It’s a label you can trust to release consistently good music, run by two DJs who make a habit of wowing crowds all over the world. ROB CHADWICK talks to Ralf Kollmann, one half of the duo behind Berlin’s Mobilee Records…

In just five short years, Mobilee Records has become one of the most respected labels running out of Germany. The Berlin-based imprint has found its way into countless boxes thanks to tracks from the likes of Pan-Pot, Exercise One, Sebo K and label boss Anja Schneider. Of course, Anja’s DJ sets have helped boost the label’s profile, but there’s another world-class DJ behind the scenes at Mobilee, and with his gigs in the UK starting to pick up, we’re likely to be hearing a lot more of Ralf Kollmann in the near future.

Unlike Anja, Ralf is yet to put his name to any Mobilee productions, but he’s an integral part of the label, and, arguably, an equally important part in Berlin’s rise to the top of the global electronic music scene. His ear for a good tune is evident through the Mobilee release schedule, but his sets at the likes of T-Bar, Watergate, Panorama Bar, Weekend, and the Goya Festival prove he’s more than just an A&R man. So with Mobilee on a roll – what with the recent release of Exercise One’s excellent album In Cars We Rust and Pan-Pot’s new EP Confronted – and Ralf’s star in the ascendent, we caught up with Mr Kollmann for a chat…

What made you start Mobilee Records?
Anja and I started doing some parties in Berlin at Watergate more than five years ago – we’d both been involved in the music business for years and we did that just for fun. But around that time, Kai from Word And Sound – our distributor – asked Anja if she wanted to start a label because she had been getting so many demos from young producers as a result of her show on the Berlin radio station Fritz. We realised that we made a good team and started the whole thing. In the beginning it was a side project, but it ended up becoming a full-time job for both of us.

How would you describe the sound of the label and how has it developed over the years?
It’s essentially just what Anja and I like musically, and this can often vary. We started listening to house and techno a while ago – and we’ve been passionate ravers since the early 90s – so the Mobilee sound is very versatile and primarily defined by our main artists. For us, the most important thing is to release music that makes people dance. Club music is made for the dancefloor – especially 12” releases. When you get down to brass tacks, the whole industry is based on nothing more than moving people’s asses every weekend.

What’s it like working with Anja?
We both have different responsibilities. I run the daily operations at the office for Mobilee, while Anja is travelling a lot, DJing all around the world, producing music, doing remixes and doing her radio show every Saturday. After such a long time working together everything is quite relaxed and smooth. We can rely on one another and if, for instance, we don’t have the time to discuss a particular issue in detail and a decision has to be taken by either of us alone, there is a big chance that we both would make the same decision.

Besides the music, what do you think makes a good record label?
It’s very important to keep an eye on what is going on out there. You should always be prepared for sudden changes and embrace new technologies and opportunities. You can cry about how difficult it is to sell music because of illegal downloads, or you can spend this energy finding new ways of distributing your music and using the creative potential of your artists and staff to develop new ventures. We released our own iPhone application recently, for example, called Mobilee touch mix.

What has Berlin got that so many cities haven’t when it comes to the underground house and techno scene?
First of all, the owner of the clubs in Berlin come from the scene. We have a very organic structure in this city. The people who are running Watergate, Panorama Bar or Weekend Club were rave kids 20 years ago, and they know exactly what a great venue and a perfect party is about. They have a vision that goes beyond just making money.
And Berlin has a very tolerant government that allows clubs to open non-stop more or less. There is a trusting relationship between the authorities and the club culture, I guess.
But all in all, what is really happening in Berlin is all this drastic political and economic changes and this amazing history. What is left here is politics and culture, and I really like that international politics and underground culture co-exist next to each other. Berlin now is the creative nerve centre in Europe. Rent is still low, living is easy, entertainment programme is amazing. This city is cosmopolitan and fun. There are also some bad things to say, but I’ll save that for next time…

Do you enjoy playing over in the UK?
Sure, I really like to play in the UK, especially in Birmingham and London. The friendly people from Below in Birmingham were the first who booked me together with Anja and Sebo a few years ago, and I’ve played at T-Bar in London twice. I think that helped me a little bit to play more often in the UK, even though I’ve never released a record on Mobilee. I also really like what the mUmU guys are doing in Liverpool, as well as Mulletover and Excuse The Mess in London. Fabric is a great club too, of course.

Do you think the crowd are different here?
If people say Berliners are crazy, I must say that the UK party scene is at least equally crazy. Or maybe a little bit more crazy. But the more enthusiastic dancers are based in Berlin…

Can we expect any releases from you soon?
I am playing around a little bit – let’s see what happens. I could have started to produce music 10 years ago and didn’t. Of course, it would probably be easy to produce and release something now, but that puts some pressure on the whole idea and make me wonder if it’s really necessary. If I have the time and the feeling and the passion to focus on making music, it will happen naturally. Then it’s for Anja to decide if it’s worth being released or not!

Are their any new artists we can expect to listen to from Mobilee soon?
We have a lot of things coming up in the next months. We just released the new and long-awaited Pan-Pot EP. That’s followed by a new And.Id release on Mobilee and a Russ Gabriel track on our sister label Leena. In September, we have a double 12” series from GummiHz, and a new Dan Curtin release lined up. Hector from London is the latest signing on Mobilee records, and we still have some secret weapons lined up for the end of the year.

Catch Ralf playing at the Amsterdam Dance Event on October 22. You can download Ralf’s Mobilee podcast at Visit

Pan-Pot’s Confronted is out now on Mobilee. And.Id's First Talk is out on Mobilee in August. Russ Gabriel's Parsec is out on Leena in August. Visit

And you can find out more about Mobilee’s iPhone app at



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“If people say Berliners are crazy, the UK party scene is maybe a little bit more crazy – but the more enthusiastic dancers are based in Berlin”
anja schneider mobilee
ralf kollmann mobilee