Nice to see you all! We are now officially launching into the fourth season of Energy Transmission. Lifting off to Munich, Germany. Happy to have you with me.
This is a pretty long one. Lots of stuff we talked about, lots of recommendations for you to check out – maybe split your read in two or more sessions ;)
Hope you enjoy the following interview and my listicle of ‘new energy sources’. In this monthly newsletter I explore the question “What is the Culture of Tomorrow?” together with those who are close to the fire. I have conversations with people I crossed paths with, or who’s work inspires me and pair it with stuff we both think is worth checking out.
As I was saying, I want this season to focus on Germany. People from Munich, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin. First stop is Munich and none other than Tatjana Wenig, whom you may know from some killer music videos you recently saw! Together with other female creatives she took over ADC in Hamburg this year and has this level of output through Female Force and other projects that massively intrigued me. The list of artists she worked with is huge: Luciano, UFO361, Shindy, David Guetta, Future, Elif, Celine, Bounty & Cocoa, Shirin David, Sarah Conor – to name a few. I am so happy, that my dear friends from THE AMBITION made the connection. We had a wonderful talk. Enjoy the issue! 💞
Her most simple answer would be: “Director and that’s my main income”. But at the end of the day, there’s so much more to it. “I prefer the term creative with a focus on visuals. I’ve been in the music video field for 5 years and really in this culture. Before that, though, it was always about moving image, even in advertising at times. I was happy to break out of old, dusty structures of assumptions and stereotypes and can now nerd out more into other areas.”
So what made her do take this risk of going her own path? “If you’re a woman in this industry, at some point you start asking yourself, ‘Where are all the other women? Why can’t they get a seat at the table?!’ - Hip Hop as a mirror of society: very testosterone-loaded.” But we both noticed that there already is a nice shift going on, because it starts in the 2nd and 3rd row, but also slowly changes with the artist standing in front of the camera. “All of a sudden you have quite a lot of amazing women in all areas; whether creative, at the light or in management positions.”
Female Force was founded precisely out of this thought. “It doesn’t happen until you actively put women in these positions. I feel like with these movements we’re creating the impetus for a younger generation that maybe doesn’t have to fight as hard and has a lot more role models and representation. Female Force has the basic idea to create a set where everyone feels comfortable. That also tackles a mental health. So I guess I’m also an activist and mentor!”
When I asked Tatjana, if the vibe is different on set, whether it’s male artists or female artists like Nessi or Bounty & Cocoa, she replied: “It’s not similar. I think a lot of artists are used to a more aggressive, charged way of dealing with each other - and they think that’s the way it has to be. It’s not easy for everyone to work with Female Force. There are many artists who are open to our visions and there are some who are not. At the end of the day: it’s a job we do and where we don’t save lives. If someone is uncomfortable, we don’t do it. It‘s that simple.”
But she continues: “I always get positive feedback from female artists or people from the queer or LGBTQIA+ scene we have worked with. They tend to say things like ‘How great is it to work with a team where I can totally relax. Without constantly looking to see if anyone wants to beat me up or a perverted cis male who is more than ogling me.’“
We both agreed that the claim that FF has must evolve more across the music video industry and the industry itself also needs to involve more marginalized groups of people. “You have to organize with your own people and invade spaces together. That’s the vibe where it needs to go!” Then creatives can be creative at their best. Everyone should and must be able to feel comfortable.
I was curious to know what she thinks about certain rap lyrics, that are disgusting in ways that they degrade women in general. Especially the words ‘bch’ or ‘he’. Tatjana explained: “We all have access to enough resources and no matter where we come from or how successful we are, we have to learn that we don’t establish ourselves at the expense of others. Like what am I supposed to do on set if they keep rapping ‘bch’?! Consider this when writing lyrics like that.”
Time will tell how much that will change. Rap without discrimination? Especially German rap is in the process of change. Phrases like ‘I’m so awesome, all women are bches and I’m even cooler the more women I bang’ is no longer a convincing argument to younger generations or as successful as it used to be.
“But that’s cool because if this part of Deutschrap no longer works, new alternatives, hopefully better ones, are coming and other artists become more successful. I hope that we keep asking ourselves who has the right to say words like bh and in which context are we using them.“
“We are roughly going in the right direction, but we must not stop learning. And don’t limit yourself because you think ‘that’s not who I am’. A good German book recommendation on these thinking mechanisms is Exit Racism.” Back when I talked with Simon, we also committed on: learn offensively and reflect yourself. Then this is a very good way to a society in which we all like to live. Even if we look back at ourselves today in 10 years, we will think ‘oha, we didn’t know anything then’.
Tatjana proceeds with a look on the overall state of the culture: “I’m extremely grateful for the state of culture and also that people are taking the opportunity of social media. There are some people making it out of their niche who would never have made it before. The power of social media can be very very positive. And one song upload can turn into a great career. The ‘I’m just going to do it myself’-culture is very much to be encouraged. The elitist-bullsht is going away, the gatekeepers don’t stand a chance - on the internet we find a way.”
I’d put it like ‘If you limit others, you limit yourself!’ 🔓
Diving more into the culture, I wanted to know what her sources of inspiration are and where her energy comes from. She replied calmly and content with “The liberation from the fast-paced hustle and bustle through yoga and going out into nature. To avoid the Rabbit Hole on Instagram and to enjoy the beauty of small things. How cool are ants actually?!” 🐜 I try very hard to practice gratitude. You can be very happy for what you have. Without being too esoteric, but a lot of energy comes when I focus on myself, on my family and all the women who came before me.”
I, of course insisted on some links and shoutouts to drop here, haha. “But I also like Instagram accounts like Diet Prada or Saint Hoax, which present very current topics in a very cool way. With a good mix of humor and seriousness. I’m not as inundated as I am with Complex or other big magazines. And one artist I like very much at the moment. Especially her humor: Filthy Rat Bag. And other really great women from my visual metier, like Nadja Lee Cohen (my fav director), who did one of the last Skims campaigns. Her visual world is such a good combo of Old Hollywood and today’s social issues. Very moving!”
Tatjana and I found out that we both are totally into YouTube essays. “I really celebrate Issa Rae‘s series INSECURE. She’s such a great woman who directed the series and wrote it and co-stars and produces and everything. And there’s such a good essay for example about how she portrays PoC men. Because she completely breaks the role models from the culture - and you somehow find yourself watching a 40 minutes of in-depth analysis. The brain craves for such knowledge! And that is super cool.”
Another recommendation of her is this video: ‘Everything is a remix’. If you’re a creative person who’s struggling and think you’re out of new ideas, this is for you. I really enjoyed watching it and am highly inspired by everything! Had to post it in here as well.
Before ending our lovely interview-sesh, I wanted to know what other things got Tatjana excited lately. We had so much to share. So, we still found enough to put in this listice.
I try to keep it short! 📝
“Incredible photographer and extremely funny.”
“Super cool because she enjoys individual garments so much; very real authentic approach to fashion!”
“Every song is an empowerment, super cool development and movement for female rap!”
4. Loona App
“Hands down, the best sleep aid ever!”
5. Velvet Coke
“Wonderful source of inspiration and ‘for the good old days’!”
When I asked Tatjana this question she instantly said “Everyone.” And continued with this beautiful naildown: “Everyone, no matter where you come from, who or what you love, how you look, what you believe in - Everyone has the opportunity to be or define the culture of tomorrow.”
For Tatjana Wenig the culture of tomorrow is – everyone!
Thank you so so much, Tatjana, for this session of Energy Transmission! To everyone else, if you’re still hungry for stuff, go watch ‘Wenn ich will’ immediately. Or keep scrolling through my ‘New Energy Sources’.
Every month, after the interview section, I share with you some personal things I found on the Internet or in streets, that infused me with good vibes.
These are my new energy sources – trying to keep it short as well:
Nullpunkt – Balance in Excellence
I had the opportunity to work on this wonderful project together with my dear friend Uwe Bermeitinger. The functional fragrances by Nullpunkt are finally available to order and you should definitely give them a try! So happy and proud to see these come to life with Gharage. Was a pleasure of working on the concept, the creatives and anything copy-wise. 🙏
Running & Post-Running Gear: EARLS’ Noble Run Club & Satisfy Justice Shorts
Attention: this is non-endorsed product placement! I just really fell in love with these products. I recently stumbled upon the brand EARLS Collection by Lewi Brown and really like their approach of tackling mental health issues yet producing highest quality garments for sports enthusiasts. The Noble Run Collection is just gorgeous and the hoodie is one of the best hoodies I own. Especially post-run. A wonderful during-run product is the Justice™ 10” Trail Shorts by Satisfy Running. It’s a lot of money, but it’s the best running shorts you’ll own. Trust me.
Aprospos Satisfy Running: my runner friend Soeren Jessen just sent me this article about indie running brands changing the game. Worth a read! And have you seen, that fcking Zara is ripping off the designs, the products, the world and the vibe from Satify? Shame on Zara! Shame on Fast Fashion.
And while we’re here, definitely check our the Mindful Endurance Program by Ryan Willms. ☮️
ThankGod4Cody – Light My Way
One of my favorite producer turned rappers you probably haven’t heard of: ThankGod4Cody. He’s only in his mid-20s and still has produced some of the biggest tracks for artists like SZA. His debut solo project ‘Cody of Nazareth’ is a regular on my ears for 3 years now. And this song ‘Light My Way’ and the music video from 2021 is the perfect end of summer vibe.
As I myself getting more and more interested in customization of sneakers, I recently found this amazing work by Studio Lorenz and his insta channel @lorenz.og – with the distinct and colorful gradients he just released an amazing Arc’Teryx Collab as well. Check that out here!
OWAMNI by The Sioux Chef
This is so great! And thanks to the New Yorker Mag for featuring this amazing restaurant: OWAMNI. What makes this restaurant – not in NY or LA, but in Minneapolis – the best new restaurant of the USA? “Every dish is made without wheat flour, dairy, cane sugar, black pepper, or any other ingredient introduced to this continent after Europeans arrived. Sean Sherman describes his food as ‘decolonized’; his business partner and Owamni’s co-owner, Dana Thompson, calls it ‘ironically foreign.’ “ – sometimes is the greatest to go back to be the future! Love to this more.
That’s it for now. I hope you feel inspired or energized in any way by this newsletter and make the most of it!
Get out there, enjoy your late summer and the beginning of fall 🍂 – but protect your energy.✨
Season Four in full swing! I’m proud to announce my next guests of “ENERGY TRANSMISSION”.
Releasing in November, I present two admirable women disrupting the advertising and marketing scene with their passion for Hip Hop:
Lara Muhn, Head of Strategy & Lisa Groening, Consultant and Culture Expert – both at THE AMBITION 🧡
As I said, the ongoing season will be Germany-only and may or may not feature some original audio content from the interviews 👀
For all international readers, I’ll keep all the text English of course.
See you. 🫂
Have a great one - sending good vibes to you all!