them).

Catch her at: A Night With…Ellen Allien at The Red Gallery, 1-3 Rivington Street, EC2A 3DT. Tickets are £10 from The Ransom Note.

Listen: Ellen Allien and Apparat – Way Out

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