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WestBam, Stars and Bass Festival at E-Werk Berlin (2016)

WestBam (born March 4, 1965 in Münster , Westphalia ; real name Maximilian Lenz ) is a German DJ , musician , label owner , former Mayday organizer and author . The pseudonym WestBam is the short form of Westfalia Bambaataa and refers to its model Afrika Bambaataa .


Maximilian Lenz was born in Münster in 1965. His parents were artists and hippies who raised their children to be anti-authoritarian . The family lived on a Kotten in the Münster area.

His father, Otto Lenz , was a professor of art education at the Münster University of Education and died in the early 1980s. His mother worked as an art teacher and still paints surrealist works today .

Maximilian Lenz came to electronic music around 1980, initially in a project group as a student at the Pascal Gymnasium in Münster .

He applied to an art college after school but was not accepted. In 1984 he moved to West Berlin to live with his friend and sponsor Wilhelm "William" Röttger and enrolled for a degree in Catholic theology .

Maximilian Lenz has three siblings. His brother Fabian Lenz , whose idea the Mayday goes back to, was also active as a DJ and performed under the name DJ Dick . His sister Seraphina Lenz is a visual artist and has also lived in Berlin since 1997.

He is married, has two sons and lives in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg .


Westbam (in the foreground) 1995 with (from right) Roy Ströbel from Raver's Nature and Armin Mostoffi from Frontpage in the backstage area of ​​the Paradoxxx Club.
WestBam scratches the plate with his elbow (photo from March 24, 2005 at 50Grad / Mainz )

Lenz made his first musical attempts from 1978 in the punk scene in his hometown as Frank Xerox . Back then he played bass, drums and synthesizers. With the musician Andreas Bleckmann alias Sally he founded the band Anormal Null in 1979 . After its dissolution in 1981, he founded the theater of war , which was active until 1983. He had his first big appearance with this band on September 4th, 1981 in front of 1,000 spectators at the Genialer Dilletanten festival in Berlin's Tempodrom . The festival made Berlin bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten , Die Tödliche Doris and soloists such as Frieder Butzmann known to a wider audience for the first time.

Lenz also founded the punk fanzine Schwarz Rot Gold . Some cassettes later appeared on the associated small label.

He began his career as a DJ in 1983 in his hometown of Münster in the Club Odeon and in 1984 in the Berlin Metropol . He produced his first release 17 - This Is Not a Boris Becker Song under the pseudonym Cowboy Temple together with Klaus Jankuhn , whom he already knew from school. The record was released on Wall City Records . He later founded the record label Low Spirit Recordings together with his brother Fabian and William Röttger, Klaus Jankuhn and Sandra Molzahn .

At the end of 1984 his text “Was ist Record-Art?” Appeared, in which, as Westfalia Bambaataa, he explained basic DJ techniques and described the DJ as a musician who composes new pieces with records.

In 1985 he accompanied the short-lived reunited EBM pioneers German-American Friendship (DAF) on a European tour. Through the Latvian artist Indulis Bilzēns , who was a friend of Röttger , WestBam also made his first appearance abroad in the Eastern Bloc, which took him to Riga in Latvia .

In 1987 he and his partner Klaus Jankuhn collaborated with DAF singer Gabi Delgado-López on the DAF maxi single The Gun . This was followed by other solo releases such as Monkey Say Monkey Do , Disco Deutschland and Der Bundespräsidents-Mix , which established his reputation as a producer of commercially successful techno music. In autumn 1988, the Goethe-Institut sent WestBam to the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul as the resident DJ of the German cultural contribution Art Disco .

In spring 1989 the first DJ concept album The Cabinet was released. His first single, which was also successful in the sales charts, was Celebration Generation in 1993. His greatest chart success was with the Members of Mayday and the title Sonic Empire , which rose to number 1 in the German sales charts in 1997.

WestBam organized the first Mayday on December 14, 1991 in Berlin-Weißensee . The name of the event arose because the Mayday was intended as a "demonstration" for the rescue of the radio station DT64 . However, the radio station was discontinued despite the success of the event. The Mayday, however, was continued in the following years and reached its first high point in 1994 under the motto Rave Olympia in the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund. Critics described the event and the associated merchandising as a "sell-out of techno". Westbam-sponsored artists such as Marusha and RMB achieved high placements in the German sales charts in the 1990s.

Since then, Mayday has been a permanent fixture in the rave scene. Together with the organizer Jürgen Laarmann , former editor of the techno magazine Frontpage , Westbam proclaimed the “ Raving Society ” in 1994 and prophesied a new social model based on techno culture . Up until 2013 he was significantly involved in the artistic conception of each Mayday and also produced the anthems for the respective events together with Klaus Jankuhn under the name Members of Mayday . Jürgen Laarmann left Mayday Veranstaltungsservice und Musikproduktions GmbH in the mid-1990s due to differences of opinion about the further development of the event. In addition to Mayday, Westbam worked in the area of ​​the Love Parade and, together with Klaus Jankuhn, also produced their annual anthems under the name The Love Committee .

With the low-spirit sub-label Electric Kingdom, WestBam established the new techno sub -category Technolectro , which is described as a mixture of rock , hip-hop and techno . On the other hand, harder rave by artists such as Ravers Nature or Hardsequencer was published on the now discontinued sub-label Fire .

Under the name of Mr. X & Mr. Y , WestBam has been working with Afrika Islam since 1996 , who, together with WestBam's role model and namesake Afrika Bambaataa, founded the Zulu nation in the mid-1970s .

In February 1997, WestBam published his first book, Mixes, Cuts & Scratches . In addition to Westbam's own texts, it also contains interviews with Rainald Goetz about art, work and life as a DJ. In the same year he started the IFO project with Afrika Bambaataa . Both publish the Maxi Agharta the City of Shamballa .

With Nena he released the single Oldschool, Baby in August 2002 . In 2004 he joined Afrika Islam in the preliminary round of the Eurovision Contest and presented the song Dancing with the Rebels .

Although WestBam mainly appears as a DJ, in 2005 he presented his album Do You Believe in the Westworld live on a tour with a band consisting of drummer , bassist , Klaus Jankuhn on the laptop and himself as MC .

In 2010 his triple album A Love Story 89-10 was released on the Bass Planet / Kontor Records label . As the only DJ who played at all Loveparades from 1989 to 2008 , he wanted to say goodbye to the event in 2010. After the accident on the parade in Duisburg on July 24, 2010 , in which 21 people died, WestBam canceled its appearance. In an interview with Raveline magazine , he criticized the organizers' decision not to cancel the event.

In 2013 the album Götterstrasse was released , on which WestBam worked with artists such as Richard Butler , Lil Wayne , Rockell , Iggy Pop , Bernard Sumner , Inga Humpe , Brian Molko , Kanye West , Afrika Baby Bam and Hugh Cornwell .

In February 2014, due to apparently irreconcilable differences with the organizer i-Motion, WestBam announced its withdrawal from Mayday and thus the end of the Members of Mayday project.

In 2019 WestBam made its first appearance at the Parookaville festival .

Since 1994 WestBam has been playing on Christmas Day at the X-Mas Bam in Münster in Fusion.


Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placementsTemplate: chart table / maintenance / without sources
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1988 WestBam - - - -
First published: 1988
WestBam in Seoul - - - -
First published: 1988
1989 The Cabinet / And Party - - - -
First published: October 11, 1989
1991 The roof is on fire - - - -
First publication: 1991
A Practicing Maniac at Work - - - -
First published: October 18, 1991
1994 Bam Bam bam DE14 (19 weeks)
- CH36 (4 weeks)
First published: May 30, 1994
1997 We'll Never Stop Living This Way DE39 (6 weeks)
- - -
First published: November 10, 1997
2002 Right on DE35 (3 weeks)
- - -
First published: September 9, 2002
2005 Do You Believe in the Westworld DE97 (1 week)
- - -
First published: September 12, 2005
2013 Road of gods DE12 (3 weeks)
- CH70 (1 week)
First published: April 26, 2013
2019 The Risky Sets !!! DE21 (1 week)
- - -
First published: February 22, 2019


  • Dance Music Award
    • 2001: in the "Lifetime Award" category
    • 2003: in the "Best Producer" category
    • 2003: in the category "Best Video" (Oldskool Baby)



Web links

Commons : Westbam  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Der Spiegel : The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Münster , April 22, 2013.
  2. Die Welt : Westbam: "Techno has brought order into my life" (Interview), March 4, 2015.
  3. a b Stadtgeflüster: Westpunk ( memento from February 2, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) (interview), 2012.
  4. Die Zeit : Techno-DJ Westbam. “Mozart is too hysterical for me” (Interview), July 11, 2013.
  5. a b Deutsche Welle : Typically German. Westbam, international star DJ , October 4th, 2013.
  6. Spex : The theme of my life is DJ music (interview), 2005.
  7. tip Berlin : In conversation with Westbam about club life in Berlin ( memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), April 29, 2013.
  8. ^ Tagesspiegel : Autobiography of Westbam. God is a rampage , March 5, 2015.
  9. a b c Radio Eins rbb : Westbam ( Memento from March 18, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (interview in Hörbar ), June 4, 2013.
  10. ^ South German : DJ Westbam. "My sound has its own memory" , April 20, 2013.
  11. a b c What is Maximilian Lenz actually doing? , accessed August 17, 2010.
  12. taz : Westbam as a DJ for over 30 years. “Even great shops have to die” May 12, 2013.
  13. Love without base intentions , taz.de, accessed on August 17, 2010.
  14. The Age of the DJ Mixer: 10 Years of Low Spirit. The interview with Westbam ( memento of December 9, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ), Frontpage 95/08, accessed on August 17, 2010.
  15. WestBam: The Power of the Night. Ullstein Verlag, 2015, ISBN 978-3-550-08068-5 ( books.google.de ).
  16. Westbam: A Love Story 89-10 (Kontor) ( Memento from September 19, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ), raveline.de , accessed on August 14, 2010.
  17. West Bam. The monumental interview in 2 parts (July 20 and July 25, 2010) (PDF; 102 kB), accessed on August 18, 2010.
  18. Westbam on the Love Parade disaster - the complete interview. Raveline, 2010.
  19. Westbam gets off at Mayday in Dortmund , derwesten.de , accessed on February 5, 2014.
  20. Westbam in Parookaville: "I bite my tongue" , ikz-online.de , August 3, 2019.
  21. Ultimo: X-Mas Bam , No. 26 / 14-2 / ​​15, December 15, 2014 - January 18, 2015, p. 51.