EXHALE by Amelie Lens
Amelie Lens is a self-confessed control freak. Every step of her journey as a DJ so far has been the result ofher own obsessive attention to detail and laser-focussed determination which permeates everything shedoes. Nothing is left to chance. The often-referred to ‘explosion’ with which the Antwerp native made her wayinto the global techno scene has been the result of a long-standing love affair with dance music, ignited byher first outing to Belgium’s Dour Festival at just 15 years old. Techno had Amelie at ‘hello’, and she spentthe rest of her teenage years crossing Belgium by train to attend gigs, hypnotised by the new world that wasopening up to her.Fast forward a few years and Amelie had started her own club nights in Antwerp, DJing under numerousaliases and learning to produce at the same time. “I started making edits for myself, like old-school trackswith a different kick.” That fusion of classic techno with a fast, futuristic edge helps define Lens’ sound today.“A mix of old and new strong techno records, tough but not hard, fast and throbbing, hypnotic and energised”is how Richie Hawtin described it after being blown away when hearing her for the first time at an ADEshowcase.Her debut release came on Italian imprint Lyase, and soon after a trio of releases on Pan-Pot’s Second Stategave her recognition on a global level. Despite her measured and considered approach, the gigs came thickand fast. “Timing is everything to me – and a lot of times I’ve felt like it was too soon for me to playsomewhere.” But it wasn’t long before Lens was sharing stages with the most respected artists in techno.From headline club shows to peak-time slots at the likes of Sonar, Time Warp, Awakenings and MovementDetroit, as well as the legendary Circoloco at DC-10, whilst featuring on the coveted Mixmag cover andrecording her first Resident Advisor podcast in 2018. At the start of 2019 Drumcode marked it’s 200th releaseby asking Lens to remix the label head’s 2014 release “Teach Me” – a milestone in her career that speaksvolumes about Adam Beyer’s admiration for his younger counterpart, who describes Lens as having “aunique pure form of timeless techno. You can feel the passion when watching her – there are only a few DJswith that energy, that ‘it’ factor.”As a resident at Hasselt’s Labyrinth Club, Lens started curating her own nights under the name EXHALE andsoon was inviting the likes of Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock, Ellen Allien, Rødhåd and Kobosil to playalongside her, often delivering her own all-night-long sets that have become the stuff of legend for Belgium’sadoring fan base. Lens has steered theEXHALEparties further afield, with regular showcases at the likes ofLondon’s fabric club and colossal stage hostings at Creamfields, OFFSonar, Dour and Extrema Festivals andmany more on the international summer circuit. Her aim is to showcase a new generation of hand-picked,up-and-coming talent alongside international heavyweights.Lens has moulded her own imprint,LENSKE, in her image – driven, energetic and authentic. A handful ofcarefully curated releases from fellow Belgian’s Farrago, Milo Spykers and Paris-based AIROD fuse a high-velocity mix of uptempo 909 uppercuts, hyper-futuristic acid accents and evil-minded drops. The label’s tight-knit family of artists help solidify Lens’ reputation as a curator and taste-maker as much as a master in thebooth.In just a few years Lens has achieved what many artists would dream of achieving in a lifetime, and her rapidascent is something many find hard to grasp. “It just happened so fast – too fast. So I understand. It’s goingto take me ten more years to prove myself, but I’m going to do it.” Rest assured that the Amelie Lens story isjust beginning.