Growing up in the shadow of real socialist prefab buildings in the Lichtenberg districtof Berlin, Fritz Kalkbrenner was a couple of years shy of being able to participatedirectly in the anarchic techno mayhem that followed right after the fall of the BerlinWall, when new possibilities and freedoms opened up in East Berlin within a shortperiod of time.
At the beginning of the 1990s his older brother Paul and his best friend Sascha Funkewent crazy for techno beats, while hip hop artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, KRS Oneand Wu-Tang Clan were Fritz’s heroes who could do no wrong. He studied their flow,memorised hundreds of lyrics and learned how to tell stories – all basic research thatwould later benefit him.
At the end of the 1990s (in 1997, to be exact) he, too, was blown away by techno andturned into a devotee of the clubbing scene as did many others of his generation. Legendaryclubs in Berlin such as WMF, Tresor and Suicide Circus became his haunts fordoing a new kind of research. Partying feverishly, Fritz decided to start making musichimself. One thing he knew for sure – his voice would be featured on the tracks.With the release of Forms & Shapes in 2003, a plaintive piece appearing on SaschaFunke’s debut album Bravo, his very first step as a singer immediately landed him averitable club hit. Further collaborations followed with artists such as Alexander Kowalski,DJ Zky and Monika Kruse, but he never stopped honing his skills as a producer– on equipment that once belonged to his brother Paul. And soon, Fritz was ready for alive show.
In the autumn of 2008 the song Sky and Sand appeared on the soundtrack to themovie Berlin Calling, the first project Fritz and Paul worked on together. It made thecharts, and both Fritz and his voice gained international recognition. Not only was hisfirst solo production practically in the bag, but he also found likeminded individuals inthe heads of the Suol music label, Chopstick and Johnjon, hip hop aficionados who immediatelyrecognised Fritz’s artistic potential. The three of them quickly agree to startworking on a maxi single and then go on to make a first album.
With the 2010 release of his debut album Here Today Gone Tomorrow, Fritz no longerstands in his brother’s shadow, but is celebrated for a soul sound is all his own. Somethingakin to Balearic guitar riffs meet rave tracks and warm house beats hover overa cinematic and melancholic sound. And rising above it all is Fritz’s voice. Here TodayGone Tomorrow makes the top ten groove charts of the year, is among the top fivealbums on iTunes and is voted album of the year by Raveline magazine. Fritz is alsonominated for the Echo critic’s choice award. Since then, he’s been jetting non-stopfrom one club and festival to the next.
The tracks of his upcoming mix CD on the Suol label called Suol Mates, which will hitthe scene in March 2012, demonstrate that his broad musical range spans from J Dilla,Pete Rock and Roy Ayers to Lawrence, Tom Trago and Robag Wruhme. Once again Fritzproves hip hop, soul and house are not opposites, but rather all planets in the samegalaxy. A special highlight on the mix CD is his cover of Bill Wither’s classic song RubyLee.