AlBird: ‘No pictures in Berlin clubs’

AlBird and Marceline October 2019
We had met a few times before. This finally led to an interview about AlBird's first gig. "Frustrated with all those commercial tracks."

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We had met a few times before, and during ADE 2019, we finally had a good conversation that led to an interview about AlBird's first gig. In daily life, the Austrian now residing in Berlin goes by the name Albert Gruber. "Frustrated with all those commercial tracks."

“My parents never listened to much music when I was growing up in the mountain village of Zell am See. At least not pop and rock, maybe a bit of classical. So, in that sense, music wasn’t ingrained in me from an early age. That happened differently. My parents had a construction company, and as part of their job, they often had to attend festive events. As a child, I always went along to these events, which were usually held in a restaurant or a special venue, with a band playing. That’s how I became interested in individual instruments.”

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Flute and Accordion

“That’s how I ended up picking up a few instruments myself. I started with the recorder and then moved on to the accordion. I played these instruments until I was fifteen. By then, I had also taught myself to play the guitar. During that time, I mainly listened to pop, rock, metal, and grunge, and attended concerts of that kind. I also played regularly in a cover band. As for electronic music, Austria wasn’t leading in that genre at the time.”

Great Love for London

“After high school, I enrolled in the School of Audio Engineering. I started in Vienna, and for the second part, I moved to London in 2005. Immediately, I developed a great love for that city with all its history and grandeur. During my education as a sound engineer, I still mainly collaborated with bands.”

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“Once in London, I started attending house parties and raves more often, gradually understanding the electronic sound better and becoming more interested in the genre.”

Solid Foundation

“I had gained some experience with DJing in various pubs in Austria, but it always involved rock, pop, and metal. I didn’t have to mix, but I always had to find the perfect track to keep the atmosphere alive. Ultimately, this turned out to be a great foundation for my later DJ career. I had already learned how to influence the vibe in a club or on the dance floor.”

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Extended Versions

“In London, I occasionally played some sets at friends’ homes and in small bars. That’s how I quickly mastered mixing. At that time, we still used CD players, initially Denon DN-D4500’s with a pitch, and later we got the first Pioneers. So, I had all these CDs with extended versions. That’s how I got more and more into dance music. Eventually, I moved back to Vienna.”


“I have been producing my own music since 2007 or 2008. I started because I was fed up with the commercialization of house. Besides, I was done with bands, and my song lyrics weren’t getting me anywhere. I found the dance scene appealing because I liked the vibe much better. You got more support from other artists, and everyone helped each other. I was increasingly involved with electronic music and frustrated with all those commercial tracks. So, I decided to make my own tech-house and techno.”

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Label Night

“What I consider my first real house gig was a performance in 2014 at the Berlin club Fiesere Miese. This gig marks the start of my future in the dance scene. It was a label night for Ballroom Records, to which I was a part for a long time. They had invited friends and affiliated artists specifically for this evening.”

Solo and B2B

“Ballroom Records was run by my friends, and my first release on the German label BluFin Records, Harlem Shuffle, was presented that night. I guess there were about five hundred people in the venue. I played a solo set of two hours first and later did another three hours B2B with other artists like Feisten, Timo Veranta, and Kaiser Souza.”

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Adapting to the Audience

“I had prepared my set a bit before I left Vienna for Berlin. However, I ended up playing something totally different from what I had planned at home, at least not in that order. I never do that. I usually bring about thirty or forty tracks to a gig, but the order they come in depends on the vibe. In the end, it’s all about adapting to the audience. It also helps to get over the nerves.”


“Before I left for Berlin, I was super nervous about the gig. Once in Berlin, fortunately, I was warmly welcomed by my friends, and our conversations about life and music calmed me down. That way, I got distracted enough to forget about my nerves.”

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No Pictures

“The gig itself went as it usually does for me. Once I’ve gotten through the first track and the first transition, the tension naturally falls away. I can’t remember making any major mistakes. Oh yes, one, but it had nothing to do with the technique. I wanted to take a picture until I was bluntly told that this is not allowed in Berlin clubs. No pictures! Oops.” (laughs)

Berlin Ravers

“The audience during that label night consisted of typical Berlin ravers. It was a good mix of young and old, and a local and international crowd. Was there anyone from my family there to support me? No, unfortunately, my father passed away when I was fifteen, and my mother was mainly worried. Something about long nights and a lot of alcohol.” (laughs) “She does support me, though, and she’s happy to see how I’m developing. Other family members find what I do quite interesting, but we are in different worlds.”

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Mentors Come and Go

“Did I have a mentor? Hmm, that’s a good question. Of course, I look up to various people. Richie Hawtin is at the top of that list. Not only because of his music but also because of his significant impact on the techno scene. I admire him because he always experiments with new technologies, creating new music as a result. I’ve had a few mentors here and there, but as you develop, they come and go.”


“After that first gig, I was the happiest man on earth. People came up to me and said, ‘Wow, what a fantastic set! Where else do you play?!’ I had another gig the next night, and when I returned to Vienna after that, I was ecstatic. I was brimming with the energy I had gained from these fantastic experiences and knew at that moment: I want to move to Berlin! I want more of this!”

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Not So Serious

“What I’ve learned from that gig for all others in the future is, of course, never to take a photo again in a Berlin club!” (laughs) “Besides that, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t take yourself as a DJ too seriously. After all, it’s always about the crowd. Don’t push your own genre if you see that it’s not working. You, as a DJ, are responsible for the atmosphere.”

Riverside Studios

“Fortunately, I had a gig two weeks ago. The clubs in Berlin are open according to the 2G concept. This means they can only admit 50% capacity, with 2G (vaccinated or recovered) and access testing. In the meantime, I’m having fun with my livestreams on Twitch and my radio shows. Also, I’ve recently moved my studio to a building by the Spree River called Riverside Studios. This creative hub houses around twenty to thirty studios. Among others, Richie Hawtin rents one. So, I find myself in good company.”

“I’m also the co-founder of a startup called seeqnc. We’ve built a platform that recognizes the music an artist plays. When the tracks are identified, a signal is immediately sent to the rights organization. This way, artists receive their royalties, know that their tracks are being played, and fans are informed about the specific music played at an event.”

This interview with AlBird is originally published on This Is Our House on December 10th 2021.

Who is AlBird?

AlBird had his first release on German imprint BluFin Records in 2014. In the same year he also managed to appear on decks at Blue Marlin in Ibiza for the first time, which was a dream come true for him. Soon AlBird became an artist for Ballroom Booking (Berlin) and had his first appearances in the capital of electronic music.

Since then AlBird built a list of respectable reference gigs at places like Sisyphos, Fiese Remise, House of Weekend, Chalet, Sage Beach (all Berlin), Blue Marlin (Ibiza), Die Kantine, VCBC, Pratersauna (all Vienna), Scala (Regensburg), Fabriq (Portogruaro, Italy) Jungle Experience, LoyLay (Thailand), Club Bellevue (Zurich) and many more.

AlBird is busy working in the studio with recent and upcoming releases on labels like Ballroom Records, Conic, BluFin, Natura Viva, Gain Records, MNFST Records FreiKlangKultur and more.

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