Inside the mind of one of the most adventurous selectors: Lena Willikens charts her journey from Salon des Amateurs to global renown.
Lena Willikens’ origin story begins in her teenage years at a memorable dub reggae night in her native region of Swabia. Despite pursuing a career in visual arts first, a journey that took her to the prestigious arts academies of Düsseldorf and UDK Berlin, the music bug did never leave her. Back in Düsseldorf she became one of the main catalysts behind Salon des Amateurs, the cult Düsseldorf club where she went from bouncer to bartender to resident DJ. Soon she became internationally known for her unpredictable picks ranging from krautrock-infused club cuts, obscure proto-techno and industrial boogie to synthesized disco, raw house and other complex sounds. When she’s not busy taking her deep crates around the globe, Willikens produces music under her own name, puts together curveball compilations like the latest installment of Dekmantel’s Selector series and crafts audio-visual experiences (with her partner Sara Szczesny as Phantom Kino Ballett). In this episode of Fireside Chat, recorded in her new hometown of Amsterdam, Willikens charts her journey from Salon des Amateurs, discusses the importance of phantoms and spiritual guidance for her work and reflects on the different trials and benefits of the art and music scenes.