TF Archives

Ian Pooley

Author: Andrez
Sunday, January 1, 1995
Down the line from his hometown in Mainz, Germany, Ian Pooley comes across as a serious and measured individual, and his sense of humour is equally detached. So you have to remind yourself that this is the guy with track titles to his credit as bizarre as 'Plunk 'n' Clang', 'Plunk 'n' Bang', 'Two Space Cowboys On A Bad Trip' and 'Two Space Cowboys On A Trip To Texas'.

And, afterall, he's always been the child prodigy of Germany's underground techno scene. Word has it that he was playing Kraftwerk's 'Autobahn' on repeat at the age of six and churning out rave anthems at the age of fifteen; he was just seventeen when he was invited by Achim Szepanski to join the then-fledgling Force Inc Music Works in 1991. Six years later, when most of his contemporaries are in their late twenties or early thirties, Ian is just 23. And it's been an interesting ride. After recording with artistic collaborator and drinking chum DJ Tonka under the guise of Space Cube for the early Force Inc releases, Pooley has gone on to produce records of his own for Force Inc as well as Plink Plonk, Definitive and AFU. Records like 'Chord Memory', 'Anschit', 'Rollerskater Disco' and 'Sweet & Sour', remixed by people like Daft Punk, Richard Benson and Mark Bell.

It was on the strength of these artistic inroads that Ian visited Australia this time last year, for a whirlwind set in Melbourne, and he says he's keen to renew the friendship. "It was very nice - very cool," he declares. "Unfortunately I was only down there for five days, which was too short to get a good idea, but I found the atmosphere to be more enthusiastic than some parts of Europe."

You get the impression that Germany right now isn't one of those parts, especially when you consider its underground scene. At Frankfurt's Force Inc label, Pooley has at various stages worked alongside the cream of their current crop: people like Mike Ink, Alec Empire, Thomas Heckmann, Martin Damm, Cem and Khan Oral, Roger Cobernuss and Ingmar 'Walker' Koch, who represent such notorious artistic liaisons as Love Inc, Jaguar, Drax, Exit 100, Age, Biochip C, Subsonic 808, Air Liquide, Ultrahigh, Jammin' Unit, G104, Gizz TV, Bizz OD, 4E, Kerosene and DJ Ungle Fever respectively. On top of their production work, Heckmann also runs both the Trope and AFU labels, Mike Ink has Studio 1, Cem Oral and Roger Cobernuss operate Pharma Records in Berlin, and Khan Oral heads Temple Records NYC - meaning a prolific broad spectrum of Germanic underground sounds. These guys always were going to pose the greatest threat to chart-topping European power trance; it's these guys who have reinstated the funk and the groove into the German dancefloor scenario, along the way steering a wild and reckless course through the realms of hard house, acid, dub, drum 'n' bass and hip hop beats.

It's a cause celèbre that Ian Pooley continues to involve himself with. "They're all really good friends of mine, so it's been nice to work alongside them and do stuff together occasionally," he says. "At Force Inc we're really lucky because we have some of the best producers to come out of Germany. They're all doing some great stuff, and it's definitely getting better here now - three years ago it used to be shit with that boring hard trance music; that was definitely not our sound!"

A substantial off-shoot for Pooley has been his work under the alias of Ides for Thomas Heckmann's Acid Fuckers Unite imprint, which has produced records like 'Sweet & Sour', 'Plastered' and the 'Limer' EP and see him adopt a far more eclectic, left-of-centre acidic funk element with a fractured perspective of house taking precedence. "Thomas lives around the corner from me in Mainz, and when he started up this label he asked me to do a few tracks - so that's when I decided to start up as Ides," he explains. "Ides is really experimental - for my work with AFU I can really play around with a track and it doesn't matter if it appeals to people or not; it's tota