ALEC EMPIRE, the creator of digital hardcore on how to start a riot. “If The German capital’s music scene is a ‘historic accident,’ as Tobias Rapp once put it, then Empire is a quintessentially Berlin artist, a direct result of his unique history.” “Electronic music is not about memorizing – it’s about exploring the unknown & experimenting. That’s what sets us apart from traditional pop,” as Empire said. Germany in the eighties was deeply conservative and pop music in any form wasn’t welcome on TV and Radio. Berlin was an island of creativity and Alec Empire, (then Alexander Wilke-Steinhof), was infused with the invention and liberality that set the city apart. His mother listened to classical music while his father found refuge in jazz. Neither was a direct inspiration but their record collection made him determined to dig deeper. Radio was his salvation but while the US and UK were awash with music designed to draw in the youth dollar, his only core musical stimulation came from the radio stations servicing the occupying US troops, (they didn’t finally leave until 1994, five years after the Wall was dismantled). Before Empire’s internationally successful group, Atari Teenage Riot released a record, Alec had recorded and released twenty or so twelve inches on Force Inc, and three albums on Mille Plateaux under his own name. Empire instinctively dismantled structures that had existed for decades and set about finding new approaches within the context of his own compositions. Empire, rooted in mainland Europe’s modern classical iconoclasm, and his own deconstructionist tendency found his own path. Empire’s earliest releases Limited Editions 1990–94 and Generation Starwars both came out in 1994. The first collected together pieces that showed Empire delving into the new fringes of electronica.