The first time I heard of Mattes Schwarz, someone called him “Stecken-Mattes”. Stecken was a defining, if almost secret, Cologne dance music venue of the 2000s and early 2010s, a minuscule basement without curfew and seemingly any other restrictions, where the up to twelve hour long DJ-sets felt like a tightly knit circle of friends just playing records to each other: The selectors from the night before and the one after reliably sitting right in front of the just over one meter long stretch of the bar that formed its booth, never missing out on a chance to see their mates play, heads nodding and hands clapping through the smoke-filled air, until someone started to sing along, and eventually everyone got up for a few hours of moves on the 15 square meter dancefloor, on a grey Wednesday or Saturday morning at 7 or just as well 10 am.
Mattes Schwarz started DJing in 1982 at age twelve, inspired by, as many West-German kids, the GI-DJs of the roller skating rinks around US army bases. While he got heavily involved in Cologne’s BMX scene of the 90s, he never really stopped, and during the main years of being known as Stecken-Mattes and playing there each Friday night, he coincidently lived in Magazine record’s homebase, North- Eastern Cologne’s old harbour.
One day after Stecken’s closure had sent restructuring ripples through the city - I imagine him getting up in the morning and taking a deep breath - he decided to send Magazine a few tracks.