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Pearls from Two Nomads: Alexander Hacke & Danielle de Picciotto

Outside and Against the Mainstream


Two artists, Danielle de Picciotto and Alexander Hacke, are winding their way to New Zealand for shows.  

Since the 1980s, Danielle and Alexander have made the most their lives outside or (and at times against) the mainstream, performing in many pioneering art and music groups which have gone on to acclaim. In recent years, their search for authentic counter cultural expression has seen them take up a nomadic lifestyle.  Their work has been described as “full of brooding beauty and a sense of wonder and melancholy”. 

The Big Idea has been offering mini mentoring in the form of Advice to My 22 year old self.  So, anticipating that a life of constant transit allows plenty of time for reflection, and in the lead up to their upcoming journey from Berlin to us, we asked them to formulate some pearls of wisdom in the form of tips of advice for their 22 year old selves.  

Danielle de Picciotto:

  1. As an artist /musician you need to be strong enough to face competition and a tough industry.

  2. Try not to surround yourself with artists that party all the time, they will fade away at some point.

  3. Being an exceptional artist/musician is hard work. You need to work on the technique, on your stage personality, making contacts, understanding contracts and most of all on your music/art.

  4. Remember: only 1% of artists and musicians can actually live off of their art.

  5. Do not follow trends, do not let yourself be influenced too much by anybody. Try to figure out your strengths and quirks.


Alexander Hacke:

  1. Don’t try to be like anybody else.

  2. Pay the artist for the music you listen to.

  3. Don’t try to fill the void inside with drugs or random purchases.  Stay the fuck away from Heroin.

  4. Don’t join any political party.

  5. Don't try to be like anyone else.

  6. Save a small percentage of all the income you earn  

  7. If you tend to bullshit a lot, keep a journal.

  8. Know Thyself, Be Thyself, Love Thyself.

  9. There’s other qualities to people than the ones you prioritise.


Upcoming shows with hackedepicciotto:

20th of June Whammy Bar, Auckland
22nd of June   Snails, Palmerston North
23rd of June Meow, Wellington
25th of June (Artist Talk) Goethe Institute, Wellington
29th of June Space Academy, Christchurch
30th of June Captain Cook, Dunedin
4th of July  Audio Foundation, Auckland

Danielle was born in Tacoma, Washington, U.S.A. She moved to New York City where she studied music & art. In 1990, Danielle moved to Berlin where she currently resides with her partner Alexander Hacke, working as interdisciplinary artist in the fields of music / art / film / literature / performance.

Danielle was a co-founder of the legendary Berlin “Loveparade” and since then has presented work in partnership with many leading institutions including the Goethe Institute in Hong Kong, Milan, Rome, Tokyo, Berlin, Prague, Sarajevo, Mexico City. She has exhibited and performed as MOCAD Museum, Detroit, IMOCA Museum, Indianapolis; Stuttgarter Staatsgallerie Museum, Germany, Theater Dortmund; Volksbühne, Berlin, and been twice commissioned by German Foreign Ministry to direct & produce short animated films for the European Union.

Musically, de Picciotto has worked with the band Space Cowboys, Crime & The City Solution as a vocalist. She also founded the multidisciplinary 'Ocean Club' alongside electronic artist, Gudrun Gut.

Principally, Danielle is one half of post-industrial duo, hackedepicciotto, alongside Alexander Hacke.

Alexander Hacke, was born 11 October 1965, in the proletarian district of Berlin Neukölln. His early teenage years were spent writing, recording, releasing and performing music under the pseudonym Alexander von Borsig. He is regarded by many as one of his generation's most influential figures, principally for his work with a number of group as guitarist, bass guitarist, singer, musician, record producer, writer and filmmaker.

He is primarily known as a longtime member of the influential German industrial music group Einstürzende Neubauten which he join in 1980 at which time he was merely 14 years of age. Initially, Hacke played guitar and worked with the band's sound until the mid 1990s, eventually moving from guitar to bass. In this role he is, according to band leader Blixa Bargeld, "a musical director of the band". He continues to perform and release recordings with Einstürzende Neubauten.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

18 Jun 2018

The Big Idea Editor