Honey-K is the guy with the greatest series of Spotify playlists we’ve ever seen. No seriously, he does.
After finding his goldmine ‘Danielle Baldelli At Cosmic Disco’ playlist a year ago, we’re still discovering forgotten gems and we’re still not all the way through it’s 665 tracks, all faithful to the original sound.
Boasting over 150 original playlists with curious playlists names, Erection section? NYC Elevator Muzack?
We tracked down Adrian Hoenicke, the Zurich based record collector who goes by the alias DJ Honey-K (get it?) so we could find out more about his life in music.
Hey Honey-K, What’s New?
Hey Wayward, good thanks.
Let’s start at the top, how did you get into record collecting?
I never “collected” record in that sense. Since I was born in 1970, buying records was the only way of getting hold of music, apart from recording radio shows (which I also did of course). Later on, when CDs came on the market, I always disliked them and only bought them reluctantly in the late 90’s.
When music became digitally available, buying records was too much of a habit for me to quit out of reason. Since buying records doesn’t make much sense anymore rationally nowadays.
Do you have any memorable trips digging for elusive records?
Yeah, lots of good memories! When you visit a city and you find out where the record stores are you might end up in very strange parts of the city (most of the time in the outskirts of the town or in very bad neighbourhoods). When I was a teenager I once got lost in the ‘hood of San Francisco with a bag was full of soul and jazz records, I felt very uneasy.
Once in Miami, some clerk in a record store told me about a secret storage in Ft. Lauderdale. He told me to visit this garage sale on Saturday and specifically ask for Willie. I did as told and then got handed a handwritten sketch of a terrain where to find the storage room, but was told only to go there on Sunday between 11AM and 1PM. When I finally arrived there it was pure heaven. Except that I already had to leave at 1PM because the owner (a David Crosby look-a-like) told me that Japanese customers are arriving and they don’t want to be disturbed by other customers.
There are dozens of other stories just like this as well…
"Yeah, lots of good memories! When you visit a city and you find out where the record stores are you might end up in very strange parts of the city"
How did you find your way into DJing?
I started to the DJ when I was around 13 years old. We had these parties in the cellars of our houses and since I had the most records and tapes (probably about 10) I had to be the DJ. I also thought that I had the best taste in music of all my friends. I still do to this day. :)
Tell us a bit about the scene in Zurich growing up,
Well the Zurich scene really started only in 1980 when I was 10 yrs old. It was on April 30th (after a Bob Marley concert) when hundreds of young people started to riot and had fights with the police for days. Several protesters died and even some police. These pictures went around the world!
Only with this uprising did the Zurich party scene really evolve and become one of the most bustling scenes worldwide. Zurich today has one of the biggest club to citizen ratios (before Coronavirus, of course).
In the mid-80s til the mid 90s most of the best parties were illegal and underground. Zurich was first very much influenced by New York, then by London. During this time lots of different styles and sub-genres were born. I went to house parties, Acid Jazz parties and Rare Groove parties. I wasn’t so much into techno, maybe because I was never into drugs that much…
Has there been a party you’ve DJ’d at that you will never forget?
Well maybe the first time I saw Theo Parrish play. It was at the renowned club Zukunft which is in Zurich, it has been around for 14 years now. It must have been in 2005 or 2006 that I interviewed him before his set.
For two hours, he told me everything about what it is to DJ, the selection of the records, the feeling for a crowd but also not wanting to bore oneself as a DJ at the same time. Educating a crowd but still pleasing them. The same rules apply for me when presenting music on radio or through a playlist. Taking the listeners on a trip!
One of the first DJs (and probably also one of the best ever) to understand this was of course David Mancuso at The Loft. Theo Parrish is a DJ from the same school and when he DJ’ed later that night he blew my mind. He played weird Miles Davis tracks mixed with classic acid house and then uplifting disco with new wave. While playing he was totally zoning out and couldn’t be approached anymore. Most of the time he had his eyes closed and was focused solely into the music, into the moment. For me, that whole set had something very transcendental about it.
I also have good memories of other DJs I have seen, Maurice Fulton also at Zukunft Club, the Optimo DJs in a club in Berlin, Francois Kevorkian in Oslo. Not forgetting also some friends of mine here in Zurich, Lexx, Domie Clausen, Kejeblos, Oliver Stumm, Marko Strihic.
Are there any tracks that rarely leave your record bag?
Every record has to leave the bag once in a while. Nothing gets more boring than playing and hearing the same song over and over again.
How did you get into hosting your own show as a radio DJ?
I have always been a big fan of radio. Since childhood, I discovered through radio lots of new and fascinating music. I probably had my most impacting moments regarding music through radio. Therefore I always wanted to host my own radio show.
You also play an active role in Zurich’s own GDS.FM. Since 2014, you have been organising shows as well as hosting your own. Tell us more about this.
GDS.FM is an alternative radio station based in Zurich. On one hand it plays the perfect mix of music and on the other hand it also supports the local scene of musicians and DJs. Both aspects interest me and I try to support the cause as much as I can. The radio station has no commercials and is financed mainly through membership.
"I probably had my most impacting moments regarding music through radio"
Tell us a bit more about the ideas behind your Spotify playlists?
There’s actually no specific idea behind my playlists. I think the title of a playlist (and the description) should be enough information.
I wanted to talk more about the playlists containing songs from specific DJs and clubs. What is your connection to for example, the cosmic sound?
I really like cosmic disco music. I first heard about it when I met this guy through work in an ad agency. He was listening to one of the legendary tapes by Daniele Baldelli on a walkman. When I asked him what he was listening to he told me the whole story behind Cosmic Disco, Baldelli, Lake Garda etc. This must have been in 2003. Only a few years later the whole Nu-disco scene came to life.
Do you collect these records in particular?
No, I actually do not have so many records you would label “cosmic”.
What are your favourite cosmic disco records?
These are not my all time top 5, but just five records I really like
Who’s Who – Hypnodance (Special Long Version). 1979
John Forde – Stardance. 1977
Kazino – Binary. 1985
Kevin Harrison – Fly. 1982
GANG – KKK (Club Mix). 1983
For those who missed it’s brilliance, you were formally an editor for Finger Magazine. One of the best at it’s time for it’s record culture format where you were able to pack in some incredible interviews with the kind of musicians DJs endlessly obsess over – ESG, Wally Badarou, Saint Etienne, Captain Sensible…
Can you tell us more about Finger Magazine and why it ended?
It ended because the magazine market collapsed. Here in Switzerland there are NO more music magazines available. And also when it comes to music blogs, there are only very few good ones left. It seems to me like people don’t want to read about music anymore. They don’t want to discover new music neither, they just let an algorithm tell them what to listen to.
Are there still any copies available? It’s very elusive online nowadays…
I only have some copies left for my own use :)